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From the Archive: You’re So Cool Vol. 1 – YoungHee Lee

You’re So Cool is a Korean manhwa written by the author Lee Young-hee from publisher Yen Press. The series was published in North America from 2008-2010, in six volumes. A high school love story, You’re So Cool hooks readers with strong characters and sudden plot turns.




The Gist: Nan-Woo’s crush on the most popular boy in school turns her life upside down. Cute and clumsy Nan-Woo Jung fantasizes about her romantic life with Seung-Ha Ryu, knowing that the seemingly perfect prince of the school would never like her back. However, with all the ruckus she causes, Seung Ha does notice her and decides to make Nan-Woo’s fantasy come true. Nan-Woo is overcome by his attention, and being her sweet and honest self, she confesses that if given the chance she would love him completely and without regrets. Seung-Ha then declares that he and Nan-Woo are dating to the freshman class and asks Nan-Woo out on their first date. There she meets the real Seung-Ha and discovers that her fantasy prince is more like a demon from hell. Blackmailed into the facade of his loving girlfriend, how will Nan-Woo get away from Seung-Ha?


Seung-Ha’s hand is as big as his head – oops!




The Characters/Romance:  As I read the first couple of chapters, I immediately began to question, “Are these characters for real?” With a goofy, klutzy heroine like Nan-Woo and a regally manicured prince-type like Seung-Ha, I was waiting to be disappointed by another high school manwha cliché. What happened instead was that I was pleasantly surprised by the character development and intrigued against my better judgment to know what might happen next. Not that the “good-looking guy is really a bad boy” story line hasn’t already been done, but the author makes it mysterious enough that it compels the reader to want to know more.



It could also be that despite Nan-Woo’s naivete, I admire her determination. I look forward to seeing her knock Seung-Ha down off his high pedestal further on. For whatever reason he chose to use Nan-Woo right now, eventually he will come to care for her, if typical sunjeong (shojo) paths are trodden. It also looks like the story will include a side romance between Nan-Woo’s uncle Jay, and another guy, Hyun-Ho Ha, which may interest some boy-love fans.


Left: Body proportions are distorted. Right: A better ratio of proportions.

Left: Body proportions are distorted. Right: A better ratio of proportions.





The Art:As for the artwork, the panels look great. Lee reaches for a more realistic style and succeeds in some respects. The close ups of faces and clothing are closer to realistic proportions. Seung-Ha is one fine looking guy. However, when full body shots are drawn, the figures look distorted to my eyes – long lanky bodies with heads too small. Maybe it’s just a style issue. I wasn’t all that impressed by the colored pieces either. The backgrounds on the front and back cover are beautiful renditions of flowers. But, even on the cover art, Seung-Ha’s head is out of proportion compared to the size of his hand. Then again, there’s an insert that’s a close up of Nan-Woo and Sueng-Ha under some cherry blossoms that looks really nice compared to the others. So I think that it’s the artist’s ability of drawing whole-body vs. close-up that shows where the strengths and weaknesses lie.



The Audience: Cuddly – not much action in this series yet. The relationship is unstable so far. It will be interesting to watch how that changes. The series is rated teen, so some parents may consider the content appropriate only for children 13 and older.



The Media:  You’re So Cool is available in 6 Volumes from Yen Press.



Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥


A cast of interesting characters keeps this somewhat cliche storyline from feeling overdone.

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Laura

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Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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3 Comments

  • “the story will include a side romance between Nan-Woo’s brother Jay, and another guy, Hyun-Ho Ha”

    spotted 1 mistake ;]
    Jay (sometimes Jae) is Nan Woo’s mum’s brother. he’s Nan Woo’s uncle.

    • Thanks, Ocha!
      It’s been awhile since I’ve looked at this review. I’ll have to go in and correct that. 🙂

  • I think you're spot-on regarding the art. I think the problem is just as you put it; there's also the "fist as big as his head" part, too, in the cover shot you have there.

    This sounds like a pretty interesting manhwa. I think I'll have to check it out!

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