Miho, a woman of beauty, intelligence and temper, comes to Cheju Island to teach school and is immediately flung into a world of terror and the supernatural. A demon attacks her and she is saved by the chance appearance of a mystery man with seemingly only one mission... demon killing.
In the beginning Shigeru Miyamoto created the animes and the games. Now the bookshelves were formless and empty darkness spread over the weaboos as people grew tired of reading picture less books…
Time skip billions of years later (yay no fillers) and you now find that we live in a world full of manga. Yes we have plenty of manga. But do you know what the anti-christ to all manga is? It’s the manwha. Poor, poor (repeat twice for dramatic effect) neglected and often forgotten manwha. It’s said that if you read enough manwha’s it will bring about the end of the world (smb3 world 1
level 1). Furthermore, those caught reading manwha’s on the day of judgement will also not get 99 loli virgins. That being said it’s always good to read a manwha once in a while. And that’s the reason why Daimyo has brought you all here (all 3 of you), today we’re going to read some manwha. Now, now (repeat twice for dramatic effect) don’t get mad I know what you’re going to say reading sucks (and I really can’t blame you all reading is a bitch). But don’t worry I already read this manwha so all you have to do is read my review (sounds like a fair deal right?). So let’s get started with Island by In-Wan Youn (5 dollars if you can pronounce his name). The great thing about manwha is that you don’t need to be a weaboo to read them. They actually read like normal books left to right. So your friends won’t think you’re a lunatic who stays at home fapping all day to under aged cartoon girls if you read them, that is until you explain the story…
The story is set on the very unfictional(made up words are the best) island of cheju in southern Korea. Here we have our female protagonist by default Miho who came on this island basically because she’s a spoiled rich bitch who has nothing to do but complain all day and make other people’s lives miserable(sort of like me, minus the rich and bitch parts of course). Yup, she’s so rich she could sell her shit on ebay as gold bricks and have 99% positive feedback. But would she make gundams out of her gold shit bricks? No and that’s why she’s a bitch. But she’s a hot woman and definantly my typo so I excuse her. Anyway moving along somewhere down the road she meets our real main character a man known solely as Pan (no he is not a pansexual…I think?). Well how did they meet you say? Well, let’s just say that this very real island isn’t so much of a tourist destination, for people atleast. It’s a hotspot for demons and let’s also say that demons love virgin blood (so if I was the one reading this review I’d run away by now). You can pretty much figure out how this goes down, weak spoiled brat meets strong terrifying demon, brat is about to get killed, brat meets hero, hero saves brat. At this point the story can either go 2 ways, it could become a tale of romance between the two characters or it can just become a character of the day rinse and repeat type deal. However, Island chooses the 3rd route the WTF route. Island is not about a romance between two insecure characters; Island is not an episodic character of the day routine. Island is goddam Island, not bound by rules of convention and stereotypes of traditional stories and characters you get a tale that truly is dark and unpredictable. Although the story was somehow short and didn’t tie up all the loose ends, the fact that we are given a tale that is not afraid to break the mould it warrants a solid 8.
As for the characters, there really wouldn’t be a story without this assorted mix of pals & gals. Variety is key here. First and foremost we have Miho said rich bitch mentioned earlier (but I still love her). The story is pretty much told from her perspective, or at least with her as the primary focus. Which isn’t necessarily bad but later on you’ll get slightly annoyed with her attitude (feel free to bitch slap her afterwards). Next is our star player, Pan. He’s a deranged serial killer, goddamn. Don’t be fooled, he isn’t in it for good of us all, to be a hero or to save the world; he’s just in it for the lulz. Literally, that’s the only way I can describe his motivations for killing these demons, he just enjoys murder. Don’t be fooled he isn’t chaotic evil he’s most likely neutral evil seeing as he can be bargained with and even has certain things he won’t do. He’s the primary reason I suggest you should read this manwha( I love saying manwha). There are a lot of thing he’ll do that you won’t like. In fact, he’s quite the hateable guy. His only motivations are greed and self-interest but I find people like that to be realistic. I mean he’s not the type of guy who ends all his sentences in dattebayo, foolishly tries to protect everyone or thinks he’s justice incarnated. He’s just a cold blooded murderer no false pretences like in so many other manga (though this is a manwha). Next we have John a priest of the non-ordained (yay for sex…not with little boys!) brotherhood from America. He takes the role as the character that gets pummelled down and gets beaten up most of the manwha(see I said it again). Unfortunately, unlike Pan he thinks he’s justice. So all his enemies better beware, justice will always prevail at the end of the manwha! Next we have our group of Japanese groupies who are there primarily to make this manwha appeal more to a Japanese audience. What we have here is a rowdy mix mostly involving bastards, traps and reverse traps. Sounds delicious doesn’t it? Combined with the fact that the fact that these guys act like complete assholes the majority of the manwha we have a clear message here. What our Korean dictators want us to know is that all Japanese people act like bigoted asshats(isn’t that right Kim?). Let’s be fair they do try to change their jerkass personalities towards the end but it all felt too Hollywood and cliché. There isn’t much character development in this one, mostly due to issues with the stories pacing and its abrupt ending. However, what we do see of the characters is fairly interesting and satisfying enough.
