Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Gwi by Orebalgum


Mu-Sang’s has a quest. He must find and kill every “Gwi” that has ever existed. He is determined and won’t let anything get in his way, not even the imperial army! While traveling and searching for the remnants of Gwi, he meets a girl who also bears the same mark crossed out than he has. A fateful encounter? Were those two fated to meet? And why does he hold such a grudge against the “Gwi”? ... are all questions left to be answered!

Alternative names
鬼 (ORBG)

Ghost (KIM Young Oh)


Manga reader sites (free)
Manga Reader, Manga Fox

Rosy's scrawlings on Gwi
Gwi is a shortish manga series, compared to most, but is well worth reading. This is partly due to the conciseness and quick pace of the story but also the intense complexity that is formed by simply not dragging the story out any further than necessary. Add to that the vicious and gory action, maniacal schemes and outlandish ending and there's little room for complaining that you're bored. There's much to be said about keeping a story contained, just as there's much to be said about lengthy series, and I think Gwi is a perfect example of how to construct a shorter manga or comic series.
Gwi follows several character perspectives at once, each building on the next's by providing an alternate point of view on the events and history on which to act. The truth behind it all is far more than any particular character believes or expects and so the events each sets up and participates in draws them on to a conclusion none of them expect. Still, the manga follows Mu-Sang more than any other character as his story and the mysteries of his origins are at the key to unravelling the history that truly was.
Gwi is filled with political machinations but the most powerful aspect of all those within the manga is the continual flow of violence as a result of the various schemes. Blood and gore flow through each chapter as one after the other the forces of the various powers that be clash, particularly with Mu-Sang. There's also a series of far-too-advanced weapons for the era being used, heightening the violence and casualty rate. Martial arts, as we commonly understand it, isn't relied upon so much as weaponry and sword fighting but the manga has the same style as many martial arts mangas based in historical times.
The art of Gwi is by Kim Young Oh. There's an easy flow to the art that allows the manga to change perspectives quickly. It also helps to keep the pace of the manga fast and smooth. Deep black looks to have been brushed on for darkness and gore, with light used to highlight the eyes, the harshness of facial expressions and the starkness of the scenery. Still, there's a warmth and play included that allows you to connect with the characters and see them as more than simply combatants. The art is appealing and unique throughout, even as standard manga styles are referenced and body's are disproportionate.

I'd recommend this manga to: those who love martial arts, swordsmanship, historical settings and stories about battles for power and revenge.

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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