Strange things are appearing from the sky, and the world is slowly dying. In Korea, there aren't enough military men to fight these enemies off, and high-school and college students have no choice but to join the military and help the others survive—at the risk of their own lives.
Afterschool War Activities is an exciting and devastating story about a group of high school students who are organized into a reserve battalion to help protect the country from murderous purple orbs. And as things become more and more dangerous, it gets clearer just how much they'll have to grow up if they want to survive. But can they really? And in what other ways will they change along the way?
Why Afterschool War Activities isn't more popular is a mystery to me. It isn't some poorly-written story of nothingness. It has lot of depth and substance, and it left me feeling both moved and devastated.
It deserves to be read.
At the beginning of Afterschool War Activities you see a bunch of high school students goofing off in class and waiting for college testing to start. And then it flashes forward to them being interviewed individually, introducing themselves and describing how that day went. The day they found out that their country is being attacked by living purple orbs (they call them "Cells"), and that the military is forming their class into a reserve battalion to help fight them.
The story follows the kids in the reserve battalion as they go through several weeks of training, get assigned to the field, and work the frontlines. You really get to know a lot of the characters and see them interact with one another, learn new skills, deal with personal issues, go through horrifying experiences, and try to push themselves and keep going. They have to if they want to live. And all the while the author never lets you forget that these are teenagers. We switch back and forth between seeing them go through these experiences and seeing them talk about it in the interviews on camera, slowly changing over time.
Afterschool War Activities is a character-driven psychological action drama. It focuses on the kids, not what they're fighting. You never really learn what exactly the Cells are or why they're there, but that isn't the point. AWA isn't an invasion story, it's a survival story, and a story of adaption. The Cells are an enemy that the author invented to shift the story from reality slightly, while still portraying certain aspects (like teenagers forced into combat) in a very realistic way.
One of the strongest points of the story is the characters and the way they develop. There are so many that it's very hard to tell them apart at first, but as the story goes on and the art gets cleaner and you begin to recognize characters by their personalities, you can really begin to understand and sympathize with the characters being focused on. The characters themselves are not particularly unique in any way really, but the way they interact with one another and slowly change throughout their experiences is very intricate and realistic, making it a lot more emotionally resonant. They all have fears and worries, strengths and weaknesses, friends and enemies, and we begin to recognize these things in the characters as they go through the training and join the front lines. They are forced to grow up quicker than they’d like, if they want to survive.
The art is definitely the weakest point, especially at the beginning. When I first started reading I almost laughed because of how bad the art is. The character designs are very messy and inconsistent, and when you have a story that focuses on dozens of characters with similar-sounding names, it's pretty important to be able to tell them apart, and for them to look the same from one scene to the next. Everything just looks like it was drawn far too quickly. However, after a number of chapters the art cleans up quite a bit, and by the end it looks pretty normal. The reason I gave the art an 8 is because in addition to the quality going up, the use of color is fantastic, as expected of Ha Il-Kwon. Most of the art is black and white, except for some neutral colors for hair and clothing, and bright colors for things like the Cells and blood and a few random details. Some of the night scenes where you can see the Cells glowing in the sky are absolutely gorgeous.
I enjoyed AWA a lot more than I thought I would. I read Annarasumanara and loved it, so I figured since this is by the same author I might as well give it a shot. And wow was I surprised. This story is the kind that sticks with you for a while. It is psychological at times, hilarious at times, and horrific at times. When I finished it I didn't even know what to think or feel.
So, to summarize, Afterschool War Activities is a story about teenagers adjusting to military life, and dealing with their personal feelings while also going through horrifying experiences. It is a character-heavy sci-fi action drama that is interaction-focused and has messy art at first, but the more you read, the cleaner and clearer and better everything gets. You really should give it a chance.
Warning: If you are sensitive to swearing or violence, you will not like Afterschool War Activities. It is about teenagers in the military, not a fairy princess tea party.
