Annarasumanara

Annarasumanara is a short Korean manga I finished reading recently.If you don’t know about it and wanna hear my opinion – here it is. Annarasumanara is probably the best comic I’ve read so far. The story is great, and if you are willing to spend a little time thinking it over you get even more from it. Characters, art style, the way pages are arranged, all that is very different from what I’ve seen in manga and anime. Check it out.

The rest of this post is intended for those who have read the manga already, I won’t explain all that happens in the story, just assume you know about it. Sorry ^^’

annarasumanara 6

I intentionally didn’t cut this picture; I think this scrolling down that you keep doing when reading the manga is more or less a part of it and I wanted to bring a little bit of that feeling back :P

What is Annarasumanara about? Korean students’ welfare? Magic? Life choices? In the beginning I thought that it is going to be a story about a girl who wants to grow up as an escape from the kind life she has now. She is being dragged through the mud of adult world, and then through a dreamland of child’s fantasies of the magician. Ai’s story is full of little turns and vignettes that don’t necessarily lead anywhere. Like that episode with a burger. Someone ate a bite and left it, and hungry Ai who was cleaning the tables was facing this little problem – eat it and satisfy her hunger or keep her pride. She ate the burger; and nothing happened. She is a strong person, hurt pride isn’t enough to seriously affect her. You see what I am talking about, this story is just one little episode that doesn’t go anywhere, but at the same time it maybe is the first time writer tells us that “breaking norms is okay”; or maybe it is more like “here is this girl you sympathize with, she just finished someones burger, are you gonna change your opinion about her?”. At the end of the book this is going to be one if the central points. When in the last part of the manga Il Deung breaks the norm (or just breaks a window, depends on how you see it :P), it is being celebrated by changing his appearance, the way he is drawn. From this point on he looks normal, while before his head was deformed in a weird way. You can’t applaud your character in a more literal way.

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So what I wanted to say is that Ai’s story is very rich in many ways. But what is even more interesting is the direction it was heading. Look at Ai in the beginning and in the end of the manga. Did she change? Maybe she grew up a little, learned more about life, learned to accept her own desires more; but that is not much. The road she planned for herself had not changed, the way she was heading towards becoming a “boring adult” stayed the same. The manga took us through a very bright and breath-taking period of her life, but it didn’t change anything for her.

Same with Il Deung, he didn’t change either. There was so much talk about him going off his asphalt road to the bed of flowers, he even had this moment of catharsis after witch his appearance changed. But at the end he became a college student, same as Ai, same as he and his parents planned all along.

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So what is up with that? I think the answer to this question lies in magician’s character and his back story. See, Ryu is the one who did not fit into this pattern. He did change his ways, back many years ago. And we all know what he became. An outcast, a man who lives in his illusions. Those are beautiful illusions, but never the less, they are not reality. He does “real magic”, but really every time he performs, it is just an act that masks the ugliness of actual reality. I am not judging him, it is fine for him to live the way he wants. But the fact remains that he does not fit into society. And think about this, that kind of life, it is not what Ai can enjoy. She need to take care of her sister, she wants to escape poverty; I’m sure she has other ambitions as well. And unlike Ryu all those ambitions are her own, it wasn’t like others pushed those goals onto her. See the difference? Ai is a real person with real goals and real problems. Ryu is like a fairy tale character, and his life turned like that because of the problems he had in his head, but not in reality. And their ways can’t be the same.That is the message of this story, I think. That if you live on Earth you can’t follow a shooting star. You can enjoy looking at it, you can run the direction it points, but yours is the Earth and its is the sky. It is a message that does not looks all that positive, when you put it this way. I like it though, just as I like everything that is not obvious but makes sense ^^

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There is this very nice pair of events that illustrate what I’m saying. Remember this moment when Il Deung snaps and the guy who tried to frame Ryu? Il Deung tries to hit him. And remember how Ryu snaps at the girl who spilled his cards? The two events mirror each other, but how different are they. Il Deung cares about something that happened in reality, something that is an actual problem, a dishonorable act of injustice. Ryu, he cares about a ruined magic trick for a group of children. It is like the two of them live in different worlds, even though at this time the similarity between Ryu and Il Deung was shown pretty clearly.

I liked this story a lot. Very thankful to Shaurya who suggested it to me \^^/ Thank you =)

Till the next time  (^_^)/

To see all my posts on manga click here: Posts on mangaTo see the catalog of the posts published in this blog click here.

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18 thoughts on “Annarasumanara

  1. I am actually rereading this webtoon. I am doing a post about it too. I am glad to see someone else that enjoys it! Good interpretation! :D

  2. You know, every time I tell myself that I had taken too long a break and it is about time I write a post, you write a nice little post about something interesting and I would be like “Now I can slack off for another week” XD But it is amusing, how we kinda have this weird rhythm where you and I end up writing posts alternatively.

