An Escape From Reality

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”

-Lloyd Alexander

Manhwa: the artistic comic adaptations of Korean web novels. They come in a variety of genres: horror, fantasy, historical, action, comedy, anything…you name it! In a sense, you could say manhwa is similar to manga, it is basically the same idea but from a different culture. Now with that being said, what makes manhwa so special? To me, reading manhwa has become a big part of my life. The engaging stories and gorgeous artwork relieves me of stress and allows me to relax. It is basically my escape from reality whenever times get tough. As I engage in the many genres that I could possibly come across, I have come to find that my favorite genres typically fall under historical romance and action. Now it may sound a little cliché and stereotypical,

Oh, of course a girl would be obsessed with princesses, princes, kingdoms, and romance.”

But, that is just a matter of opinion and personal preference. Out of the 188 different manhwas that I have read (ranging from a variety of different genres), the artistic style and story behind the historical and action manhwas have been the best. To give a general overview of the romance historical genre: a lonely main character reads a fantasy novel, wakes up one day in that novel, reincarnates as the villain of said novel, has to use knowledge read to survive, and wants to return home (example of this type of genre on image to the right). From this, I am able to quote the movie, “Spirited Away.” In “Spirited Away,” Chihiro and her family move from their old house to a new house. On the way to the new house, they arrive at a tunnel that leads to the unknown. By going through that tunnel, they are essentially transporting themselves to another universe; similar to how the main characters in manhwa “transport” into the world of their novel. As we get to this point, you may be thinking, 

She is just rambling about her excessive interest in Korean manhwas.”

Although that thought is not wrong, having something that you genuinely enjoy and look forward to is always comforting. The podcast, “The Mojave Phone Booth,” allows me to demonstrate this thought. After Godfrey Daniels discovered the mysterious booth, he would continuously dial it. A month in, Daniels finally heard the person on the other end. His perseverance and excitement in getting an answer out of this booth continuously piqued his interest. To me, reading manhwas is when someone answered the booth. Once the plot unfolds, you are immersed in this “other” reality; wanting to see more and learn what is to come. Once you reach the end, there is a bittersweet feeling of satisfaction and sadness. 

As I wrap up my thoughts, I am left with the final question, “Why manhwa?” To put it bluntly, as I grow up, I start to realize, “…I am moved not so much by any sense of my young self but by a sense of responsibility,” as school and everyday life has just become a routine. In a way, I find myself relating to the main character; by enjoying the subtle hobbies in life which are able to help us relax in times of need. In this case, like the main character finds an escape in reading novels, I find my escape in reading manhwas. Eventually, the buildup of pressure from parents when they say, “you need to do well to get a good job and be happy or you need to get good grades,” when they need to get through their heads that, “you don’t need that much money, you just need some food, shelter, and a reason to be alive [to be happy].”

In the end, to find something you find comfort and passion in is to take care of yourself; to take care of yourself is to learn that YOU come first. Find something that you enjoy doing. Whether it be watching movies, reading books, exercising, or even reading manhwas. With time, you will come to find that life is all the more enjoyable.

Just for fun! Here are some manhwas I recommend! 🙂

Solo Leveling

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Chapters: 179

White Blood

Genre: Action, Romance, Fantasy

Chapters: 93

The Reason Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion

Genre: Historical, Romance, Comedy

Chapters: 158

Sweet Home

Genre: Horror, Tragedy, Psychological

Chapters: 141

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