Aria of the Withered Branch - Reviews

Alt title: Mareun Gajiui Raga

Aria of the Withered Branch
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SadPufferfish's avatar
Apr 3, 2022

First of all I want to include a TW for emotional abuse and suicide. 

With that out of the way, I love this story so far. I have read so many manhwa/manga and this has such a refreshing and unique story. It had me hooked from the beginning and before I knew it I was emotionally invested in the story. This is one of those reads where you can't help but become attached to the main character, Alkeris (Al) 

It has some great comedy too that had me grinning at my phone like an idiot. 

I love the designs of the characters. Each and every one of the secondary characters is wildly different in not only personality but also design. This is to the point that it feels like each character has lived in an entirely different world than the others. It provides a very diverse cast of characters and establishes that the world in this story is vast. 

Some of the characters are cliche, but in an odd self aware kind of way. The story acknowledges that the characters are cliche and uses that as a comedic device. You have a tiny pink haired witch with a bubbly personality, a handsome blonde captain of the imperial guards, a wise old merchant man in asian inspired  clothing , A beautiful silver haired woman that is the leader of an assasination guild, and a suspicious gloomy looking dark magician. Regardless of personality, they all coddle, protect, and spoil Al (the MC) and it is so wholesome and heart warming. 

The story is a little all over the place, but it mainly follows the daily life of Al. It has some aspects of action and adventure, but I would say the main genres it fits into are fantasy, slice of life, comedy, and drama. So far I wouldn’t really categorize it as romance, but the ‘seeds of romance’ are there. 

The one thing I am very confused about is whether or not the characters know Al’s gender. I don’t know if I just read a wonky translation, but the pronouns that they use for Al seem to change a lot without being addressed. The fact that it is not addressed makes me feel like maybe it is a translation fluke but idk. 

I would definitely recommend this story to anyone looking for something funny, heartwarming and full of fluff.

8/10 story
9/10 art
8/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
ErbaiPeaks's avatar
Feb 12, 2023

Overview

Synopsis is a lie, the story is mystery and practically horror and doesn't focus too much on the MC's development (which is what I was expecting). Regardless, the cast of characters is too big, and the MC has a very weak involvement in the actual 'plot' of the story so far. As such, I find it hard to really care that much about the whole heathen, binah, whatever since the MC's stake in these events is really minimal.

I think it could be an enjoyable story, but the synopsis and plot feel like they came from different comics entirely. I recommend it if you want a mystery/horror, but if you want to see an MC heal and grow, then this one doesn't really fit the bill.

Story

The synopsis is hardly at all what the story is about. In fact, the crux of the synopsis gets resolved in barely a few chapters. The MC practically just wakes up happy and suddenly wants to live after years of emotional abuse and neglect. Which is fine, but I thought that was the core of this comic? That the binahs had to work to try and get the MC to enjoy life. It was solved that easily? What was even the point of that whole introduction arc.

The comic then takes this weird turn into a horror mystery thing and I kind of lost all will to continue reading. This isn't what I signed up for. It doesn't focus on the MCs development or their experience in the world, just strange things like heathens and binahs or something. It is tagged mystery though, so I guess I shouldn't be too caught off-guard but eh.

The MC's only connection to these mysterious events is that their day-job is an office worker in an investigative support role. So their stake and connection feels very minimal. I don't feel that they really care that much about their work, it's just something they do. And so, I find it exceedingly difficult to care either. Why do I care if this mystery gets solved or not? Why do I care what happens? The MC is just doing their job, if it doesn't work out then that's someone elses problem.

Characters

Also feel that there's just too many characters. What I was led to believe are the 'core' characters are practically abandoned in the first 30 chapters. They make short appearances only to show that they're worried the MC is going to get hurt. Which is nice I guess, but the relationship feels so superficial. Then we meet the investigative team the MC works for, and I'm not really fond of them. The purple haired guy is a complete creep but is given romance vibes and whatnot, almost made me vomit. We have the dunce puppy-dog eyed redhead, the borderline brooding black haired girl, and I forget who else. Their designs are unique I guess, but they all feel flat and moronic. Maybe it's a symptom of too big of a cast, we don't get to spend much time with the characters and so their pull to me as a reader feels very weak.

6/10 story
7/10 art
5/10 characters
6/10 overall