Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sad Love Story

Yes, more updates, I clearly have too much time which would be put to better use by studying. On a side note, Happy Halloween for those of you who celebrate, I did by answering the door, and when asked 'Trick or Treat' I screamed 'Trick! Here's a cat!'

So, I've delayed it enough, Sad Love Story is a Korean manhwa by Shin Ji-Sang, Geo (that is what mangafox says) and is completely scanlated with 5 volumes. It also as a Korean television drama based on it. The first few pages of the story are set in New York, January 2004, Hae-In awakes in a hospital after she tried to commit suicide believing that her love was dead.

The story then goes back to the mid 80s and is about Jun-Young, a boy whose mother works at a bar and serves Americans (basically a brothel). One day he meets Hae-In a blind girl who is the daughter of a new employee at the bar. The two get along as they both suffer the teasing about their mothers, which quickly turns into romantic love. Hwah Jung is another childhood friend of Jun-Young, and she also has romantic feelings for Jun-Young, but these are unrequited. The story focuses on the development of the relationship between Jun-Young and Hae-In, who are constantly told to seperate by their mothers because of their hatred for each other. They usually go off together to a nearby shrine to run away from their world (this is important). After many years together, Jun-Young and Hae-In are seperated because of an arguement between their mothers.

After they are seperated, Jun-Young is sent to live with his father and his family after a fight with his mother. He adopts his father's surname as well. At school Jun Kyo (I think that is his new name, something like that) meets and becomes friends with Kon Woo, who share a passion for music and decide to form a band. In the meanwhile, it is revealed that Jun-Young's mother is sick and is dying, hence why she sent him to his father. Jun-Kyo returns to visit his mother before she dies. Meanwhile, Hae-In is living with her mother, who is set to marry an American and the three of them are preparing to move to America. Hae-In had not met Jun-Young since, and a few years have passed. By chance Hae-In and Jun-Young meet, and Jun-Young spends the night at Hae-In's place (platonically, nothing happened because Hae-In was sick). The two wish to rekindle their romance and decide to meet at Hae-In's apartment everyday, however the next day, she moves out due to debt collectors threatening her mother. Hae-in and Jun-Young exchange addresses before Hae-In leaves for America. Jun-Young hasn't told Hae-In about the name change. The two regularly mail each other, however the messages stop once Jun-Young joins the army. This is because Hwah Jung changes the address for Jun-Kyo's mail so he never receives it. She does this out of jealousy.

There is another flash-foward to 2004, this time in April, it has been 3 months since Hae-In's accident. At this point she is confronted by a man who is Korean but does not know who she is, although she has met him three times before. This was because since the last time, he has grown up more, and his voice is unrecognizable. The man is Kon Woo, Jun Kyo's best friend. Kon Woo, who is wealthy, pays for Hae-In's eye surgery so she can see again.

The rest of the story is set in the present, and Jun-Kyo finishes his stint in the army, still not hearing anything about Hae-In. He receives a call from Kon Woo who says he will be returning to Korea soon, and that he has found a singer for their band. Since her eye surgery, Hae-In has regained her vision and sings at night for a New York club. Over time, with the help of Kon Woo, she accepts that it is ok for her to move on, as she can always remember Jun-Young. Of course, the singer Kon Woo mentioned is Hae-In. The two return to Korea, and Kon-Woo introduces everyone to Hae-In including Jun-Kyo, who Hae-In does not realize is Jun-Young (she still thinks Jun-Young is dead). Hae-In notes that he has the same voice as Jun-Young and looks like how she invisioned Jun-Young to look like.

