~America has comic books, Japan has manga, and Korea has, well, manhwa! Lately I’ve been emerging myself more into Korean culture due to my growing fandom for Kpop (SHINee~~I love you!), so I thought it’d be a nice change of pace to introduce manhwa to those of you who aren’t necessarily familiar with it, and to help others who have heard of it to get good recommendations ;D
Korean manhwa is the Korean version of manga (if you didn’t notice already) in which you actually read from left to right. I discovered it about three years ago while I was on my monthly manga hunt at the bookstore, and saw a pretty strange looking author name. At the time I didn’t know anything about Korea other than it was a peninsula and it harbored both an ally and a enemy, so curiosity made me pick it up, and I flipped through it, surprised that is was from left to right instead of the opposite way. Since then I’ve tried my best to found more manhwa but it was actually quite hard at the time. Lately, they have been licensing more and more of them, which is really a bummer for you online readers since all the best Korean manhwa (in my opinion) are licensed already, such as Pig Bride, Very! Very! Sweet, Goong, Chocolat, and many others.
I’ve noticed in these three years that manhwa generally has a specific kind of art (like a cross between shoujo and CLAMP art), but they are many who defy that and have really strange and unique art styles. Overall I think they’re very interesting to read because you get to see a different look at manga from another country’s culture view point, and it’s just nice to take a little break from Japan and magically whisk yourself away to Korea xD
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama, Gender Bender, Mystery, School Life, Slice of Life
Volumes: N/A (Just chapters)
Summary: Bohm (meaning spring in Korean), on his way to give his dad, Detective Ghim, (who’s been working for 10 days straight) some underpants at the police station, sees a girl by a vending machine and wishes to see her again…
Mahnsoo, a boy with a strange lonely past, the only witness to an important criminal case, must undergo a disguise as a girl and stay together with Detective Ghim’s family until the investigation is over and the case ends. So he meets Bohm again, and trying to get close to his new icy brother is not easy…
Thoughts: At first I was bit hesitant to read this, because it looked pretty strange, but after getting through just two chapters, I instantly fell in love with this. From reading just the storyline, it seemed more dramatic to me, but of course you can’t judge a book by its cover or summary! Ensemble is just hysterical; I’m literally busting up laughing every chapter with its “WTF?!” comedy XD Of course it does have its share of some school and family drama, but it’s very light and even a bit comical at times, which I’m loving because I can’t handle huge heaps of drama.
I’m guessing the art for this is done on a tablet (How do I know? I stalk DA to much), so it must be a webcomic, which Korea has a lot of from what I’ve noticed. It’s really nicely done, the details and such! I love the strange facial expressions, and the coloring is lovely. My favorite character is (OF COURSE) the trap-ish Mahnsoo. He’s so adorable!! *squeee* I like Bohm’s freaky friend too (I forgot his name |’D); he’s hysterical as well. I really have no complaints for this manhwa, seriously. The story is hilarious with a hint of drama and action, and the art is just great. I think out of all of my picks for this post, this my absolute favorite; I can’t stop reading it!~
Please! Mr. Bear
Genre(s): Drama, Psychological, Romance, Slice of Life
Volumes: N/A (It’s a webcomic)
Summary: After the ending of his last true love, a white-collar worker experiences the excruciating sorrow of parting. Walking around the empty city aimlessly and now living a prosaic life, how will he be able to put back the broken pieces of his heart and love again? A philosophical and heartwarming story about an emotion called “love”…
Thoughts: Oh, this is such a slow, but sweet manhwa~. It’s only problem is that it’s pretty slow (well it is a philosophical manhwa) and can get a bit boring with its sappy dialogue and depressing shots of the guy in the story. Yet, it’s really sweet, and the random bear that comes in makes it comical at times and strangely provides some nice insight.The art was pretty good, not my favorite; the people looked a bit block-y. However there were some nice scenes in it~.
I’d mainly recommend this to people who need to clear their minds. I read this story out of curiosity because my head was killing me from stress and other confusing things in life, and it certainly did put my mind at ease which is why I put it in this post. For people who like action or something not philosophical, then go check out Ensemble. Also, I need to make a comment on this…If you read it, tell me the guy doesn’t look like Light Yagami! xD At the end of the first chapter, even the translators made a little joke saying it’s Light hahahaha!~
Sad Love Story
Author: Ji-Sang Shin/ Artist: Geo
Genre(s): Drama, Romance, Shoujo, Tragedy
Summary: As a child, Joon-young was always teased because his mother owned a bar that served Americans. When he meets Hae-in, a blind girl, they become childhood sweethearts and he vows to always protect her. However, Hae-in and her mom take off one night, leaving Joon-young and his promise behind. Hae-in later meets Gun-woo, the rich son of a CEO. Among these three, a tragic love triangle begins to form…
Thoughts: Now it’s time for the dramatic manhwa, oh boy. It was actually made into a movie with the same title, and I really wouldn’t want to see it. Not because it’s not good; it’s a brilliant manhwa made by my favorite manhwa team ever! It’s the dramatic romance and love triangle that will kill me with stress and nervousness |’D It’s one of those books that you KNOW was meant to be turn into some kind of real life TV drama (which I’m surprised they didn’t).
The story is just so bittersweetly good~. I’m actually reading it as I type this, and my heart already feels heavy from what’s happening! There are some points when I’m reading and I just want to type ;SLKFJGSDLKFJGDFLKJG because it’s killing me~!! DAMN YOU TRAGIC LOVE TRIANGLES! Getting me hooked and making me cry…;A; I love the team Ji-sang Shin and Geo; I’ve read almost all of their series and loved every single one of them, even if it gets so dramatic. The art is always fantastic from Geo; I absolutely adore her style with skinny bodies. Sad Love Story is starting to become my favorite now out of the stuff I’ve read from them. It’s just, like I said earlier, so bittersweetly good!
~I hope you all got a good dose of Korean culture! I promise next time I’ll get a more action-y theme because I’m sort of getting tired of slice-of-life and such. So, see you all next manga post where we’ll venture back to Japan, because manga is manga and we can never stay away from it long. 또봐요~!!