This weekend’s recommended reading features an exciting manhwa webtoon Girl of the Wild’s. I previously did a short review of this, along with another great webtoon, Tower of God. What makes these Korean webtoons unique is their format. They are set up as one continuous scrolling drawing. with scenes flowing into each other organically. It’s an exciting format, that lends itself to some creative art exploration. And when you combine it with a great story, you end up with spectacular comic like Wild’s.
Wild’s High started as a private high school for elite girls. It specializes in not only the finest education, but as a place where the premier female martial artist come to hone their skills. Each year, a tournament is held called the Wild’s league, where teenage girls have brutal MMA matches that are televised and widely watched. But this year, the school changes to co-ed, and only one male student has applied: Song Jae Gu. He is granted a full 3 year scholarship, regardless of grades, as long as he stays all three years. This works well, considering he’s dirt poor, with no parents, and two younger siblings. And from there, the story takes off.
This quickly became one of my favorite comics to read. I raced through the first 30 chapters in a slow Saturday, and couldn’t wait for the next release. The characters and scenes are well drawn. The single strip format sets a visual flow that lets your eyes move from one scene to the next. And each panel is drawn in full color, making the characters and background pop off the screen. The artists also does a great job of “animating” the motion, an essential trait in a story involving martial arts. And, if you look closely, there is an intense focus on drawing lips. Don’t know why, but the ladies have spectacularly drawn mouths.
Our four main characters each bring unique qualities to our story. Our male protagonist, a passive and weak individual, has to learn to stand up for himself in a school where the principal has made him the prey for hungry wolves. The strongest female in school, Queen (or Yoon In Gyi) can be an almost emotionless monster; but softens over the course of the story. Lee Moon Young is your typical female athlete self-confident and physically strong, and the social glue that holds the foursome together. Choi Dal Dal is the surprising one of the bunch. A Tae Kwon Do expert, who excels at cooking, and has a heart as soft as a feather pillow, and the drive to win.
The main character, Song Jae Gu, is probably it’s one weakness. He’s mentally, emotionally, and physically weak. His father is dead, his mother abandoned him and his siblings, and he has been the butt of ridicule his whole school life. But it starts that way for a point. This is a story about a character that starts out on the lowest rung of life, and begins to develop as a self confident person. And it takes three confident and strong women to show him the way. And as you can guess, there is a harem element, but unlike the traditional anime harem, this one isn’t so cliché. Each girl is strong and independent in their own right, and not co-dependent on the main character. Definitely a refreshing change.
So, if you’re looking to change-up your fighting manga/manhwa with something different, this might be your thing. A good mix of art, plot, and likable characters makes this a great read. You can find the original Korean webtoon at Naver.