unOrdinary

Ch: 160+
2016 - ?
4.462 out of 5 from 1,547 votes
Rank #373
unOrdinary

The world is not perfect. Learning to deal with its flaws is just a normal part of life. But there comes a point where these imperfections spawn a crushing realization... that something needs to change...

Source: Webtoon

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Epimondas
10

It’s true what most readers say, and the recommendations I received on my lists, that this is one of the best.  It only has one maybe two significant drawbacks.  The single issue keeping it from near perfection is how much things are dragged out.  Why so many manga and anime do this is beyond me.  Sure, it is good practice to keep audiences engaged and interested but there are limitations to bear in mind.  You can’t dangle major events or plot conclusions in their faces fore more than a season or year’s worth of comics unless they are a sort overall recurring one but even then, it only works if you divide it up into a series of sub conclusions before the main one is eventually disclosed and the next one is vaguely hinted at or you don’t unveil too much about the story arc too soon.  The whole hanging chad about Seraphina’s abilities or the gang behind it, is dragging on a bit long without much reward in the sense of revelations.  The question of John’s true nature was done much more masterfully.  Good hints were dropped and spaced out pretty well then the apex happening after Seraphina’s punishment, but the one about the group of psychopaths is dragging on a bit long and hints are fewer and further between.  I have a little bit of an issue with the idea of anyone losing anything that is part of their identity and uniqueness.  The properties that define John isn’t as epic as it might seem due to duration and retention. The setting itself is very glum, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing just stating the obvious.  In such a setting it is hard to fathom that humans made any steps forward given how such environments in the past have unraveled in much the same way things start collapsing at the schools described in the story.  The idea that any government would ever be so apathetic to the problems of its citizens inevitably sets up an undoubtedly pristine nesting ground for vigilantes though I don’t consider the murders of that terror group as anything close to vigilantes but rather the people who are rising against them despite government apathy.  While this created a pretty good setting, I get the sense it’s not complete given how long the terrorist story arc is ongoing.  I can conclude she needs more challenges for her protagonists to overcome which suggests perhaps the focus is on the school or the town too much to easily transist to greater and broader obstacles.  The concept of an unruly school with difficult and belligerent students is not exactly unique or new, nor can I say adding the idea of mutations or super powers to the mix, but it is presented a bit more fluidly than usual.  I can’t help but think John may need a bit more evolution to truly shine since as it is, may still be a bit to limiting and finite since his skills roughly suggests he maybe the only character that has virtually no chance of evolving, improving, or growing in skills or diversity of skills.  His abilities a little too much of rigid set of limitations that no other characters has and I mean what he is like even after the events around chapter 60.  Sure, he can probably use what he has better than anyone but, it looks too much like he now has a ceiling which he has already reached that no other character has. Seraphina is a great well balanced character and perhaps a bit more so than John since she’s not prone to random outbursts.  I can’t say if there is any one solid antagonist as yet, maybe it’s a missing element, but Volcan is closest.  Arlo is so far looking to be more like an antihero than a pure antagonist.  Some of the minor characters such as the dorm bully, Zeke have been closer to an antagonist. John displays epically good fighting skills that are competitive against some of the mid tier level magic users even.  He knows how to use any skills he has or acquired better than anyone in a virtually instinctive level.  When he isn’t emotionally blowing up, he can be calm, rational, level headed, and tactically brilliant.  How he struggles with his education is a bit confounding given how intelligent, observant, and adaptable he is in almost everything else.  John is a great lead character with plenty of upside and downside, and yet accomplished so without the overbearing step from believability seen in so many other manga and anime protagonists.  At times, the deceptive front he puts on is verging on sickeningly nice.  It could be one reason Arlo gets suspicious.  The world in this story is broad and narrow simultaneously.  While it implies The whole world is like this, we only see two examples and little sense of what or who else in the world might roll over everyone combined at those schools.  Some examples do crop up however such as the investigator/counselor, Keon who seems able to put anyone of any power to shame. As good as the story may be, so far I haven’t seen that many story arcs so the scope and range of the world and what’s possible is less than most.  