Aug 9, 2012
"The depth of the sea, and the depth of the night sky -- I felt an overwhelming pressure from up and down. I thought that, perhaps, this was what it was like to be in the early days of Earth."
This isn’t a manhwa for everyone. The ratings and reviews on every site are practically scattered. You’ll either love it or hate it. Or even both at times.
The summary of Seol Hui introduces us to a young woman named Alisa S. Benders, who has been living on a deserted island for her whole life. She’s a little ditzy and clueless, and has no concept of money.
The first time she ever leaves the island is to collect her inheritance from her illegitimate, rich father. But many people seem to be after her money, and so she needs to do all she can to stay safe.
Or so it seems, maybe, for the first volume.
The story quickly changes from a crime-thriller kind of manhwa (I say crime-thriller because that’s what the summary leads us to believe) to one where Alisa is searching for someone. For the greater part of the story, it is simply about Alisa, whose real name is Seol Hui. Though she seems dumb, she is more mysterious and clever than she actually appears to be. Why was she left on that deserted island her whole life? And why does she want to meet this elusive person in her dreams?
The story takes on a supernatural aura, coated in philosophical ideologies. This is where is becomes either a hit or miss. Frankly, I loved it. The story of Seol Hui deals with the past, immortality, reincarnation, and the search for oneself. Alisa will stop you at a seemingly normal time, and then proceed to go all philosopical and profound on you. Things are definitely not what they seem in this manhwa --something you soon find out by the end of volume 1. Alisa isn't what she seems to be either...she's far too omniscient for a normal girl. How much does she really know about this world? Her true self can be extremely horrifying at times.
The story intertwines two main people, Alisa and another, different girl; combining both modern day society and a huge conspiracy-like past. If you like mystery and drama with a touch of the supernatural, then you may like this. It even has it's slice-of-life moments. But this is a review, so I’m going to cut right to the chase. The narration does fall flat sometimes, and pacing can be awkard. This isn’t entirely bad, though. To me, it just gave the air of just ‘viewing’ the story,as one would do so with a movie. The art is different (since it is a manhwa), but it seems to suit the story. The characters also seem to have a lack of direction, and may even appear one-dimensional at times. Not that I really have any complaints --it it's a character driven story, but not really much of one. Some may argue that it doesn't have much of a plot either, but I beg to differ. Seol Hui (in a nutshell) is the story of Alisa's search for the man in her dreams.
Overall, it is above average. No cliches will be found in here (you won’t see the girl confessing or any crazy fan clubs), but it isn't much of a meaty story either. It does, however, make up for it's lackluster story in other areas. It can be horrifying (not in a gruesome, scary kind of way; but as I've said, she's very omniscient) and make you question what reality really is. "My reality," she has said, "not anybody else's." And keep in mind this isn’t some shoujo story, it is a josei. Seol Hui has an interesting concept with great ideologies (ie: her idea of death in Latin), and though it may fall short of becoming a masterpiece, it is something worthwhile to check out. And if you’re worrying about Alisa’s character not being developed fast enough for you, most of it is resolved in the later volumes. So do stick with it. This is a story where you have to think, and create theories as to who she really is. Because of a really great premise, I gave Seol Hui a rightfully deserved 8.5 / 10.0.
But then again, this isn’t really a manhwa for everyone. Because Seol Hui is so different from the 'norm' in the manga world today, every chapter is something interesting. If you want some short story that gets right to the point, then don't pick this up. However, if you're looking for something completely abnormal and something-so-different-I-don't-think-it's-ever-been-done-before in a manhwa (regardless of whether or not you'd think you like it), you should give it a chance. I did, and my expectations were completely blown away...just by the end of volume 1.
What did you think of this review?