Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Manhwa Review: Ill-fated Relationship

I was hoping to have this review up last week but my ipod has been a little strange lately* and it took me some time to realize I could only get this app to load when it wasn't connected to the wifi. And I feel bad about this delay since allaboutmanga had asked on twitter if anyone wanted a copy of this app to review (who did the adaption) and I volunteered so again I apologize for the delay.

Ill-Fated Relationship by Hwang Joon Ho

Summary: Two unnamed serial killers meet each other and through their encounters the audience explores their pasts and how they became the people they are.

The Good: When I heard about this story I was told that it was very different from the manhwa that normally gets published in the US which is quite true, I can think of very few manhwa titles that aren't romance first everything else second. Actually, stories about serial killers aren't that common either so it was certainly a different read and a nice change of pace. The pace itself works well (the story is 20 chapters long but they are all fairly short) and the story not only starts in a logical place but it also ends at one (even if it is a bit predictable) and covers all the events in-between that it needs to. It feels like a very complete work without any major flaws.

The Bad: Once the back stories of the characters become clear they become much less interesting characters (partially because, given how the story was going, once everything was explained I knew the end wasn't far off and I just wished it would get there already). Neither of their situations were new ideas or compelling reasons to go out and murder random people, I honestly couldn't help but think that this could have all been prevented and, when you begin to think that there was no reason why the story should have happened, that something else should have happened instead, then you start to like it less. It's a character driven story, there's no doubt about that, but at times the characters just aren't that interesting.

The Visuals/Presentation: The art style is very simple (in full color) but it feels like it was intentionally drawn that way (opposed to the artist not having the skills to draw more complicated artwork). The presentation of the comic itself is very nicely done, each panel fills the whole screen (so there's no need to constantly readjust the page to read the comic) and panels that are too large for this appear to have been planned this way and make nice use of the pan effect. Once the app loads up (there is a short load time for each chapter, only about a minute or less) it's easy to navigate between panels, it's all very smoothly done.

 I'm of two minds about the pricing for this app (again, I got it for free as a review copy but since you have to buy this title I thought it was worth mentioning). Currently the price is $4.99 but regularly it's $8.99 and I'm just not sure if it's worth that. I did a few quick calculations and discovered that this app has as many pages as one and a half or two volumes of a regular paperback which makes the price seem quite good (especially since it's in color) but the fact is that the digital copy of a book needs to be cheaper than the print copy in order to sell (even though cutting out printing costs doesn't cut a lot of the costs I belive, I know it doesn't for regular novels). So, if you're interesting in this app, get it now since I don't know how long that price will last. I think it's an interesting story (I'm actually planning on seeing if a few friends of mine want to borrow my ipod and read it for themselves) but not exactly to my tastes.

*such as not connecting to the internet even when it's logged into the local wi-fi and being convinced it's 1970. I think that second part means that something got reset in the coding so I'm thinking of taking it in soon. TL;DR: this is hardly the first time I've had trouble with my ipod lately so I doubt it's the app's fault that I had trouble loading it sometimes.

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