Original Title: 안나라수마나라 [Annarasumanara] #1 - 3
Author: 하일권 Ha Il Gwon
Publisher: 소담출판사 (2010)
ISBN #1: 9788973816538
ISBN #2: 9788973816545
ISBN #3: 9788973816552
Pages: 328 (each)
Well, I guess the Hallyu fever does not stop with cars, electronics and K-Pop. After so many k-dramas came flooding supersede the Jap's dorama, now the scope of literatures also open doors for us to peek inside Korean life and arts. Start with the celebrity picturesque book to movie/drama tie in novels and all their fan fiction stories filling up bookstores' shelves, now Man Hwa — korean graphic novels — also slowly piercing Japanesse Manga. Bride of Water God by Yun Mi Kyung, published by Elexmedia is one of the example (and oftenly mistaken to be mangas). The Color Trilogy and Red Bycycle by Kim Dong Hwa are the most recent gn published by Gramedia Pustaka Utama, and targeted more broaden readers, as the beautiful detail graphics and more subtle stories. I just found another one — not been translated/published in Indonesia yet, but I hope maybe... soon.... — that story and graphics really intrigued me. The title was Annarasumanara. It was a mini series, just 3 thick books, but I trully enjoy reading them.
There are rumors going around town. They say that if you go to the old carnival, you'd see a dashing young man wearing a magician's hat — a man who has the power to make people disappear from the face of the earth. But before he does any magic, he will look you in the eye, stare at your soul with his grey eyes and ask,
"Do you believe in magic?"
Yoon Ah, a smart girl in her class, struggles to feed herself and her sister everyday. All she wants is to grow up faster so she can escape poverty and the reality of her miserable life. When she meets the rumored magician in the abandoned carnival, her life changes forever.
The story was really about two high-schoolers and a magician which try to learn the meaning to be a responsible adult in life. Yun Ah was a poor girl that had to took care herself and her little sister after her father took flight leaving behind a considerable amount of debt. She had no time for nonsense, always study hard, work hard, so she could go to the best univ and get a decent job in the future and never had to be a pauper ever again. Na Il Deung, while sharing her idealistic view of life, had the opposite social status. He came from rich powerful family, never had to work himself, got the best teachers and tutors money could buy. But both of them got their foundation shaken when they met each other and met with a magician — real magician — name R. R was once like them; smart, best student in high school, ready to face life and adulthood. But something chaged his mind. Now, conciously or not, he tried to change Yun Ah mind and also Il Deung's. He reminded them that there are other things that equaly as important, friendship, family, having fun and laughter and love and trust, big dreams, and..... magic.
At first I had doubt of how the story will developed for each character, well, you had to admitted that they were not the most original characters after all. But along the line I love how the it played with the reality, was he a real magician or is he not, were they just a magic trick or a real magic, was it going to be a surreal or just plain old everyday world. And all of these were being clashed with everyday's real problems. such as poverty and hunger, debt collectors and exhibitionism, midterm test and students' rank. I also like the twist near the end, where R past time life came to haunt him once more, and forced Yun Ah and Il Deung to make choices. That being said, I really fancy how the graphics told the storyline. They were oftenly repetitive, so it sunk little by little and amplified the meaning. It did not have detail and beautiful like Bride of Water God or had vivid colors like Red Bycycle, it was mostly black and white with contemporarly mixed pictures and splash colors, odd but unexpectedly lovely. The used of the panels were very free style and not affraid to use whole area and double pages to convey the meaning. The image of the characters also differ from time to time to elucidated their feelings (like the long neck Il Deung -the way he see himself vs the handsome Il Deung -the real image of him in everyone's eyes). So, by and by, it was a nice story with peculiar graphic novel, but in every good way possible, and I'm glad I read it. Hope to find more from the same writer in the future.
Ah yes, and Annarasumanara actually does not have any meaning. It was a made up word that commonly used in webtoon and manhwa community in equated to Abracadabra or something like that. Weird.... isn't it?!