The Breaker (manhwa) by Jeon Geuk-Jin and Park Jin-Hwan – Rating: 9/10
Synopsis: The Breaker is a wonderfully violent and epic tale about a young lad’s struggle to change himself. The main character, Yi Shioon, is a weak, small and cowardly boy who often finds himself falling victim to the schemes of the school bully; Chang-ho. One day, he gets a new teacher (Han Chun Woo) who is actually a martial artist with MAD skills. Wanting to become stronger, he blackmails Chun Woo into training him so he can protect those he cares about… With his training, however, come some very unconventional and life-threatening situations. That, and he learns that his master is actually “Goomoonryong” (Korean for “Nine Arts Dragon”), the most wanted man in the world of Murim; a covert martial artist society filled to capacity with people who can break a billiards ball by clenching a fist and stuff like that. Well…I guess it doesn’t get much worse than that for a kid, huh.
Mood: Prepare for an emotional roller-coaster when you start to read The Breaker; it tends to switch tones from serious to light-hearted with the turn of a page. As a martial arts series, it has all that rough-and-tumble training and skull-cracking (literally) fight sequences one would expect. But it also portions out a hearty serving of “piss you off”, especially when it comes to the bully-victim dynamic between Shioon and Chang-ho.
Thankfully, just when you feel like calling the lynch mob to “rub out” Chang-ho, some humour gets rolled in. This aspect is mostly carried by Goomoonryong, whose facial expressions, perversion and unfortunate suffrage of recurrent cock-blocking, are all as awesome as his Soul Crushing Strike (aforementioned skull-cracking technique). Oh, and anyone who enjoys the sight of well-endowed women can rest assured that their appetites shall be satisfied.
Artwork: Park Jin-Hwan does a great job in The Breaker’s drawing department. Between the facial expressions and high-octane battles… Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. The characters faces really drive the series’ humour most of the time, but they also cause a kind of hype in the action sequences/when someone’s getting told off. Heck, with all the teeth gritting and glaring these guys do, how could that not be a big part of the series? But the usually high-speed action sequences are just incredible. Seriously, impacts look like they could demolish buildings and, in true manga/manhwa style, speed lines and motion blur deliver a blistering sense of “powerfulness”.
Consensus: The Breaker’s relatively grim plot (with all the bullying, beating, revenge, sinister schemes and the like) makes it sit comfortably amongst many other epic martial arts series out there. What it does do a little better than others though, is avoid exhausting the reader. The series clocks in at 72 chapters long, not hundreds upon hundreds. It’s enough to nicely conclude the plot and leave room for a sequel (which is probably to be of similar length), while giving readers a joyride they won’t soon forget.
That said, it’s not afraid to step into deeper emotional waters, nor does it intend to keep the reader happy all the way through. It aggravates, enrages, touches, shocks, saddens and, at one point, even disgusts you while still providing that surge of adrenaline to get you all hyped-up. Then it leaves you feeling calmly satisfied after the right people get punched in the face.
Therefore, read The Breaker; ‘nuff said. If not for any of the reasons mentioned above, simply because Goomoonryong is possibly more epic than Chuck Norris. Girls will sigh and salivate at his visage; guys will sigh and say “I wanna be that cool too”. So have a look and experience why the Korean manhwa is where it’s at; I guarantee you it gives the Japanese and their manga a run for their money.
Status: Completed (72 Chapters)
Age Rating: 16+
More Ratings for The Breaker:
Dr. §trangelove: 8/10 – The Breaker is a wonderfully illustrated martial arts masterpiece with a riveting storyline and a dynamic, sweeping art style. My only annoyance with it was the brevity of the series. It was a bit concise and left me wanting a little more. Definite recommendation, though.
DISCLAIMER: The images displayed in this post do NOT belong to Super Manga Fighters GO! The Breaker manhwa is the property of Jeon Geuk-Jin and Park Jin-Hwan. Goomoonrong Image Source: zerochan.net. Breaker Girls image source: zerochan.net.