Manhwa: Love in the Mask

22 Nov

love-in-the-mask-l0

When I read this, I had already read some gender bender mangas. What I really like about Love in the Mask is that it is not a comedy manwha. Usually gender bender stories are comical and I was a bit sick of it. I like dramatic stories, by the way. But that’s not the real reason. It was just refreshing to see this topic from another point of view. But as much as I liked it at first, it has a lot of flaws as you’ll find out when you read the whole review.

 

 

General Information:

  • Author: Han Yu-Rang
  • Country: South Korea
  • Volumes: 32
  • Chapters: 234
  • Genre: shojo, romance, gender bender, drama, school life
  • Status: Completed
  • Publishing date: 2005
  • Anime: No
  • Read it online on: mangafox or mangareader

Synopsis:

Hyun Bin is 8 years old. She lives in the streets with her little brother and they both are forced to work for gangsters. She has always hidden the fact that she is a girl to survive. A terrible day, her brother dies of hunger and cold and she runs away from the gang.

Then a rich family’s employee finds her and takes her to his boss because he has ordered him to look for an abandoned boy to turn him into a bodyguard for her granddaughter (Yae Ha). Both men finds out very soon that she is a girl, but she insists so much saying that she will do whatever it takes to remain with them and not go back to the streets that they accept her.

The following years, Hyun Bin receives a very hard training, turning her into a very talented bodyguard. She just has to comply with three rules: protect Yae Ha, obey orders as a robot would do and not let anyone find out that she is a girl.

Everything will be far more complicated when Hyu Bin and Yae Ha go for their first time to High School. They will meet Yun Ha and his gang -The Red Scorpions- whose members share a very painful past.

Will Hyun Bin be able to accomplish her mission?

Art:

I don’t have anything against the art. Everything seems fine, so I like it. Not exaggerated or weird.

Characters:

The characters were a very nice surprise. They are all (main and supporting characters) very well conceived and developed, leading to a good understanding of the way the act or think. They start up as being problematic, childish, etc. and mature through the story. They are not simple and all of them have a good story to tell, so it’s not all about the main characters. Usually supporting characters are overshadowed by the main ones too much, which makes us miss a good part of the story. Not in this manhwa. All of them have something to contribute to this story. That is until the last quarter of the story,when many of them loose their personality and change into different characters (particularly the main ones) and rush to a confusing end.

The best: 

  • Well developed characters (main as well as supporting characters).
  • Not your typical gender bender. Most gender bender stories are very comical, but this one is more dramatic and serious, which I think it is a nice change.
  • The first three quarters of the story are so great I would give it a 9’5 out of 10 at least.

The worst: 

  • The last quarter of the story: everything changes too suddenly and without a good explanation, which is very confusing and not credible at all. It feels as if the author decided to change the story on a whim. I spent the rest of the story trying to figure out what had happened and hoping it would be fine at the end. Yes, indeed. At the end everything is fine, but there is still this lingering feeling that tells you that it is not fine at all because it doesn’t make sense.
  • In short, rushing, confusing and senseless end.

Score: 

I can’t give this story a general score, so 10 out of 1o for the first three quarters and 0 out of 10 for the last quarter. I suggest you don’t read the end and write a fanfic about how would you think it should be.

 

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