    I wanted to remind you about Annarasumanara but I thought I shouldn’t nag you too much ._.
    It is a great comic though. What I find most amusing about Annarasumanara is Ryu’s character. He was trying to help Ai. He was telling her about not giving up on her dream. Let us say Ai had normal parents and they heard him say that. What would they say? They would probably say something like “Not give up on dreams and then what? Become like you?” I am sure Ryu is happy with his life and I do like his character but a lot of people won’t be happy living like him, living all alone in an old amusement park, showing occasional tricks to people, not being able to support yourself without help (Others were helping him by bringing him food and all) and having to call a little girl for support when his pet parrot died.
    Also I like how we can’t label Ryu as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. He was kind to Ai but he wasn’t always nice to everyone. Remember how he pushed the shop owner down the bridge to make him ‘disappear’? Ryu’s character is interesting because we can’t tell what he ‘wouldn’t’ do for his magic.

    Annarasumanara has such a deep story. It feels like the story has subtext and the subtext had another subtext =)
    Great post senpai \^^/

    • Yeah same here :D Does it mean now you are going to write something before my next post? >:) You’d have to hurry, you probably don’t have much more than a month!.. … … (^. ^)’

      I never forgot about it =) I kinda learned to read faster, so it was easier. Though I think I couldn’t have read the beginning of Annarasumanara manga in this fast pace. I think this manga is meant to be read slowly, looking at those long pictures, scrolling them down little by little. This way when Ai’s polka-dotted leggings turn into stars with a sleeping city under it you don’t feel confused, the transition is slow enough for you to catch this glimpse of humor the artist put into this comic. Later chapters became more story-driven, I could speed-up the reading.

      Yeah, I feel so too. I kinda wonder what Ryu meant by not giving up dreams. Did he meant that Ai should follow the dreams she had as a kid? Then would he be disappointed in what she had become after the time skip? Or was what she had done exactly what he meant for her to do? I wonder =) The first case would be more fitting for his character, the second would be more fitting for the story.

      So what do you think of Ryu’s way of living? =) If one of the people you know well decided to drop his studies/career and do something that foolish, would you be supportive? Or would you react as Ai did in the beginning of the manga?

      Thank you \^^

      • One month is plenty of time :P Also you’re lazy and I might get more than a month >:P

        I know that feeling. I was taking my time reading Annarasumanara too. I would look at a panel for a long time and sometimes I would go back to the previous panels because I fell like looking at them again :3

        Yup. Ryu would probably be disappointed if he met her after she became an adult and found herself a job. She could still perform her magic shows but I am sure she would find herself a job that would give her considerable amount of money and a feeling of security. Ryu would probably want her to be like him, and be ‘free’.

        I did think of that scenario before XD I would probably react the way Ai did at the beginning. Let us say I had a little brother and he decided to become like Ryu. I would probably be mad because he would rather live in a nice little illusion than reality. The sad part is that he can’t maintain the illusion by himself, he needs others to help him do it. Remember how Ryu gave Ai two notes and told her that they both belonged to her? Now how did he get the money? He probably didn’t earn it. It probably came from someone who was worried about him and gave him the money to meet his expenses. Taking care of a person like Ryu means that you live the rest of your life trying to maintain the guy’s illusion and he lives totally oblivious of your efforts. It would be a pain in the neck. But if my imaginary little brother was just like Ryu, couldn’t live in anyother way except by creating illusions, I would probably take care of him for the rest of my life, but it would me more because of responsibility than duty =)

        • Yeah it might :D I may try to write something sooner just to spite you :3

          You think so? I’d like to believe Ryu would happy as long as Ai leaves even a little place in her life for his silly games =) Though thinking about it, I kinda can’t imagine Ryu and Ai meeting again O.o It would be out of place, like trying to play with your childhood toys when you’ve grown out of them. Ryu was a mentor figure for both Ai and Il Deung, but now they don’t need advice anymore, not from Ryu anyway. So their meeting would feel strange.

          Yeah I guessed so :D But I mean, even if the person is more or less capable of supporting himself doing whatever the magic he does, would you be satisfied if he abandoned his potential for making a brilliant career, sacrificing it all for something that looks like a silly kids game? =) Its a common place to say “you should do what makes you happy”, but if that choice makes one an outcast, should you still proceed? For me, all of my encounters with people living a little bit like Ryu left me with only sorrow or anger. So I can guess that I would be frustrated if someone dear to me decided to take Ryu’s road =)

          • That would be fine too since I would get to read another one of your awesome posts while slacking off :3

            Yeah he might. But let us say she had a magic show in the evening and she had to stay late for some important work that would help her job. She would simply cancel her magic show and Ryu would feel betrayed. Ai knows where she has to draw a line and it would probably disturb Ryu =) But yeah. It is better if they never meet.

