Archive for July, 2014

“Here’s a great video where you can see and hear caterpillars chomping on plants”

A recommendation for comic fans of three Korean manhwa I’m reading. All not politically correct, because, well, manhwa   :

My Top 3 Korean manhwa:

thegamerImagine if you could level up as a person the way you do in an RPG. You gain skills, defeat opponents for drop items, level up strategically, mindlessly grind (non gamers, this is not a sexy term) at menial tasks etc. It’s an interesting premise to apply to life, but the story here is a teenage boy who has a new world open up to him in battle manga format. I am indifferent to all the characters, but the story is progressing at a decent pace so non-gamers can keep track, and I like the application of the concept a lot.

Of all the superpowers available in these comics, his are the only ones I would love to have.

wildsElite girls’ school where the top girls are all warriors with different specialties (battle manga, of course). Bumbling teenage boy joins the school, causing various skilled teenage female fighters to deal with hormones, fight each other for his affection, and unlock his hidden (vast) potential for fighting. A bit like Meteor Garden, there are also some characters with immense wealth and curiosity for his peasant ways. Very gendered in its storytelling, but that’s not unusual in Japanese manga, and not much different in Korean manhwa.

I really like when the women compete and kick each other’s asses — it’s also usually the only time I like this manhwa. That said, some of the gag jokes are quite well-timed. Very clumsy handling of relationships and dating, but again, not worse than what manga readers are exposed to anyway.

godofhighschoolYoung teenage boy is a Tae-kwondo master in high school. His mysterious origins are being revealed now in the more recent chapters. Big cast of skilled fighters with hot tempers and near-super powers. Demi-gods in every other character, waiting to be revealed. Powers and battles get exponentially bigger along the story arc. Of the three manhwas I’m recommending, this one has my favourite lead character and artwork.

Very clean lines, great action sequences, and the movements of the characters fighting are also very clear. Some of the more interesting compositions too. This story wanders around a lot and eventually links up well with a larger mythology many Asians are probably familiar with, but spoilers.

I like battle manga, clearly. But it seems, so do the Koreans.

Special mention:

noblesseThe first Korean manhwa I read that introduced  me to the unusually tall layouts. Pretty vampires, tough werewolves, human engineering, many elegant battles. “Noblesse” refers to the head of the vampires, their judge and deity, a character of legend who returns from a long slumber into our modern-day world. He has lived a life of isolation (that lonely at the top thing), but now has the motley crew of humans, vampires and other beings to protect, and is learning about the everyday life of humans while maintaining a secret identity as a high school student.

I mostly read this only to finish a story I’ve begun. I don’t hate it, or super like it, I just read it out of habit because I use this amazing app called Manga Rock, and it’s easy to keep track of manhwa subscriptions.

annarasumanaraI just started reading this, so there isn’t much to say. There is a strange magician, and two sisters living in hard times. I do like how it’s building up and the artwork is lovely. It’s a bit dark, and the style indulges a bit too much in the frailty of shoujo for my liking — but that’s my preference, not really a flaw.

Sometimes it hits a little too close to home.


Disclaimer:
I didn’t actually check if these comics are from Korea, I’m just guessing based on the names of the characters and what I identify as a “Korean manga layout”: unusually tall layouts not suited for print, but great for uninterrupted reading on most screens.