The poll last week was on the level of interest in Hoyrang's story. The majority were "definitely interested", myself included. Though as you'll read below, I have developed some reservations.
Now onto the review!
Chapter 124 & 125 Review
They are a well oiled machine.
The main focus of these chapters was bringing Koon's team and Horyang into conflict as they both head toward the ultimate goal of the Devil of the Right Arm. The fight was created in large part because Koon quickly losses control of his two strongest who mistakenly assume Horyang is the one they were searching for. This highlights how unstable Koon's team really is. He has collected an able group of regulars but he has failed to truly unite them as a team.
Horyang, for his part, continues to make his way toward his old friend Cassano through a labyrinth of traps; along with the trouble Koons team brings. Coming to this place alone was a mistake and it seems like he might be nearing the point of realizing that.
Another pretty big plot factor going forward is Baam's decision to bring Horyang back. There are many possibly repercussions for this, good and bad, which I will get into in the points of interest. What I will say though is that I loved the scene with Goseng and Miseng. Which served to show that Horyang has "value" beyond what he realizes.
A broader point about the plot I unfortunately need to mention is the decision to focus so strongly on Horyang and Koon's team. Specifically that I don't like it. I'll elaborate later but suffice it to say. I think the decision to single those characters out in the way they have been was a mistake much the same way I think the way Baam was introduced in part 2 was a mistake.
I thought the art was good, for the most part. I have to confess I think Tower of God's combat art can be some of it's weakest at times. Not because it's poorly drawn but more because it always seems like SIU struggles to fully show what he wants to. The artwork often just doesn't take a wide enough perspective to show the full effect of attacks and really express the power. These two chapters were prime examples of that. Resulting in neither Ran or Horyang coming across as looking as powerful as I think they were intended to. Besides that I thought both these chapters looked really good.
This is an odd pair of chapters. Odd in the sense that the quality was pretty good and the story wasn't bad exactly; but they weren't as interesting as I believe they were intended to be. So I won't be scoring them very high.
I give them a 3 out of 5
Points of Interest
Horyang VS Koon's Team: and Why I Haven't Liked it.
Listen to the lady.
SIU is a spectacularly creative and talented writer. I'd, without a moments hesitation, say he belongs in the top 3 writers in all of Manga/Manhwa; but even he isn't perfect. And I think the way this arc was set up underscores that.
Here's the thing, a story without interesting or riveting characters isn't much of a story at all. This is rarely a problem for Tower of God because the cast of characters is fantastic. The problem is that sometimes SIU seems to get ahead of himself and tells the story before he's familiarized us with the characters in that story.
How this relates to Horyang vs Koons team is that this whole arc has stumbled out of the gate because of that very thing. I have no emotional connection to Koon's team at all and to Horyang it's only just forming. Horyang needed the kind of character support the scene with Miseng, Goseng, and Baam gave him at the end of 125. Him being left without that support for several chapters made everything drag more than it needed to; and I don't think that should have happened. It's a lot like when the cast of Part 2 were introduced without any character support from Baam, just on a smaller scale. I think this could have been, and should have been, done better; and I hope in the future it will be.
See this is why glowing icons that help your opponents understand your abilities are a bad idea.
We got a bit of a better picture of what Horyang's abilities as a living ignition weapon are. His arm apparently can switch abilities between speed, defense, power, and possibly more. With the wing turning into an icon of sorts for each "mode". It creates and interesting visual style to his battles even if it seems a bit... problematic (an icon telling your opponent which power your using seems highly impractical).
Protagonist on the Way
Baam is coming. My first impulse of course is to be excited about Baam's ruinion with Koon but things actually might not be so simple. Koon's doesn't know Horyang is Baam's friend nor do any of Koon's team know who Baam is. This could pretty easily turn into a pretty nasty fight and with the lighthouse destroyed Koon might not know, until he comes face to face with Baam, who he is. And, god forbid, if Koon or one of his people were to kill Horyang. How would Baam react?
Whatever comes I'd suggest bracing yourselves, considering how things usually go in Tower of God, it's unlikely we're headed for a reunion filled with nothing but smiles and hugs.
Last edited by Jammin; January 02, 2013 at 04:33 PM.
If Horyang's death does occur at the hand's of Koon's team (though it is unlikely given Cassano's presence and Horyang's ignition) I think that would be absolutely excellent for the plot. I want more angst and real rage, something to cloud our hero's heart more and to make Koon even more of a mixed bag. :P
I doubt Koon's team would kill Horyang. Koon wants to recruit the DOTRA, but he's not limited to just one, actually - if he finds out there are 2 devils, he'd probably want both in his team. And Ran isn't as stupid as to kill Horyang (I hope), especially while he still thinks that's the DOTRA they're supposed to catch.
