Ongoing Investigations: Case #063

And so ends Kim Dong Hwa’s Color series with the Color of Heaven. The series proves itself to be a classic Shakespearean Comedy despite the fact that it is not an Elizabethan play. That means that it ends on a positive note with a wedding of a couple that has been separated. We begin with Duksam having to leave the village after the events in the last book. Now Ehwa must, like her mother, wait patiently for the man she loves to return to her. It is also her mother’s turn to support her daughter. But all is well that ends well. Ehwa resolves any lingering feelings she has for past loves before her wedding and we end with a consummation scene that is mostly symbolic but does not shy away from being tastefully graphic. Overall the series has been consistently solid. The Color trilogy has maintained its highbrow feel while still having a graceful humanity. With its relatively short but substantial length and its more mature narrative the Color series is a manhwa to show to people who might not necessarily give your standard manga a chance.

The beginning of The Color of Heaven starts very somberly as Ehwa is separated from Duksam and knows not when he will return. The first two book build up to this point of falling truly in love, so the third has a lot of quiet moments of introspection and realization. Also about half of the book involves waiting and waiting. However, that isn’t to say it is boring, much to the credit of the author, the growth between mother and daughter is subtle and beautiful. Ehwa’s mother is a woman who knows through maturity the power of longing and waiting and she imparts many important lessons on Ehwa in this final volume. In fact, much of this concluding story seems to be as much about her mother as it is about Ehwa. But perhaps even more telling is Ehwa’s ability to understand these lessons while still maintaining a hint of her naivete when it comes to the relationships between man and woman unlike her moments in the first two book. What becomes increasingly obvious through various conversations with her friend and mother is Ehwa’s ability to emotionally understand herself and her love but not to physically understand the relationships between the sexes. The finally moments of the book play out between Ehwa and Duksam while being interspersed with her mother and the picture man and also a set of neighbors. And you feel her education while not complete has finally gotten to a new plateau. The Color series has been both artistically unique and calmly enthralling and as such is a series that needs to be read and experienced.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #045

It time for more the part of Ongoing Investigations were I show you what toys I bought. First up is new two newest Portraits of Pirates. The set seems to have back in black as the theme. The first is the newest member of the Straw Hat Pirates, Brook. He is a skeleton, with an Afro, a top hat, and a suit who plays the violin. If this combination of words does not make you want a figure of him, I am not sure what I can say to sell you on it. He comes with a sword cane, a tea cup, and his tone dial. Also you can also pop open the little compartment in his skull and keep the tone dial in there which I find an amusing attention to detail. In contrast we have Rob Lucci. Another man in a black suit with a top hat but with a completely different tone to the lighthearted Brook. Rob also comes with his pigeon Hattori and his mask. I really think that as the Portrait of Pirates series has gone on they have really come into their own. While Rob is  not as complex as some of the latest entries into the series he is well done and really captures the essence of the character. Brook is complex and customizable for a static pose figure. I am a little surprised that they decided to make Rob instead of the more popular Kaku.

Picked up Spiral’s seventh volume. There are some bigger points that start to uncover themselves here, just hints but it is expected to come slowly. Ayumu taking on brute force verse his logic is great. It also randomly reminded me of the L movie where they sort of imply that violence can beat brains as well. I don’t think I would normally notice that but since I watched that and read this so close to each other it stuck out. I also like that Ayumu is admitting his brother is manipulating everyone like a puppet though he just plain doesn’t want to think so. I also found a couple of moments with Hiyono possibly revealing there is more going on under the surface. Has me curious. Looking forward to more as usual.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #040

Picked up Bride of the Water God volume one from Dark Horse. This is one of their manhwa releases. It is the story of a girl who is married off to the God of Water to prevent the village from further hardship because of a drought. When she arrives she runs into a little boy who ignores her when she speaks to him. He is of course the Water God. There is a large cast of other Gods as well as the Water God’s attendant who girl’s name mistakes for the God when she first arrives. Both girl’s name and the Water God have sad pasts that are more than hinted at. The artwork is very nice and that is probably the strongest thing about it. The story wasn’t bad but it wasn’t especially well done either. Most of the side characters are just thrown in her and there without real reasoning. It may have held my interest if girl’s name fell in love with attendant’s name rather than the Water God, but that isn’t the case.

Color of Water flows from the first book (Color of Earth) without missing a beat. Ehwa had two potential relationships that failed to bloom but soon finds herself falling for a young wrestler. Her mother continues her relationship with the traveling calligraphist. If the theme of the first volume was discovering love then the main theme in this volume seems to be waiting for relationships to develop and dealing with long distance relationships. The closeness of Ehwa and her mother grows a little more distant. As with any teenager, Ehwa needs to develop a little more away from her mother and she begins to keep much more to herself. The frank nature of discovering your sexuality continues into this book especially when it comes to masturbation. Overall the storytelling and artwork remain top notch.

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