“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'.”
- Erma Bombeck
Regarding Death was the first manhwa/manga that I’ve read with another medium to assist it. I believed that manhwa or manga should, in no way or form, have some other medium such as sound to help portray the feelings. While I used to have this idea, Regarding Death completely changed that. After reading and listening to it, I could see the value a good BGM does to add to the
It is the telling of humanity and reality and how some must finally come to terms with themselves or with death. It’s a bunch of short stories that show you the full spectrum of what life can be. It is hard to explain what any of us will feel at the end of life, but this gives us a brief view of what it could be.
The stories themselves range from emotionally healing and touching to deeply saddening. It is a manhwa that is not always truthful to its reader, and may cause you to think about the story at hand. Its story though leaves you with a sense of wanting afterwards since the entire journey of the chapter is for reincarnation. You don’t know what will happen to the character and as a result, it gives you a plethora of emotions to deal with. They all with speak with “God” or “The Grim Reaper” and talk about their life and how they perceive it, but this is not always the case. Sometimes this higher being will teach you about yourself or help you overcome hatred or help you learn a lesson. It is not always set in stone what way the story is going and that’s the true beauty about it. You have to experience it for yourself in order to truly understand the meaning behind each chapter.
God, if that is what you wish to call him, is just a guide. He is the only character that remains at the end as it is his job to do so. People can call him anything they’d like, he can be anything he likes, but what is he exactly? That is what this manhwa tries to tell you, this being is not at all what we think we know. No one has seen him, and no one knows if “he” truly exists. Though this guide has taken up the task of showing humans the path to reincarnation. He is not all seeing, but rather he is fascinated by humans and is even surprised at times. This is a higher being, and all he/she does is help us find our way. Whether this be the path of enlightenment or punishment, it all depends on the person. Truly a fascinating character and one that cannot truly be explained as well as we would hope.
In each story, you have a character or perhaps two characters along with this “guide”. You learn about them, and understand them in their final thoughts. We understand the heartaches they feel, the hatred that wells up inside, the mistakes they’ve made, and how they see the world. Though you may not understand everything you want out of the character, you cannot help but feel that they fulfilled their purpose for the stories they tell and that is all a reader can ask for.
The art is simplistic as to not take away from the story they tell, but gives some personality to the characters. The guide can shape shift all he wants, and even changes into figures from popular culture. This decision of the art style gives this guide a wealth of personality. The designs of the characters are great and give you either a false perception of them or the bare truth. Though the art may not be as beautiful as other manga or manhwa, it understands that simplicity is key and does not go too extravagant as to overwhelm the reader. This does not mean that the art is not effective as the colour pages are beautiful and the use of colours help paint the scene at hand, whether it be a warm or a cold one. When they do use colour they use to shine light on a certain part which makes the reader understand that this part is pivotal to the story. The art does not weaken the story or its characters, but stands by and let’s all your senses take over. It always shows the minute details needed to bring out the person’s true emotions, whether it be the soulless eyes or the smooth tears running down their cheek.
Now onto the thing that I thought I would never put in a manga/manhwa review: the music. The BGM is always gentle and appealing to the ear. Its soft beat does not overwhelm you, but helps as yet another guide through these stories. It helps you feel the mood of the characters and lets you follow along with their emotions. This truly allows one to feel as if they are going on this journey themselves and experience it as the characters experience it. Without this accompanying BGM, it would not be what it is. This is not a read per se, but more of an experience for the senses and emotions. If I had to take away the music from the manhwa, then it would purely drop in rating since you are removing a part of the artform that is Regarding Death. Listen to these tracks along with the read and you could see what I mean, but it truly is up to the reader to make this decision.
I cried, I smiled, and I thoroughly enjoyed this experience that Regarding Death gave me. This is one of my favourite reads, no, one of my favourite experiences that I’ve had in the world of anime and manga. While I do believe that manga/manhwa do not need an accompanying BGM to be amazing, Regarding Death is a manhwa that truly delivers thanks to the soundtrack.
The stories in Regarding Death are often tragic, beautiful, and generally a little heart-wrenching. They are well written and fit well together, and although the ending was a little sudden, it was very well done and very satisfying.
The art was visually appealing and interesting, but also simplistic enough to maintain a slightly surreal feeling. It was an excellent style and lent much to the story. Hipster God is perhaps the best God, haha.
Characters were not consistently shown in depth, but they did not need to be. Each individual was explored enough for readers to relate or emote or just understand the person accordingly. Their
simplicity made the series better.
I enjoyed Regarding Death a lot; it made me feel for the characters and made death seem less frightening and more like what it is: a part of life.
What will happen next when we die? How is death? What will we see next? Is it a light to get out of the tunnel or will we meet again with people that gone forever? No one knows what death is, what we will face next and how it proceeds. This Manhwa will bring us in the process of death. About Death is a manhwa I've been reading in the webtoon for a long time. Reading this manhwa seems to have its own sensation because there will be BGM that can evoke this comic atmosphere when reading it.
It is actually quite difficult to tell how
the contents of this manhwa. In essence, "god" speaks with a human gripe about why he died and what his response to life was. Sometimes, the reader will begin to understand how this comic works in part and sometimes also be difficult to understand. This manhwa gives us the emotion we have to accept. Moreover, reading this manhwa with BGM makes us feel like we are also inside. This comic will teach the readers how we should be grateful for what we already have, thankful to Almighty God that we are alive today because no one knows when death will pick us up. In each story, we will be shown characters who have experienced death and reincarnated again to face "god." In his conversation with "god", sometimes we see humans as beings who never grateful for what has done in his life. They sometimes don't accept about what just happened. Some stories also sometimes bring a very grateful character about what is given by "god". What is clear, this comic brought its readers with mixed emotions. Sometimes bring happiness and sometimes bring sadness.