Man, everytime koon enters the plot things get interesting, at least for me xD
No wonder SiU said he hates writing chapters he is into, because he has to create this kind of plots, like the hide and seek test ^^
I still think FUG must have some back plan to things like this and so Baam wont meet koon so soon =\ But well they will meet at the gongbang anyway. Imagine Baam's old team vs Baam's new team in a tournament like that
And Jamm that poll is misleading xD I seriously didn't see the "Excluding Rachel and Koon" lol
It's fun what you say about what you dont like of Koon's team vs Horyang, because I experienced the same feelings when I read part 1. So I wonder if there is a real difference between the two parts on these features you pointed. Becuase maybe that is SIU's style. Now I just read the whole manhwa some days ago. So my reading experience could be different than the experience of people who has been reading it week per week from the beginning. Anyway, the whole point could come to this: also in the middle of a fight, you can come to have a emotional connection to a nobody. Emotional connections can be builded that way.
If you remember Baam was basically the foundation of everything in the beginning. He was introduced then other characters were built up through his. Later on, characters would be deepened further and more about them would be revealed but typically this happened through the course of their involvement with Baam; or one of the characters developed through him. The tests actually provided a great mechanism for it basically revealing who all these character are on a pretty deep level without straying far from Baam's story. So it always stayed pretty closely connected all the way through.
To use a more recent example of this sort of thing being done the same way, think of "Emile". The focusing on her kept itself riveting by interconnecting it with other important characters. This supplied many paths to become emotionally connected to her and as result I thought that little mini-arc shined.
Most good authors do this with relatively undeveloped characters (or weak characters). Generally the closer and more often you can like such characters to the the deeper or more interesting part of the cast the more their stories will resonate and the easier it is for that character to get an emotional foothold with audience. While it's true you can start characters with little or even none of that support, doing this basically forces the new character to compete with the old ones for the audiences attention; as opposed to making them all feel like the two groups compliment each other.
An example of this is the beginning of part 2. I've grown to love Yoen, Arkraptor, and Miseng but at their initial introduction I just wanted them gone so I could get back to Androssi, Rak, Anak, and Baam. That wasn't fair to those characters but I couldn't help but feel that way because the story didn't use Baam to bridge that emotional gap for some time. It left me feeling impatient rather than interested and resulted in my focusing more one "who they weren't" rather than "who they were". Which really unfortunate, I think.
PS: Sorry for the essay sized post.
Last edited by Jammin; January 05, 2013 at 01:58 PM.
I'm liking the review this week.
I only care about Ran and Novick anyway, and Novick only because he seems likes Ran's sidekick in the way that Anak is Androssi's sidekick. Admittedly, I don't care about Anak that much, so it's doubtful that I care about Novick that much.
I have to think that we'll have some happy ending at some point, because if Ran and Novick were to somehow kill Horyang, how would that leave Koon and Baam when Baam shows up? Unless Baam would miss the whole thing and just find Horyang's body lying there? Eventually though, Baam would learn what happened and THERE WOULD BE BLOOD!
Overall, I think that SIU's done a pretty poor job with a lot of characters in S2. He hasn't even tried to create stories for the minor characters or have the readers take an interest in most of them. He's created them, but then either not shown them, or if they are shown, they're just on the periphery. I don't even know where we stand with a lot of them anymore.
SIU told us that Wangnan was important and all, but he hasn't done anything to make me feel any connection to him. In fact, even before this Devil thing, Horyang was actually the only member of Baam's team that I cared about at all. SIU creates Quatro and Chang, has Quatro get utterly owned, and then says that we'll see more of them/fight against them during Gongbang. Why should I care about them or want to see them again?
All of the character decisions that SIU did right in the first season haven't been done properly in the second season. Then again, in the first season, SIU didn't have numerous different groups moving around at the same time with a more complex, convoluted, and confusing story that seems to just be drifting more and more each chapter. For example, I want to see freaking ANDROSSI already and see the Gongbang, not all of these little sidestories. I'm sure that these stories are all important and have some meaning, but I can't see it in the larger picture right now. Instead of seeing that pointless bit with Quatro and Chang, I'd rather have seen another Hachuling, Lero-ro, and Quant moment.
FOR me i hate manhwa/manga with many many characters....i dont know where horyang or wangan came from but when i finally connected the characters in season 1 (yuri,androssi,anak and rak )he took away from me....i am not mad that they havent shown up but i cant connect these new characters the same way i did in season 1.....here is what i was hoping to happen in season ,lets just say part of it SUI brought in season 2 but the other half nahhhhh,,,,,,
i was hoping
that i would see more more of yuri zahard and the conflicts in zahard kingdom. , and i was hoping to see baam coz he was betrayed and i wanted him to stay the darkside and i havent seen androssi since baam died and i havent even seen her reaction or when the director of the second floor giving them speech...same as rak
i apologize if i writte something wrong but tht was my expectation of season 2
It's perfectly reasonable to be frustrated by how the story has shifted away from the characters you became more deeply connected to. I and many others feel the same way. I think Tower of God has taken strides to help make the most of the situation but, in all honesty, I think Season one is still better than Season two; even with the awesomeness of Mazino.
Hopefully they'll all be back together soon, and something I think we're all looking forward to.