This is the 3rd collaboration with my pal Rushabh Shah who has originally constructed these reviews purely from his point of view and I merely played the role of making necessary compilations and several edits before bringing this forward! Thanks a tonne for the effort Rushabh, would love to make this as a recurring venture of making anime/Manga articles together and I will do my best to annoy you intermittently for our joint future assignments! 😜 Catch this Otaku kid on Instagram and Twitter! 😈 So here’s some sincere contributions resulting from two partners in crime (once about a time project/lab partners at the university) 😊
Anime genre: Overpowered category.
Presenting the genre of the manhwas put on review: The op genre, abbreviation – overpowered. Originally the vast majority of the stories in novels, manga, series were based on zero-to-hero layout. Taking the most popular example, consider the popular Harry Potter series, Harry starts at zero and slowly builds his magic and army, over 8 books to be able to battle the main villain. In the op layout, the main character is already at his/her peak. Imagine Harry already knowing curses and strong magic in the very first novel/movie and bullying Voldemort. How fun would that be?
The problem also lies around with the suspense and fun needed to be maintained through the entire series. Now if you imagine Harry being all contoured and a veteran in his line of work what happens to the slapstick comedy revolving around Dumbledore’s confusing advice? What happens if the viewers don’t fear Voldemort? How would one build upon 8 movies worth of progression? These are a few of the obstacles the authors hit when your Main Character (MC) is a badass op hero from the very start who can kill even the strongest of opponents with ease. These problems create a one dimensional effect, they make the show appear very static.
This culture was popularized by (Imo) One Punch Man. A main character with absurd power is able to take down all villains no matter how strong with one simple punch, yet this one is so universally loved by the community ubiquitously, it once touched 9.0+ in IMDB rating. To work around the above, different styles or techniques are used while framing the story, a simple basic guideline that keeps the story interesting. For example, in One Punch Man, the MC never actually goes to the fights! Ingenious, right? The story doesn’t revolve around the MC. The story is made to revolve around the different characters’ backstories, development, flaws, aspirations, goals, and mainly survival. The development goes around them while the MC is given an impossible dream or a flaw that makes his dream impossible. Not everyone can pull this off here!
…Below are 2 great Manhwas with the same theme.
Oh wait, what is a Manhwa? .. Manhwa is basically a Korean manga. A manga is a Japanese comic. Manhwa is also called webtoons and the Chinese ones are called manhua.
This is in my view arguably in the top 3 if not the best manhwa out there. Personally, for me, this could be nearly on top of the pedestal, but still not at the peak! (because the gold medal is taken by .. wait for the next review 😜) This one takes the video game concept and puts it into reality. After the appearance of portals known as “gates” connecting the world of monsters to humans, a small portion of the population has acquired superhuman powers to defend against the monsters. These people become the ones known as players and have to fight with their lives on the line. But unlike video games, people here cannot just level up or become stronger over time, or can they? While it is true that none of them can increase their power once they have received it, the MC here defies this. He attains the power to level up via experience and battles. So get why the title? You would have understood why our MC is op. as he slowly rises through the ranks while maintaining his secrets the best he can. This story is kept interesting via the zero-to-hero storyline genre at the same time maintaining our heroes op status. This story is truly amazing because of its world-building logic.
Stories fail when they can’t settle simple logic rules which behave fairly for all, like the concept of gravity being the same for all. Eg: Let’s consider Superman (sorry if I tick you off). Superman is basically an alien and the laws of physics on our planet earth that are different from his original planet krypton (bet they used bitcoin there) give him his powers. He also gets the power from our yellow sun. His body gains much more power in a sort of “environmentally better” planet than his. But this doesn’t explain his ripped muscular body, super strength and flying abilities. Our body doesn’t keep more strength than it requires if we don’t work out over time. So how does Superman maintain his strength? How is his body ripped? For a great body, he would need regular muscular-focused exercises, when he doesn’t do that how could he have a great body? Let alone the physics behind flying. One can’t make “being an alien” an answer to everything right? The logic in Solo Leveling is complete. It is impeccable in the story so far and the laws are the same for all. The most important is that there is a story for the beginning and the end for the phenomena that’s happening and it is quite good at that. There is history in it, and a level of absurdity. It is an amazing find, this is one of the only Manga where I truly felt the fear and eeriness. Very rare to see this in a comic because of the obvious disadvantages they have. The Karakuran temple sight was truly magnificent and very dreary. This is a must-read from my end.
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This is one of the Murim (historical martial world of china; Shaolin and monkey king stuff) themed stories. In this world, there are 2 divisions in society: the normal civilians and the Murim section. The Murim sections consist of martial artists and the laws there are different. People kill each other aimlessly and there are no laws against it. The civilian division is where non-martial artists continue with life. Here there are laws against murder, theft and security. The division here is because the Murim martial world or division is too powerful. The people here train day and night in the ways of martial arts and strengthen their Ki force which enables them to do superhuman feats. These people are way stronger than the average human. In those days the lack of scientific knowledge also meant there were no modern-day gunpowder weapons. There is a sweet part to this, the difference is so great that they decided to keep wars different for both the sections and by rule none of the Murim are allowed to kill any normal civilians. This rule saves a lot of bloodshed. The way this rule came into being and is upheld is an amazing part of the story line.
Now for our MC Noh Ga Jang, he is a mercenary (hired help for war or killing in the civilian division). This guy had a good name for him in the warring world for being very strong. This was because his master was from Murim and trained him in martial arts BUT never told him that😆. He was instructed by his master to never set foot in the world of Murim because the people there are so powerful that he will be killed instantly and our hero obviously believes his master because he can see his strength. Over the years he finds himself a nice lady, marries her, and has kids. His wife dies while giving birth leaving him with 3 children. This is how the story starts, with the MC being super strong in martial arts but not knowing it and struggling to find jobs and income to make ends meet. The story then takes off when he joins a martial organization as a mere guard, where in reality he could have been on the high table. Even then he’s given all sorts of weird assignments because the hirer knows his skill set. The unique base story element here to keep the story interesting is that our guy doesn’t know his own potential and he considers himself weak and beats up very strong opponents thinking they are common day criminals. But he’s not so dumb, slowly but steadily he does figure maybe he’s strong, but just when that happens the top elite 5 of the Murim world enter the fray and beat him senseless. So he goes back to thinking he’s weak. This is repeated periodically and is super fun. The world-building is great with good logic. The power scale is linear. The world and the characters in it are vast. Overall it’s a super fun piece to enjoy and feel good with the great story line.