            I would probably be okay with it =) It is their life and if they make a decision that would mess their life up, they should take responsibility for it. I would probably think that it is none of my business =) Let us say that my brother is able to support himself with magic, I would probably give him my contact details, tell him to contact me if he needed anything and walk out. As simple as that. Even if he comes back sometime later regretting what he has done, I would probably be like ‘Hey! It is your decision and you’re the one who needs to pay the price.’ Sure I would help him choose another path and start over but I wouldn’t be wiping his tears and patting his back and saying ‘It is okay’. I believe that when someone makes a decision, he/she should be prepared for the consequences. What can I do? I am a mean person :3
            I don’t think I feel sorrow or anger when I meet people like Ryu. They have a mind of their own and if they chose to go ahead and throw everything away, I wouldn’t care. They are the ones who have to take responsibility for their actions.

            • xP

              You are right =) I’m just imposing on Ryu characteristics that he doesn’t have. Like being reasonable =) The way he behaves doesn’t indicates that at all.

              Somehow what you say is still more humane than the way I feel. You know, your way of shrugging it off doesn’t involve pushing your ideals onto other people, and in a way it shows respect for their decisions. Its probably a better way of thinking about it altogether. But well, I can’t help it. Sometimes it gets kinda ridiculous. Remember the father from My Neighbor Totoro? I kinda feel sorry for him. Even though he himself seems totally content with his life. And he has what people usually want, nice family, work he seems to like, his own house in a place he himself chosen. But still, I know that he is living in postwar Japan, where live is harsh for everyone, and it is clear that he is going to put well-being of his family as his first priority; so even if he had any sort of personal ambitions he probably won’t act on them. And it makes me sad, cause he seems to be a smart person, and I like him. You see my point? =) I am not supposed to feel this way about that character. Mr Kusakabe is a lucky guy, if anything I am supposed to feel happy for him. Well, that is how it is =)

              • Yup. Ryu isn’t reasonable :P When I started reading Annarasumanara, I thought it would be one of those comics where the magician gets to completely change Ai’s life. I expected him to act like some sort of fairy godmother XD He turned out to be different. Ryu needs a fairy godmother himself. I kinda like that =)

                And I think actually feeling sad for a person who messed up their life is more humane than being indifferent and walking away =) I didn’t feel sad for Kusakabe. Sure he has it tough. His wife is sick and he has to take care of the kids all by himself but that is what he wanted. If he gave more importance to his ambitions, he shouldn’t have gotten married or had kids. Since he did that, he should take responsibility and take care of the kids. I don’t think Kusakabe is a lucky guy but I don’t think he is pitiful either since he likes the life he is living.
                But you know, I do feel sad for characters who get their life messed up without any mistake of theirs. Like Kaneki for example, He didn’t choose to be a ghoul but there he was, getting his limbs cut off and getting broken to the point that he snapped. On the contrary, remember the guy from Baccano! you told me about? The one who was happy to become immortal? Even if he regretted that later on, I probably wouldn’t feel all that sad for him, even if he didn’t choose to be immortal =)

  3. I love this manhwa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I also wrote a little post with some commentary. Hopefully our efforts will give this more awareness so others can enjoy it <3

  4. Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I posted my thoughts on Annarasumanara on my blog. :)

  5. Yes I agree =) It is not like I wish Kusakabe would have a different life. I like the story that movie and I don’t wish for any changes. And I even think that it is how Kusakabe wanted his life to be (except for his wife’s sickness). I feel a little sad about him not because there are good reasons for that, it is just because I am weird like that =)

    Yeah I see what you mean. Though after a while I stopped feeling bad about Kaneki I think. In the beginning when he was all helpless and lost I felt it. It was actually kinda horrible, not just sad. Later though it seemed he found himself a place and it was almost like he wouldn’t want to leave, if it meant turning his back on all the people he met as a ghoul. And unlike Kusakabe, Kaneki is in the exact opposite position. It seems as if life gives him a chance to achieve something big, like changing the way ghouls and humans live together. Of course I feel bad for him when he suffers physical pain, but that is a different kind of feeling.

    • It is not really that weird. You feel sad because you feel that Kusakabe can no longer do what he wants to do since he has his family to take care of =)

      Of course it had to end well for Kaneki, he is the protagonist after all :P Let us say some random guy was in Kaneki’s shoes. I am sure he wouldn’t have met all those awesome people and would have had a not too bad life. If Kaneki hadn’t met Touka and the others and was hunted by the Aogiri Tree members and got killed, it would have felt awful. Kaneki didn’t choose to meet Touka. It just sort of happened because he is the protagonist. In real life things don’t always end so well. Sometimes you’ve got to pay a price for something even if it wasn’t really something you chose for yourself =)

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