50 Rules for Teenagers

    (ADV Manga, 2004)
™ and © 1998 Na Ye-Ri

Capable Mi-Roo is the under-appreciated backbone of her inattentive family: from her rarely–there father to her genius (but spoiled) twin Ma-Roo to her baby brother Dah-Ro, she’s mother, babysitter, housekeeper, and disciplinarian all rolled into one. On top of it all, Mi-Roo is also a full-time student entering her first year of high school. With everything she’s got juggling, Mi-Roo has more than enough on her plate to keep her perpetually busy, and no time (or money) to bother with the preoccupations of dating and shopping that fascinate other girls her age.

All that might change, however, when pretty Mi-Roo attracts the attentions of Chang-Soo Sohn, a friend of Ma-Roo’s, and a stereotypical bad-boy biker to boot. But can even dashing Chang-Soo Sohn divide Mi-Roo’s attention from her family and her new duties as the right-hand woman of the freshman class president?

Like most comedy manhwa (Korean comic) or manga (Japanese comic) imports, 50 Rules for Teenagers is a light-hearted, histrionic piece featuring a plucky and sweet-spirited heroine facing the obstacles of adolescence; albeit this one has a great knack for deadpan. Author/artist Na Ye-Ri’s work is alternately amateurish and elegant: sometimes little more than roughly inked sketches, other times finely outlined gradient panels, lending an odd mood to her work. The poor choice of dark, kohl-eyed character designs definitely creates an irreconcilable incongruity between the drugged-out, wide-eyed visuals of the characters and the fluffy comedy of the story.

— Shiaw-Ling Lai

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