My interest in these two manhwa series, He was Cool and Teen Spirit, comes from my admiration of the artist, Kim Jea-Eun. The main reason being that she can clearly illustrate onto paper, the ideal “pretty boy.” What I mean by “pretty boy,” is a male character with a model like image: tall, broad shoulders, a lean waistline, nice hair, and long eyelashes.
He was Cool (2004-2006)
Art By: Kim Jae-Eun
Story: Gui Yeoni
He was Cool is a manhwa series about a girl, Han Yaewon, who is intentionally avoiding Ji Eunsong, out of fear of being bullied by him because of an argument on an internet site. However, her plan backfires after accidentally kissing Ji EunSong as she fell on top of him. After kissing each other, Eunsong demands that Yaewon take responsibility by “dating” him. At first, Yaewon thinks Eunsong is a jerk, but she learns how kind-hearted and genuine he really is, and in fact, he may just need someone who earnestly cares about him.
I like the characterization of Ji Eunsong. He seems to have a naive perception about love and relationships, which is hidden behind his masculine demeanor. However, I felt like the storyline was somewhat lacking. We are introduced to a variety of characters aside from the main protagonists, but these characters are rather static and underdeveloped.
Also for your amusement, this manga was adapted into a live action South Korean film of the same name.
Teen Spirit (2009)
By Kim Jae-Eun
Hwee Kang and his band get recruited by a famous music company called JBL. Soon, they learn the harsh reality within the music business, filled with high expectations and competition.
As a reader, I was introduced to a great set of male characters that are like “major eye candy.” 😉
Unfortunately the artist, Kim Jae-Eun passed away from cancer in 2011. Teen Spirit was left undone and at its’ early stages development, making this manhwa all the more special.