The art that presents this manhwa is very different for Japanese manga. There are two perspectives that exist in this art. First, the encounter between man and God is described as black and white as if in another world. And secondly, the life experienced by man before his death is described as colorful art. It's like we are also in it and very much felt when reading it. What is clear, I love how the author is working on art that is very simple but charming to look at. One of the uniqueness of reading a comic in webtoon is sometimes available BGM is there so, the atmosphere to read comics is felt. The BGM in this Manhwa is very interesting ears for the readers. Its atmosphere is built so softly by the readers that will fit with what is told about in this manhwa. With the story combined with its BGM, this manhwa seemed to mix up our emotions slowly.
Reading this manhwa as we will understand about what life is. Sometimes humans are never grateful for what they already have. What is clear, About Death is a comic that is perfect for everyone to read.
About Death is a Korean comic which centers on the theme of people reflecting on their lives after their death or a near-death experience. It’s a relatively short and rather episodic series with most chapters being standalone stories in which God talks to one or more people who are experiencing death in some way. As with most anthology-style stories, this can be a bit of a mixed bag of sorts. Actually, being a “mixed bag” will be something of a running theme in this review. While About Death seems to be held in quite high regard by many people, I didn’t end up loving this
Without further delay, I’ll go ahead and get into my category breakouts:
-----Story - 6 out of 10-----
Nearly all of the chapters in this series involve God talking to people about death and the lives they lived before their death (or near-death experience). A few of the chapters lead into one another or get a call-back in a later chapter, but most stories stand on their own. I found a few of the stories to be genuinely touching, thought-provoking, and/or impactful; two of my favorite chapters were one involving a car accident and the one about mountain climbers. However, most of the stories just fell flat and began to feel very repetitive despite involving different people and ways of death. Some of the storytelling seems pretty cleaver, but much of that is dragged down by a feeling of pretension. Like the author KNOWS he is just being SO cleaver with some of his tricks. But hey, maybe that’s just me.
In the end, most of the stories just come off as “okay” at best and some are fully eye-roll-inducing (or even irritating), soiling the few high points. One chapter in particular involves a certain controversial subject which nearly pissed me off, but I’d like to assume that the slant given to this particular subject can be caulked up to cultural differences. I’d also like to touch on the fact that the translation can be an issue. The series is available for free on LINE Webtoon which is a Korean platform and the English version is just not all that great. I’m assuming that it was done in house by people whom have English as a second language. I don’t know if it would have been more enjoyable with a better translation, but as it stands, the English version is very distracting.
-----Art - 6 out of 10-----
The art in About Death is a total mixed bag and not really anything special. Sometimes the art is nice and clean with an interesting style, but at other times it’s a complete mess. The colored pages in particular don’t look all that great to me. Most of it is just muddied and I would have preferred it all be in black and white.
-----Characters - 6 out of 10-----
God is the only character in the series which is in nearly every chapter. He is a bit of a hipster-looking guy and I found him to be reminiscent of cool enigmatic adult male anime/manga characters like Ginko from Mushishi and Oshino from the Monogatari Series. For the most part, he is a good character who serves the purpose of the story well. But as the series goes on, he begins to feel more and more flat and his philosophical dialog isn’t helped by the spotty translation. Then all of the other characters, again, are a bit of a mixed bag. I found some of them to be interesting, relatable, and/or sympathetic, while others were just “there” and I couldn’t care less about their story or if they are actually dead or just haven’t a near-death experience. There was also one particular character who was somehow more of a pretentious hipster than God and the fact that him and God made this total bro-connection just made me laugh. I honestly suspect that guy to have been the author’s self-insert character.
-----Enjoyment - 6 out of 10-----
Again, the chapters in this series were very hit-or-miss with me. While some of them made me genuinely emotional, there were sadly far more misses than hits. I think much of the reason that I didn’t connect with the series more is that I might be a bit too experienced in death myself. I’ve had two major deaths take place in my life which shook my perspective on the subject. I’ve dealt with suicide attempts of a loved one. I’m in my mid-30s and have constant thoughts about my life, regrets, and inevitable oblivion. Maybe I would have connected with it more if About Death had a better delivery, better translation, etc. Maybe if I had different kinds of experiences with death I could have connected with it more? I don’t know. My enjoyment (or lack-there-of) for this series is probably far more personal than most other entertainment I’ve consumed, and I suppose that at least is something to be commended. It did give me some things to think about, even if those thoughts were largely, “Why did I not enjoy this very much?”
-----Overall - 6 out of 10 (Conclusion)-----
Did I give all of the categories in this review 6s on purpose? Am I trying to say that the “God” character might actually be the devil?! No, I just really think that everything about this series is just “fair” in the end. While it seems to be reaching for great and profound heights, it just didn’t make the grade, at least not from my perspective. However, the enjoyment of art and entertainment is almost wholly subjective and this is likely one of the biggest examples of that fact for me. While I found About Death to be a largely pretentious mixed bag of content in dire need of a better translation, others may find it to be truly profound and a creative fresh look at the subjects of death, regret, and life. And hey, it’s online for free and only 27 chapters long, so if it sounds interesting you should give it a shot for yourself!