Sugarholic Vol 1 by Gong GooGoo Manhwa Review


Title: Sugarholic Vol 1

Author: Gong GooGoo

Publisher: Yen Press

ISBN: 9780759530744

May Contain Spoilers

Jae-Gyu is a gluttonous, lazy 20 year old, and her grandmother is tired of her freeloading ways.  Sending the girl to Seoul to live with her brother after their house is destroyed, granny is finally rid of the girl who seemed to be in training to become the world’s most accomplished napper.  In Seoul, Jae-Gyu meets two young men who are turning her life upside down.  What did she do to deserve all of this grief?

A lot, it turns out.  Jae-Gyu is chockfull of character faults that give her some depth, but also make her hard to like.  When she was younger, she was an unholy terror, destroying and bullying anything and anyone who got in her way of having fun.  She retains some of this unbridled enthusiasm to get her own way, and it gets her into one mess after another.  Following along on her misadventures, it’s sometimes hard to feel any sympathy for her and her self-destructive ways. 

The first person she runs into after arriving, penniless, in Seoul, is Whie-Hwan.  Things get off on the wrong foot after she tears his shirt while demanding that he move his car.  Jae-Gyu has dropped what little money she has, and with her exceptionally bad luck, Whie-Hwan has parked right on top of it.  Her poor first impression is going to come back to haunt her, and you just can’t help but think that she deserves whatever revenge Whie-Hwan is going to dish out.

Shortly after, Jae-Gyu meets the one guy in all of Korea she never wanted to see again: Hee-Do, a kid who she used to beat up all the time.  She didn’t mean to beat him up, not really, but Jae-Gyu was a tough, sturdy kid who drew trouble to her like a magnet.  Hee-Do was fragile and girly, and he didn’t stand a chance once he met up with Jae-Gyu.  Hee-Do is now a super popular rock star, so we know that his battered past with Jae-Gyu didn’t beat the ambition out of his head.

I’m not sure if Sugarholic is going to turn into a romantic triangle with Whie-Hwan and Hee-Do, or not.  It seems obvious that Hee-Do remembers Jae-Gyu with a little more affection that she deserves.  Circumstances keep popping up to throw Whie-Hwan and Jae-Gyu together, revealing threads of his incredibly complicated life every time he makes an appearance.

As stated previously, I don’t think I will ever be very fond of Jae-Gyu.  She is flawed by her selfishness and by her lack of common sense.  I’m still intrigued by the story, though my interest lies more with the male cast than with the heroine.  Even Jae-Gyu’s brother is cause for puzzlement, and it appears that he might have stooped to some unsavory methods to finance his comfortable life-style in the big city.  Hee-Do is clearly unhappy with his lot in life, which makes you wonder how being a big-time rock star can be so bad.  And then there is Whie-Hwan, who despite his really bad hair, might turn out to be the most interesting of the bunch, due to being shackled by a controlling family intent on dictating his life to him. 

I found the art very inconsistent.  The flashbacks to Jae-Gyu’s childhood usually resulted in confusion, because it was hard to tell the kids apart.  Even the older versions of the characters look too much alike.   While it was never difficult to discern facial expressions, the characters’ posture and movements didn’t convey a sense of realism or fluidity.  Everyone moves stiffly about, rigidly maneuvering from one panel to the next.  There were occasions when the plot jerked along just as stiffly, forcing me to back track and try to figure out what was going on.

Sugarholic offers up a romantic comedy with some quirks, which would have been more appealing with a more likeable heroine.  Hopefully future installments will polish the rough edges off Jae-Gyu’s personality, while retaining some of her more unique qualities. 

Grade:  B-

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