Yun-lee is a girl who is carrying a huge emotional scar in her heart. Due to an accident, she lost 2 precious years of her life, the time period between 19 and 21 years old. Her life is empty. She is miserable, but still attending a preparatory school in an attempt to catch up with all the time she has lost. Suddenly, one day on her way to feed some stray cats, she comes across a young man who seems to have what she has lost... the period between 19 and 21 years old.
(Source: Easy Going Scans)
Note: originally a webcomic made then available in print form.
“If sharing my passion and love makes me happy, and I can help someone in the slightest way, wouldn’t that be amazing?”
There are two ways to look at this story. You could read into all the words and subtexts and make your own explanations about what something means and see beyond a story of a two kids wanting to make a difference. Or you can just take it to be a really neat story about friendship and stray cats.
That’s right, this is a story about cats.
From the outside, through a very small crack, it’s about Yun-lee, a sweet girl who just feels lost. She’s twenty-one years old and is in that point of her life that she’s an adult, at least by age standards and yet her time froze at nineteen and she missed her own transition. A car accident and she skipped from nineteen to twenty-one leaving her wondering who she was. Living in a monotonous pattern of school and home trying to catch up to where society dictates she needs to be, she only finds solace in feeding stray cats on her breaks. A chance meeting and what she’s been missing jumps in front of her; a young man who is living the gap she can’t.
What no summary mentions is that the cats are central to this story. Everything revolves around them. Yun-lee’s life changed because she took pity and saw in the strays what a lot of people didn’t. In return she meets Donghwi, who loves the cats and feeds them. He is currently on break from school and just working, enjoying his last year of blissful freedom before he is an official “adult.” He saves her in a way, from herself. Days pass and they meet through feeding the cats, saving them from their own people that dislike them and want them gone.
Somewhere along the way they decide that stray cats shouldn’t be stray anymore and start a plan to change it. One cat at a time, or maybe I should say people since it really starts with changing people’s mind in the nicest way.
It’s a journey for her, Yun-lee, about figuring out who she is and growing up, or staying young since there’s sometimes no difference and other times they’re polar opposites.
“If you don’t want any regrets, think about your future seriously..” We have all heard those words or some variations of it, throughout our life. Whether from our parents, school counselors or our own peers. We do nothing but try and shape ourselves for our future.
In a hurry to grow up we don’t realize that our most carefree time is the one before adulthood. The wanting badly to grow up, in order to have say and be listened to takes over and before we know it we shove ourselves into a world that isn’t by any means fair.
For some of us, we only see what’s in front of us, worrying only about what we can or can’t do. Taking it one day at a time. Others want to make a difference. “Be the change they want to see in the word,” one person at a time. Whatever the case may be, we have all wanted at some point to leave our footprints behind and not be forgotten.
Characters are few in this one, no more than ten characters in the whole volume. Out of those, half speak more than a few sentences as a whole. But they are great ones. You have your grownup who still maintains his child essence yet is mature as an adult. The girl who through humility and caring goes outside of her shell to make a difference in someone’s life. The boy who’s smile and casualness was so heartwarming it invited a stranger in.
The art, if I’m being honest it’s not beautiful in the way other manga are. It’s unique and elegant with a touch of realism. It is one volume of colored pages I am pretty sure due to the fact that it's not really classified as a manga but a webcomic in some places, but I could be wrong. Leaving nothing about the colors and places to the imagination, it creates the scene for us and livens up the characters. It’s not perfect, but I'm sure all the imperfections were done on purpose. For all of that I give it a perfect score in art.
Why not a ten then? If it's so great I mean. It's portrayal of someone who's transitioning into their own persona is very accurate and even though it had the character development that in most cases makes me giddy (I'm a weird girl and as my friend says, "whatever floats my boat."). But throughout reading, the hold it had on me from the beginning because of her personal struggle left, only to reappear in small glimpses later. The cats took over, and unless you take the cats to be symbolic for something you're going to end up feeling like something was missing and you can't quite put your finger on it.
All in all, it was memorable. Art was great, story was very nicely done and the characters were ordinary in the best sense of the word. For those who're wondering if there was romance, don’t fret because this one has it, even if it is in small doses.
It could be simple or it can be complex, you choose. :)read more
First of all, you should know this is mainly a slice of life manhwa.
The romance story itself isn't the main plot of the story. If you're looking for an intense shoujo romance, this is not the one.
Still, you should try it because I believe it captures the attention of any reader.
Should people stop living in a carefree way in order to become adults?
And when exactly are we becoming adults?
Nineteen, Twenty-one revolves about this interesting matter.
Yun-lee is a 21 year old girl who lives her life in pain due to the fact that she has missed one entire year of her life and realizes that she can't start over.
Ju Dong-hwi is nineteen year old boy that doesn't want to grow up yet, knowing he'll have to leave behind his youth days and become a responsible adult.
These two young lives cross paths because of a strong mutual interest in..cats.
Suprisingly this is what creates a beautiful friendship between them which causes each one to learn from the other.
The characters were also very entertaining.
Normally with shoujo you have people falling in love based on one aspect (either looks, money, position, personality etc.) but in this manhwa, the two bond over a common love for cats.
Dong-hwi is a very cheerful, optimistic guy, the kind of person that you'll want to be friends with.
Yun-lee, on the other hand, comes across as a very mature girl but in the end she learns much more from her friendship with Dong-whi as she begins to know how to appreciate the little things.
I think it's amazing how the manhwa author took such a random topic - the stray cats - and turned it in the main rising point of the story.
Actually, he seems to compare the cats' lives with the life of humans searching for the balance between these two paths.
The Art is full of details, pretty realistic and in color.
It's gives a relaxing feeling that soothes this mild love story.
