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May 28, 2010

Bento Bako Bonus: Sarasah vol. 4

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Sarasah
Author: Ryu Ryang
Publisher: Yen Press
Volume: Volume 4 (check out my review of volumes 1-3 here), $10.99
Vintage: 2008 by Seoul Cultural Publishers in Korea, May 2010 by Yen Press
Genre: Historical romance

The story so far:  In order to find out why Seung-Hyu, the boy she loves, hates her, Ji-Hae goes into her own past where she is a noblewoman in the ancient Korean kingdom of Shilla.  Disguising herself as a boy, Ji-Hae meets the past era’s version of Seung-Hyu, Ja-Yun, and joins the Hwa-Rang-Do (an elite group of soldiers, individually called Nang-Do) with him.  With the help of Bub-Min-Rang, the future uniter and ruler of Korea’s three kingdoms, Ji-Hae convinces her current parents that she has amnesia, and will be relearning everything she has forgotten under Bub-Min’s guidance.  Due to the conditions set upon her when she was sent back into her past, whenever Ji-Hae is loved, a flower blooms within her chest, creating a fragrant scent that entices the men around her…which is a problem, since she is pretending to be a boy around many other boys.  When the queen is mysteriously poisoned, Ji-Hae decides to take action to help her father and Bub-Min discover the culprit.  Believing that her Hwa-Rang (a leader who commands a group of Nang-Do) Misa-Heul may be connected to the incident, she decides to move into his home as his Hwa-Rang-Do so she can spy on him.

Volume 4 pits Ji-Hae against an increasingly frustrated Bub-Min, annoyed that she is acting without his guidance (so it’s difficult to use her the way he wants) and putting herself into danger, as she tries to convince him that her way will get to the bottom of the matter much faster than his slower and more roundabout methods.  Another romance plot gets started, when Ji-Hae’s sister (well, Ari’s sister) sees and falls instantly in love with Bub-Min.  With Ji-Hae pretending to have feelings for Bub-Min so her mother will believe the story they’ve created (to allow her to move in with Misa-Heul), there are sure to be plenty of complications soon.  Ji-Hae almost loses control of the situation when Misa-Heul tries to set “him” up with a prostitute.  Ja-Yun is getting jealous; Ji-Hae is getting far too much attention from Misa-Heul.  But for some strange reason, he finds himself worried about her safety as well.  Mysteries start unfolding as Ji-Hae overhears some dangerous conversations.  Mita (the spirit beast sent to help her) is starting to grow and exhibit some seriously amazing powers.  And, the biggest secret of all – we finally learn why Seung-Hyu hates Ji-Hae so much in the present time.  It remains to be seen if the actions Ji-Hae is taking, and the resolve she comes to in this volume, will make things better or worse.  There are all sorts of different ways she could destroy everything all over again.  It’s not helping that someone (or someones) loves her, causing her flower to continue blooming while she is near the already suspicious Misa-Heul.

Ji-Hae finds herself in even more trouble than usual in volume 4 of Sarasah.

At last I feel glad that I stuck this one through.  Things are finally getting genuinely interesting!  Ji-Hae is finally starting to behave like a human being.  It seems she’s beginning to grow up and get over herself.  Although, while she is trying to fix things, it looks like she may be making them far more complicated instead.  The fate of the characters is completely unclear to me now.  Will Ji-Hae end up with either of the men in the past?  Or will she simply fix her past mistakes and return to the present to reap the benefits?  Or destroy things in an all new way?  I’m really quite curious to find out, and I no longer regret picking up this title.  Unfortunately, it’s still entirely unknown to me how Ja-Yun uncovered Ji-Hae’s secret; it still hasn’t been explained.  I would say, maybe I missed it somewhere, but I don’t seem to be the only reader who has had that problem.  You just sort of have to forget that it didn’t make any sense, and move on to enjoy the story.  Which is getting more enjoyable with each volume.  It’s unfortunate that it took four volumes to get to the point where I could say “I’m glad I’m reading this now,” but that happens sometimes.  And that’s why there are reviews!




  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: Oi, is it Friday already? New review time! @yenpress's Sarasah vol 4 #manga https://comicattack.net/2010/05/bbbsarasah4/ Getting interesting! […]

  2. Billy

    Has this been adapted for TV? It sounds really familiar.

  3. Hmm…not that I know of. But the concept of a girl going back in time, or into a feudal era, or whatever, isn’t new.

  4. […] Real – Connie C. Twin Spica – Johanna Draper Carlson Neko Ramen – Michelle Smith Sarasah – Kristin Bomba Roureville – CM Branford Ode to Kirihito – Melinda Beasi (That […]

  5. […] This week in reviews, Julie Opipari looks at volume one of Raiders (Yen Press) at Newsarama. Susan S. checks out volume six of Very! Very! Sweet at Manga Jouhou. And at Comic Attack, Kristin Bomba reviews volume four of Sarasah. […]

  6. […] Real – Connie C. Twin Spica – Johanna Draper Carlson Neko Ramen – Michelle Smith Sarasah – Kristin Bomba Roureville – CM Branford Ode to Kirihito – Melinda Beasi (That […]

  7. […] improved title: Sarasah from Yen Press. This series got off to a rocky start with its incredibly unlikable heroine and […]

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