charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
Now is the time on Sprockets this blog where we semi-annually push comics that we wish had a greater fandom.

Okay, I know a lot of you don't want to read an ongoing series, but this one? I swear to you that this is one of my favorite comic series (since it's originally Chinese, it's technically not manga, but manhua) of all time, and yes, you can read it online here.

What the heck is it about?: Well, the creator, Chen Mou, takes the story of the Three Kingdoms and tells it in a revisionist manner, often from the perspective of Sima Yi, the eventual victor (and usually portrayed as the nemesis of the 'protagonist/most loved character,' to simplify matters greatly). It's kind of like a remix, but you can still read it even if you haven't read the novel. (BTW, if you have ever played Dynasty Warriors, you're definitely prepared to read this, especially for the lulz. (Sima Yi is pretty different from his DW incarnation; lack of cackling, and most of the time he impersonates a normal person quite well.)) It's especially interesting to see how the characterizations are different from the conventional pop culture portrayals.

I guess in some ways it could be compared to Vinland Saga or Legend of the Galactic Heroes (maybe the two smashed together, but in Ancient China? XD), as well. There's both great fight scenes, and awesome, detailed art, as well as intricate plotting and double-crossing, as well as copious philosophizing and “what is this all about?” stuff. Sometimes the plot can get kind of confusing, but that's the nature of epics, anyhow. I'm going to do a reread, so feel free to ask me any questions if you have them. [Actually, maybe I should blog the reread. XD]

If you're going to start reading it, the very opening chapter is a dream sequence, whose significance is still kind of unclear in the plot. The first five volumes have a plot that is very tenuously connected to history: basically, all you need to know is that all the other lords hate Dong Zhuo, but cause he's got the strongest warrior in the land, Lu Bu at his side, they can't touch him. Sima Yi's brother has been taken hostage by Dong Zhuo, therefore he sends his assassin squad to bust him out of jail, while the rest of the anti-Dong Zhuo coalition schemes to overthrow him, and things become quite exciting.

Some relevant links: (wiki by fantranslator. Contains COPIOUS SPOILERS, so don't read until you have read some of the comic. I should note that RoT contains some absolutely stunning twists, so you should NOT spoiler yourself.)

May 2014

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