Overall "Nineteen, Twenty-one" is a very unique, sweet, plain, good love without the cliches and third-parties you're used to in many shoujo mangas and manhwas. read more
Nineteen, Twenty-One is a slice of life more than anything. The story is about two people who, during their times of distress or anxiety, find comfort in cats. 8 stray cats to be precise. These cats help us to acknowledge and understands important life lessons. Topics such as growing up and equality. Ju Dong-hwi doesn’t want to grow up, but in order to help the cats, he can’t be a teenager forever. He is also taught not everyone can be happy and the world isn’t kind. Cats aren’t exactly seen as equals to humans. What’s even worse is the cats in question are stray. They’re perceived as nothing more than neighborhood nuisances. What will it take to get them to understand? This is where Ju is at a crossroads. Will he remain with the mindset of a child and live a life of freedom or become an adult responsible enough to save the cats? Don’t forget there’s another character too. Lee Yun-Lee is a girl who wants to grow up as fast as possible. She, too, wants the cats to live a happy life. Will she continue on her path and study as hard as possible then get a good job? Or Be a little bit looser and start doings that would be fun and kind of nonsensical? The questions to life hinted in this story are endless. You’ll just have to read the story to discover the others.
When two people spend enough time with each other doing something they both love, some feelings are bound to bud. Fortunately, these feelings sprout in the story. Not only do we have a slice of life, but romance as well and a conclusive one at that. It’s definitely not the main focus of the story, but it’s certainly a treat.
The art is simply good. The characters are appealing, the cats are adorable, and the scenery is nice. There are times though, when the characters look off and or creepy.
The cast of Nineteen, Twenty-One isn’t big. It consists of about 5 characters, not including the cats.
Our 2 main protagonists are Ju Dong-hwi & Lee Yun-Lee. You could say they’re polar opposites. Ju Dong-hwi wants to have as much fun and excitement as possible before he becomes 21, because he thinks it’s when he has to grow up. On the other hand, due to her being in a coma for 2 years, Lee Yun-Lee wants to grow up already, so she can catch up to everyone else. Despite their different desires, they’re actually similar in personality and they do share 1 common goal. That is to help the stray cats around the neighborhood by feeding them, giving them temporary shelter, etc. Through their common love for cats, they are able to influence one another. Ju tells Lee the joy of having fun and Lee tells Ju the importance of responsibility. By the end, their personalities have mixed and they make a great couple.
Now, for the rest of the characters. Sorry, but I can’t recall their names since it’s not on MAL and I read the story a while ago. However, I’ll try to describe them to the best of my ability.
We have a coffee shop worker who also love cats. He gives advice to Ju & Lee and warns them of how hard it’s going to be if they continue to try to help the stray cats. He’s not against them helping, he just wants to let them know, what they want is not going to be an easy task. I guess he’s the guy who somewhat makes the final decision or acts as the voice of reason.
The last characters are one of the residents and her son. The woman is initially portrayed as the closest thing to an antagonist. She plants beautiful flowers around the community and keeps the neighborhood clean. The cats often destroy the flowers. As a result, she loathes them. Well, in the beginning anyways. After talking with Lee for quite some time, she realizes her wanting the best for the neighborhood isn’t very different from Ju & Lee wanting to help the cats. No one asks them to do it, but they do it regardless because they love what they do. By the end of the story, she becomes an ally and supporter.
Her son starts off differently than his mom. He wanted to pet one of the stray cats, but ended up getting attacked by it. Later, when he sees a stray cat again, he screams at it. He does end up feeling regret.
If anything I’d say the mother and son are used to show, whether good or bad, people’s hearts can change within the split of a second.
All in all, the characters began as fairly simple characters and ended as well-developed ones.
What can I say? Nineteen, Twenty-One is a soothing and relaxing story about cats, life, and romance. I guarantee the story will leave you smiling and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. If you pick it up, you might just think about your own goals and desires.read more
I not really want to write so much because it's a very short story and i may spoiler too much.
Still this review may contain some spoilers!
You wanted to read a good slice of life and romance manwha?
You are looking for a story where the main characters face difficult times?
You really like cats?
Then this is what are you looking for!
This story is about 2 kid who are facing the beginning of adulthood. They don't know what to do with their life
Yun-lee due to an accident lost 2 precious year from her life and now attending to a prep school and Dong-hwi a guy who
don't want to go to university because he wants to enjoy his childhood 1 more year. They meet each other because of the cats
and they start to build up their relationship.
On the other hand this story is about cats. The story is built up around cats, the main characters meeting is build up around cats. The cats are everywhere!
The art is incredible! Very nicely drawn and very beautiful. The background looks amazing and it's very detailed. The characters are also! Kim Hye-Jin did a really good job. I read this manwha because of she.
Dong-hwi, Ju: Student who won't enter university and won't looking for job.
He wants to spend his life carefree until he is at least 20
He can be very childish but sometimes very mature.
He is a big fan of cats too.
Yun-lee, Lee says that he is like a cat.
Girl who had an accident and got injured 2 days before the Standardized Aptitude Test and it took 1 year to her to fully recover so she couldn't do his daily activities and failed the test to she soon becomes 21 and his father wants her to start over.
After she became 21 she attended to a prep school. She is very anti-social and lives her life bored. She finds comfort in cats. She meets Dong-hwi, Ju because of a cat.
In the middle of the story it becomes a little boring but in the end it's good again. All in all, it can be enjoyable and boring too but in the end i enjoyed it and that's the only thing what's matter.
I really recommend you this manwha if you are a big fan of romance/slice of life stuffs and i guarantee you will like it! Have fun reading it! :)
I hope you liked my review, please send me your thoughts about it!read more