Oh boy, this is going to be tough and vicious.
This review will be special, since I am dealing with a work done by a Filipino artist. Yes, this is a OEL comics that is styled into an Manga. I may get burned with this review and I should need to buy the manga to support the budding Manga industry in the country. Anyway, I am reviewing one of OH NO! in-house works titled Looking for a Better Boyfiriend.
Hard …. Not … To … Compare
As anyone who read manga for quite sometime will tend to critique OEL works in the same vane as any Japanese comics. To make a gist of my review, the series is crap. It this by no means has anything that fares to what other Manga do, even the mediocre one. Ouch. I know it’s too harsh to say this, but the only thing to say that compares to its source design is that it does capture the style of your typical Shoujo manga. Not the 7 seed kind since it suck (the art, not the story). It is somewhat reminiscent of Ouran high basing from what I remember. The character design are likable. I would imagine if the artist would do a shota series, I would be more patient reading that series. It does help that the characters are mostly teenagers, but I’ll get to the story in my story analysis. But overall, it doesn’t really compare to a Manga and it has a lot of problems.
The story seems to have been taken from some Korean drama or a very cliche Japanese drama. The story centers on a group of kids swapping genders and do stupid stuff with each other. Of course, the main purpose of the swapping is to have their evil ways be realized for not understanding the complexities of the opposite gender. With the people swapped, they get to understand what it feels like to the other end, and thus further understand each other feelings.
The story itself won’t win any awards. It’s an overused plot that was famous around the late 2000s during the boom of Korean Drama. I would guess that some of the element from the Koreans were taken from the Japanese. The love story is also very cliche, which it seems to point that the artist didn’t have much of an original idea to put on top of the established structure. Boy meets girl, girl and boy have hijinks together, develop and make love. Well, minus the make love part, but you get the gist. There isn’t seem to be an end, or rather the plot is very loose that it depends on the whim of the audience to decide to axe the series. So far, the people tend to love this kinds of stories, I am not sure what makes it different from all the crap being shown in TV.
Story and Pacing goes hand in hand in telling the author’s intentions. Tell it too fast, the readers will miss your point. Tell it too slow, the readers will bore. The pacing in Boyfriend is also a blaring problem in the series. Almost everything that happened doesn’t make any sense at all. Characters pop out of nowhere and they suddenly go into a situation that didn’t even foreshadow it. It’s trying to do what Humanity Has Declined did with its Manga satire. It just throws stuff in the audience and expect them to forget the rest. It’s like the artist picks up references in other shoujo romance manga that it finds good and stick it in. You do realize that you need to set the stage first and set it well to make that moment good? Pacing also contributed to the poor character development. I hardly care for the guy chick and that girly guy, then you will introduce the tsundere girl guy and throw in some background characters, even though the character barely had a shed of personality in them. It’s becoming a mess. I just stop caring in chapter 7 since Mangafox can’t load the next chapter.
The characters are pretty drawn stick figures that speak. Let me start with the dialogue, since I mention it. The problem with it, not comparing it to other works, is that it sounded forced. It sounded detached and sometimes it comes awkward when reading. For a lack of a better word, it lacks “flow” that it prevents the character to show its personality. Remember that some characters tend to distinguish themselves by their way of speaking? Like some adding a pre-fix every sentence or uses polite words. The characters in Boyfriend all sounded the same. It seems the artist forgot to put himself in the shoes of the character and just wrote what they have to say. While the character are pleasing in the eye, there are hardly any gestures or some sort of habit that makes them unique. Maybe one character has his shirt tucked out, or the other one wears a leather suit to school. At least something to show that they have something beside being classmates. But no. I don’t seem to see it.
Other aspects that I would like to point out is the paneling. I would presume this is targeted for people who liked Manga or at least read manga in a casual to frequent basis. Would it be better to have it oriented in the same manner as what Manga are supposed to? Like right to left than left to right. What’s more frustrating in reading manga is reading it in wrong order. I do hope and pray that OH NO Manga would have mandate all of its in-house artist to arrange their panels to what real manga does.
Needs a lot of improvement. There’s no catching appeal in this series. There are a TON of mangas out there and a lot of them can draw on par or even better than the artist in this series. You can’t sell a story with skin alone. It needs to be a complete package. The problem with our artist is that they don’t know how to make a good story. I am not sure if our artist knows how to properly arrange a story. Maybe this should be a partner work, one is the artist and one is the author. There are a lot of pocket book novelist out there that can put a decent romantic flick at least properly arranged. Learn something from them on how they put up their story. Use their method of storytelling, minding that you are in a medium that is all picture with text and not just walls of text. Use your artistic skills in painting the picture, don’t dump expositions. Use the medium to its full potential.
- Nice Pictures
- Shotgun Pacing
- Cliche Story
- Character has no personality
- Poorly Written Dialog
- (Bonus) Not left to right order
Images Used are under Fair Use.