hELLO EVERYONE MAY I JUST BURST INTO YOUR INBOXES AT 3AM TO JUST TALK INCOHERENTLY ABOUT THIS AMAZING THING I JUST FINISHED READING.
For the first quarter of my 2017, it seems to be all about Korean entertainment. It first started with Goblin, but it seems that my days of watching anime have made me weak to the hour-long episodes of K-drama. Then I started listening to BTS about two weeks ago. I’ve been remaining rather low-key about that (I’ve got no idea why tbh) but now I’ve found something that makes me wanna scream its name from the top of buildings and that’s this thing called manhwa, or more specifically, the Bastard manhwa. But first, let me just drop the link… here.
Bastard isn’t the first manhwa I’ve read and it certainly won’t be the last, but it’s the best one so far. Heck it’s better than most mangas I’ve read as well. With how I’m singing praises about it can you believe that I was actually rather apprehensive when I first started reading it??? But really, what could a manhwa with a name like Bastard have in store for me? I was expecting gangs and a lot of cussing (the latter came true tho) but since a friend recommended it, why not?
(Plus the last chapter was released recently so that was a huge motivation.)
So in I went, an unsuspecting reader who hadn’t read any summaries or reviews, not even the one-line description they had on the Webtoons website so essentially, I knew NOTHING about the manhwa. And then… I screamed internally the moment I realised that it was about serial killers and psychopaths. I didn’t stop screaming after that because everything in this manhwa is so frEAKING INTENSE???? (I’ve sent my friend so many messages while reading it she probably got sick from my spam.)
The fact that I read the entire series in three sittings might have contributed somewhat to the emotional rollercoaster but Bastard has done something that I haven’t experienced in a long time ― it sucked me in from the very first chapter. Maybe it’s because I really didn’t expect much from this manhwa. I didn’t expect the story to taken such an unexpected turn. I didn’t expect the main character’s role in the story. I didn’t expect to get so emoTIONALLY ATTACHED TO ANY OF THE CHARACTERS. (And I really didn’t expect I’d find something new to ship as well but sometimes psychopaths just need a lil‘ love AMIRITE (: )
Reading Bastard was honestly much like watching a movie, or well… movie frames. The illustrator utilises a variety of methods to bring out the story, from the common third person, to first person and even surveillance cameras. It was a really refreshing reading experience, but at times it can be rather heart-wrecking, especially the suspenseful scenes where you feel that something bad is going to happen. Usually, more panels are dedicated to these scenes and you get to see the events slowly unfold with each panel but at the same time, the suspense is also dragged out, and it’s a really torturous feeling because you actually have NO IDEA IF SOMETHING BAD IS TRULY GOING TO HAPPEN. And you hold on to the hope that nothing bad will happen. Sometimes your wish comes true, but when it doesn’t… well, just enjoy the feeling of your hope dying with each passing panel.
The pacing is ridiculously good. There’s always a new development in every chapter and sometimes it feels like you just can’t catch a break from this rollercoaster of emotions. There are several lighter chapters dispersed throughout the series but if you do decide to pick up this series, you’ll learn quickly that these chapters are not to be taken… lightly. Because irony sure has a way of coming round to kick you in the ass when you least suspect it. Man, the author surely knows when to end the chapters.
Now where would a manhwa be without its art? I would exactly say Bastard has the best!! art!! of!! all!! time!! but it’s clean, decent and fits the story with its dull undertones and grainy textures. But the best part is certainly the facial emotions (which I’m 9/10 sure was partly inspired by Shingeki no Kyojin). They can be exaggerated at times but they give me chills and I’m pretty sure that’s the point.
However, Bastard brought up an interesting point about the concept of killing, and that is what exactly classifies a “murderer”? The clear cut definition would be someone who has directly killed another person, like… stabbing someone to death, or pushing them off a building. But let’s say you set off or were involved in a series of incidents that led to a person’s death, a catalyst of sorts for the person’s untimely demise, would that classify you as a “murderer” even though you were not DIRECTLY involved in the person’s death?
I feel like I’ve missed out a lot of stuff, like this entire review could have been so much longer but who wants to read a long messy review? So… just go read it. Or maybe you’ve already read it?? Comment below, DM me on Instagram or something. I NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO ABOUT THIS.
Or if you have any other amazing manhwas to recommend, please do!! (I AM READY TO LOSE MORE SLEEP FOR GOOD STORIES)