Ranker's Return (2021)

Alt title: Ranker-ui Gwihwan (2021)

Ch: 144+
2021 - ?
4.068 out of 5 from 1,284 votes
Rank #2,412
Ranker's Return (2021)

During the early years of the hottest MMORPG called Arena, the world’s top ranker Meleegod vanished after setting every possible record in the virtual world. In the real world, this deathly melee damage dealer was the happy-go-lucky Kang Hyeonu, who simply deleted his character and quit his hobby to finish mandatory military service and inherit his father’s company. This rosy future dissolves within two years when a business rival makes his father go bankrupt. Hyeonu struggles to make ends meet with a string of part-time jobs, but his best friend has a better idea. He urges Hyeonu to conquer the Arena once again and earn a cushy living as a gaming celebrity. Vowing to strike it rich and avenge his father, the former Meleegod returns to the Arena as a newbie. Only this time, he’s out for blood!

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I've spent years upon years honing my wrawful, cantankerous demeanor til it's reached the heights we all strive for. Anyway, with much spittle, I now manage to gurgle out my assessment of this manhwa: "Meh. A weak and disappointing entry into its genre. The setting felt most similar to Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, but the main character of this one is a lot more basic in both feir personality and power suite. It also struggles from having shallow, mob-worthy side characters that don't seem to have story arcs of their own (and it should be mentioned that it makes no sense for the bear to already have friends and a backstory when we literally saw the moment fe hatched from an egg). The dynamics between characters are also...gross, in that they feel very 'profit'-oriented ('how much can this person help me?'). And I realize that this dynamic fits in with our protagonist's goal of rapid ascension, but that might just mean that that goal isn't well suited to creating good dynamics between characters (or at least that this author did a bad job with it). The quests are quickly over and there are far too many unique items and hidden paths and similar things that just come across as plot armor. The development at the end of chapter 15 was cool, but then the fight that development led into was unengaging and honestly pretty bland (just like all the other fights). In story, there were some internet commenters who pointed out that watching the main character fight and win so easily is boring. And I have to agree. The story attempts to introduce elements to spice things up (and it presumably works in story), but it doesn't actually make things much better. The feud with the Black Skull guild is a waste of time and a narratively boring method for the protagonist to gain items to sell. The artwork is full color and I could see other people liking it, but the digital pasting, blurring, and generic linework rubbed me the wrong way. The way the fights were drawn also just looked like flashy clashing, if that makes any sense." [Reviewed at chapter 23]

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