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Ragnarok: Into The Abyss Manhwa Review

Friday, May 30, 2014 No comments:
myung jin-lee, ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, chaos, fenris fenrir, review
What can be said about the Ragnarok: Into The Abyss manhwa by Myung Jin-Lee?

Should this series be recommended? What review rating can be given to this comic?

This is a review for all 10 volumes of the manhwa series. However, this will only be a collated overview of the entire series.

The things mentioned here are discussed in greater detail in the many other articles about Ragnarok: Into The Abyss, which you can find by checking out this tag. With that out of the way, let's get started with the review.
ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, myung jin-lee, review
First of all, the Ragnarok series is not that bad. It's actually a pretty okay graphic novel, but it's not perfect. It's far from perfect actually and it's not without its flaws. Let's take a look at some of the comic's pros and cons (in no particular order).

Pros:

1. Awesome Art

Seriously, the art in this manhwa is really very good. The characters are all very nicely-drawn including the sceneries and landscapes and the like. Simply put, the comic is nice to look at thanks to its awesome art.

2. Interesting Storyline / Plot

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, myung jin-lee, fenris fenrir
The woman in this image
is Fenris Fenrir, arguably one
of the best characters in the
Ragnarok manhwa
The storyline or plot of the graphic novel is quite interesting.

The fact that it's based on Norse Mythology just makes it all the more fascinating. This is especially the case for all those who find reading about Norse Mythology appealing.

For mythology fans, that's one good reason to want to read this manhwa.

But even those who aren't really into mythology or don't really know anything about said topic can still enjoy this comic if they like fantasy, magic and fight scenes.

3. Some Good Characters

There are some good characters with appealing personalities that just make readers root for them and want to get to know them more. Examples would be Fenris Fenrir, Loki, Frigg and the Norns (Urd, Verdandi, Skuld).

The aforementioned characters are all very likable that it really makes one wish there were more scenes involving or featuring these people. It also makes one wish that we got to know them even more.

4. Good Magic System

The graphic novel has a pretty cool magic system. There are a lot of different spells and rituals and weapons and the like as characters show off their moves and fight against each other. It makes those interested in these kinds of things want to find out more about the magic system in the comic and learn how it works.

Cons:

1. Pages Of Art And No Dialogue

ragnarok: into the abyss, myung jin-lee, manhwa
Pages of no dialog disrupt the
flow of the story, bringing the
plot to a stand still
Yes, I know. I just said that the manhwa's art was awesome and it is. That hasn't changed at all.

But who says that you can't enjoy both the comic's art and plot at the same time?

Readers can still appreciate the graphic novel's finely-drawn art even with dialogue blocking some of the drawings.

So there should be no reason why there has to be many pages where we see nothing but art and more art (such as sceneries and landscape shots and even fight scenes) with no words being spoken, and, sometimes, with nothing much happening at all.

All this does is bring the plot to a stand still and annoy readers who want to know what happens next already without all these unnecessary and needless interruptions.

2. Prolonged And Never-Ending Fight Scenes

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, skurai, loki, chaos, myung jin-lee
Those who like fight scenes might not see this as a con unless they also don't like prolonged fight scenes that never seem to end.

There's definitely a lot of that in the Ragnarok series. Many fight scenes take so long to end that it also brings the story to a stand still because the plot isn't advanced as we focus on nothing but fights between the characters.

This can annoy those who just want the fight to end already, so we can move on with the plot.

Examples of very long fight scenes include the one between Loki, Chaos and Skurai as well as the one between Chaos and Himmelmez.

3. Telling Instead Of Showing

There are many instances in the manhwa where there was more telling instead of showing, and, sometimes, all telling and no showing. There are times where we get told things in the previews or the summaries or the 'story so far' instead of in the comic proper itself.

For example, we are told about the shards of Ymir's Heart and how Freya wants this and how she sent Himmelmez to get this in one of the comic's previews and summaries. Things like that should be introduced and showed to us when we're reading the graphic novel itself, not told in this way because it ruins the flow of the story.

