Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rosy's scrawled manhwa recommendation: Banya by KIM Young Oh

With a worldwide war raging between humans and monsters, the young delivery men of the Gaya Desert Post Office do not pledge allegiance to any country or king. They are banded together by a pledge to deliver. Fast. Precise. Secure. Banya, the craziest and craftiest of the bunch, will stop at nothing to get a job done. Known as the Explosive Delivery Man for his risk taking, bold resolve, and impeccable record, Banya agrees to complete a wounded soldier's mission to transport a parcel of great importance--not knowing what dangers lie in store for him and his friends! As their arduous journey begins, Banya promises, "There isn't a delivery I can't make. I always deliver."

Alternative names
폭주배달부 반야
Banya: The Explosive Delivery Man
Hell's Angel Delivery Man Banya


Sites for reading online (free)

In short, a Korean version of a Manga. There are many similarities in the writing style and art but different cultural references do apply. Read left to right.

Rosy's scawlings on Banya
This manhwa is definitely in honour of all delivery people. It focuses on the fantastical trials and tribulations of two boys (the older being Banya, the younger being Kong) and a girl named Mei who man a desert post office. Unlike regular post offices though, what is delivered isn't always a message. Sometimes it is people, dead or alive.
Reading this, I couldn't stop grinning or laughing at the situations the delivery man Banya and his cohorts got into and out of. And the fact that despite Banya being the best of the delivery men and most capable in a fight he was still easily beaten up and ordered about by 'crybaby' Mei. All because he's willing to be.
The story is divided into short story arcs that follow each delivery, focusing on each of the 3 characters whenever it is important to do so. With each delivery completed we move on to the next, although exactly when each new delivery is assigned is never really stated. It could be the next day or the next month. Either way, rarely are the deliveries ever connected except by reference to the three deliverer's relationships and character development but a greater plot does emerge after a few harrowing deliveries.
The pace of the deliveries and the constant introduction of new characters and new missions keeps the manhwa fast paced and interesting. Along with the giant killer worms, orgre-like people, dragon-esque creatures with incredible senses of smell and creatures that look like orcs, of course. Brutality is an indelible part of the world, whether as a result of man, creatures or the land and it too keeps you hooked and reading on to find out just what will happen.
The illustrations are mainly in black and while, with most of each panel shaded in, but there are a few coloured sections throughout. The illustrations are bold and although smooth they give the appearance of a jagged and harsh world in which most people and beings are fairly tattered. I found the illustrations rather appealing for their dark display of Banya's world and for the fact that most allowed you to focus in on the important details like expressions and eyes and the current state of a character. Glitzy smooth stylings are out in favour of depth, darkness and detail.
All in all this story is fun and fast read where from one minute to the next you aren't sure if the delivery man in question, usually Banya, is going to succeed or fail. It is very hard to put down once you get started, marking this as an addictive read.

I'd suggest this manhwa to: Anyone who is or was a delivery person: postal, pizza or otherwise. I would also suggest this manhwa to lovers of action and fantasy, although I'm aware it would likely appeal more to teenage boys. If you can't enjoy laughing at teenage male orientated action (you sit straight-faced and unmoved through any Jackie Chan movie) then this isn't for you. That said, there are many who love this type of story who aren't teenage boys so give it a whirl. Odds are you'll find this manhwa quite amusing.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.

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