Douluo Dalu - Reviews

Alt titles: Combat Continent, Soul Land

Douluo Dalu
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thor123's avatar
May 27, 2015

note: I didn't read the LN, but apparently it's more mature and better explained - dropped at 36 chapters

So "Douluo Dalu", or for people who actually want to understand, "Soul land"/"Combat continent" is a manhua that at first looks really promising, but then goes ahead and does everything wrong.

Story: The story follows Tang San, a guy who was a prodigy martial artist of the Tang Sect of Hidden Weapons (so he was basically a ninja), who jumps of Hell's Peak to kill himself. After that, he is reincarnated in the "soul land", but he kept his memories  of his previous life. Ths is of course a wonderful idea to create an OP character, because he still remembers all his ninja-techniques, which he begins to train again at the ripe age of 3 years ._. 

After this, the author starts turning "soul land" into an RPG-world. Everybody in "soul land" can transform their soul into a unique tool called "spirit essence" (eg. a knife, a hammer, but also ridiculous things like carrots. Physical transformation into a beast is also possible).

All 6 year olds are tested to see what their "spirit essence" is, and the level at which they can control it (max = level 10). Of course, the MC has level 10 control, although he has a "junk spirit", which is grass. After that, he reveals to his father that he has a 2nd spirit, a hammer (which is an OP weapon + the fact that he has 2 makes him even more OP). After this his father disappears, but later it is revealed that he (spoiler) is one of the strongest people on the continent (end of spoiler).

Because he's lv 10, he's sent to an academy to train, which is also where he meets his love interest Xiao Wu (with whom he becomes sworn siblings, because that's not done before *cough*OnePiece*cough*) and his first master (the Grandmaster), who helps him to make his grass useful by using poison. How to train spirits? Well, kill a monster and absorb his soul. That totally doesn't look like gaining exp in games. There's even a power level system from 0 to 100.

After a few years in the academy, Tang San and Xiao Wu join a new academy, the "shrek academy" for monsters (yeah, no kidding). When entering, Tang San show his OPness by being only lv 29 and making a lv 76 guy go all-out.

In all, shrek academy has only 7 students. This because team matches at the colosseum (where they fight other humans) are with 7 people, and because our feeble minds can't take too many characters at once. From those 7 people, 2 are support class fighters (told you it's like an RPG), and of course they're all geniuses, because we all love OP characters in our stories.

With those students, they go into a forest to fight monsters and train. This is also where Tang San gets a rare power-up (the external spirit bone), because he wasn't OP enough already.

After that we get some more training, and some colosseum fights, but nothing special ever happens.

Art: the art works nice in sync with some other elements from the story and the characters to make the manhua as attractive as possible... to 10-year olds. Both the character designs as their personalities are so childish, it's hard to keep reading it. 

Characters: as said above, they are all really childish. of course, they are really children of about 12 in most of what I've read, but they're still annoyingly childish, while at moments they're supposed to seem mature.

Apart from being childish, the characters also have no depth at all. We know who they are on the surface, and something about their basic personalities. But apart from that? They're all just paper cardboards.

Another problem I have with both characters and story as a whole is that there is no motivation for anything. These people train to become strong, but what are they aiming for? You need to use your strength for SOMETHING, right? It's quite annoying to see them train, without having a real reason.

Overall: OP characters destroy the story, the tone is really immature (strengthened by the art style), and none of the characters have any depth or motivation at all.

I would not recommend this manhua. If you really want to read the story, maybe you should try the LN.

3.5/10 story
6.5/10 art
3/10 characters
3/10 overall
PharuanUndearth's avatar
Jan 4, 2018

What can i say like my bud thor123 says the MC is OP but i haven't seen it out in the open like this usually the MC has to do a ton of training and do trials and struggle with some sorta stupid soul searching, this kinda follows that but it's so damn blatant that it doesn't seem hidden. I would have suggested to the author to hold off on writing a second series concurrently with the first let alone a third.

~SPOILERS~

Plus i would like to know more of his past life. The fights are amazing and very cool, the characters are Shonen standard funny man, cool man, fat man, love interest, rival(Female+Male), heros, villians, the whole set of standard, that's why they get a bad score it rises due to how they are used and some even switch their role.

"But he could have never imagined that this would take him to another world, one without magic, martial arts, and grudges," bullshit on all accounts the world is built on fucking magic, hello I'll grant that most fights are weapon based(swords, poisons, spells) but there's a few hand-to-hand fights. Grudges the main characters holds a grudge against Spirit Hall for killing his mother.

