wDec 31, 2007

Legend of Chun Hyang

CLAMP's Legend of Chun Hyang is a one-volume comic about a Korean teenager, although CLAMP has said that it would like to continue the series.

Chun Hyang is based on a Korean folktale. In CLAMP's words,
A long time ago there lived a very beautiful maiden named Chun Hyang.
(Image: Beautiful woman shrouded in a veil, surrounded by flowers, face is hidden)

Although she was born a commoner, she was accepted in marriage to the nobleman Mong Ryong. When fate separated her from her betrothed, Chun Hyang refused the advances of suitors, and for that she was put in jail.

Her one true love would be Mong Ryong.

In her native Korea, Chun Hyang's story has passed into legend.

Chun Hyang endures as a symbol of chastity and continues to be honored to this day.

However...this Chun Hyang is a little bit different.
(Image: Flowery girl in flowing robes....in a martial arts "just try me" pose)

Chun is a 14-year-old girl who lives with her mother, a mudang (medicine woman) in her village. The land of Koriyo (Korea) is divided into over 300 villages, each one ruled by a Yang Ban. Unfortunately, some of the Yang Ban are corrupt. One man, the Am-Hang-Osa, is given the authority to serve as a power-check on corrupt Yang Ban, and can punish them as he sees fit. Unfortunately, the Am-Hang-Osa is nowhere to be seen in Chun Hyang's village, and their Yang Ban is very corrupt.

Chun Hyang's village's Yang Ban is intent on securing Chun Hyang's mother (as a lover?) and tries to do so by force, but Chun Hyang is a headstrong sword-fighter, and will not allow this to happen. A traveler named Mong Ryong shows up, and Chun Hyang ends up needing his help before long. Eventually, the pair becomes a traveling unit that seeks out corrupt Yang Ban in order to punish them.

Unlike CLAMP's lighter pieces like Man of Many Faces, people actually die in Legend of Chun Hyang. Its comedy and light-heartedness rest side by side with anguish and despair. I also feel that the quality of the art is a step up (it was made after the Clamp School stories), and displays what I like about CLAMP art: elegant lines and curls, bold inkings, and intricate clothing.

I liked this as much as I liked Tokyo Babylon, if not more, and would like to own it some day. Because it's only one volume long, I think it would be a nice way to see whether or not you like CLAMP.

I really hope that CLAMP does continue the story, because it would be nice to see the relationship of Chun Hyang and Mong Ryong evolve.

Random Note: What is with CLAMP making a character literally trip and fall to the ground in a cloud of dust every time they have a WTF reaction. It's a very random way to show this emotion, and thus far it has been in every series I've read.

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scribbled mystickeeper at 10:13 AM

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