Manga Reviews

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Threads of Time

Threads of Time
By Mi Young Noh
Licensed by Tokyopop

Topic: Historical Action, Mystical

Warning: Some Gore

Moon Bin is a typical high school student in 1999 Korea: Smoking, hanging out with friends, and rating girls. He's also a member of the Kendo Club, where he's highly skilled with his shinai. But over the past few years he's been having a recurring nightmare, where he's not Moon Bin, but rather Sa Kyoung Kim, the son of a noble family sometime in the 13th century.

For these years, he's hated the dream but it's been no more than that. But recently, the past has begun to show itself in the present. The faces that Moon Bin knows in modern-day Souel are also there 1000 years ago (although they belong to different people). And he begins to suffer delusional episodes where he sees the past over-layed with the present (for example after defeating several opponents in a kendo tournament, he suddenly sees himself holding a real sword and surrounded by the corpses of many others).

One day, when he's swimming laps in the pool, a ghostlike figure of a girl appears and drags him down. Now Moon Bin is in a coma and his nightmare has become reality. He is now living the life of Sa Kyoung Kim, who has just awakened from a 5-year sickness induced coma. Korea (now known as Koryo), is under threat of attack by the Mongolians, and worst of all, he finds that he has a sister who was also knocked into a coma five years ago. That sister is the ghost who appeared before him in 1999 and dragged him under.

Which place is reality, and which one is a dream? How can so many things and people be similar between the past and the future? And if he really is Moon Bin, how can he return to his true body and life?

I highly enjoyed this manga as it's plot is fast-paced but does not skip any necessary information. The over-arching tension built by the coming invasion sets a wonderful background for this story and provides a nice parallel to Moon Bin's personal turmoil (in his case, his past is invading the present, or possibly visa versa).

The characters are well done although I'm surprised at the lack of "main" characters outside of Moon Bin and Atan Hadas (a mongolian warrior princess). Many other characters have recurring roles between the past and present but none of them seem to serve and purpose other than to take up space in a given scene. I do find Moon Bin's personality and actions very well done, as he acts much like any other teenager would when faced with the possibility that he might be going insane. It would be nice if there was more background story provided (such as what exactly happened 5 years ago to put Sa Kyoung Kim into that coma) but I'm sure that information will be doled out slowly, hightening the reader's anticipation.

Both the background art and the character art is amazing. Almsot ever frame has some sort of background, and the landscapes and battles are beautifully drawn. Furthermore, each character (not just the main ones) has their own clothing style, weapon, and facial features. This makes it incredibly easy to identify between all of them.

Overall, this is a very entertaining manga with plenty of psychological nuances set against a wartime background. I can't wait for the next volume to be released.

Rating: 9.0/10.0 (Reviewer's Choice)