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I-Doll: Volume 1    by Mi-Ae Choi order for
by Mi-Ae Choi
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2008 (2008)
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Manga and manhwa about rock and roll are prevalent right now. Of course, that means there are some that are better than others. Unfortunately, Mi-Ae Choi's I-Doll is not one that stands out above others.

One night, four students from Tae-Ahm High Ji-Yoo Lee, Hyung-Goo Kang, Na-Rae Yoo, and Woong Jung all manage to get in trouble with the police. Tired of the school's name being dragged through the mud, the administration inflicts an odd punishment on the foursome they must either serve six months of really nasty community service or work together to form a band. Of course, they all choose the band, until they learn who the other members are. Ji-Yoo and Na-Rae are fine with their band mates, but Hyung-Goo and Woong are leaders of rival gangs. When they come together, sparks fly, but all agree that the band is better than the alternative. However, working together is only half the battle and everyone but Ji-Yoo seems to have enemies around every corner.

The main problem with I-Doll is that there are a myriad of characters, some of whom look an awful lot alike. Though the teachers and administrators are distinctive and Na-Rae stands out, all the boys are similar with short blond hair and - disappearing and reappearing - band-aids and earrings. The supporting girls resemble each other, with wavy blond hair and one of two temperaments. Also, a lot of side stories add to the confusion by not seeming to relate well at least in volume one to the main story. As a result, I was only able to enjoy the parts of I-Doll involving faculty, because I knew who they were (they are all distinguishable from each other) and what they were doing; these scenes were a breath of fresh air because I actually understood what was happening.

Unfortunately the story in Mi-Ae Choi's I-Doll is very confusing, and the manhwa is not consistently drawn. One can only hope that this will improve in future installments.

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