May 14, 2020
Hwaja (Manga) add (All reviews)
Kamimashita (All reviews)
"Keep your promise. That you'd be with me the day the earth comes to an end."

Ostensibly, Hwaja presents itself as a supernatural, coming of age romance story with a boy, named Ryu, falling for a mysterious girl, named Hwaja, who does not age, and his experiences with her over the course of his childhood, to becoming an adult. For readers who are interested in an emotional story that is hard to predict, and keeps you involved from end to end, this might be for you. The art is rather striking, and the main characters are believable within the scope of the story.

The first time that I had read Hwaja, I thought it was a fascinating premise that failed to deliver a satisfying conclusion to its thematic throughline under threat of a resentful audience. However, following my personal reading of the webtoon, I came to appreciate how the story allowed me to interpret its allegorical value as a depiction of systemic issues of addiction and abuse in South Korea's low SES class demographics, as represented by the old village and haunted house. Hwaja, as a character, represents issues that do not change over the course of the story, and thus, does not age. Of course, this is only my interpretation, and readers can find their own value in this work, which is a challenging, exciting read.