This is a brief review of Yureka which is the new type of content I am going to be working on from now on. I will do one or two reviews max per month and I will review mostly old series. I will also review recent webtoons if I find anything that attracts my interest.
Now, let us begin.
Yureka is a MMORPG manwha from early 2000. The first volume was printed in 2000. This was a Korean comic and it was released few years before .hack//Sign which can be significant to some.
Looking back now, I believe this manwha was one of the first comics that exclusively focused on MMORPG and its gameplay. I know of one Japanese manga (Break-Age, 1995) that dealt with a LAN-based multiplayer game before .hack//Sign came along but its scope was nowhere near as Yureka.
The story takes its place in an online game called “Lost Saga”, and the main character is a high schooler who goes by an alias of “Loto” in the game.
It’s important to note that “Lost Sage” is exactly what I’d call a proper MMORPG by today’s standards. You play the game at home in your comfort. Of course, right? Well, the obvious concept wasn’t so obvious back in 90s and early 2000.
I can tell that the technology behind the game was well before full establishment of the internet because Loto can’t play the game if someone else uses the internet (Ah, dial-up days). If someone does use the internet, he gets forcefully kicked out due to lack of bandwidth. This occurs pretty often as his younger sister likes to browse the net.
I’ve collected 19 volumes of this series before losing my interest in it and stopped bothering, Looking up online manwha stores, it seems this series was concluded with 41 volumes.
Compared to other MMORPG series such as Sword Art Online, Shield Hero, and Log Horizon, what sets Yureka apart from those two is that this series actually focuses on (normal) life within the game instead of throwing plot devices. From volume 1 to 19, I’ve found no great evil or great disaster. The story is all about the gameplay, like Loto leveling up, finding new mates, new dungeons, new tournaments, and such.
Sadly, the author introduces a lot of characters in order to make the story less boring. At 19th volume, I think I counted over 10 characters at which point I started to lose track of who is who and who is doing what. As a result, I lost my interest.
You could kind of see it from the volume covers with new character designs.
The only mystery (plot device) is a character named Yureka who Loto believes is a hacked character and is actually a NPC. He gets to play as Yureka once and then she kind of begins to act as an independent character. It’s easy to see that Yureka holds the key to a great mystery. However, even at volume 19, not a great deal is revealed.
The drawing is pretty basic. My biggest complaint would be lack of any sophisticated shading and really basic character designs. For a series that is based on a MMORPG, this series lacks creativity although SAO isn’t much better in this aspect. Actually, I’d say SAO is worse in that department.
It was around time Yureka came out that Korea was starting to really embrace Japanese culture, especially anime. Webtoon wasn’t even a thing back then. You’d need to wait until at least year 2005 before proper Korean webtoons would begin to surface. Even then it’d take another 5 years before it really began to take off.
Aside from basic character designs and lack of shading, this manwha is overall passable and enjoyable. I just couldn’t hold on past 19th volume.
Having said that, I’ve never considered working on this title despite having purchased 19 books. It was because, back then, MMORPG wasn’t a thing, and I didn’t think it’d be popular enough to draw in traffic.