Author: KangHo Park
Manhwa-ga: HaNa Lee
Publisher: Yen Press
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: September 2008
Synopsis: “When Chiwoo’s epic battle with Yi-Yun is rudely interrupted by Il-Lak of the Heavenly Emperor’s army, the truth behind the death of Yi-Yun’s father is revealed. As alliances shift, Chiwoo’s clash with this new enemy brings about an unexpected casualty. Can Chiwoo overcome the sorrow dredged up by this tragic turn of events in order to become a better mangnani and deafeat hte Heavely Emperor once and for all?”
There’s lots to reveal for fans of the series here in the fifth volume of the series, as the story leaps off from where the previous one left off. Chiwoo continues to face one of the strongest opponents of his life in a desperate struggle to save those he came for. But despite all his efforts, lives are lost and some dramatic truths are exposed.
During my reading of this fifth, and final volume, of Heavenly Executioner Chiwoo, it became very evident as the last few chapters came around that this was either going to be a series that has a very rushed ending or no ending at all. Turns out its the second one, with this series coming to sudden halt mid-story. I don’t know if there’s a sequel series or if the creators just stopped, but regardless it’s something to keep in mind when you pick this one up. The book is much easier enjoyed as another installment of the series and not as its end (even if it does signify a real end may never come).
The thing that makes this series hard to dislike is its passion. It almost seems to suffer from too much at times, with the story moving at occassionally break-neck speeds as fights rip across the pages so fast its hard to keep an eye on whats going on. It plays out like a classic shonen-story with friend-protecting speeches from the lead and a line of enemies to fight, one obviously more difficult than the last. The secondary characters’ played minimal roles in this book, which was a little disappointing, but its pretty clear this book was more about action over character anyway. While I never really could get too attached to the characters, the pacing and self-induced hype of the events is enough to pull you along like a fast-moving river.
What always strikes me as most memorable about Heavenly Executioner Chiwoo however is the art style. This particular volume screamed to be a combination of Kubo Tite’s Bleach and Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece. While the wide-spread faces and occassional anatomy reminds me a lot of One Piece, the dramatic fight scenes, giant swords, hollered attack names and other similar attributes, felt very reminscent of Bleach, both in dark execution and classic dramatic shonen flair. While at times I really liked the art, at others its inconsistant handling of the characters and weirdly absent pupils at random times made it a fairly hit or miss book visiually.
Overall this book is bound to have some answers for its followers and really takes off in a linear direction from its stand in book four. However, an inconclusive ending is bound to leave some disappointed and sort of puts a damper on an otherwise exciting read for its fans.