Jun-kyo struggles seeing Kon-Woo and Hae-In together and decides to leave the band, only to return shortly after. The group struggle producing an album, with Kon-Woo asking for his father's support with his brother in law also interferring. It is revealed that the brother in law intends to 'throw Kon-woo and his father under the bus' so to speak in order to gain the company. Hae-In's mother also returns, asking Jun-Young to leave. Of course he says he shouldn't because he is now 'Jun kyo, and Jun-young died many years ago'. After many struggles, the group successfully debut. At this point Kon-Woo wishes to marry Hae-In, although hesitant she agrees, as she is still confused about Jun Kyo and Jun-Young. For Kon-Woo's family to agree, he agrees to be the successor to the family business, even though he doesn't really want to.

The evil brother in law in the meanwhile sabotages Kon-Woo and as a result, loses his job. He then frames Kon-Woo's father for embezzlement. Kon-Woo confronts Jun-Kyo about why hasn't he taken Hae-In back, because if she knew, she would go to him. Jun-kyo replies 'because it's Kon Woo, so I'll leave'. In the meanwhile, Hae-In decides she can't marry Kon-Woo. She goes to the place where her and Jun-Young went as children, where she meets Jun-Kyo, then she finally realizes that they are one and the same. The soon after rekindle their romance. However, at this point, Jun-Young realizes something is wrong and leaves.

After searching for a while, they find Jun-Young. Hae-In discovers that Jun-Young is very sick, requiring weekly kidney dialysis to stay alive. Jun-Young says he won't get treatment, because he would feel like a trapped bird in a cage, and would rather live one day of freedom than live several more years in trapped in suffering. For some reason the two are having a conversation on train tracks where an oncoming train is approaching (to emphasize the situation, I guess).

Meanwhile, Kon-Woo has realized what his brother in law is doing, and plans to punish him (kill him), however his sister convinces him not to. However the brother in law realizes that Kon-Woo knows, and plans to have him killed. Kon-Woo travels to the shrine where his mother's remains are, which is his own world so to speak. This place happens to be the same shrine as the one that Hae-In and Jun-Young share as their runaway world. The three meet, and Kon-Woo says that there is no hard feelings. As Jun-Young and Hae-In leave, Jun-Young notices a suspicious man following Kon-Woo, and chases after them, He shouts out to Kon-Woo and there is a loud bang.

In this part of the manhwa, it is revealed that the reason why Jun-Kyo couldn't take Hae-In from Kon-Woo is because he loved and cared for Kon-Woo just as much, if not more (not romantically, but in almost like soulmates, they shared the same kind of struggles such as a broken family and dead mothers). It is then revealed that the bang (gunshot) hit and killed Jun-Young. We are shown a funeral scene and a grieving Hae-In. The very last page is a few years after Jun-Young's death and is a conversation between mother and son, with the son asking the mother where they are going. the mother replies they are going to see daddy because daddy has been sleeping for a very long time, and will continue sleeping but that they still love him. The mother and son are seen walking into the shrine that Jun-Young and Hae-In used as a hideout, the last frame revealing that the mother was Hae-In.

I've already had a bit of a rant about this one on a few forums...I mean I absolutely loved the story, but filthy about the ending, and it's not because Jun-Young dies. I'm reading the last chapter and I begin thinking 'Oh I thought this was a tragedy' but then I thought perhaps the tragedy is like Boku no Hatsukoi where the story is sad but the ending is happy. And then three pages from the end Jun-Young dies. As a reader, I feel that it was rushed and was almost like the author thought 'Oh shit, this is meant to end in 3 pages'. I feel for this to be a great tragedy, more emphasis needed to be put on Jun-Young's death and the aftermath, such as the emotion of losing a loved one, that way, I feel that the last page with Hae-In and her son would have been a great manga/manhwa moment. Also, none of the other major plot points were concluded. I mean, what happened to Kon-Woo, did he take over his father's company, and what happens to his brother in law for his crimes. Also what happened to Hwah Jung, she loved Jun-Young to the point where she re-adressed his mail to herself to stop him contacting Hae-In, and she kind of just went MIA. Okay, I think that is enough about my thoughts.

Next time will be New Sexy Simpleton on the agenda, but that's about it for now, until next time :)

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