Monarchy laid extinct in Korea since long ago, but what if Korea had continued monarchism? What if all the beautiful abandoned palaces were still actually filled with the royal families? What if the royal families continued with the normal royal customs? Welcome to the world where Korea never ended monarchism! Che-Gyeong, the high-school girl protagonist, ends up in a tragic moment in time when it has been found out that she has been promised in marriage (by her grandfather) to the current prince...who's actually not at all what he seems to be from his good looks—in one word, he's a big jerk.
Goong is a Shoujo, Romantic, Comedy, Drama dealing with the all-too-familiar arranged marriage set-up but in an unfamiliar Korean monarchy setting. So you can expect your characteristic shoujo romance in the forefront, but with political ploys, betrayal and power struggles in the background.
First of all let me say… this is an amazing manhwa where the author brings forth an interesting question for its plot, “what if the Korean monarchy wasn’t just a memory but still an active part of society?” This plot is able to bring forth a number of issues that haven’t been dealt with before in a shoujo manhwa such as: social status, ascension of the throne and the true power of the monarchy. With that said, Goong is still like most Rom/Coms where the main focus is on a typical girl named Chae-Kyung, whose forced into a relationship she had no intention of being in and into the royal family. The romance side of this manhwa is entertaining nevertheless it suffers from unnecessary stalling, where the smallest issue prevents any romantic progression resulting in “back to square one” syndrome.
Just as the story contains numerous stereotypes; some of the characters also fall into the category of the shoujo stereotype. Take the 3 main characters for example: the heroine Chae-Kyung is one of those fairly naïve ‘hates him but falls in love with him’ kind of girls, then the male protagonists; Shin who enjoys teasing our heroine & Yul who showers our heroine with affection to form your much loved/hated love triangle. However unlike most manga, the author uses these stereotypes to her advantage for the comedic aspects and also adds a whole another layer to the characters to give them much needed depth. Unfortunately no matter how relevant the supporting cast is, some eventually go from being a necessity to an annoyance and the Eunuch is a perfect example of this.
On a plus side at least the artwork is almost without fault, because just from looking at a page you can tell how much time and effort the author spent researching and such to ensure the Korean monarchy look is just right. Everything from the hairpins to the robes look exquisite and the characters are nicely designed to go with all this. The only reason why this falls short of a perfect score is that the jump from this gorgeous look to the comedic look is far too great.
Overall Goong is an exquisite manhwa that effectively deals with your typical shoujo romance and your not-so typical monarchy plot quite well. Good thing here is that it faithfully incorporates all the royal customs & etiquette of the Korean monarchy however both the scanlated & official Yen Press release can be a pain to read, since there’s a tonne of Korean terminology to get used to. At least this doesn’t ruin the experience but what does is the unnecessary comedy and the random shounen-ai moments that are just thrown in to appease the fangirls. So in the end fangirls would love this to death but even if you don’t fall into this category, as long as you come into it with an open mind you’re bound to find something good out of it.read more
Goong puts an interesting spin on the "historical" type drama. This hybrid of the modern world with a historical monarchy focuses on The Palace and the royal family within. However, we also get to witness everyday life such as school life as well. Many elements are typical of shoujo manga, including the main characters' interactions, but the character development and the story builds into very worthwhile drama. Also, interactions between the feisty female lead and the cold-hearted male lead add a nice touch of comedy.
Goong also features beautiful art. From the scenery of the palace, to the clothing worn, there is wonderful detail all throughout the story.
Best of all. Goong is still ongoing, and I expect even greater thing in the coming chapters.read more
If you have watched the drama, don't skip this manhwa. It's a lot different and it definitely has its own outstanding charms.
Still, having watched the drama first, I was surprised at how different Shin was in the original source. Here, he was your usual arrogant and spoiled rich kid - whereas in the drama, he was cold, more controlled and quite reserved.
Chae-Gyung, however, was still your normal and average heroine whom you can easily empathize with. Having her life changed like that, I can actually feel how lonely and miserable she was inside the palace. Not to mention that in comparison to the drama, the royal household in the manhwa is really strict and much more suffocating.