4. Some Annoying Characters

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, myung jin-lee, iris irine
Not all characters are awesome and likable, unfortunately. There are some that can be quite annoying at times and some that are not exactly likable.

For example, Iris Irine can act childish and immature at times pretty much most of the time and she can be quite really unlikable. She likes clinging to Chaos and acting like such a brat.

But then there are a few times where she shows that she's actually capable of being mature and even likable such as when she shows off her skills and abilities, making one wonder as to the reason for this inconsistency.

5. Some Confusing Parts

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, freya, goddess, norse mythology, myung jin-lee
Yes, the plot's pretty interesting, but it's also true that there are many confusing things about it.

There are many things that we wonder about and want to know about, but these things aren't explained to us clearly and some aren't explained to us at all.

For example, we know that Freya is supposed to be the bad guy, but we don't know why she has to be the villain and antagonist and why she's doing what she's doing.

The events that happened 1000 years ago keep being alluded to and there are some explanations, but it's still very much a mystery as to what exactly happened during that time. One thing is for sure though: the Freya in the Ragnarok manhwa is very much different from the goddess Freya in Norse Mythology.

Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that since the comic is only loosely based on mythology anyway. It's perfectly fine even if the characters are different from their counterparts (like Freya being the villain). The problem is that Ragnarok doesn't explain anything to us like we're just expected to go with the fact that Freya's the villain and that's that.

6. Instances Of Deus Ex Machina

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, fenris fenrir, bijou, iris irine, myung jin-lee
There are quite a number of scenes in the Ragnarok series that can be classified as or said to be deus ex machina and that's not a good thing at all.

A deus ex machina makes scenes unbelievable and even contrived.

An example is when Sara Irine was the one who ended up defeating both Bijou and Himmelmez even though she was supposed to be on their side.

This seemed to have come from out of nowhere since the main characters were losing against their opponents and probably would have been soundly beaten had it not been for the appearance and interference of a deus ex machina in the form of the aforementioned Valkyrie.

7. Incomplete / Unfinished Series

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, myung jin-lee
Ragnarok: Into The Abyss consists of 10 volumes, but, even with that many volumes, the series remains incomplete and unfinished, unfortunately.

While some may not mind that the series isn't complete, others will surely want closure and will want to know how the conflict is resolved and how the story ends.

It's too bad that we get nothing but a cliffhanger because Volume 10 ends in one.

The entire series just abruptly stops and it doesn't look like it will ever be continued, at least not anytime soon. It's quite disappointing, really, no?

Review Rating

Ragnarok: Into The Abyss Manhwa
Reviewed by Freya Yuki on May 30, 2014
Rating: 2

Overall, I give the Ragnarok: Into The Abyss manhwa series a 2 out of 5 stars (below average). The comic could have been so much better, but, then again, it could have been worse. It has its pros, but it also has a lot of cons, which led to its low score.

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, myung jin-lee, loki, chaos
The fact that the series is unfinished and incomplete also added to its low rating.

Truthfully, the graphic novel had a bit of a rough start, but things seemed to go pretty well and it wasn't that bad at all as the story was quite enjoyable though its inconsistencies and flaws lessened that a bit.

However, things seemed to go downhill when the Himmelmez arc ended and some of the characters had a makeover where their clothes and even hairstyles were changed.

With that, it seemed like the comic itself underwent a makeover and it wasn't for the best.

Again, for more details, you can check out the Ragnarok tags. The rest of the articles on this series discusses everything else in great detail including what the problems might be, what could be wrong with some scenes, the instances of deus ex machina in the comics, etc. So, what about you? How would you rate this series? Do you agree with the given rating? Why or why not?

*Notes:
- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki based on the image by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine (Public Domain) from Wikimedia Commons
- Pic shows Ragnarok happening in Norse Mythology, which the aforementioned manhwa series is loosely based on
- The rest of the pics are enlarged product images from Amazon.com; links shown above via Amazon's Native Shopping Ads widget

6 Anime You'll Think About When Reading Ragnarok Manhwa

Sunday, May 18, 2014 No comments:
What anime can you be reminded of when or while you're reading Ragnarok: Into The Abyss manhwa? Why would you be reminded of these anime?