I would recommend this to everyone even thor to pick it back up a look past the overly sweet MC. I liked the story,ranking system(My absolute favorite theme ever), and a love story which was surprisingly interesting even though that's not my thing usually.

9.3/10 story
9/10 art
6.8/10 characters
8.4/10 overall
YinZ's avatar
May 7, 2017

The story:

Douluo Dalu (Soul land, Combat Continent) is the story of Tang San, a man who mastered all Tang Clan's techniques, and even learnt some hidden/forbidden technique, who jumped into hell's peak to end his life, having learnt everything from the tang sect.

However he finds himself reincarnated into the world of Douluo Dalu, while retaining his memories of his past life. When he's 6yo, he leaves his home to join a spirit master academy where he'll learn about the new powers of this world, and start his new adventure.

The plot is not "original" at all, but god, is it fun, the manhua follows the life of Tang san, so far there's 3 distinct parts, when he's 6, then when he's 12ish, then 20yo. The kid gets strong, gets lots of friend, and ... well read and you'll see! But he's OP af, as if god put his hand on his shoulder while saying "you, yes you, will become the one" xD that kind of bs. but it's a lot of fun.

Art:

It's definitively not the "most beautiful manhua ever" if you compare it to manhwas like nobless/ToG etc it's a bit garbage... that being said the quality does improve drastically over time, and is still quite enjoyable (the very start is a bit hard to digest, but it gets better really fast). The characters are really well drawn, the only thing i think could be better is the landscapes/backgrounds. but w/e

Characters:

I really loved all the characters in Douluo Dalu, all are quite easy to get attached to, and their stories are well put together... although one would argue that too many of them get OP, but once you've accepted that Douluo Dalu is about "OP characters doing op things" you're ok accepting w/e is thrown at you, and yet it still manages to catch you off guard most of the time.

Overall:

One thing you should get used to right away is : yes, Tang San & co are OP, and while the story takes its time to introduce "the big badass ennemies", once things get started, shit hits the fan and goes all over ! The relationship between Xiao Wu and Tang San is priceless, and the bounds with Shrek academy's students is just the stuff of legends. I really loved this manhua, and if you too feel like it, there's also Douluo Dalu II, the story has a different protagonist, and happens 10000 yrs after Douluo Dalu I, there are minor spoilers if you've read like the first  50 chapters, some of the things you learn are not going to surprise you at all xD. (oh and the kid in DD2 gets even more OP than Tang San...)

tl;dr : read it, good shonen very well done.

8/10 story
7/10 art
9/10 characters
9/10 overall
MyBoiLuffy's avatar
May 10, 2019

DON'T READ THIS go to the light novel much better, you can thank me later.

Look this is a goodish manga but it gets a little frustrating if you have read or intend to read the LN, as in the manga they incorrectly name things and the story is changed in little ways that don't seem like it matters but do towards the end which is very frustrating, i highly highly highly recommend watching the anime which is much more accurate and read the LN which is one of my favorites.

The LN in much darker and in the manga they make it a little more childish

If you really want to read this because you don't wanna read a LN then i suggest you take a look at the wiki as the amazing people behind it have added what's different and have the accurate info for you to help you be less confused

Wiki

SPOILERS Sorta

Oscars: spirit is sausages the other stuff every food item that he makes is s type of sausage. people don't like to eat it cause of the incantation not the smell. Oscars kills the Mirror Image Beast with the help of a friend and some bandits which he kills afterward, and ape does not exist at all

Dai Mubai: never unlocks the saga evil eyes spirit it doesn't exist in the LN. his brother still doesn't like him at the end they never make up

Tang San: “absorbing the 4th Spirit Ring gave him the darkening mode” never happened there is no “darkening mode”. his fourth spirit ring ability is called "Blue Silver Prison" but in the light novel it is also referred to as "Blue Silver Thrust", and can also be used to pierce enemies from below good to know.

Ma Hongjun: not addicted to food but sex and is fat because of his spirit not from eating all the time, he transformation doesn’t exist after he is given the herb by Tang San he loses some weight and his spirit becomes clean thus eliminating the negative effects of him having to satisfy his libido without it killing him.

Xiao Wu: Tang San fixed the comb he didn’t buy a new won, and she didn’t fall in love at first sight it was much more gradual. Her mother and father where eaten by a powerful spirit beast when they went to the center of Star Dou Forest. She didn't go until 10,000 years later when she ran into her childhood friends and stayed with them.

Ning Rongrong: not much difference except for attitude changes, she didn’t go from mean girl to nice girl she was always a little controlling

Zhu Zhuqing: kinda the same a Ning Rongrong.

