Chun Rhang Yhur Jhun Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Thursday, June 22, 2006
Release Date: Saturday, April 01, 2006
Translated by:Je-wa Jeong
What They Say
The mighty Kingdom of Goguryeo is in the midst of a war which has raged on for decades. In need of talented warriors to help lead their people, O'Rhang Yhun is sent on a mission by his master into enemy territory to find and bring back his eldest brother. However, just as O'Rhang departs on his mission, his master, a renown warrior and general of Goguryeo, passes away. Unfortunately for O'Rhang, his 2nd eldest brother has always been jealous of his martial arts potential and betrays O'Rhang by branding him as a traitor defecting to the enemy. Having been branded a traitor, he is pursued and nearly killed. As fate would have it though, O'Rhang is able to escape from his homeland barely managing to survive when a maiden as beautiful and graceful as an angel saves his life.
Join O'Rhang Yhun in this action packed adventure-love story to uncover the secret behind the martial arts his master passed onto him (Sa Shin Mu), his quest to find his oldest brother, and the score he has to settle with his 2nd eldest brother!
The packaging is the strongest part of this title right now. The dust jacket is stunning! Gorgeous color and relatively new art from Seoul Munhwasa. The opposite cover with the dragon was beautiful as well. Take the dust jacket off and there is a different cover. Very simple but this is what manga is like in Asia and I have to applauded Infinity for doing this. This book is printed in a nice and big A5 book so the extra $1 is definitely worth the alignment and trim. There is a full color fold out with current art as well. Great paper. If Infinity is not losing money on this then they must have had a great deal on the printing. Nice extras at the end describe the history of when this title was set and showing sketch art for the main characters. However, the print itself was so-so. Much like Blood Alone, it is hard to tell at times because of all the inking but the blacks are not solid. Mine was a little spotty and the tone did have some fine moiré effects (nothing major but still not up to the level of the rest of the presentation).
Artwork :< /b>
The art for Chun Rhang was easily the most shocking element. I became a fan of manhwa through Park's works. And his art in particular is a favorite of mine. I completely understand why he now does work for Japanese publishers because his designs are very clean and sharp.
But looking at Chun Rhang, all I could see was derivative designs that used excessive much inking. Park's lines have significantly gone thinner and more angular giving his characters a very strong look. But here they are round and thick. They look like standard shonen fare, out of titles like Change Man or the rougher parts of Zippy Ziggy. So if you are considering this title because of the cover, the contents are nothing like that. Park has always been bad with action. It takes him time to get that right. NOW is fine, but it took him volumes to get the gun action in Peigenz right. Therefore, what you see here is page after page of dust and characters yelling out their attacks. You never see punches or kicks land like in say TOUGH. However, you sure do see swords flying in a dust cloud or people completely trashed when the fight is over.
Once again, Infinity proves that it should not be lumped in with ComicsOne/DrMaster in regards to its production values. The packaging is stunning. The translation is error free, and on top of that, it sounds good. Personalities really stand out, which is important for there are some extreme characters in this title. Infinity also does something that seems natural to manga but might be new to manhwa " they keep Korean terms in the dialogue. Infinity keeps terms with notes placed in the gutters. I think this is a great idea that gives readers a closer look at the language and culture. They also provided a few pages of Korean history at the end of the GN. These discussed the period this title is set in and provides insight on the clan/fighting school influence of this warring period.
SFX are really nice. SFX are subbed with translations that are smaller than the original to preserve Park's nice art. With all of the action in this series, seeing small subs is a perfect way to keep readers into the art and not frustrated by clutter.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
O'Rhang Yhun has been betrayed. His elder brother has passed away and his next brother has branded O'Rhang a traitor exiling him during a period in time where clans are already fighting among themselves for regional supremacy. Now he has no family, no clan, no safety and he has to complete a final mission as he fights his way through the countryside.
Unfortunately, O'Rhang is not the smartest brother. He is not the strongest brother, either. O'Rhang's luck ran out almost as quickly as his life on his own began.... Or so we thought?
Along comes Ha Rhang who is one her own mission. She is avenging the death of her master, who was reportedly murdered by a band of thieves. She runs into a broken down, left for dead O'Rhang, and revives him with her own spirit. She has no time to lose so she leaves the man on the roadside to his own vices. But she does not realize now that she has revived a man of tremendous power and has possibly created a monster.
Revitalized, O'Rhang continues his quest but fate decided to reunite him with his savior. As Ha Rhang finds herself caught in a trap set by the very people who killed her master, O'Rhang decides to take matters in his own hands as a case of mistaken identity turns a strange crossing of paths into a full-blown war waged on four sides.
This was a huge disappointment from the writing, to the art and yes even some of the packaging (which was shocking after experiencing see the cover, the dust jacket and the foldout).
The meat of this volume could seriously be summed up with one short chapter. This at its core is nothing more than a tournament manga and unlike some of the better tournament titles, this one does not even bother to properly introduce its characters. I had to really dig deep to find out what was happening with all the poorly drawn action and the ridiculous number of sinister plots (too many to keep up with and too many to figure out why and from who). So while a title like YuuYuu Hakusho at least took more than a pair of volumes to present Yuusuke's life and DragonBall took a number of volumes before it went into full DBZ mode, Chun Rhang is a yell your move manga already. Park-style Brain cell Time Killing Page Turner!! The rest of the manga was literally fight scenes and posturing.
Possibly the strongest element of Park's sequel to Chun Rhang, NOW is his cast. Well maybe after his character designs. The characters are all over the place. Spunky, angsty, funny and cool, there is a different character for each role in this title. Here we already have a cast of more than a dozen and none of them seems to have any defined role. O'Rhang does not seem much like a hero, actually, he is more like a grunt that just happens to be given second life by a real martial art master. And Park does not compliment him at all with the lead female. Park-sensei does not really give Ha-Rhang much page time. She is there for her looks (disappointing since the art is bad) and for how comical her fighting style is. She doesn't bring anything else to the story and that is a shame considering how she seems to have a strong sense of honor and duty and is much more adept at fighting than any other character (and there are tons) introduced so far.
As a whole Chun Rhang is off to a below average start. Its cast of dozens brings little to what is already shaping up to be a slow moving tournament manga. The action is poorly drawn, so that offers little to what is generally a title lacking excitement and originality. Moreover, Park's art does not hold up to what he presenting now. Simply reading past the color fold out is a disappointment artistically and literary. For a title with high hopes this is one of the biggest let downs of the year so far.
Mania Grade: C-
Art Rating: C
Packaging Rating: A+
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Infinity Studios LLC
Orientation: Right to Left