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Manhwa: One

"Classical music floats around in heaven... while we're stuck down here in the popstar slums."
Woojae Ha

Getting into the music business and staying on top is hard and there's nowhere that's more apparent than in the world of K Pop. Talent is scouted out on the streets, diligently trained, and then released to the public. If it flops, the talent is dropped. Success? Well, then you're rocketed into the upper echelons of pop culture. But superstars have to go to school just as much as anyone else does and Daewon High School is just such a place where not only one, but three music sensations reside and the princess of them all is Jenny You, a pop star who dreams of becoming a punk rocker.

Except the story isn't solely about her. In her class there's an ordinary guy named Eumpa Won who lives a seemingly peaceful life until his teacher outs him as a music savant. Through a chain of events he couldn't foresee, Eumpa finds himself thrust into the world of K Pop and eventually submits himself to the rigors behind the journey to fame for the sake of a girl he loves and a shot at showing his music to the world.

One takes a slightly more realistic look at the trials and tribulations of being a star than other stories within a similar vein.

Not to be confused with the manhua The One.


This manhwa provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Jenny can and will beat you cross-eyed if suitably provoked. Several classmates find this out the hard way.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Eumpa attends an audition dressed like Jenny and manages to fool most of the attendees into thinking he's a girl. Of course, it's not the first time it's happened.
  • Author Avatar: The author and her cat show up from time to time in background scenes.
  • Beneath the Mask: Eumpa is an interesting case of this. In school he acts like an average, sort of dopey teenage teenage boy. When he's doing anything related to work, he is arrogant as all get out and he's got a bit of a vicious streak to boot.
  • Bifauxnen: Jiwon Jin's whole schtick. The school even lets her wear a boys uniform to go along with her pop persona.
  • Bishōnen: Woojae is no slacker in this department. His nickname was Prince Charming.
  • Blatant Lies: The media think that Jenny You and Ha Rock are 'friendly' in school. Not so much.
    • Jenny's public image people are prone to doing this because of her tendency to make enemies due to her abrasive personality.
  • Book Dumb: Both Jenny You and Ha Rock. For the former it's implied that she doesn't study much because she has to spend all her time working on the whole actress/singer gig. For the latter, he's just not good at school.
  • Boy Band: T.N.T, adhering almost exactly to the typical formula.
  • Determinator: So what if she just got a beatdown in the bathroom? Jenny You doesn't care. Jenny You is just going to put on a little extra makeup and go right on stage with the planned show. Because Jenny You is a PROFESSIONAL.
    • She also does not care that Eumpa loves another girl. He's going to be hers, whether he likes it or not.
  • Deuteragonist: Jenny and Eumpa share the spotlight from different sides of the industry. Jenny's established herself as a celebrity and struggles to stay on top while working towards her vision of becoming a punk star. Eumpa is just trying to get his foot in the door and get noticed so the world will listen to his music.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: People have been telling Eumpa this since he was a baby. He's okay with it. Probably due to the fact that he's got women falling all over him anyway. And a couple of male admirers that allegedly stalked him while he was in America.
  • Friendless Background: Boys idolize Jenny but she could care less about them, girls can't stand her for being famous, she's always Eating Lunch Alone, and she gets picked on all the time. Being a celebrity isn't all it's cracked up to be.
    • Eumpa also had this problem during his stint in America. In fact, it was so bad that he never spoke a word and teachers thought he was autistic.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Jenny
  • Nostalgia Filter: Woojae is a bit of a cynical old musician who believes that music nowadays is crap and longs for the days when classical music reigned supreme.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Eumpa strongly denies his heavy musical background for a while even when he's got Woojae lauding his compositional skills in front of his class. He's also a certified genius with a 180 I.Q., yet he has mediocre grades. And on top of that, he learned Korean in a month. Let us note that while Chinese and Japanese get flak for being difficult languages, it's quite possible that Korean is actually the most difficult of them all because of its grammar structure which can lead to situations where you can have literally hundreds of different ways to conjugate a verb.
  • Plain Jane: The fundamental reason Eumpa got interested in Youngju. Not only is she plain, she's perfectly plain.
  • Precocious Crush: Jenny had one of these on an actor who played her father when she was young.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Jenny You has normal length hair, but on a handful of occasions her stylists have her wear clip-ins that reach to her ankles.
  • Rich Bitch: Jenny, full stop.
  • Shout-Out: Several, to other manga and manhwa series. Mokona from Clamp fame appears as a keychain, a character from Crazy Love Story (another work by the author) reappears, Youngju lists off characters from other Sunjeong manhwa when she finds out how attractive Eumpa really is, and Jenny gets dressed up like Sailor Moon.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the first and only the first volume, Eumpa's last name is changed to 'One', presumably to fit with the title. This is remedied in subsequent volumes.
  • Squick: A minor case after Jenny gets into a fight that ends up with her lunch all over the floor. Ha Rock comes along and gobbles it up like it's no big deal, much to the horror of his classmates.
  • Teen Genius: Eumpa's got a real knack for composition. And pretty much everything else.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Eumpa technically didn't need them in the first place and was only wearing them to be more like Youngju, but when she remarks how pretty he is without them, he doesn't mind doing away with them.
  • Too Much Information: Jenny's manager knows her well enough to call shenanigans when she claims she's being bitchy because she's on her period, remarking how her period always comes at the end of the month.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Jenny. Her original stage persona was that of a sweet, princess-type girl which is a stark contrast to how she is in everyday life. When she reinvents herself, it's closer to her true personality.
  • Writer's Block: Woojae suffered a case of this that ended his career, despite the fact that his debut broke every existing sales record.
  • Yandere: Jenny, Jenny, Jenny...
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