Evil’s Return 4

December 29, 2010

Hwan Shin / Jong-Kyu Lee – Tokyopop – 2005 – 4 volumes

And this train wreck comes to a close! There’s actually more sensical plot development in this volume than in the other three volumes combined, as Chail, Sunwoo, and Mirae track down Yumi/Soha. They reach the town where she’s being held, and I had Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure flashbacks as the Heavenly Father, the ultimate enemy, was shown to bear a passing resemblance to Dio and controls a town tucked away in the mountains with vampiric/evil servants (which… bears a slight resemblance to part one of Jojo, but not really). The team fights possessed priests as the Heavenly Father leads them up to a mountain. There, some nonsense happens and the series comes to an abrupt and hilarious end.

I don’t even have any additional commentary for this one. There’s nothing else to say. Lots of gore and T&A, the plot had to be read off the back of the book because so little was said, and nothing made sense. But it was sort of entertaining in its badness. It also reads quickly, so if you’re into crappy manga/manhwa, you’re not going to be plodding through a lot of dialogue. And the ending really was unintentionally funny with its repetitions of an earlier story and the way it just… ends.

I would recommend the early volumes of Arm of Kannon if you’re looking for gory, nonsensical, bad manga, or Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure if you’re looking for gory, awesome manga. But if you’ve read both and know what you’re in for… give this a whirl. It’s terrible, but if you’re the right kind of person, you’ll have a little bit of fun.

Evil’s Return 3

December 28, 2010

Hwan Shin / Jong-Kyu Lee – Tokyopop – 2005 – 4 volumes

Oh, Evil’s Return. You’re just so bad. So much T&A, so little plot, so much gore. I especially like the way the female student’s clothing just… shreds inexplicably at the slightest sign of conflict.

I can’t even tell you what’s going on here, or critique it in any meaningful way. Much like the other two volumes, the plot centers around a fight scene, and not much time passes. There’s a new character introduced at the beginning of the volume (a Catholic exorcist with special powers, in the form of a hot young teenage girl), and outside… maybe two scenes establishing her as a new character, there is a long fight scene, then a flashback shortly afterwards where we learn the past life of Cha Il, the Warrior God Chi Yu. That’s mostly a fight scene with some violence thrown in, along with a truncated time line.

The fight scene is with the enemy… the White White Cult’s leader, or whatever. There’s a clever ruse to distract Tae and the new girl (that involves buxom female zombies and a lot of violence) while the leader goes after Cha Il and Yumi. After a not-so-lengthy struggle, the scene flashes to Tae’s monastery, where Cha Il is taken in order to heal him after his… infection by darkness. The only way to do that is to awaken Chi Yu, hence the flashback.

I mean, stuff happens. It’s certainly entertaining. But even with that flashback, I wouldn’t say there’s any real plot or character development. The flashback explains a character… that isn’t even really in the story, and it doesn’t give him any real depth since he simply kills and is possessive. And the plot certainly doesn’t really go anywhere, save for a twist at the end. “Twist” is… less accurate than saying it’s moving somewhere.

I’m not bored, but this is still pretty rotten stuff. I’m only digging it because I enjoy ridiculous violence, and the fanservice is really making me laugh. For the record, this is worse than Arm of Kannon.

Also, I think it’s really funny that the next volume preview says we have to wait for the next volume to come out in Korea before it could be translated into English, as if there was a lot of suspense building in the story here and we had to wait with baited breath. I do like that Tokyopop used to always put the release dates and a next volume preview in the backs of their books, and I liked it even better when we were given an explanation like this when there would be a delay. The fourth volume of Paradise Kiss had a preview like that. I guess it was the suspense of waiting for that last volume of Paradise Kiss for a year that makes this sound really silly. I mean, I really wanted that book. The fourth volume of Evil’s Return… not so much. I can’t imagine anyone was really wound up for it.

Evil’s Return 2

November 3, 2010

Hwan Shin / Jong-Kyu Lee – Tokyopop – 2004 – 4 volumes

Ugh. This wasn’t even enjoyable in a trashy way. This was just… bad.

There was a fight or two, Sunwoo versus possessed students and Chail versus some sort of higher demon. There’s still lots of stuff happening without much explanation, though the characters do pause to explain a few things in this volume. After some vague references during his fight, later Chail and Sunwoo have a fight and chat to go over just who Chail is and what his powers may or may not be. After she uses some strange power, we also find out what Yumi can bring to the table for the two gents. The story also sees fit to explain Yumi’s true nature and just who’s after her about halfway through this volume.

None of it is terribly interesting though, which is hard to believe given the filthy premise of the series. I mean, aside from demons trying to impregnate a high school student in order to make her the mother of hell, the only thing I can think of that’s worse would be a story about a super-powered entity that drinks breast milk to power up. Or something. The ground is pretty low and level when it comes to stuff like this. If it’s ridiculous and over-the-top enough, I can usually laugh off all the ick factors, but Evil’s Return plays it way too straight to have a plot like this, and isn’t any good at that, even. Qwaser of Stigmata at least ran in a Shounen Champion spinoff, so at least it’s aware that it’s in poor taste and probably runs with it. Evil’s Return… may not know.

Hmm. Well, we’ll see. With two volumes left, I don’t hold out much hope for more fun with this series.

Evil’s Return 1

October 6, 2010

Hwan Shin / Jong-Kyu Lee – Tokyopop – 2004 – 4 volumes

So, Tokyopop has a handful of bad series that are more exercises in bad taste than they are genuinely unreadable. The narrative suffers in all cases, certainly, but there are far worse reads out there, and the badness is accompanied by an “ick” factor that I find extremely enjoyable. Warriors of Tao and Arm of Kannon were two series that were bad in almost every sense of the word, but also radical. Evil’s Return is another.

Evil’s Return may be in far worse taste thematically than the other two. How bad is bad taste? Let’s read the back cover:

When the floodgates of Yumi’s womanhood burst open, demons rush in, clamoring to make the high school senior the mother of evil itself. It will take everything the forces of good have to protect her from this wicked fate… and everything good has is manifest in a mystical warrior Hyun… but he’s going to need the help of a hot-shot freshman who talks tough, carries a big stick and has fallen in love with the prophesied Mother of Hell.

I don’t think I’ve ever copied a book’s plot summary before, but that’s far more eloquent than I can manage.

There are several things to point out in that plot summary, but I will leave you to ponder those things.

The thing about actually reading the volume is that you desperately need that plot summary, because none of that is explained. You kind of get the idea that Hyun is protecting Yumi, but you don’t realize what all the bad vibes are until much later. You don’t even really understand the demons are after Yumi until a near-rape scene at the end of the volume. There are occasional demons, but mostly there’s that freshman beating everyone up like Nagi from Tenjho Tenge, students badmouthing “weird” Yumi for no real reason, and lots and lots of T&A and moving around with no explanation and very little dialogue.

Despite all these many shortcomings, it opens with a really graphic, horrible scene of Yumi violently getting her period. After that, it was hard for me not to like it. I mean, I knew what was going on because I read the back, right?

I’m sure this will not be good. It will be terrible in every way a series can be (well, the art’s all right, except for the bushy eyebrows), but I will still enjoy it immensely, and then it will go on the shelf with the other books that are in questionable taste.