Enjoyment & Overall 8/10
Despite this manwha’s flaws i.e. the length and some of the character’s I had a good time with this one. It was a good read on a slow day when I couldn’t fap( I was all maxed out that day), didn’t feel like going outside and couldn’t find a manga to read. I myself, tend to avoid manwha’s. While I feel many manwhas start strong, the stories tend to get more and more convoluted and end quite horribly. This was especially the case with the other manwha I completed Veritas. However, as far as Island is concerned that statement is only partially true. After reading this one you’ll almost feel disappointed that it ended so soon. There is so much that needs and/or can be explored. Despite this fact, the ending while not necessarily complete certainly isn’t bad (and with a little ecstasy what’s the difference?). This series is a solid 8 overall, definitely worth reading if you find yourself bored with nothing else to do.
And it had such a promising start. We had a fun, snarky heroine with a backbone, a villainous serial killer whom she bribes (with loads and loads of cash) into killing demons that are after her, and a setting ripe with possibilities. So, what happened with all of that? Why was the potential so squandered?
Who knows. The author just dropped the ball somewhere down the line.
Starting with the positives, the art here is very good. It's pretty detailed, realistic, and nice to look at. It fits the story's tone perfectly and some of the monsters look like they were taken
straight out of H. R. Giger.
At the start of the manhwa, I thought that this section might earn at least a solid seven, if not higher. Miho, the female lead is not a boring, shrinking violet for once. Pan, the male lead is a sadistic, truly unscrupulous murderer, and only helps the protagonist because he's greedy.
To the story's credit, it never tries to push these two into a cliché romance, or give Pan some hamfisted redemption arc. He stays a maniacal, self-serving bastard all throughout, and the plot never tries to paint him as a hero. Sadly, it doesn't really do anything else of note with his character. Few hints about his past are dropped here and there, but that's it. Those small teases are all we ever get, and his backstory is never explained.
Despite starting out as the most intriguing member of the cast, Pan is very quickly shoved to the background, and spends almost the entirety of the story fading in and out of focus.
We also get saddled with a third lead character, a young priest named John. This kid can be summed up with two words: shounen hero. He's brave, he's always itching for a fight, he's oh so idealistic, and he loves to make moralistic speeches to his opponents while fighting them. Those fights, of course, include hidden trump cards that the characters didn't use from the start because... reasons, I guess.
Are the side characters any good? Eh... Not really. All the important players aside from the main trio are a bunch of wildly inconsistent, Japanese caricatures. (Island gets pretty big on the Japan vs Korea conflict, but more on that in the story section.)
Their personalities randomly change for no reason, without any character development to justify that. One character, for instance, starts off as a rival/foil for John who is constantly angry and aggressive, only to turn into a crybaby in a single scene and spend the rest of the story that way. One other guy starts off mild-mannered and nice, only to turn cartoonishly evil for the duration of about two scenes, and afterwards the narrative treats him like some misunderstood tragic hero. What the hell?
Also, random gender flips. Did I mention random gender flips?
Island's plot doesn't know what it wants to be, so it meanders until it fizzles out. It starts off as a fantasy/horror. Its first few arcs are about our main character encountering and getting involved with other people who have a demon infestation problem. Then, we get a major arc dedicated to Japanese war crimes and the tensions between Japan and Korea. This is where all the inconsistent side characters pop up, and Pan pretty much becomes an extra. This chunk of the plot feels almost like it's a part of an entirely different series. Worse still, after that political arc is over and done with, the manhwa ends.
Yes, it ends. Just like that.
Pan's backstory is never explained, and Miho's demon problem is just kinda dropped.
It feels like the author started the whole thing with the intent of writing a fantasy/horror story. Then, in the middle of writing it, he became obsessed with Korean nationalism, lost interest in his original plans for the plot, and decided to remodel Island's story into a platform for preaching his new beliefs.
To be fair, he did write a continuation in a form of a novel, but I'm not reviewing that novel here. I'm reviewing a manhwa that ended in the middle, without bothering to tie up any of its loose ends.
Imagine if Attack on Titan had ended after the battle of Trost, or if Berserk had ended after the Lost Children side story, or if Death Note had ended right after Light's meeting with a fiancee of a certain FBI agent.
Yeah. That's exactly how half-assed and anticlimactic this feels.
Island is a series with a strong start, uneven middle, and an ending that's beyond poor. The plot has glaring cohesion problems, the side characters are inconsistent, and the whole thing ends up as a disappointment.
Still, the initial premise was original (if wasted), the two leads remained interesting despite the treatment Pan received, and the art stayed good till the very end.
The story might be a mess, but it's entertaining despite its problems. If you lower your expectations accordingly, you're gonna get an incredibly flawed (and frustrating) but fun romp. Still, all things considered, you won't lose all that much if you give this one a pass.