The entirety of what I know about Manga comes from last year, when I accompanied my husband on a trip to ACen (the Midwest’s largest Anime convention) and there were boxes and boxes of the stuff being dug into by people all over the place. Obviously, this stuff is popular.
My husband attended this year’s ACen without me, but obeyed my one wish and brought me back a grab bag. Last year I bought a grab bag and it was like Christmas to open and see all the random treats inside. Inside this year’s miraculous bag of confusing wonder was the first volume of Hee-Eun Kim’s “A Kiss for My Prince.”
So, like a good little reader who is always open to new genres and styles, I read my first manga.
“A Kiss for My Prince” is considered a “manhwa,” which is the Korean term for print comics. (Japan calls it “Manga,” which is probably a more well-known term.)
In this story (which I only have the first volume of) a pretty girl named Sei-Ann works as a maid in a rich house. She knows she’s of a noble family, but is an orphan with no family so she’s stuck being a maid. While dreaming in the woods one day, she helps some men track down a young man (Shihon) who has escaped from his servitude to the Prince. Almost immediately, the young man arrives at the house Sei-Ann works in, with the prince in tow. Ambitious Sei-Ann sees the dreamy prince Joon and is determined to become his queen. Forming a quasi-friendship based largely on bickering with Shihon, Sei-Ann comes to the Royal Palace to become a maid there in the hopes of landing Prince Joon. Well, imagine her surprise to find out that the real crown prince is Shihon. Meanwhile, Sei-Ann keeps seeing a family crest that she remembers from somewhere, and the third prince – Yu-Jen – takes a liking to Sei-Ann and demands she accompanies him to a ball. At said ball, she discovers that the crest she’s been seeing everywhere is the crest of a disbanded former noble family that were executed for being traitors. Yep, her family.
And that’s where volume 1 ends.
Not bad for a random book in a grab bag.
The dialogue is a little lame in places, but that could be the fault of translation. The drawings are certainly lovely, and the author’s love of costumes (Which is addressed in her note at the end of the book) is obvious in every outfit Sei-Ann, Shihon, and the others wear.
Did “A Kiss for My Prince” make me a Manga-addict? No. However, it opened my eyes to the fact that this is a very real and wildly popular genre.
You know what? I get it. Part romance novel, part graphic novel, part serial – makes sense to me.