“This Time, This Place” – NOW (manwha) – 8/10 Pencils

The most important of life’s battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul. ~David McKay

Mangaka: Park Sung-Woo

Genre: Action/Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy/Historical/Romance

Review Status: Incomplete (6 Volumes/25 Volumes)

Licensed: This manhwa was formerly licensed by ComicsOne, later by Infinity Studios. However, both businesses have gone defunct and it’s out of print.

Art: It looks just fine for a manhwa. The art takes a more sketchy quality when

Summary: Just before the fall of the mighty Korean Kingdom of Goguryeo, a lone man roamed the lands causing destruction beyond imagine using Sa Shin Mu, a form of martial arts never before seen in this world. Now, 20 years after the fall of the Kingdom of Goguryeo, a new rumor is spreading that a secret manual detailing this legendary martial art has resurfaced. Will Sa Shin Mu once again dictate the fate of this new era? (Amazon.com)

Review: This manhwa caught my eye a while ago when I was at my public library, and I had hesitated to pick it up, thinking that it wouldn’t be complete. Well, I was right! That’s really too bad, because this is one of the more charming manhwa I’ve come across in a while. This starts out somewhat misleading, following a band of martial arts diciples as they hunt for the scrolol that contains the secrets of Sa Shin Mu. The younger brother of the leader is rpessed forward as everyone is attacked, making him the one responsible for finding it. The problem is that he’s not the only one looking for it – he comes across two powerful enemies, and is knocked about like a tennis ball as he attempts to defeat the one who holds the secrets of the martial art his brother died to find.

He has to be the protagonist of this story, right? Nope! Unlike most shounen that have a master to be defeated, this goes in an unexpected direction- the keeper the the secrets finds himself in the company of a young girl about his age and on a quest of his own to protect the secrets of the martial art he was entrusted with! The previous master died, but the young new master isn’t quite up to par, with deadly anger and a tendency to go berserk. He also is far from evil, merely obeying his mater’s wishes about the art and seeing the destruction of the book a blessing because of what the skills he was taught have done to him. He teams up with a young girl who got caught in the fray, one who has deadly skills of her own, but isn’t up to the master-level that she needs or wants to be because of an incident in her childhood… something that leads the young man to ask to follow her and meet her parents.

This takes that incident and expands on it, the young brigand who is defeated becoming the antagonist, a warrior with a desire for revenge, but comes across a few obstacles on that course, from maniacle leaders of other schools of martial arts, to leaders of schools that recruit him to their cause. He needs to skillfully maneuver himself into a postition that won’t get him killed while honing his skills against these enemies!

At the same time, the Sa Shin Mu master travels with the young girl, encountering various obstacles and opponents of their own, from an unexpected travelling partner, to a friend’s own past catching up to her. There are numberous plot threads going on at once that tie all of the characters together, and I can tell how involved this is going to be! Revenge. blooming romance, multiple plotlines… It’s a fantastic feeling, but at the same time highly disappointing since I can’t read the rest of it to see how it pans out. For the beginning of a series, though, this really can’t get much better!

Overall, while I might never get to read the rest of it, this really caught my attention and I hope someday someone will pick it up so I can enjoy it!

Recommended: 16+. This has some standard violence, but some of the training described is brutal, and there is the implication of cannibalism by one of the bad guys. There are several on-page deaths.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Claymore (anime or manga)

Berserk (manga)

Shin Angyo Onshi (manwha)

Blade of the Immortal (manga)

Amatsuki (manga)

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