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Manga Review: Model by Lee So Young

Here's what TokyoPop says:
"Jae is a Korean student who came to Europe to study art. Things aren't going her way, but she's determined to make it. One night, her friend Eva brings a drunk guy to her apartment and asks if he can flop there for the night. Jae doesn't like it, but agrees. That night she has a dream that the drunk guy drinks her blood ... which, of course, turns out NOT to be a dream.

Jae is surprisingly unafraid of the vampire, Michael, and starts to paint his portrait. The two strike an unusual deal: if Jae allows the vampire to feed on her, he will pose for her. His beauty and alluring preternatural energy could be exactly what Jae needs to finally succeed as a painter."
Is it any good? Read on for the OtakuBooty review, contributed by member Elysion.
(This is a guest review; contributed by OB member Elysion)

Model is best described as a romantic gothic horror story. It’s not even very much horror unless you don’t like the imagery of a vampire feeding, which is about as gross as it gets [which is not at all, you baby!]. Continuing from the homepage’s summary, Jae goes to live with Michael in the mansion that he shares with his servant, Eva, and Ken, a young man who may or may not be his son. The plot of Model is alright, although somewhat soap opera-ish [then again, most shoujo manga are]. Actually, the main plot involving Jae and Michael is not as interesting as what is going on between the preexisting members of the household. Even at Volume 5, I felt that the author could have just done the story focusing on them and leaving Jae out altogether. Yeah, you may have guessed that I don’t like Jae – to me, the character just seems too stupid and dense while trying to be shown as insightful and bold and passionate and blah blah blah. Michael, Eva, and Ken, however, each have their own complex relationships and interesting back stories that I would like to see much further elaborated than they have been so far; enough so that I’ll continue buying Model to read about them. There are a few plot holes, story points, and relationships that could be explained or developed further for the audience, but it’s still a good read, and I have hope for future volumes. To sum it up, Model is a fairly interesting story that has both flaws and promise, with side characters that are more interesting than the main character.

The art of Model is very gothic, detailed, and lovely -- it’s something like a cross between Kouyu Shurei [Alichino] and Kim Kang Won [INVU]. However, while it’s very aesthetically pleasing, there’s also that otherworldly ‘wrongness’ to it; emotions are portrayed as sort of unrealistic, and limbs, while being characteristically long and lanky, are amazingly *too* much so, seeming stiff and lacking flexibility. But the art is, nevertheless, gorgeous, and was the primary reason that I started buying the series. Tokyopop did a pretty good job using different fonts [the font that Michael speaks in is very ‘old English-y’] and the covers are designed very attractively.

If you’re looking for a vampire action thriller a la Hellsing and… well, Hellsing, then Model isn’t for you. It’s very relationship and drama oriented. It is, however, pretty good for its genre. Tokyopop publishes Model and releases it for $9.99 per volume. With 5 volumes already out [Volume 5 was released Feb 8, Volume 6 is set to be released May 10], there’s more than enough for you to get a feel for the story if you’re interested now.

-Elysion, 2/22/2005

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