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Ragnarok Manhwa - Initial Thoughts Focusing On Norse Mythology

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, chaos, balder, god, norse mythology
Have you heard about the graphic novel entitled Ragnarok: Into The Abyss? Have you read it? What did you think about it? Would you recommend it to others?

While still considered a graphic novel or comic, if you will, Ragnarok: Into The Abyss is actually not a Japanese Manga. Rather, it is what is known as a Manhwa, the Korean version of the Japanese Manga.

Nonetheless, manga or not, I still decided to read it anyway. What drew me to be interested in this graphic novel was its title and the fact that it is said to be loosely based on Norse Mythology.

As I am interested in Norse Mythology, I saw no reason not to start reading this manhwa. I am still in the process of reading it though, which is why the words "initial thoughts" is included in the title of this post. I also added "focusing on Norse Mythology" because I found that I have a lot more to say about this series. I've already written about some of these things like on this post or this one.
ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, norse mythology
With all that out of the way, let's get to the main point of this post. Ragnarok: Into The Abyss is loosely based on Norse Mythology, but the emphasis is definitely on the word "loosely".

The stuff about mythology is what gets me to continue reading this manhwa, but it's not all about Norse Mythology because there are many things in this graphic novel that make it different from how the Norse myths and legends happened. The fact that there are other characters aside from those that appear in Norse stories is only the beginning of the differences, but this one is definitely the most prominent.

In fact, so far, I've only seen a handful of the characters that appear in Norse Mythology including Fenris Fenrir, Frigg and the Norns (the appearance of the Norns barely lasted a few pages. Frigg's appearance lasted a bit longer than that, but I thought it was still rather short). I do hope we'll get to see more of these characters as the story progresses.

The original characters are interesting enough, but there's still so much about them that hasn't been explained or revealed. The story of Ragnarok: Into The Abyss is interesting, but I found the start or its beginning to be a little rough in terms of being confusing.

fenris fenrir, norse mythology, ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa
I mean, I'm still reading it because of its connection and relation to Norse Mythology (though even the characters that are from Norse Mythology don't seem to be exactly at they ought to be), but the whole Ragnarok thing still hasn't really been explained as of yet or if it has, it hasn't been explained all that well.

To clarify that, let me start by saying that, in Norse Mythology, Ragnarok is the twilight of the gods or the end of the world. In the manhwa, it apparently means the same thing and part of the plot revolves around this.

There's more to it than that, but it can all be rather confusing and I intend to read more of the graphic novel before discussing this further. Moreover, with the introduction of new original characters and with many parts different from how it really is in Norse Mythology, Ragnarok: Into The Abyss hasn't yet really explained how all these differences work.

But it's certainly necessary to do so in order for readers to better understand what is going on. For instance, we find out that the character Sara Irine is a Valkyrie, which is perfectly fine, of course.

But then we also find that she is apparently a human from Midgard and I'm left wondering exactly how Valkyries are made, created, or appointed or something in this manhwa because, in Norse Mythology, nothing is said about the Valkyries being human.

loki, ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, norse mythology, trickster god
In fact, the myths seem to suggest that they're like goddesses since they also live in Asgard and they have the task of bringing warriors and heroes to Valhalla, a hall located in the realm of the gods.

Anyway, I'm hoping that the manhwa will get better and the many questions that I have will get answered as I continue to read this graphic novel.

I'd also like to add some things that I've noticed with this comic, one of which is that I'm finding the fight scenes to be rather long and drawn-out.

Said scenes seem to last for several pages before ending. And a number of fight scene pages don't even contain dialogue, just explosions and action and the like. Those who like fight scenes may not mind this at all, but, for me, I prefer shorter fight scenes so we can get straight back to the plot and get the story moving again.

After all, in the fight scenes I've seen so far, it was pretty obvious who would win anyway like when Skurai pretty much decimated the entire Assassin's Guild all by himself. It would have been better if there was only a short fight scene and we get to know right away who won and who lost.

Another thing I noticed was that there are quite a number of scenery and landscape shots in the Ragnarok manhwa and even pages that don't contain any dialogue or talking at all and all of these seem to have been drawn for the sole purpose of merely showing these things.

skurai, talatsu, ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, assassins guild
Maybe some people won't mind this at all, but, for me, I find that pages with no dialogue and with nothing to see but landscapes and more landscapes stops the story in its tracks and don't really seem to have any purpose at all.

In other words, I wonder about the necessity of adding these pages?

Well, it looks like this post focused on some other things too aside from Norse Mythology, but it mostly focused on Norse Mythology so the title should still count.

Anyway, what about you? What were your initial thoughts on Ragnarok: Into The Abyss? If you haven't read it yet, are you planning to read it? Does it sound interesting enough to you?

*Notes:
- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki based on the image by Rusembell (CC:BY) from deviantArt
- Said image was chosen because of its magic and fantasy aspects and how the figure could pass off as a character from Ragnarok
- The rest of the pics are enlarged product images from Amazon.com; links shown above via Amazon's Native Shopping Ads widget

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