Recommending The Ravages of Time

May 19, 2009


The only male trap character I approve

Apparently I have to write something every month so that my future blog entries can still be catalogued in Animenano. So briefly ignoring my silly hiatus, I recommend an excellent manhua that I’ve recently discovered called The Ravages of Time, which basically re-tells the events in the Three Kingdoms Period of Chinese history in a very creative, philosophical and poetic manner.

Dare to be different

If you have read Romance of The Three Kingdoms, you simply have to read this. For one, I absolutely love the incredibly daring and creative changes made in regards to many characters and events of Three Kingdoms. No longer is Dong Zhuo a mere greedy tyrant but with more commanding motivation. No longer Liu Bei’s obedient dog, Zhao Yun is a rogue assassin who has his own path to pave. And while the major events are still left unaltered, such as Dong Zhou’s rise and death, we are given different versions of the truth behind Lu Bu’s motivation to Coup d’état and the death of Cao Cao’s father. And frankly speaking, I prefer these versions to the ones in Three Kingdoms. It adds so much complexity to the heroes who are often portrayed as one dimensional characters driven by very simple motivations (i.e. Zhao Yun = must be loyal to my master, Dong Zhou = I’m greedy, let’s take over the country, Lu Bu = My master stole my girl, I must kill him).

Philosophy, politics and mind games

And if you are fan of Legend of Galactic Heroes, this is sure to entice your appetite. The best strategy is to let your enemies know your move. Indeed, warfare is all about deception and the manhua does a fantastic job depicting it, and the stronger will rise a winner by outpredicting the foe by reading one move further. This is true in many battles of LoGH and also true here. And like the opposing philosophy between Reinhard and Yang Wen-li, there is a very interesting rivarly between Cao Cao and Liu Fei. We are of the same breed, but of different stand. Who can really say Reinhard was wrong to displace the corrupted administration? Liu Fei wishes to repair the crumbling cottage that is the present Han Dynasty but Cao Cao believes the rotten inside can not be renovated; you must first take over the country and build a new one. And there are plenty more to savour.



I don’t read lot of mangas to be honest but the art feels similar to every other mangas like Berserk, except I think Berserk had more imaginative, brutal and beautiful drawings. In my opinion however, the author is more of a poet than an artist. Some of you may already know that many events and anecdotes of Three Kingdoms are very poetic, and there are many poems included in the actual novel to romanticise the heroes, villains, chaos, tragic irony. Admirable is the author’s ability to maintain that poetic feel of the novel in his work.

There is a segment I uploaded below because I really liked it. I also have minor criticisms that may work against newcomers of Three Kingdoms who aren’t familiar with the characters and major events, but I guess there isn’t much point to going deeper into them. So tl;dr = if you’ve read 3K then read this nao, if you haven’t then approach with caution.





17 Responses to “Recommending The Ravages of Time”

  1. ghostlightning Says:

    This looks awesome. Thanks for the tip.

  2. schneider Says:

    I’m always up for any 3K retellings.

  3. gaguri Says:

    Glad to hear you guys showing some interest 😀

  4. animekritik Says:

    that’s funny. i’m about to post on ikkitousen…(alright, i know, that’s not really 3 kingdoms at all) This manga’s art looks Biblical to me, if that makes any sense to anyone…

  5. gaguri Says:

    Art looks Biblical…sorry, doesn’t compute ^_^b

    I remember seeing one episodde of Ikkitousen OVA. Let’s just say it wasn’t my type of anime…

  6. Owen S Says:

    Have you guys actually read the original 3K, and if so in what language? I’ve always wondered–there’s a couple of English translations in my uni’s library, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it.

  7. gaguri Says:

    I have read Moss Robert’s translation of the original text in English, several children’s books/comics in Korean, and also Yokoyama’s (same manga artist of Giant Robo) adaptation in manga format. I think most people in Asia know 3K through versions that are more accessible than the original because honestly speaking, reading the original feels more like a history than fiction. I am not sure if the read would be worth your time, but I do recommend it, just because it’s so epic in scope. And certainly there is no harm in having the most popular and influential literature in Asia under your belt.

  8. Flash Sword Irene Says:

    It is nice knowing that someone other then myself is reading what is essentially the best Chinese manhua/manga right now. (Storm Riders has nothing on this.) Personally, I prefer this to Souten Kouro especially in terms of artwork. The character designs seem to be more mature where even a handsomely grizzled Lu Bu still retains looks of a grown man. Notably, due to the complexities of the plot and character’s motives, Ravages can be unfriendly if one has not kept with it consistenly enough. (Especially with a cast as large and diverse as this leading to confusion at times.)

    Still, I don’t necessarily believe a background in ROTK is needed since the work is reasonable enough for those less jaded. Even then, best adaptation of ROTK is best adaptation and no complaints there.

  9. gaguri Says:

    Haha…well, Lu Bu is one of few exceptions. I have to admit the manhua is filled with pretty boy characters (Sima Yi, Zhao Yun, Zhang Liao and pretty much the whole 8 geniuses). I haven’t read enough mangas to claim it as the best, but I can say it is the best RoTK adaptation I’ve ever seen, and I have seen quite a number of RoTK adaptations.

  10. Owen S Says:

    gaguri: Got it, thanks. That’s exactly what I thought while flipping through it–but yeah, it’s kinda like LoGH in that regard, I suppose, since you’ve got to get through it if you’re going to get anywhere.

  11. Kitsune Says:

    I am glad you’ll take a break from your hiatus periodically 🙂

    I like art in this manga. This artist utilizes interesting shading 🙂

  12. gaguri Says:

    Haha…one thing I learned from my “hiatus” is to never say you’re going into hiatus. If you get the urge to write, you should just write it. If you want to do something else, just do something else, no need to let the world know. Although I guess if I decide to retire, then I could do with a press conference ^_^b

    I do like the shading but personally there is nothing much spectacular about the art. Japanese have become, sooooo…good at drawing now, unless we’re talking about the kind of art in Vagabond manga, it won’t impress me greatly.

  13. Kitsune Says:

    Well, a notice might be useful if you are planning a trip or some kind of an extensive break. Otherwise, if you stop posting suddenly for a long period of time, I’ll worry if something happened to you. However, I agree that one should not turn a hobby into a job. I hope that press conference is many years away 😉

    I have not heard about Vagabond manga, but just have checked it out. The art does seem more realistic than in other manga – I especially like the landscapes. One of my favorite manga art is from early chapters of Blade of the Immortal.

  14. gaguri Says:

    I’ve heard a lot of things about Blade of the Immortal manga, but I thought episode one of anime adaptation was epic fail, and I’m guessing from your blog post that your thoughts are not that different ^_^b

  15. […] The other manga version is much more recent (it’s still running, and unfinished) and is done in a much more modern storytelling style. It diverges wildly in it’s interpretation, being more focussed on the side characters of the original epic and adding a bunch of new ones, but the story is compelling, and the art style is gorgeous. […]

  16. This is so gorgeous. As far as the original story goes, I’d suggest reading Moss Robert’s abridged version. It gives the best parts of the story for the most part.

  17. gaguri Says:

    Yep, this is a gorgeous and ambitious interpretation of the original novel.

    I read the full translation by Moss Robert and don’t really plan to read the abridged version anytime soon.

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