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Deja-Vu: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter    by Youn In-Wan order for
by Youn In-Wan
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Deja-Vu: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter is one of the most innovative manhwa I have read. Youn In-Wan's love story is told through four shorter stories, each drawn by a different artist. Also included are two bonus stories, also written by In-Wan but illustrated by other artists.

The first chapter of Deja-Vu, Spring (illustrated by Yang Kyung-Ji) tells of a warrior who leaves his clan in the middle of the woods. He meets a lovely girl, who visits him every day as they fall in love. When she does not show up for a while, he starts to worry. A fox with nine tails comes and warns him to stay away from her granddaughter. He ignores the warning and finds his true love, only to see her fatally shot by an arrow while in her fox form.

Centuries later, Summer (drawn by Yoon Seung-Ki) tells the tale of a female Japanese military doctor who falls in love with a Korean prisoner. On the day that is to be his last in jail, she waits for him to be released, not knowing that he is to be executed. Kim Tae-Hyung's gritty illustrations in Fall bring us to America with a tale of a blind girl, a Korean musician, and a fortune-telling Native American. Once again, their love is doomed as the musican dies, but the ending is a little more upbeat.

Finally, Park Sung-Woo's beautifully illustrated Winter tells of new birth as humans are recreated in the future by an alien race. Two women are created, and then a man to mate with the younger of the two. However, he finds himself falling for the older sister, who is infertile. Going against his destiny, he gives into his feelings for the older sister and their love is finally allowed to last.

The other two stories in Deja-Vu are just as engaging and imaginative as the main quartet. Utility is a brutal story of murder and suicide as a group of elementary-school kids try to dispose of an older sister's body. This short piece is illustrated by Byun Byung-Jung in a raw way that really brings out the emotions. On the lighter side is Ocean, a love story about a lost boy and a pop star who is growing blind. Lee Vin's shojo-style drawings bring out the sweetness of this tale as the boy tries to show the girl the ocean she wishes to see for the last time.

Deja-Vu is a wonderful manhwa that will appeal to young (and older) adults who love a well-written story. Youn In-Wan's bittersweet tale of two lovers who keep finding and losing each other through the ages is one that will nestle in the reader's heart for a long time.

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