Last month in Manhwa Chronicles, I reviewed a manhwa series based around student characters. I have decided to follow that same theme for this review, which will be about a popular, Naver web comic! However, before I begin, I wanted to briefly talk about an event that took place early last month, which brought this particular title to my attention.
One of the highlights (and a great finisher) to my summer was the London Korean Festival. Not only did I see one of my favourite girl groups f(x) perform again (after seeing them for the first time four years ago at SM Town Paris), I was able to watch the fantastic b-boy group Jinjo Crew, catch the wonderful traditional Korean fashion shows, and meet up with a lot of friends/followers from my Twitter too. The weather was exceptionally hot that day and I don’t think anyone realised just how huge this event would be, since 35,000 people were in attendance!
The festival was held at Trafalgar Square, a very public and open area so it was not hard to miss. There are two main fountains and stairs that lead to a museum, more open space and paths going towards other iconic London landmarks such as Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown. For the festival itself, at the top of the stairs were exhibition stalls focusing around Korean themes such as animation, fashion, K-Pop, games, technology and of course my favourite, manhwa!
Because it was so crowded, I had to revisit the manhwa stall twice! During my second time, I was able to get some decent-ish pictures.
Amongst the fantastic illustrations on the walls, were also leaflets that had information about a manhwa viewing/reading app, placed around the stall. If attendees downloaded the apps on the day and showed proof that they did, they were also gifted with a goodie bag!
The God of High School (갓 오브 하이스쿨)
I have actually heard of this web comic, so I’m very surprised that it’s taken me so long to pick it up and check out! It is an ongoing series created by Park Yong Jae (박용제) and the original uploads are posted on the comics section of Naver.
It tells the story of 17 year old student Mori Jin, who claims he is the strongest fighter and that is proved by his fighting statistics profile, which is displayed during his introduction. Out of 299 fights, he has won 297 times and tied in the rest! That, plus a background in Taekwondo thanks to his grandfather, makes him officially eligible and enrolled onto ‘The God of High School’, a global tournament in which the overall winner is granted any wish.
After a very short fight and his first loss to Mr R; the head of The God of High School committee, Mori quickly accepts his loss and believes that he has to become stronger. Gradually in each chapter, separate characters are enlisted and invited to join the tournament. It doesn’t look like it takes much persuasion for them to join anyway because the committee members just seem to know what to say or do in order for the potential fighters to agree!
What I liked about it
I always question whether something popular really does live up to its hype. I also try to seek out the reason why people like that particular something so much. With this web comic, I feel that it appeals to readers, especially the younger ones. Why? Well, the obvious reason is that the main characters are around the same age range. Being students and in some way or another, they are very independent and learn how to fend for themselves. Sure, they have unique fighting styles which can help make it easier to like them, but it’s their background stories, the way they are all brought together through this tournament which makes it hard for me to dislike them!
Their personalities and their way of thinking are very relatable. It’s the simple question of “if given the chance to do this, for you to do that, would you?” in Park Yong Jae’s creation which makes younger readers steer in the right direction and us older readers nod and react in a sense where we would say “if we were younger, we would do the same thing as well.” One character that really stuck out to me personally was Daewi Han who enters the tournament to save his best friend from a life threatening disease.
Are Park’s characters newer, modern types of a hero? Or perhaps even anti heroes? Whatever their label could be, I feel that their stories and this web comic could help students in real life (who feel like they’re alone, weak or that no one will listen to them) find their own voice or at least make them feel they’re worth it and can do anything, if they put their mind to it.
What I disliked about it
Come on, what is there not to like about it? The characters are great, it’s jam packed with action, and there’s also a bit of humour thrown into the mix! I’d like to really recommend chapter four for that point alone, because it portrays a scenario with all the main characters and what the author jokingly describes as an addition of a character, that isn’t really relevant but always has to be included, because every other comic has one!
I believe I’ve officially found a title that can share the number one spot in my manhwa reading list! Banya and Mori are very similar – they’re both reckless teenage boys, like to accomplish missions, find the fun in things while helping those around them. I wonder what they both would be like in a battle together…Oh man, now that would be a cool idea and great topic discussion!
This entire story is definitely addictive because while I’ve been writing this review, I’ve been distracted at various times by reading more chapters! I have 200+ of them to get through too, so I should quickly wrap up!
Have you read The God of High School? Do you prefer web comics to manhwa volumes? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.