“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 atmosphere.
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.read more