Apr 4, 2014
Zergneedsfood (All reviews)
Mushishi meets Alice in Wonderland, is what I would probably simplify this story to. A very intriguing supernatural webtoon that kind of defies one’s expectations when reading the first chapter or so. I’m surprised this hasn’t gotten more reviews. I think it’s a great story with a few bumps here and there.

The story is about a gardener, Ajussi, who one day after a mass fire in his home (which is blossoming with all types of interesting fauna), is rendered unconscious and blind in a nearby hospital. While his niece looks after him, Ajussis’s consciousness is whisked away to a strange magical forest, where he is told by a young woman that he needs to escape from the clutches of Mua, who controls this place known as the hill.

What follows is a very action packed adventure as we discover the origins of this world, about the origins of the fire in Ajussi’s home, and the characters that reside in the hill. The story itself was really enjoyable, balancing itself really well with its pacing. The author sprinkled plenty of action in the story to keep the readers excited about the world, and he also added in a lot of very wonderful details about the hill that would later become very important in the later chapters. The suspense and drama are also used very well, and despite its relatively simple story line, I think the world in which the story resides is what it makes it special.

One bit of criticism is I thought the ending was a bit confusing. I think one thing that I see often is at the end of manga/manhwa there are often just a lot of images without many words or dialogue, and there are just some lingering questions that are kind of open to interpretation that could have been presented better without adding a layer of confusion.

The characters in the story are not particularly fleshed out, but everyone serves their purpose and there’s a sense of likability to almost all the characters. Ajussi is obviously the protagonist and while he doesn’t really exhibit much of a personality, his loneliness, love of nature, and just his character design makes him a character the reader can latch onto and understand his perspective.

There are a few other side characters too, but I think this is where the story gets a bit weak. For me, it was easy to sympathize and tag along with the characters but from a storytelling perspective there wasn’t all too many things interesting about them. There are a few characters who would be interesting, but unfortunately they end up not getting a lot of screen time. The back story of these characters are a bit weak, and Ajussi really is the only one that gets a bit more attention, and even he is not as fleshed out as I’d like him to be.

What’s more satisfying is how these characters end up playing a role in the ending of the story. The young woman, Ro, who warns Ajussi about Mua plays a very heart wrenching part as she desperately tries to save this man whose presence in the hill is her fault. Mua, the antagonist of the series, also has a few important moments, but again, I would’ve liked to see more from them.

Finally, the art. I’m not an art expert, but I think the style in which they drew the world of the hill and the characters was really interesting. Webtoons, unlike most manga, are usually in color, so that’s a plus side already, especially since the lush colors that are used throughout the manhwa complement very well with the forest. It’s a byproduct of such good imagination from the author, but the art really carries through a very visceral vision of the hill. Action scenes are drawn with clarity and it’s easy to understand what’s happening, and some of the more expository or beautiful drawings are pretty cool to look at as well.

Overall, I’d recommend this manhwa to anyone looking for a fun action packed adventure with a preference for the supernatural. It’s a fun short story that shouldn’t take too long to read, and I think it’s worth it.