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, anime
Before we take a look at the anime that you might end up thinking about or remembering when reading the aforementioned comic, let's take note of a few things first.

While several anime and the graphic novel may have their similarities, this doesn't necessarily mean they copied each other or something because, in spite of whatever similarities they may have, they're still quite different from each other anyway.

Moreover, just because you can think of a certain anime while reading a certain part of the manhwa, this doesn't mean that you'll be reminded of said anime all the time.

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, anime
Sometimes, you'll only be reminded of an anime when you encounter a particular scene or event in the graphic novel that can be similar or likened to an event or scene in another series.

At other times, it could even be just one single term being mentioned that would get you to think about another anime, which might have used the same term in the same or in a similar way or context.

Furthermore, this also depends on what anime you've already watched or heard of since you can't be reminded of something you've never even heard of yet. With all that out of the way, let's now take a look at some of the anime that you can think about when reading the Ragnarok series.

1. Full Metal Alchemist

fullmetal, full metal alchemist, anime, homunculus, lust, greed, envy, manga
Volume 8 of the graphic novel tells us about the character known as Skrymir who is, apparently, a homunculus.

When I heard that word, I was immediately reminded of the homunculus that appears in the anime series called Full Metal Alchemist (FMA).

In that series, the homunculi are the result of a failed human transmutation. They are created when an alchemist tries to bring someone back from the dead and fails.

An example of a homunculus in FMA is Sloth. She was born or was created after Edward Elric tried to return his mother from the dead. If you're wondering what else the Ragnarok homunculus has in common with the FMA homunculus other than their names, well, keep wondering. It's unlikely that we'll ever find out but, as this is discussed in the post about Skrymir, let's not talk about this now.

2. Pokémon

Pokémon, golem, skrymir, ragnarok: into the abyss, anime, manhwa
In Volume 9 of the graphic novel, we are told that Skrymir is now a golem (yeah, don't ask me how that happened; apparently the comic can't make up its mind or something).

Anyway, when I read that Skrymir was now a golem, I immediately got reminded of Pokémon, specifically the Pokémon known as Golem.

Golem is a rock and ground-type Pokémon. This one starts out as a Geodude then evolves into a Graveler before finally becoming a Golem, its final form.

The 2 golems from the 2 series don't really look all that alike though. Did you also get reminded of the Golem Pokémon when you heard that Skrymir in Ragnarok manhwa is also a golem?

3. InuYasha / Inu-Yasha

ragnarok: into the abyss, ymir's heart, midgard, manhwa
The preview for Volume 5 that appears at the end of Volume 4 of the Ragnarok manhwa is where we are first introduced to Ymir's Heart. This thing is said to be the lifeforce of Midgard.

Apparently, this can also ensure that Freya's reign will last for another thousand years, which is why she sent one of her followers, Himmelmez, to retrieve this heart for her.

The summary in Volume 5 gives us some more information about the heart. Midgard was apparently created from Ymir's Heart. Then it was scattered all over the world in shards and pieces.

Freya wants the heart for herself because its power will help her control the world and let her be its supreme ruler for a long time. So Freya sends 3 of her followers, Himmelmez, Bijou and Sara Irine, to Prontera where one of the shards or pieces of Ymir's Heart is located.

Of course, Chaos and the rest of the main characters just so happen to be in Prontera and they do their best to protect the heart piece. A fight ensues and it ends with the bad guys getting one of the heart shards. Now our heroes will have to travel around Midgard to locate the other pieces in order to prevent Freya from getting her hands on them and using it for her evil purposes.

inuyasha, inu-yasha, sango, miroku, kagome, shippou, kirara, anime, manga, manhwa, ragnarok: into the abyss, shikon no tama, ymir's heart
Doesn't this particular event or scene seem somewhat familiar to you? If you've watched the Inu-Yasha or InuYasha anime series, then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

Replace Ymir's Heart with the Shikon No Tama and you'll see the similarities between these two items. Both are very powerful, are wanted by many different people and are scattered in pieces all over the world.

