Island [1998]

This manwha is a tricky one. The most blunt way to describe this manwha is that it is a horror clusterfuck of a story.

Even before you flip 15 pages, you will be jumped into heat of its plot and it just keeps going on and on from there on. It never gives you a moment of a break until the last page.

The gist of initial plot is that a daughter of a very rich man has finally chosen to work instead of just enjoying her luxury life. Her name is Won Miho (Last/First name). She has been a problematic child, and her father isn’t going to let her have her way easily.

He sends her to Jeju island as a teacher, and that is where her weird problems begin.

If you don’t know whether Jeju island is real. It is real. It’s an island located south of Korea. It is a volcanic island and has tropical weather. It used to be a common destination for honeymoons.

You may wonder now though: Who is the man on every single cover?

Well, that is because, despite Miho being the protagonist, the man up there is really the real protagonist. Miho’s role is so trivial that the plot doesn’t even need her. In fact, she hardly even contributes.

Her only contributions appear to be providing eye candy scenes for males because she dresses rather provocatively and she does have a nice body to boot. She also acts as a comic relief.

So, who is the man?

We, readers, never really get to find out who he really is. There are some clues near the end of the comic but nothing clear.

You may still remember that I called the plot a horror clusterfuck of a plot. Alright, let me explain.

From volume 1 to about 2, the plot revolves around monsters that harass Miho as soon as she lands on Jeju island. She has no idea why she was picked out of all people, and we never find out why, either.

The man on the covers, whose name appears to be “Ban”, is the one who saves Miho. He is in no mood to play around though and demands her to pay up insane amount of money for further protection, which she complies since money isn’t an issue for her anyway.

Then from volume 3 and onward, fighters appear out of nowhere. This point on, it is all about fighting. These guys fight over no apparent reason, and we, readers, still don’t know what they are fighting for.

I will say that the fighting scenes themselves are nicely done with little mercy to be shown.

From volume 5 or so, we are finally told that some skulls are the cause of the monsters, and that the skulls must be destroyed. At this point, more fighters from Japan arrive. They want the skulls. We still don’t know why though.

The true message that this manwha is trying to convey surfaces in the last half of the final volume 7. It would be a huge spoiler but I am going to state it here.

It turns out that the skulls are from Koreans who were used for chemical experiments by Japanese imperial government during World War. Their skulls are basically cursed which is the cause for monsters. The Japanese government wants to destroy skulls before somebody finds it out.

While the whole shit is going down, a Japanese officer protects Miho from gun fires. In his dying breath, he complains that he doesn’t know why this has to occur and that he is sick and tired of the whole thing.

The author wants Koreans and Japanese to get along instead of fighting. Do note the year this manwha was published in. It was year 1998 where the ban on Japanese names/places is comic was just starting to be lifted, and the author makes sure to use Japanese names along with Japanese language which was unheard of at that time.

So, in a nutshell, just for that message, the author attempted to create something of a plot to fit it in. He clearly knew the basics since he added Miho as the protagonist. A hot chick as MC lures guys in after all. Too bad that she never did anything in the whole series. Ban did everything from the beginning to the end, which is why he is on the cover rightfully so.

Now who is Ban? I don’t know. Given clues, I can guess that he is an immortal buddhist priest. As for why he fights monsters and fights Japanese in the manwha, I don’t have the slightest idea.

That is why I call the plot a horror clusterfuck of a plot. There isn’t even a plot. The author just wanted his message in a fancy form.

I do understand the author’s point though. Censorship against anything Japanese back in the era was plain stupid and childish, not because I was against it but because of the close proximity between the two nations.

Now I do understand the desire for the censorship. Japan has indeed done awful a lot of bad deeds against Koreans, historically speaking. It is not something that can be denied.
However, Korea and Japan are simply too close for any sort of censorship to have worked. The censorship was failing even before the era of the internet (my era). It would never work in modern era therefore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s