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Y Square

About.com Rating 2 Star Rating

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Cover artwork for Y Square Volume 1 by Judith Park, published by Yen Press

Y Square Volume 1

© Judith Park/Carlsen Verlag GmbH, Hamburg 2005

The Bottom Line

Y Square has most of the ingredients for a shojo manga romantic comedy. Take a guy who's a dunce in romance, add a guy who's popular with the girls, mix well with several cute, impetuous girls. It's drawn in a pretty, appealing style, but when all is said and done, Y Square's story is a tangled mess of one-dimensional characters, stilted dialogue and plot threads that unravel because it lacks romantic chemistry, dramatic tension or genuine humor to keep it all together.

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Pros

  • Distinctive, shojo-inspired art style that is pretty and appealing

Cons

  • Muddled plot that offers very little romantic chemistry, dramatic tension or genuine humor
  • Characters are somewhat one-dimensional and at times, unlikeable
  • Story seems rushed, with events slapped together without much forethought

Description

Guide Review - Y Square

Yoshitaka is a dunce in romance, with a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Yagate is popular with the girls. So what happens when these two "Y" guys put their heads together to find Yoshitaka a date? In theory, a comedy of errors would occur along the bumpy road to romance. But Y Square's plot doesn't quite add up and the result is a pretty but muddled mess.

German-Korean manga artist Judith Park has a nice style – the boys and girls are cute and there are lots of lovely details on almost every page. But pretty pin-ups can't hide the fact that Y Square's characters are one-dimensional, their dialogue is stilted and the plot is all over the place.

Because Park is incapable of drawing an unattractive boy, Yoshitaka's dilemma never seems very difficult. He's just a cute, but sloppy guy with foot-in-mouth disease.

Then there are his love interests, aspiring models Ju-Jin, Hyun-Na and tanned cutie Chana. Ju-Jin is a petty princess with a short temper. Her rival Hyun-Na is an equally petty pretty girl who dislikes Ju-Jin because of a childhood grudge. And Chana? She's just there to flirt. After the first few scenes, Yagate's a throwaway character who doesn't do much except roll his eyes at Yoshitaka. It's never clear why these people are friends, much less romantically attracted to each other.

There's a stilted, rushed quality to Park's storytelling, because she relies on her characters to talk out their inner thoughts, as if they were actors in a play. In one scene, Ju-Jin sighs, "I wish I could be at a photo shoot, becoming famous." She sends off her headshots to a magazine and gets accepted on her first try. So much for dramatic tension.

Park's attention to her craft as an artist is obvious. If she could only develop her storytelling skills to match, Y Square would get an "A", instead of a "C."

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