The Shikon No Tama or the Jewel of Four Souls or the Sacred Jewel is a magical and powerful jewel that exists in the world of the InuYasha series.

Certain events happening led to the jewel, not only being shattered into millions of shards and pieces, but also scattering to the four corners of the world. The protagonists, consisting of Inu-Yasha, Kagome, Miroku, Sango and Shippo (not counting Kirara), travel around in order to collect all of the Shikon shards and prevent the main villain, Naraku, from obtaining the jewel for himself.

In the same way, the main characters of Ragnarok, consisting of Chaos, Fenris Fenrir, Loki, Lidia and Iris Irine, also travel around Midgard, to look for the pieces of Ymir's Heart and stop the main antagonist, Freya, from getting her hands on the heart.

4-6. Flame Of Recca, Yu Yu Hakusho, Hunter X Hunter

Numbers 4 to 6 are listed together because one single event in the Ragnarok series reminded me of these 3 anime. What is this scene exactly? And how can one scene remind one of so many anime?

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, geffen, tournament of magic, city of magic, fenris fenrir
In Volume 8, the protagonists arrive in Geffen, the City of Magic. We then find out that there is going to be a Festival of Magic.

Thanks to that, all the shops except the inns and booths will be closed, leaving our heroes stranded in this city, unable to leave and head to their destination.

The festival will last for half a month. Obviously, the main characters can't wait that long and would like to leave the city as soon as possible.

Fortunately, there is going to be a Tournament of Magic. In this tournament, only magic can be used by the fighters. The winner will get many prizes (exact prizes have not been specified) and, apparently, one of the prizes can help Chaos and the others with their transportation problem. And that's the reason why Fenris Fenrir is made to join the Tournament of Magic.

Volume 9 is where we see the tournament and Fenris battling against other people and showing us readers just how cool and awesome she is with the way she fights and wins against her opponents.

Flame of Recca, anime, manga, recca no hono, Recca Hanabishi, Fūko Kirisawa, Domon Ishijima, Tokiya Mikagami, Kaoru Koganei
In the anime series Flame of Recca (Rekka no Hono), there is also a tournament known as the Ura Butō Satsujin.

The main characters, including Recca Hanabishi, Fūko Kirisawa, Domon Ishijima, Tokiya Mikagami, Kaoru Koganei, join and fight in this tournament using magical items known as madōgu (psychic devices).

In this tournament, we saw many different kinds of cool psychic devices and awesome fight scenes between the resident heroes and their opponents.

Yusuke Urameshi, Kuwabara, Kurama, Hiei, yu yu hakusho, anime, manga
The anime series Yu Yu Hakusho also has a tournament known as the Dark Tournament (Ankoku Bujutsukai or the Dark Martial Arts Association).

In this tournament, teams of humans and demons fight against each other. The team who wins gets any wish they want.

The protagonists, Yusuke, Kuwabara, Kurama, Hiei and Genkai, join this tournament and are collectively referred to as Team Urameshi.

As can be expected, they fight a lot of fierce battles but they are eventually declared as the winners of this tournament. Again, as with the other anime with tournaments, there are a lot of really cool fight scenes in this one and we get to see the heroes showcase their abilities and amazing fighting styles.

hunter x hunter, killua, gon, anime, manga
The anime Hunter x Hunter is similar to the aforementioned series in that there is also a tournament involved however they're not really all that similar.

Being in need of money and some training, Gon and Killua, 2 of the main characters in the series, head to what is known as the Heavens Arena (Tenkū Tōgijō).

This is a place where fighters and martial artists and all those who want to fight and earn some money gather. People fight matches and, if they win, they get the prize money and advance to the next level. Of course, that's easier said than done since many of the best fighters and those that are expert Nen users gather in this place to fight.

