Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rosy's scrawled manhwa recommendation: Can't See Can't Hear But Love by Nasty Cat

Can't See Can't Hear But Love
Nasty Cat


A love story between a blind man and a deaf woman.

Alternative names

보지도 못하고 듣지도 못해도 사랑해



Sites for reading online (free)

Rosy's scrawlings on Can't See Can't Hear But Love
Underneath all my guff and bluster there's a bit of a soppy heart, one that's revealed on occasion when people impress me with their kindness, hopefulness and understanding. To me these bring out more goodness from and reveal more of people's character than most other emotions, love included. W hen I read this, my soppy heart was engaged right from the start. Something that might have been hard considering the circumstances: ones in which I had to block off a lot of emotional turmoil in order to get through.
I started reading after losing my Grandmother and while in the inevitable and unchangeable process of losing my Grandfather, to a form of dementia no less. My soppy heart was all bricked up so that I wouldn't blub in front of my beloved Pop and so that I could keep a strong hold on things when it came to helping my family care for him. For my own ability to stay in one piece I couldn't do much in the way of talking about things but luckily I found Can't See Can't Hear But Love. Sound strange? Well, it is far from unusual that reading stories has helped me and others to get through difficult situations. And this one helped for several reasons.
In Can't See Can't Hear But Love I found a man who was living with one of my personal nightmares: blindness, a woman who was living with something that would irritate me no end: deafness, and an old woman living with what my Pop was. Not only that but there came along many very appropriate and insightful messages on dealing with such issues, the ones concerning dementia being the ones I could recognise the easiest. Things like: to care for others you need to be healthy and capable of meeting their demands, no matter how much you want to if you aren't. In other words, you need to be strong enough (inside and out) and available enough to take on sections of life they can no longer deal with for one reason or another. The messages are sometimes soft and sometimes harsh, all written up in a mess of emotions like love, obligation, hope, hopelessness, despair and so on. But I couldn't really find anything to argue with. Not even against the fear and cruelty others in more healthy situations deal out as they just plain can't understand.
So, enough from the personal perspective. Why do you want to read Can't See Can't Hear But Love?  Well, this story has everything and it comes across as the literature version of manhwa due to the care, consideration and insight revealed in the writing and illustrations. There's love, hate, greed, fear, despair, hopelessness, loyalty, desire, self-destructiveness, innocence, naivety, hope, deception, frustration, determination, inner strength and so on in nearly every character within the manhwa. The characters are complete and have mostly believable stories. Their lives are complex and there's much to learn or empathise with. Even the two hard-luck-in-love characters who keep trying to split apart Sori and Guen-Soo are rounded enough that you just can't hate them, although you do feel like slapping them on occasion.
The plot seems simple and sweet despite its complexities and the often tumultuous emotions involved, all because the final messages to each story arc (not necessarily chapter) are positive and leave you with much to think about. Also, the fact that most of the story arcs revolve around love in its many forms lightens the harder to accept messages such as the one above (everyone who cares emotionally wants to be able to care physically but realities need to be accepted and this can be heartbreaking at times). There's love for partners, love for parents, love to and from pets, love from friends and love from fans. There's even the twisted and misguided love from those who see they can't get what they want, concerning partners. If you're a little hesitant with loves stories though, I'll say this: the love in this manhwa isn't going to make you wince and wish the writer would get it all over with quickly. No, you're more likely to end up a little soppy yourself because the love involved in this story is far more realistic than most written about.
On top of all this, the illustrations are simple, spacious and brightly coloured wherever the darkness of blindness isn't revealed. To me, they're quite striking as they have a simple appeal gained through great attention to detail. In the illustrations there are a lot of traits similar to those of comics but some manhwa trends and influences do appear on occasion. The expressions are clear and they often reveal more of the character than what's being said, something that doesn't always happen in manhwas, mangas and comics alike where it is quite common for gruff characters to be virtually expressionless. Also, to save you confusion when you start reading, I'll just note that you need to keep scrolling down as each page is quite long.

I'd recommend this manhwa to: anyone who's dealing with people who have dementia  blindness or hearing loss as it provides a good look into the hearts of those with such conditions. Also, anyone curious about these conditions and also anyone interested in a love story that's unique and truly uplifting. In fact, I'd go so far as to say everyone should read this even if it is only to know and understand more. 

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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