Friday, December 21, 2012

Rosy's scrawled manhwa recommendation: Dark Air by Park Min-seo

Dark Air
Park Min-seo

Before…magic used to fill up the world but all of a sudden it just disappeared.
Magicians can’t perform magic anymore and they are now being looked down upon by warriors. Only two individuals in the world are able to perform magic after its disappearance, a mighty wizard and a little boy… Follow Melrose and his companions in their adventures as they are trying to solve this Dark Air mystery!

Alternative names


Manga reader sites (free)
Manga Fox, Manga Reader, Manga Here

Rosy's scrawlings on Dark Air
Right, from the description, what are you expecting? Boy versus magician, a quest, that sort of thing? You'd be right but you'd miss a whole lot of details. Dark Air is one of those stories that set you up with some fairly general expectations but leave you blinking, stunned, over just what you've ended up reading. For starters, the boy Melrose not only cross dresses well enough that he appears a beautiful girl in full gowns, he enjoys it, packs for it, works with designers to create pieces he can wear while travelling and takes great pride in acting like a girl. Then there's the fact that no one but he and another can use magic and yet everyone fights with music or rhinos or weather control. Speaking of rhinos, there's a group out to find the boy who ride on them like Harley motorcycles. Oh, of course, one is called Harley. Rhinos aren't the oddest creatures to exist either. There are a group of beings that are humanoid cats or some other humanoid creature. Then there's the odd giant man-eating troll thrown in for fun. To be honest, after a while you just give up trying to make too much sense of it all and relax into reading one very weird tale.
The plot is fairly straight forward, with the boy being hunted by the magician Vincent Zapa. The twist is that Vincent is Melrose's uncle and he'd killed Melrose's parents and tried to kill Melrose too just before blue air (magic) disappeared. Vincent is, of course, responsible for magic's disappearance and he's set on making it a permanent state by killing Melrose once and for all. To this end he hires group upon group to hunt Melrose down. Melrose, on the other hand, is set on confronting his uncle over why he killed Melrose's family. Melrose would also like to magically challenge and defeat Vincent. Along the way Melrose picks up a band of friends who help protect him. It is pretty standard fare for fantasy but the fun is in the unexpected and crazy additions.
The art of Dark Air is of the popular sort, blending some comical expressions with a range of big boobs, smooth fight scenes, manly muscles and a range of scenery from olden times. There are castles and dangerous woods, inns in the middle of nowhere and blacksmiths too. The art is pleasing and aside from the significant number of panels showing big breasts there's little that jolts the eyes.

I'd recommend this manga to: those who enjoy the weird, strange and contradictory in mangas and manhwas, action adventures as well as tales of magic and archaic lands.

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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