In the anime, we see Gon and Killua learning Nen, strengthening their skills and engaging in battles where they showcase what they learned and show how cool and amazing they really are, all the while also earning some money.

These are just some of the anime that you might think about while reading the Ragnarok manhwa. What do you think of all these other series? Do you like them? What other anime or manga can you think about when reading Ragnarok: Into The Abyss?

*Notes:
- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki based on the image by Rusembell, CC:BY from deviantArt
- The similarities between the two figures in the image are meant to represent the similarities that can sometimes be found in different anime series
- The rest of the pics are enlarged product images from Amazon.com; links shown above via Amazon's Native Shopping Ads widget
- Last 2 images are also from Amazon.com; links shown above

Why Does Ragnarok Manhwa Like Telling Instead Of Showing?

Tuesday, May 06, 2014 No comments:
ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, show, don't tell
This post is also known as 'the evolution and devolution of the summaries and previews of Ragnarok: Into The Abyss'.

What does that mean exactly? What are some examples of the manhwa telling instead of showing?

There are actually many times in the graphic novel wherein we are told a lot of things instead of being shown.

It really makes you wonder why the comic loves to tell us all about its plot rather than make things more believable by showing us what happened instead. What's wrong with showing us plot-related events? This is certainly more preferable than being told what happened and then being expected to believe that that is what happened just because the graphic novel said so.

The sad thing is that the comic doesn't do this all the time. There are times when the manhwa actually succeeds in making things believable by showing things to us, which proves that it is quite capable of showing, so why can't it show all the time?

Let's take a look at some of the summaries and previews of the graphic novel and see which ones did more telling than showing.

Volume 5 preview

The preview for Volume 5 that appears at the end of Volume 4 can be classified as telling. This is because this is where we are introduced to Himmelmez for the very first time. She was never mentioned in the previous volumes and yet, instead of properly introducing her to us, the preview does the introductions by telling us that she's a Valkyrie and necromancer working for Freya, the main villain/antagonist.

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, necromancer, valkyrie, Himmelmez
So, the first time we actually see her in the comic, we wouldn't even have to be surprised anymore since we already know a lot about her.

That's not an exaggeration either because this preview really goes out of its way to tell us all about Himmelmez.

Aside from telling us what she is and who she's working for, we're also told that she's going to be attacking Prontera. We even find out that she apparently has a flying fortress.

As if that wasn't enough, this is also where the pieces of Ymir's Heart are introduced as we're told that Freya has ordered Himmelmez to obtain the shards for her because, apparently, this will ensure that she can rule the world for another thousand years. How that is supposed to work, we don't know, which is a surprise, really, since it seems like the preview doesn't care if it reveals entire plot points to us.

The introduction of Himmelmez and the Heart of Ymir shouldn't have been done in this preview since these 2 were never foreshadowed in any of the previous volumes. It would have been better if we first find out about these two only after encountering them while reading the manhwa.

This preview could have gone much better if we weren't told about things that we've never heard of before. In the first place, these 2 topics have absolutely nothing to do with the ending of Volume 4.

The fourth volume ends in a cliffhanger since we're still in the middle of the fight scene between Loki, Chaos and Skurai. The preview could have given us a teaser of some sort such as making us wonder who will win the fight or if Chaos will be able to save the little girl that got in the way of the fight.

Volume 6 preview

In contrast to the disaster that was the preview for Volume 5, the preview for Volume 6 that appears at the end of the fifth volume is not that bad at all, certainly not when compared to the aforementioned disastrous preview.

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, chaos
In this preview for the 6th Volume, we get that Iris Irine and Fenris Fenrir will team up to battle against Bijou while Chaos and Loki will work together to deal with Himmelmez.

Since this is what we just read about in Volume 5, this makes for a good teaser, enticing the readers to want to find out what will happen next.

The mention of blood being spilled from both sides also makes us wonder who will win as this could actually pertain to either the heroes or the antagonists.

The one thing that this preview could have omitted was the mention that the "prodigal daughter will return". This has nothing to do with the previous volume and appears to have come from out of nowhere, so much so that it ends up jarring what would otherwise be a pretty good preview.

