Imitation Volume 1 Sets up a Love Story in the Murky Idol Industry

Imitation Volume 1 cover of Maha Lee holding a microphone with a man standing behind her with his hand on her shoulder.

Imitation Volume 1 is a manhwa centered on the idol industry. At its core, it’s a romantic comedy between Maha Lee and Ryoc Kwon. However, their start is anything but star-crossed. The back of the book poses the question about the oft-heard statement in the entertainment industry; “There’s no such thing as bad publicity‚Ķright?” It often feels like that, and this series tests it. With Imitation Volume 1, there is some humor, yet it’s like a K-drama on the written page and an immersive read.  

With art and story by KyungRan Park, translation by C&C Revolution Inc., and lettering by Chana Conley, the story begins with Maha Lee narrating. In this full-color illustration, Yen Press manhwa, Maha is a member of the three-member girl idol group Tea Party. She expresses her love for performing. The feeling she gets makes her think she would never want to leave the stage. But things change. Then the story tracks back, though the time between Maha’s opening sentiments and then is unknown. The volume does not have chapters, but it does not harm it. Many may not even notice. 

Imitation Volume 1 Looks at Parlaying Negative Publicity

The title fits the lead, Maha Lee. She got her start because, with her straight hair, she resembles a famous solo artist, Lima La. Whether she began it or the group’s manager did is unknown. She styled herself to look like Lima La. Imitation Volume 1 highlights the challenges of breaking away from the box people place others in. 

Imitation Volume 1 cover of Maha Lee holding a microphone with a man standing behind her with his hand on her shoulder.
Imitation Volume 1 cover. Yen Press.

This comes to a head during the idol games. Wanting to make her team stand out, she accidentally injures a young man, Hyuk, a member of the popular idol group Shax. So, a fellow Shax member, Ryoc, insults her. After he glares and delivers a few cutting remarks, he leaves Maha terrified of him. Online, she also receives swarms of hate from Shax’s fanbase.

K-drama Where You Root for Maha 

Thanks to the incident, shows want her; it is even better if Shax member Ryoc is present. So, despite her fear and desperation to avoid him, she ends up near him. While funny, their encounters have abusive elements. He insults or yells at her, then gets mad at her for being wary of him. It comes to a head when they act in a show where he plays a killer, and she’s his first victim.

This winds up a turning point for him, but she’s still terrified of him. Of course, there’s another guy, Yujin from the idol group Sparkling, who also likes Maha. So, the love triangle is in full effect. Imitation Volume 1 has realistic elements of the industry and ties in drama worth reading. 

Imitation Volume 1 is good but needs more volume to see Maha and Ryoc’s trajectory. Hopefully, her cowed personality turns around because readers barely glimpse it before Ryoc’s insults. The series’ standout is moreso how everyone expects artists to remain frozen. Like Oshi No Ko, it gives a peek behind the curtain, showing the darker elements in an industry filled with glitz and glamour. Imitation Volume 1 brings that to the forefront in K-drama fashion. However, it might be difficult to root for the romance between Maha and Ryoc unless his behavior changes. 

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