This is a title I’ve actually translated although I didn’t complete it because, at that time, Spot toon put a stop on the project in the name of copyright.
Now, this was a title I initially did not expect to translate. It was one of my editors who said he wanted to work on. I figured why not.
My main reason for not wanting to translate on my own was due to how dark it was.
It is really dark. It is darker than black and darker than anything I’ve seen from Japanese manga. I don’t actually have a problem with a plot being so dark. I mean, I do not mind. I’ve said this numerous times when I was active in scanlation. It is that I do not care what genre I work on. I just want to find passion in works.
Originally, I translated the title as the Chronicle of Myo-Jin. It seems that Spot toon translated it as Myojin tales. FYI, Spot toon sold the title to Daum. The webtoon is listed on their site now. Daum also removed English version. The English version was free for all, and I believe Daum felt that, since we Koreans can read English to some extent due to mandatory English classes, they could end up reading the English version instead of Korean one. Thus, they removed English version all together.
A dick move, if you ask me.
With that out of the way, let’s begin with the story. What you will see in this review is my own translated version.
The background is medieval Korea. It could be anything from 5th century to 15th.
This is Myo-Jin’s story which should be obvious, given the title. There are some Korean folklore elements here and there but it’s not really about folklore. It is strictly about Myo-Jin who is basically a fallen angel. There is also one more thing. It is the never ending circle of revenge.
The story begins with a new-born baby without any eyes. His mother is desperate to give him the gift of sight that she begs Myo-Jin to grant him an eye. He refuses and gets subsequently tricked into losing an eye.
He is livid and chases after the mother, killing her by an accident. He attempts to take his eye back which has now been implanted into the baby. But then an idea pops up. If he cares for the baby until he comes of age, it will be a very good deed. Although not intended, he has given the baby his eye. If he nurtures the baby on top of that, it will be a very good deed indeed, perhaps even good enough to be called back to the Heavens.
Thus, Myo-Jin’s story of looking after the baby begins, or not.
Because he is a terrible father. In fact, he simply locks him up until he becomes an adult. Once an adult, he leaves and that’s it. He is not recalled to the Heavens, and his adopted son leaves to live on his own.
Some may say this is a redemption story. But I strongly disagree. For redemption to even work, one must feel remorse and act to fix what he has done wrong in the past.
Myo-Jin does none of that. He does not feel sorry for what he has done. He does not try to fix things.
His solution to a problem is always kill first and think later. Removing a source of a problem by murder is a solution, yes, but an extreme one. But that is what you will see in this webtoon.
Over the course of about 60 episodes which are spread out for 4 seasons, you will see Myo-Jin applying his extreme measure of problem solving by killing. He does not feel guilty for what he does and wonders when or if he will ever get back to the Heavens.
He does not show mercy. He does not care about others’ feelings. He does what he does because, well, he can. He stays true to himself to the very end.
This is his tale.
⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️ Spoiler warning ⚠️⚠️⚠️⚠️
This webtoon is brutal and utterly painful to read at times.
I actually don’t feel sorry or angry about Myo-Jin because he is within his rights to do what he does. He may be a brute but he does not kill without a reason .
Originally the story begins with him showing his ruthless side but later story is about something else. In the end, he does get recalled to the Heavens. What really is interesting is that it’s not because he changes his ways. No, he never changes his ways. It is because he learns something from his countless murders.
Now, that does not happen often. In fact, this webtoon may be the only one where a supposedly villain is justified in what he has done and is forgiven by Gods.
At this point, I’d like to call back what I’ve written in my Ii Hito review.
A typical hero in anime or manga can also be described as a blindly good person. He denounces evil and does only good deeds without having never been to dark places prior. Such people exist because that is all they know. It’s their world and they’ve never been to the other side, the dark side.
I personally believe that only those who’ve been to dark places before can truly be good people. What I mean by that is that only those who know what darkness is really like can appreciate light and hold onto it under duress because they would know too well what it would be like to go back into darkness.
I feel that Myo-Jin falls into this case. By nature, he is a ruthless person. He does not hesitate to kill. At the same time, as the story progresses, as he watches others falling into deep despair and become evil, he starts to see his own reflection in their transformations.
In the end, he attempts to save a certain someone from becoming drenched in complete darkness because he sees himself in the event. In doing so, he sort of reaches sublimity. He is still what he is. He hasn’t changed his ways but he is able to see from both sides, light & dark.
He hasn’t redeemed himself. I mean, saving just one person when he has killed hundreds does not make him a good person suddenly. But he has learned what it means to kill others.
Thus, he is forgiven. That’s the gist of this story.
Now, I am not sure I should recommend this story to you. If you have a fragile heart, do yourself a favor and avoid this webtoon at all cost.
Be warned: Children will die. Babies will die. People will be brutally murdered. Nothing is censored in killing. This webtoon gets as dark as it gets. I’ve never seen such a dark story.
At the same time, it pleases me that there is such a webtoon like this exists. Perpetually staying in a comfort zone never improves anything. One must be adventurous and be prepared to take losses. A story like this would have been typically turned down at once in a review cubic box of a publishing company.
But. because of a fact that webtoon skips the middle guy, authors are able to express freely, giving a birth to a gem like this which views heroism from a dark side instead of a good side.
A very good webtoon, this is regardless how dark it is.