The prodigal daughter might refer to Sara Irine, but why would she be known as that? She's never been called by this before, so why start now and why tell us now when the comic could have just shown us?

Volume 8 preview

The preview for Volume 8 that appears at the end of Volume 7 brings us to yet another telling as what appears to be the entire plot of the 8th volume is revealed to us before we even get started reading said graphic novel.

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, lidia
For starters, exactly why does this particular preview feel the need to tell us that Lidia will be joining the group again?

Why can't the comic just let us be surprised when this happens instead of telling us about this now? Well, at least we're not told how they will meet with Lidia again (small consolation, that).

This revelation doesn't even make any sense right now because the end of Volume 7 has nothing to do with Lidia, so how could we be told that she will appear in Volume 8?

Volume 7 is the end of the extremely long fight scene between the main characters and the antagonists and yet the preview for Volume 8 is telling us about things that have nothing to do with that.

We're told that the heroes will be riding on an airship and Freya will send some of her minions to cause them trouble. But why tell us all of this now? We could have been given a teaser instead.

After all, considering Chaos and the others are the main characters, it's pretty obvious that none of them will be permanently incapacitated any time soon and that the bad guys won't really win against them. So, it's really like we pretty much know what will happen in Volume 8 without needing to read said manhwa.

Volume 9 preview

At least the preview for Volume 9 that appears at the end of Volume 8 is not that bad though it is still telling. We do know that there is an elven archer since we just saw her in the 8th volume, but was it really necessary to give us her name in the preview? We're told that this elven archer is apparently named Reina, but why tell us this now?

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa, elven archer
Why couldn't we have just found out about this when we read the 9th volume? Besides the main characters don't even know her name yet.

Speaking of what else the main characters don't know yet, they also don't know that Reina is apparently one of the last of her kind and yet the preview readily reveals this to us for some unknown reason.

We're even told what her motive for attacking the heroes is - apparently she wants to protect her people's legacy even if it means fighting the good guys. But what's the need to tell us all of this now?

What's wrong with having the readers discover this tidbit of information at the same time as the protagonists? Can't we find out about all of this later on when we read Volume 9? Geffen and Alfheim were mentioned too, but the good thing about this is how the preview is asking us what secrets can be discovered in these places.

Another good thing is how the mention of these places didn't actually come from out of nowhere since these 2 appeared in Volume 8. This serves as a pretty good teaser to make readers curious and want to find out more about these places. The preview also says something about Skurai, but it's vague enough that it sounds like a teaser. Asking questions helps so it doesn't come across as telling us stuff.

Volume 10 preview

ragnarok: into the abyss, manhwa
The best preview of the series is the one for Volume 10, which appears at the end of Volume 9, and there is no sarcasm to those words.

The preview for Volume 10 really is the best precisely because there is no telling at all. All we get is a very good teaser with lots of questions about Skurai.

The preview hints that we will soon find out about his past and whatever we will find may be shocking and surprising.

There is even a mention of Talatsu, Skurai's cursed sword, as well as the question of what the swordsman has to do with this sword. All-in-all, this particular preview is very intriguing indeed and makes readers want to read the tenth volume just to find out what will happen.

This is how it should have been for all of the previews. It's really unfortunate that this is the last preview we get to see since the manhwa unexpectedly ends in Volume 10. What are your thoughts on the many summaries and previews of the Ragnarok series? Which one do you like best? Which one did you like the least?

*Notes:
- Image with added text was modified by Freya Yuki (CC:BY-SA) based on the image by hayashinomura, CC:BY-SA from deviantArt
- Image is meant to symbolize telling instead of showing - if we're talking about a graphic novel, instead of telling us that the the figures in the image are getting married, we should be shown that they're getting married as well as why and how they're getting married and other such relevant details
- The rest of the pics are enlarged product images from Amazon.com; links shown above via Amazon's Native Shopping Ads widget
- Last image is also from Amazon.com; link shown above