Saturday, July 11, 2015

Snow Drop by Kyung-ah Choi Vol. 6, 7 & 8

I first became interested in anime in middle school. My friends, Lara and Capella, were super into Sailor Moon, and because I wanted them to like me, I was super into it as well. We wrote fan fiction (really) and we also assigned our entire group of friends different Sailor Scouts. I think there was some beef between Lara and Hillary because Lara wanted to be Sailor Moon, and Hillary thought that was ridiculous. Oh, middle school. How we (read: I) were hormonal and crazy. I think at that time Hillary introduced me to some other anime and even showed me how to draw some characters. It was also when I learned that manga were the Japanese comic books, where as anime, was the Japanese tv shows and movies. 

Even though our big group of friends drifted apart in high school, I still was interested in anime. I attended Dulaney's anime club a few times... but I felt like I couldn't connect with any of the members. I also went to Otakon a few times (the first time I went, it was 35 bucks!). I sought out some shows like Cowboy Bebop, Trigun and Hellsing. I perused the manga section at Barnes and Nobles and splurged on a few series. 

Nevertheless, 10 dollars for a manga that I quickly read in 20 minutes became a hard pill to swallow and the DVDs were 25 bucks a pop in kitschy novelty stores. Eventually, I phased out. I became disillusioned with the Otaku culture. It was hard to make friends, it was hard to acquire and above all, it was damn expensive! 

I'm not sure where I acquired Snow Drop. I believe it might be back when I still visited Barnes and Noble, but Snow Drop is very different than my other manga. First of all, it's Korean, so it's called a manhwa. Maybe I found it at a convention and they were on sale? I know it's how I found vol. 9&10 and possibly even vol. 3&4. 

Anyway, I had vol. 1, 2, 3 & 4 along with vol. 9&10 of this series since high school. I lugged around this series along with my other mostly incomplete sets of manga. When I moved back to Baltimore from Frederick, I had a summer free before grad. school started... so I decided to acquire the rest of the Snow Drop series. I stopped off at volume 6 (wouldn't you know... amazon had the series cheaper than B&N...) but when I started going through my books in preparation to move, I decided to read the rest of the books that I bought and buy the remaining 2. 

What always drew me in to Snow Drop was the art. First off, the covers are magnificent. Each cover is uniquely drawn in this sort of fairy tale, dream like theme. They pulled me in right away, which is probably why I purchased them to begin with. Also, the illustrations and art work throughout the books are also beautiful. I'm not sure what other mahnwa looks like, but this strikes right balance between art and graphic novel. I enjoy reading them largely because of the art. 

I started and stopped this series twice before finally making the commitment to finish them (and this blog holds me accountable). Before I picked them up again, I wondered why it has taken me this long to finish them. Now that I've read 3 volumes, I understand completely. The first time, it was probably due to expenditures. Manga is expensive, no one else was reading that series and I'm not good with the library. I assume the second time I stopped reading the series was due to the 'ride or die' mentality of the characters. I had a horrible break up 6 months prior that also started with a swoony romance depicted in the novel. I was very sensitive back then to relationships like that. I perceived things in a certain way, even if it wasn't meant to. 

Now, third time's the charm! It might be because I'm much older than their targeted audience, but... what is with the androgynistic men in the books? I read somewhere that younger girls, tweens like men that are "pretty" and look more feminine because they are less threatening than adult men. That theory makes sense to me... because it is in full swing in these novels. However, even though feminine looking men is not my preference, I leaned into it and read into the saga between So-Na and Ha-Gi. 

It's a classic Romeo and Juliet story. It starts off with both main characters in high school. She's the daughter of a wealthy politician and he's from the wrong side of the tracks (even though he has money due to his successful modeling career in Korea). There are all kinds of antics from all different sides to break them apart (including other boys and girls). At one point they defy their families and run away, only to almost be killed when the girl's father's croonies find them. 

It's very passionate and very, very dramatic. Once you realize that it's a Korean drama with teenagers... it's easy to lean into and just come along for the ride. There are some twists and turns to the storyline that the reader doesn't see coming, which is an unexpected treat. 

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