story by Jae Sung Park; art by Sung Jae Park
published by CPM Manhwa; $9.99 US
Couple Volume 3 continues the comedy revolving around Young Ho, an ex-soldier, and his roommate, country girl Yu Mi. This isn’t your typical emotional shôjo, though. It’s more of a sex comedy, with Yu Mi becoming jealous when, after a drunken night, Young Ho lets their blonde neighbor sleep in his bed.
Most of the events are driven by jealousy, lust, the need to make money, or the excuse to see someone else naked. Characterization is basic: girls shop and cook, boys work and talk about how to get closer to girls. The two main characters’ faces are both cartoony, but Young Ho is drawn more realistically while Yu Mi looks like a puppet, her face dominated by huge marble eyes.
The neighbor, MoonYoung, is addicted to status products and goes out with men for money, but Young Ho is attracted to her equanimity and her larger chest. Everyone in this book worries about money, eating ramen because they can’t afford better or getting into credit card debt to keep up an illusory lifestyle. The poor boys are jealous of the boys from better families, because girls are more interested in dating men with money.
It’s a topic I haven’t seen handled this way before. Plenty of manga have storylines about a guy needing a few extra bucks to take out a girl, but here, I get a real sense of desperation. It’s a more realistic treatment of kids learning how to take care of themselves while being tempted by so much that surrounds them.