5/10 story
5/10 art
5/10 characters
5/10 overall
YuriZero's avatar
Oct 31, 2018

I recommend you to read the novel, as it holds many more details compared to the manhua, but nonetheless, I find the manhua quite good as well. But in my case, I just couldn't stand the art used in the first chapters, so I went for the novel instead, and returned to the manhua afterwards. Like that, I got a much better understanding as well of the notions used, as there isn't much explained in the manhua. With the animation coming out, it covered some extra things as well, but it kind of diverged from the original story in some regards.

Story

Long story short, a very talented boy breaks the rules of his clan in his hunger for knowledge and decides that the only way to atone for this is to suicide, after creating and leaving behind one of the greatest treasures of the clan. However, after his suicide attempt, he wakes up in another world, reincarnated as a new born. This new world has its similarities to the previous one, which allows him to use some of his techniques and tools, but it's also very different, as it works on different 'magical' fundamentals, therefore he has to undergo a lot of training to be able to use even the simples of his techniques.

The begining sounds quite typical, however I am not a hater nor a lover of it, as for me it matters how good the story is, not how 'typical' it is. And to some degree, it is somewhat typical, but it stands out from many others in its quality. The story follows the developement of Tang San, who is indeed quite OP, having two "soul tools" at his disposal, and being born with full spirit power. This however doesn't change that one of them (Blue Silver Grass) is seen as quite "useless", and he can't typically use the other one (Hammer tool) due to his promise, which will make sense why much later. Given those constraints, he has to use his head (which he was going to do anyways) to overcome most of his hardships, while also diligently training to not fall behind with his goals. Folowing his growth, he will meet various people, some of which he will befriend and which will also bring trouble along, however, the story sends strong messages about friendship and life and how it can be unpredictable. The story also includes romance, but quite troubled ones, which can be representative for the real life struggle people could have in their lives, while keeping a contrasting humor about it as well at times.

I find the story quite relatable as it has just enough diversity to cover so many large areas of life, but doesn't tackle problems only with brute force either.

The thing that was really bothering me about the story was the "power rankig", which is like in a RPG with the maximum level 100. But there are times when the difference in each levels is much bigger than what you would expect, therefore thinking it as actual levels is not a very good representation of it. There are also many titles involved with those levels and that it gets to a point where it's confusing. I wish they would've just kept the levels without the fancy title. To some degree the story might seems like an RPG inspired one, but not quite, since it doesn't have the typical "quest and reward" system.

Art

In the begining, the art style was really hard for my eyes, and I just couldn't stand it. The story looked interesting, so I switched to the novel and I didn't regret doing that. Later on, after pasing the frst few chapters, the art style is improving imo, and I returned to the manhua again. Later, again, it becomes even better, and I would call it quite good, but I still can't forget the first few chapters, so I'll have to take points from it. As a manhua, the first thing you're seeing is the art, and it has to look good and it should be representatinve. I don't believe it was the case here. But it does get MUCH better after the first few chapters. At least that's how I see it.

Characters

Each character is quite.... 'unique' to say so. Sure, you might find them "typical" to some degree, but I personally don't care about that "oh it's a typical thing" crap, and I look at how good they are. They are quite well contoured, to the point you'll love some, pity others, or even hate them. They all have a similar sense of humor which might seem kind of childish, however, the MC does stand out from them in this regard, as he is indeed more mature, therefore acts so... but this logic doesn't apply to all the 'mature' characters. There are times when they even go full retarded. Everyone is growing and changing along with their goals, however, they are keeping the things that make them themselves, which is quite reflective of the real life. Given that we are given a glimpse at their thoughts, we often see that the things that they display is not what they are trully feeling or thinking, but rather a mask to defend themeselves. Each one of them goes through some kind of dilema and we're discovering the hardships they had to go through in the past, some of which are still ongoing and affecting them, and we get to see the solutions they come up for their problems, some being smart and well planned, while others just lucky. Nonetheless, everyone has their part in the story, and the MC is not all-powerful either, although he can be quite overwhelming at times by how smart he is.

Overall

I find Douluo Dalu as a surprisingly good read, after getting past the first impression it gave me. I didn't like the art in the begining, but it started to recover eventually. If you're between reading the manhua or the novel, I recommend you the novel as I find it much better, but if you're more into a manhua / manga, don't hesitate to read this. The begining might be a little slow in terms of explaining things, and the story might move a little too fast at times, but I find it quite interesting once you get past the first few chapters and Tang San goes to the academy.

9.5/10 story
7.5/10 art
9/10 characters
8.7/10 overall