Episode One-Derland: Diabolik (2000)


Plot: Based on the Italian comic series, Diabolik is a master thief who has dedicated his life to righting the wrongs of his assassin and fellow thief brother, Dane, and the brotherhood he leads. Along the way, he meets a woman named Eva Kant whose mother’s necklace was stolen by Dane. She later finds out that he was one of the people who kidnapped her father several years ago. Diabolik recruits Eva to help retrieve her necklace, and she later becomes his partner in ‘crime’, aimed at taking down Dane once and for all.

Breakdown: While I have never read the comic this is based on, I believe this is a pretty good intro to the series as a whole. The theme song gives off a very weird air, like this is a very cheesy old spy show from the 70s, but it’s actually a pretty solid anti-hero story with some really cool gadgets and a surprisingly serious tone.

Neither Eva, Diabolik (which is actually pronounced Dee-a-Bowl-lick and not Die-a-Bawl-ick like I thought at first) nor Dane are really anything special in the personality department so far, and Dane is kinda super-villain-ish, but they’re still pretty good characters. Diabolik has a charm about himself, and Eva, despite being new to thievery, is made out to be a good strong female lead. I’m a little weirded out that she’s so open to the idea of becoming a thief, but considering they’re supposed to be stealing for the greater good I guess it’s not that outlandish.

There are also some surprisingly cool gadgets in this show so far, and he even has the trademark tricked out car.

I like anti-hero stories, and a phantom thief always seemed like a more appealing hero story than a spy. They have all the charm and intrigue, but with less of the cheese.

This show is a bit old, and the art and animation make it seem like early 90s not 2000, but I did enjoy what the story has to offer so far and I look forward to more.


Recommended Audience: There’s no comedy bits in this show and assassinations/killing people/death is alluded to a few times. 7+

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Book Club (Manhwa) Review

Plot: Eun Sae has a crush on a boy named Kyung Do, but he is only interested in books. As a way to get closer to him, she agrees to clean up and take care of the school’s horribly disorganized and creepy library. As they spend time in the library, Kyung Do finds a creepy old book and becomes enveloped by it. However, there is much more to that book than meets the eye, and it only brings bloodshed to every reader.

Breakdown: This series really surprised me because it’s somewhat uninspired in the first few chapters and even comes off as a bit of a shoujo with Eun Sae’s attraction to Kyung Do, but this definitely was a pleasant surprise in terms of horror and story.

There are several very creepy moments as the two get more ensnared by the powers of the book. In addition, the ending was handled extremely well and resulted in several plot twists that I never saw coming.

I really enjoyed how they made every single character integral to the plot in some way. Sure, some were seemingly just bodies to add to the pile, but most of them were pieces to the puzzle and important aspects to the story.

The ending was sad, though that’s to be expected from the horror genre. I sorta wish the series had ended a few pages earlier, mostly because the ending was just somber mixed with hopeful before those last few pages….

I guess the issues I had with this series was that the main characters weren’t horribly interesting in terms of personality. Eun Sae likes Kyung Do, she’s kind and doesn’t ditch him when things involving the book get bad. Kyung Do’s definitely more concerned/obsessed with the book and books in general than he seems to treasure any connection with Eun Sae. If anything, the two detectives were more interesting in that regard. The pasts of Eun Sae and Kyung Do are very interesting, but they don’t have very strong personalities to back it up much.

The art is very well done. There are several visuals that, while not being horribly original, are still very creepy, especially towards the ending. The details on the characters are pretty well done, even if proportions seemed off sometimes.

Bottom Line: It’s a very enjoyable and pretty original horror manhwa with likable characters, interesting plot twists, creepy atmosphere and plenty of suspense. It’s not groundbreaking, but certainly worth a read.

Recommended Readers: There are many instances of death, references to killing and torture, and some instances of gore. Being a supernatural horror story, there are also various visuals that wouldn’t be advised for young readers either way. No sex, no nudity that I recall, and minor swearing if any. 14+

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