I.N.V.U. (pronounced as "I envy you") is a manhwa series by Kim Kang-won that tells the story of Sey Hong, the beautiful daughter of a novelist who has left Sey,with complete strangers the Kang's, to go research her next novel in Italy. Sey often finds herself caught up in the slightly surreal schemes and situations of her friends, boyfriend, and a good deal of other people she knows. As well, there are a handful of odd secrets being kept from her by her new "normal" Kang family.
Sey Hong - 16 year old Sey wakes up to the sounds of people in her bedroom. Moving men are packing up things and her mother tells her "I am going to Italy for five years" and leaves her in the care of a friend, Meja Kang. They are complete strangers to Sey and have a son named Terry her age. All her life Sey's mother has done things like move to France, write a tell-all book of her love life, give Sey wine for an upset stomach--things no normal parent would do. This was just another crazy thing however it is the worst yet. It's no wonder Sey has trust issues. Due to her mother's many lovers and the book her mother published when Sey was in middle school, the boys in her class thought "like mother like daughter". Sey has not dated at all and has been described as hating boys. So when a boy Siho Lee becomes interested in her she doesn't know how to respond.
Ria Yoo - (16) Is one of Sey's friends but she doesn't go to the same school as Sey and Jae. A very flirtatious girl but also fickle. She is a very driven young lady who wants to become a model and will do all most anything to reach her goal. She dates Siho first because she knows of his family connections. When Siho asks her many questions about Sey then breaks up with her, she bargains with him--an introduction to some of those connections for her to leave the 'couple' alone.
Hali Kang - (16) She has a very unusual life. She is pretending to be her brother as her mother and brother were in a car accident. Her younger brother Terry died and her mother gets amnesia, thinking Hali is her son. In the process, Meja (her mother) forgets she had a daughter. Hali's father wants her to do this hoping his wife will soon get over this delusion. She is in love with Hajun Cho whom she met and fell in love with when he was her tutor in 8th or 9th grade. He was in college and not interested (so he said). She now is his student in high school and still in love with him and not taking no for an answer.
Jae Eun Kim - (16) She goes to the same school as Sey. She makes cos-play costumes and draws manga. Sey confides in her quite a lot. Jae has a crush on Simon and has put him in her manga, casting him as the main character of some pretty interesting scenarios.
Siho Lee - (16 or 17) He has a very complicated life: he lives alone, has to support himself, his brother is a very violent thug who beats him up and wrecks Siho's gas station (Siho's job to pay rent, school fees, etc.), his father is a rich smooth talking head of a large crime ring and at school, most people seem to be afraid of him including teachers because of his reputation as being a 'bad boy'. He meets Sey with her friends by accident (hitting her in the head with his backpack by accident) and although he agrees to go out with Ria, he seems extremely interested in Sey--watching her in class, listening to people talk about her, and asking Ria about her. One way or another, he finds way to spend time with Sey. Ria describes him as having wandering hands and his employees say his girlfriend had gotten pregnant. Although he has this bad reputation, he is very restrained with Sey, only kissing her a few times, much to her dismay (as she's never dated before). The fourth book seems to show the most progress in their relationship. They seem to be on the verge of dating but not officially 'dating'.
Hajun Cho - (23 to 25) A teacher in Sey's school. All of the girls in the school are crazy about him, including Sey. He lived next door to Sey when they were growing up so they are childhood friends. He was adopted by his grandfather's friend, is the heir of a large educational corporation and is rich. When Hali comes back into his life and goes after him, he has to fight his attraction toward her.
Simon Moon - (?) He goes to the same school as Ria, and works as a baker, teaches baking at a school after class and works with family in a hotel. He seems to like Jae but hasn't asked her out.
Jun Cho - (16) Called Young Jun in the story. Knows Sey well as they were childhood friends and have been in the same grade since they were kids. He is the brother of Hajun who he lives with while going to Sey's highschool.
INVU is published by Haksan and drawn and written by Kang Won Kim. Four volumes have been published so far in Korea, but there was a long break between the third and fourth volumes while the creator Kang Won Kim worked on her other series, The Queen's Knight. Volume 4 was released in Korea in May 2006 and will be released in Germany by Tokyopop in June 2007 and in the U.S. by Tokyopop in September 2007.
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