Mi-Kyung Yun – Dark Horse – 2010 – 12+ volumes
Nothing makes me happier than seeing new volumes of this on Dark Horse’s schedule. Despite the fact it has a really rough start, it is drop-dead gorgeous to look at, and it is now getting to the relatively steamy parts. Plus, it’s so unlike everything else that Dark Horse publishes that it would be a shame to ax this little bit of diversity from their line-up. Not that I think there are too many other people reading Bride of the Water God, Berserk, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Oh My Goddess, and Blade of the Immortal con-currently, but it is good for me.
Last volume was the first time I’d seen promise story-wise in this series, because previously it had been boring the pants off of me. I just did not care that Soah was wandering around lonely through a world of faceless, careless, ill-defined gods. Then the romance between Soah and Mui picked up a little, and she gained some purpose for being with the deities, and I had something to look forward to. Things only get more interesting in this volume.
This marks the official return of Nakbin. I am sick and tired of hearing about her, and really did not believe for a second that she wasn’t going to show up, so I don’t think that’s really a spoiler. But with things going well between Mui and Soah, Nakbin’s arrival really does throw a lovely wrench in the works. It works exactly how you think it would, too. Soah’s jealousy, Mui may or may not be swayed by the new arrival, lots of backstabbing, et cetera. It’s just about as soapy as you imagine.
It’s frustrating that the characters never talk to one another, and that there is just so many assumptions and so much backstabbing that is never really explained. I’m still not very clear on who all the deities are, what “side” they’re on, and what their function in the story is. There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be a little better in this series.
But now that it’s got a fairly solid central romance along with its plentiful eye candy, I’ve got something I can get into. It’s probably not good at the moment for anyone outside romance fans, but it is certainly worth looking at for the art alone. Plus, it’s got a lot of poetry in its soul, even if the characters don’t like saying things out loud. When they do, it’s… you know, poetic, and may or may not have anything to do with the situation. But it is beautiful.
Mi-Kyung Yun – Dark Horse – 2009 – 9+ volumes
Oh, Bride of the Water God, I can’t stay mad at you. I wasn’t fond of the early volumes because of the ethereal mood and confusing cast of characters, but I found myself quite taken by this volume. This is probably because the romance ramps up quite a bit, and the roles of everyone in both the human and heavenly worlds are much clearer now.
Soah is engaged to be married, and we see once again the true face of her greedy father, her passive mother, her unconcerned sister, and apparently even the fiancee who doesn’t care whether or not Soah actually loves him. Habaek keeps watch on the situation, and finally driven to the edge in a plot by one of his friendly, but more mysterious acquaintances, he goes down to Earth to take action.
The gods call Soah spirited, which was hard to see in the first few volumes since she seemed shocked into silence by what was going on and only occasionally stumbled into faux pas. In this volume, however, Habaek flirts with her a little and Miu flirts with her A LOT, and after some heroics, it feels like we are getting closer and closer to Habaek telling Soah the truth, especially since now Soah seems committed to stay true, more or less, to Habaek.
There’s some business with his old lover being a bad person and possibly some other stuff. I’m not too interested in these plot threads, but I suppose the gods need something to do.
It’s still very, very pretty. There are still some problems with people and places, and it’s hard to tell where the characters are in relation to one another and who’s who sometimes, but it’s not such a problem anymore now that the roles have become more clear. It is one of the prettier series you can lay hands on right now, and I do give it high marks for that. Now that the story is getting better, I’m pretty excited to get my hands on volume 5 and am hoping that Dark Horse decides to continue the series. Pick up all 4 volumes together and have a go at it, if you are so inclined, because I think a lot of the confusion that I experienced will probably be allieviated with back-to-back volumes.
Mi-Kyung Yun – Dark Horse – 2009 – 9+ volumes – Korean
Honestly, I didn’t think this volume would ever come out, but I’m absolutely tickled that it did. I like this series despite the fact that the majority of the small details were lost on me in the first two volumes. And it is very, very pretty.
My problems with not really knowing who the side characters were and the bad sense of place and time mostly didn’t apply to this volume. I was a little worried after not reading the series for so long that any plot details I may have once known would have left me and absolutely nothing would make sense, but the plot takes a turn and narrows quite a bit in this volume, and I wound up getting a lot more out of it than I did from the first two combined. Part of this is because the setting completely changes after the first third of the book, and it’s easier for me to understand who the characters are and what is happening to Soah here than it was among the Gods, who all look kind of similar, speak with carefully veiled speech, and who have hidden intentions.
The plot also becomes a lot more about the melodrama between Soah and Mui/Habaek and less abut Soah fitting in. In fact, Habaek’s feelings towards Soah become a little more apparent, and there are some touching displays of fondness and loyalty from him. There’s a misunderstanding between the two at the beginning of the book, but Soah’s memory is wiped, so I wonder if it’ll have an impact on the later plot.
I’m happy to see that Dark Horse decided to continue this series, though. It’s quite pretty, and it looks like things are just starting to get good.
This series is awesome in the same way that Trigun is awesome. Both have excellent artwork (major bonus points for the color pages in the front of volume 2 here), both have really great-sounding plots, and both are nearly incomprehensible when you get down to the nitty-gritty of the plot.
I mean, I know that the main character’s husband changes into a different person at night, and that the main character has fallen in love with this person despite herself, and there’s a lot of drama and intrigue surrounding that… the character who also loves the water god, the water god’s mother, the fact the water god may still love his former human bride, the fact that the main character may find out that Mui and her husband are the same person… stuff like that, and I think if things solidify and really get going, it’ll be awesome. As it is, there’s a lot of characters wandering around that I sometimes have trouble remembering and keeping straight (the two male side characters in particular, I can’t really remember who they are and they pop in every once in awhile), the sense of place isn’t very good, and the sense of time is also a little skewed. But it’s so pretty it’s hard for me to begrudge it these things.
I’m definitely picking up volume three, if only because I desperately want things to hop on track. Plus, yes. great art.
I fell asleep no less than 5 times while trying to read this. It was like trying to get through Astro Boy. Some things will just make me drop into comas while I read them.
It wasn’t actually as bad as that makes it sound, but it certainly wasn’t action-packed either. It was actually quite lovely as well as quiet and understated, which made it not a good read for when I was tired. The plot was sort of familiar without being immediately recognizable. The main character was sacrificed to the Water God by her village, and she finds herself in the land of the Gods, bride to what appears to be a small child. The main character gets to meet many of the other Gods that inhabit the land, and we find out that the Water God himself transforms into an adult at night. The bride doesn’t know this, and while she finds the daytime Water God somewhat inapproachable, she seems drawn to the nighttime version, who she thinks is a different person.
The problem I have with this series right now is that it’s a little too quiet. There’s a lot of characters floating around with not very much explanation, and the reader is also left somewhat in the dark about most of the emotions of the Bride and the Water God. There are snatches of back story which shed light on certain things, but emotions are never overtly stated. I kind of like the fact that it’s left up to the audience’s interpretation since it’s usually the sort of thing you’re beat over the head with, but I would like to have more to work with.
There’s some direction in the plot by the end of the volume, and we’re set to find out why the Water God transforms and who some of his other brides were. Despite the lack of definition in this volume, I liked it tremendously and I’m really looking forward to the next volume.