Friday, 13 July 2012

[KLN Review] Petty Revenge Office -vol. 1-

No, this isn't the advertisement for yet another new CoD series.

Basic Information
Korean title소심한 복수 사무소 
English title: Petty Revenge Office
Alternative title: Soshimhan Boksu Samuso

Author: Ryungaram (류은가람)
Illustrator: Nardack
Genre:  School comedy, love comedy, slice of life (Can't really narrow it down to one sadly...)

Publisher: Seed Novel
Publication date: 1 May 2012
Pages: 406

ISBN: 978-89-267-8139-1

Basic gist: It's a story of a protagonist that works in a small office that takes requests to "revenge others".


Introduction
The basic storyline is unique enough, but the plot elements are what we usually expect in a romance comedy novels like this. Will it be cliched and oversued, or will it be fresh with a twist of nostalgia? I've seen some Korean LNs just outright overuse the school-life genre in LNs nowadays; I've seen it happen in Mages and Math Principles and in some books of Me and the Tigress. And it didn't end that well. It more or less ended up resembling of a "filler" in the plot, something for the characters to play in while not contributing much for the story. Will this novel end up sounding the same as well?


Story
Our protagonist works part-time at a office that takes requests to get revenge others in their place; it's usually petty school issues, ranging from "getting back at the girl that dumped me", "how to stop my parent's divorce", to "how to stop my classmates from getting a higher mark then me on an exam"... You name it, they'll carry out the revenge; for a fee of course. Over the time, the protagonist meets new people, learn new things... and consequently uncover the unknown past that everyone has been hiding. Out protagonist is now without exceptions either;  even he has few things in life he would like to forget as well.


Characters 
Loli Main heroine + Protagonist + Somewhat well-endowed tsundere girl

From top to bottom:
I Ha-Ni: (Heroine)
I don't know how you even spell this girl's name. Somehow 
Ryungaram tried to pun her name into resembling "Honey" but it just confuses me. Whatever. I guess "Honey" is her nickname. She's the self-proclaimed "Agent of Revenge, Villain of Cuteness" but she ends up getting smacked around by the protagonist all the time. Despite her lack of control and organization in anything, she's the manage of the Revenge Offce "Angap". She constantly cries out to be pampered and pout when things don't go her way: she's like that annoying younger sister who just won't go away. Her real age isn't known, but judging by her constant shout to be treated like an adult, it is estimated that she's over 18, at the very least. Not that she acts that age though... Her hobbies are gaming, "detective work", pretending to be an adult at the most inconvenient time, and crying at the most inconvenient time. She calls our protagonist "Patrasche" due to that fateful event that linked them a year ago...

 
Jung Hyun-Jin: (Protagonist)
He's an ex-delinquent that works part time at Honey's revenge office. Despite being only a part-timer, he's the only one besides Honey that works in the office, so his job ends up resembling something like "technically part time but in charge of mopping up Honey's mistakes and organizing everything 24/7". Sounds cruel. Now in his second year of high school, he doesn't really have any plans for the future. Despite his two sister's, Hyun-Suh and Hyun-Ah, plea to take more interest in his studies. Studying was never his forte, but he has his moments of intelligence when he carries out revenge requests with Honey.  He keeps up a cold and indifferent demeanour, but he's surprisingly well-liked and caring towards others close to him. An orphan, he lost his parents in a tragic car crash some years ago; an event that still haunts him to this day. Why does he blame himself for it?

Sul Ryung:
(Friend of Hyun-Jin, step-sister of Honey) 

The rich ojou-sama of this story, she's in direct contrast to Honey despite being step-sisters. Cold and harsh-mouthed, you can never have a decent conversation with her...  But I guess her boobs body give you something to stare at while she calls you an idiot in 38 different languages. Because of his father's booming business, she's very rich, but she seems to think that wealth was not what she asked for; perhaps she wants something else, something most of us take for granted. In the same classroom as Hyun-Jin, she suddenly comes to the revenge office with a rather unusual request...



Art
It's illustrated by Nardack. I'll keep it  simple and to the point:

HHHHHHHNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGG.

I'll scan some from my book once I get a scanner in hand. Traveling =/= technology.
Here's more illustrations by Nardack if you need further convincing.


Conclusion
Honestly? I didn't expect a story like this. 
Ryungaram somehow took a simple school comedy and took it to something with a little more depth; something that actually leaves you thinking "damn, I feel for him/her". I expected a simple comedy of a teenage boy working in a trouble-filled office full of comedy and parodies. The story certainly gave me that, true, but it was taken further, as in it was more weighty and deeper-toned. I felt it was the right balance on comedy and drama; with comedy not sounding oversued, and drama not sounding melodramatic. I also loved the parodies; the author is obviously big on MMORPGS and Gundams =3

No story is without flaws, sadly. I felt the story was too "introductory" in a sense; it left the readers with clues and hints to the character's past, and yet never fully divulging into those past. It wasn't so much that you though "oh god, this is just milking for the second volume" but it still was a bit drab in that regard. Yes, you could argue that "well that's what volume 2 is for 
bro, it's called continuing storyline", but I felt Ryungaram  could have left things more explained.

Overally, not a glaring flaw, and the book stays in my head as something that left me a lot more satisfied than my initial thoughts. As I will do a review of vol.2 as soon as possible, it's my small nitpicking at the very least. Reading 
 1 and 2 will hopefully fix the small flaw I had with the book. Give the book try if you can!

I am planning on doing more reviews of 
Ryungaram's books. Petty Revenge Office vol 2 and Downpour X Downpour being one of them. Who knows, maybe I'll translate them if I get some positive feedbacks?


Until then, keep it cool guys.

-Kalkin


"I want you to live, just for a  little bit longer.


I won't tell you to believe in dreams, love, or family. I won't. Just keep living and the guilt will go away? Not at all. Perhaps it'll follow you to the end of your life. You'll find happiness one day... Haha, I'm sorry. I'm not some mushy girl that believe in hope; even so, I can't force my thought of hope on you.


But if anything happened to you, the people close to will suffer.


And... I'll be sad as well.



Not just for your sake, but can you live for my sake as well?"

5 comments:

  1. Ha-Ni seems to have its origin from quite old Korean manhwa, Run Hany (달려라 하니), although I'm not that sure.

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  2. Wow, the art is pretty good. Do you know if any of these Korean light novels are translated into other East Eastern languages, like Chinese or Japanese? They look really interesting.

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    Replies
    1. Sadly, no. I know some people have tried to in the past, but I think we're actually the first to actually go with it.

      I am planning to translate more... After Sekaimo is done of course

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  3. Nice another review~! XDDD
    wow, these reminds me to Jigoku Shoujo, although more on the "mild". Nardack art is good as always (know him/her from SGO). One quick question though: what's with the M16-Carbine? It is a toy, right? I thought this is more inclined to action ^_^' when I first see it at SeedNovel
    Well, that's just mean I need to learn more... ^_^
    Thanks again!

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  4. I´m planning to order this peace of art by internet :33 still I don´t know korean but, with this in my hands I´ll feel myself forced to improve it, I´m already decided to learn it anyway xD good review! :D

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