Recommending The Ravages of Time
May 19, 2009
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.