The Legend of Chun Hyang by Clamp (amazon)
I tend to enjoy most Clamp manga, but one thing that’s frustrating is the amount of unfinished series that they’ve put out. This book was so fun to read, I wish that the series had continued for more than one volume. The Legend of Chun Hyang is Clamp’s take on a traditional Korean folk tale about a common girl who becomes engaged to a nobleman and preserves her chastity. The Clamp version of the story features a spritely Chun Hyang who is the daughter of the village medicine woman. She fights against injustice in her town while also taking on the role of protector for her mother since her father is absent. The Yang Ban, the local government official, is throughly corrupt and the Yang Ban’s son trades on his father’s position to abuse any of the village women who happen to be attractive. Fortunately, Chun Hyang has some kick-ass martial arts skills.
Chun Hyang’s Mom has just made some tasty treats for dinner, when a man sitting in a tree outside their door invites himself to dinner. He’s Mong Rong, a handsome traveler. Mong Rong is the type of hero that Clamp excels at – he seems feckless and irresponsible but he has hidden depths. He’s often found sitting on the sidelines, clapping and saying things like “Such a brave maiden you are!” after Chun Hyang has administered a beatdown to someone.
After some horrible events in her village, Chun Hyang joins Mong Rong on his journey. He’s actually traveling around the country in order to stamp out government corruption. The dynamic between the two is cute, as Chun Hyang is quick to charge ahead and get into fights while Mong Rong appears to be mainly concerned with filling his belly. He obviously finds Chun Hyang attractive, but she’s rather clueless about noticing any romantic attentions on his part. It is a shame that there is only one volume of this series, because it would have been nice to see the relationship between Chun Hyang and Mong Rong develop.