Anyway, I'll stop mentioning the drama and focus on the manhwa now.
If there's something worthy of praise, it has to be the originality. It's not easy to think of possible scenarios that could occur in AU Korea - and it's really amazing how the author illustrated these "what-ifs."
The art here is really gorgeous and it improves in every volume. I really like how detailed the scenery and the clothes were. The characters also become more and more attractive especially Shin and Yul.
Now as for the plot and characters - I guess what I love the most in the manhwa is that you get to see how the protagonists fall in love. It was slow and gradual yet very convincing.
Having brought up by such an environment, Shin was first introduced as a stuck-up and selfish jerk who's not capable of caring for others. When he and Chae Gyung were forced to get along, he begins to feel emotions that were new to him and eventually realize that he's actually missing a lot of things in his life.
It's also the same for Chae Gyung. She was a hyper and cheerful girl who was suddenly thrown into an unwanted marriage. But then, the more time she spent with Shin, the more she got to know and understand him - which eventually leads to her pitying him. And in which such pity turns to love.
Their relationship made me feel a rollercoaster of emotions: I laughed, get angry and cried along with them and the situations they get themselves into. It's true that the story got draggy - but then, I didn't mind it that much cause I did enjoy the ride and it made me like the main characters (yes, their flaws included).
I guess the only disappointing thing was the ending. It was left out in the open and there were still a few unresolved plot points. But since the manhwa did spend a lot of time building up the characters and their relationship, you can already assume that it still end in a positive outcome.
Also, I find it hilarious that the author makes fun of shoujo/drama/romance novel stereotypes. I mean, even Hana Yori Dango was mentioned!
Overall, the author did a great job in balancing the comedy, drama and romance. Recommended!read more
You can tell straight away that a lot of work has been put into it: from the costume designs (always super detailed and in accordance with the historical theme), to the character development. (SKIP TO END IF YOU WANT BRIEF CONCLUSION)
First, I think that, compared to the art in other korean manwhas, this one's was pretty good. I had a few moments when I thought "Omg, that must have taken ages to draw, it's really detailed and beautiful". The clothes and buildings are really nice and varied.
Second, the story. This is going to include some venting though... The idea of the story is GREAT. If it were written slightly differently, it would be the PERFECT shoujo that I would read again and again. BUT: the way the author wrote it, it soon became very tiring and long. It was very repetitive, obvious what was going to happen, even when there was an event that surprised me, I could predict who and how was going to make it go wrong. In the end, you just want to give up because of how the main characters are constantly torn apart again, and again, and again. It kind of feels like the author just spread the story as long as possible to keep it going longer, which ruined it. If it had been a few volumes shorter, and had a better ending (you know a better "reward" for reading all of that), again, it would have been rated one of my favourite mangas.
Finally, the characters. This was one huge flaw: there were a lot of times where I was super confused about how they had come about a decision, or how they fit into the story. There is also a huge focus on background characters, which only confuses you more, (eg the eunuch and Yul's relationship is super bizarre from love to hate to something awkward...). The main characters and the king/queen are the only consistent characters. They are really well developed and aren't "black and white" like most mangas would make them: they change, don't do what you expect them too, and act like real human beings would (I think this is the charm of the book).
So all in all, this is a good read, I'm glad I read it, but I seriously think that once you get to volume 12 or 13, it all starts going downhill and repetitive. I was tearing my hair out by volume 17. I think something the author overlooked is that when someone picks up a shoujo, it's obviously because they want to feel good about a relationship, like catharsis: overcoming the obstacles with the couple and then being rewarded and happy when they can be together. This is absolutely NOT that. If you want a nice romance that you can stupidly smile at (unfortunately a habit of mine ;) ) and cry and finish with a huge grin and feel giddy, DO NOT READ THIS. But if you want a proper story, basically a novel with pictures, then this book is defo for you, and is very well written (malgré all my bad-mouthing... I was just so frustrattteeeed!!!). read more