Afterschool war activities was a great read.
I love the idea of the story, and the truth with what would happen if the world had a crises like this.
The fact that school kids will have to step up and bring emotional troubles.
STORY; (Manhwa- read left to right and has colour)
The story was your normal invasion, but what was different was that it focused more on the characters and their emotions. With the emotional part of the story.i felt closure but for the plot of the story it was left open with no answers answered.
The art is strange, most of the characters were drawn rough and they
seem out of order. while some of the characters were drawn beautifully. The back drop was interesting with not much colour a part from the purple balls. Which i found to be really affect.
The character development would have been my favorite and i think the strongest part of the manga. Each character was interesting.
I find this Manhwa incredibly interesting. The ending left me satisfied, and i think it would be worth reading for anyone who enjoy story over art. 9/10
"Afterschool War Activities" was the first manhwa that i red to the end from the beginning, and also even now i consider it to be the most interesting manhwa that really exited me from the first couple of pages.
The story kept me in suspense and i was always worried about my favourite characters. I was also really impressed by Ha Il-Kwons drawing style (i dont really know why i enjoyed it so much cuz it seems very messy and sketchy, but it was just awesome). After i red this manhwa i was looking for another stories of this author and i choosed a couple to
read and they were nice, but for my opinion Afterschool War Activities is the best work of Ha Il-Kwon. So, yeah, i really enjoyed it.＼(￣▽￣)／
Story: 9. The story centers around a group of high school students who are drafted into the army, given some extremely basic infantry training and then sent off to fight in the ongoing war. As far as realism goes, it goes about as well as you might expect from a random group of students with next to no training. The story is thrilling, psychological, and successfully relates the struggles of these teenagers.
Art:10. I really liked the art, the facial expressions are on point, the action sequences all have lines and blur in the right places, the art is good. This smart use of blur that
you see here is like a budget version of Miura's woodcut-like insane line count and it totally works, it's really well done.
Characters: 8. While their personalities and relationships are unique and enjoyable, they can be difficult to tell apart at times.
Enjoyment: 9. I love stories that keep it realistic and damn, that basic training arc hit close to home... It's all true and much worse in reality.
For someone on the thinner and/or smaller side, this is what it's like: a cold war era battle rifle (new ones aren't that much lighter) is ridiculously heavy and essentially impossible to fire accurately, the combat gear is painfully heavy in standard configuration (it's heavy and uncomfortable even when you leave most stuff in your locker), the main pack simply contains too much stuff to reasonably carry all at once (you're looking at like 30 kg strapped to your back on top of the 15kg combat gear and 4-5 kg gun; every time I had to hike in full gear, I made it about 2 km before the pack managed to collapse my lungs to 20% capacity for the rest of the hike; the final hike was about 10 with full gear and 20 in combat gear, my knees were permanently damaged and I'd say I'm lucky not be limping). These kids get a taste of that as well.
What I would have liked is more emphasis on how horrific conscription, what kind of depressing, dark torture it is for some. It's no secret that many young men in countries where conscription is in effect either avoid it, kill themselves or go on a rampage, not to mention those who suffer in silence and leave traumatized and broken. I'm not even referring to a war here, wars are even worse than peace-time indentured servitude such as this. It's no joke when you're waking up up to 5 times a night in some delirious panic mode, totally convinced, for example, that the drill sergeant really wants to inspect your mess kit at 2:30 in the morning or that you really need to go on patrol even though the previous shift hasn't alerted you, only to realize half way through getting your pack out of your locker or half way through putting your boots on that it's the middle of the night and everyone else is asleep and that you just exited an acute state of insanity. You're actually losing it, for real, and the next day, your whole platoon is off to the firing range.
As for the later parts where they go to war, as I said before, it's a thrill.
Overall: 9. I'd totally recommend this to anyone who is into a war story, a psychological story, a bit of sci-fi, etc.