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Saturday, March 19, 2011


Goong Alternative Name Gung; Palace; Palace Story; The Royal Palace; Princess Hours; Hoàng Cung (Vietnamese); Palais (French)
Years of Released 2002
Status Ongoing,
Author(s) Park So-hee
Artist(s) Park So-hee
Genre(s) Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shoujo


Monarchy ended long ago in Korea, but there are still other countries with Kings, Queens, princes and princesses. What if Korea had continued monarchism? What if all the beautiful palaces which are now only historical relics were actually filled with people? What if the glamorous royal family still maintained the palace customs? Welcome to a world where Korea still has the royal family living their lives! But for Che-Kyung, a high-school girl, this is a tragedy, since she has to marry the prince who turns out to be a total 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

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