Nov 15, 2010
Blade of Heaven was one of the first manga (first manhwa, though I'm not particularly clear on the distinction between the two...) series I read when I was just getting into manga and anime in general, and as such I have a particularly nostalgically biased viewpoint. Nevertheless, I'll try to give a fair review...
Without going into too much detail, the story was both well written and unique, though admittedly cliche. Despite it's cliche nature, I can certainly tell you that the entire series was a real page turner that kept me eager to learn what happened next all the way to the very end. Unfortunately,
looking back as a slightly older more mature reader, I realize that the writer botched "big picture" areas of the plot. Things like: creating believable dramatic tension by pitting the lead character against increasingly difficult enemies, having an overall main foe to serve as a foil for the main character and his beliefs, and maintaining a well thought out "flow" for the story.
The art is fantastic, no ifs ands or buts about it. The fighting scenes are stunningly depicted, the weapons are awesome, and the characters are designed and dressed in a way that I found both appealing and more realistic (than some of the ridiculous costumes found elsewhere in the realm of anime/manga).
I'm a little conflicted in my scoring for character. The author never really depicts the majority of the characters in a way as to make them significantly unique or compelling. That said, he did things right when it comes to the main character Soma. In all the anime I've watched, manga and books I've read, and movies I've seen, I've never found a character quite like him. He's really one of a kind in my opinion, and one of my all time favorites. Of course this didn't really help distinguish the other characters, and really brought more attention to the fact that they were more bland/not very memorable/very cliche.
I already mentioned my nostalgia for this series, and that'd be because I enjoyed it thoroughly! I seriously debated lowering my enjoyment score (from a 10 to a 9) because of the faults to the story and supporting characters, but in the end I have to say that couldn't have enjoyed this series more. The right way to approach this series is with the idea that the main character is without comparison, the fight scenes are plentiful and epically portrayed, and that you probably shouldn't be thinking about the details too much, otherwise you won't enjoy the series as much as you could have...
It might be fair to say that younger (or young at heart) readers will find the series more enjoyable and better overall for those reasons...
So overall I'm giving this series an 8 (or "Very Good") for it's fantastic art, the one of a kind main character Soma, and plentiful epic battle scenes. The detractors of course being the flawed story mechanics, and lack of memorable characters aside from Soma.
People who enjoy a more light hearted character/story without all the angst that seems to be a common plague to the protagonists/plots of most anime/manga, and plenty of awesomely drawn fight scenes between mighty foes, will love this series as much as I did...
Reviewer’s Rating: 8
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