What’s good about it is probably as good as anything can be.  What is bad are only a few things such as no strong and clear antagonists and overly long story arcs.  The little rewards for readers often are delayed more than necessary from the little foreshadowing teases that take two- ten chapters longer than other comparable stories to conclude.  Pacing is important to any good story.  I can almost see all the near misses of Seraphina finding out what everyone is hiding as a running gag of sorts.  Most of the other secret surfers do time it well with all the short peaks and valleys but some take so long they almost appear forgotten by the flow of the story.  The bag attacker is a good distraction however I am a bit puzzled why something so imminently close to a school that loves gossip, why either it isn’t a bigger more widespread topic or causing any students or teachers to broadcast school wide warnings of dangers and more since the terror attacks are also close in proximity and victim profiles to the students and staff as the are.  Sure we may know it isn’t on par, but the characters for the most part shouldn’t.  The big problem I have at the moment with the terror enemy arc is, we the readers only just recently found even the name of one member in the story.  Any previous arc, never took that long to reveal anything and it was a missed opportunity to establish perhaps a good strong antagonist or two.  After this many chapters I still can’t really name a solid antagonist.  Maybe the story wasn’t meant for that sort of conflict however if you just go with a simple statement on school bullying that would still bring such a thing out.  Arlo doesn’t work as a clear cut antagonist because; John didn’t know until very late in the story he was behind some of them; Arlo’s motive isn’t to bully but to seek truth even if he doesn’t personally like John, Arlo never attacks people just to pick on them but in fact gets mad if he sees it since he considers such behavior beneath those with power; Arlo has intervened to help before and after he lead the pick on to reveal the truth campaign; Arlo isn’t a bully nor does he seem to truly care about the King title but only cars about order and ensuring people qualified fulfill obligations suited to their talents. Arlo is rough around the edges and may struggle to express personality and motivation but he isn’t a total narcissist or abuser of power either.  I may be missing the intention.  This kind of story with bullies; school staff demeanor towards conflict and rank jockeying; superhero’s with either magic or mutant power; and an enemy organization with far reaching tendrils does not equate to a story without a hero type story and a nemesis.  She certainly fueled fire in readers about how easily it becomes to hate such a villainous and loathsome sadistically violent enemy.  It was a great thrill to learn the secrets some characters hide from all others or the past of those who keep quiet about their pasts.  Kudos to the sense of friction so eloquently espoused between parents and offspring with several good examples.  The overbearing authority, fear, and power so well expressed by Keon and his interactions with students and staff is well demonstrated while nicely and simply by playing on the natural fears citizens often worry over authoritarian figures.  The story gets high marks in most every literary facet rarely seen at all in similar venues let alone completed so well.  However, at the same time, many of those same venues make the same practice of slow overly long reveal.  Black Clover might not be much better than most other virtual carbon copy style stories but, it does a slightly better job of offering those micro reveals leading up to the major ones.  Stories are supposed to work like radio waves, surfs, concertos, air shows, magic shows, or even sporting events.  By this I mean, you foreshadow major and minor events.  Major ones you do so slowly a little at a time up to a peak crescendo when it’s unveiled.  Usually, this is done as one major event a season for shows, such as the season ending encounter with the trained spy in ncis; the miniature killer in csi; or the Yin Yang killer in Psych.  Some nemesis type arc can recur over multiple seasons each ending with some dramatic action and a significant revelation about the nemesis until a final showdown is made which rarely goes beyond maybe 4 seasons but not always back to back seasons.  This same pattern can be found in manga and comics that usually last over the course of a year. You see it in many best selling novel series or serials too.  Minor ones are usually done over 1-4 episodes or chapters in manga or books in novel series and then revealed or concluded. This is where this story is perhaps weakest.   Readers expect enlightenment after so much time passes and the type of enlightenment dictates how long one might anticipate or expect to wait.  I am not seeing that pattern and consistency here.  This doesn’t mean after a major reveal the story has to end. A good writer will start faintly foreshadowing the next major arc before the previous one comes to conclusion and often fairly far in advance such as just before or as the arc descends as it winds down.  One example, Cobra was often found to behind the schemes the protagonists uncovered through progressive stories but might not always have anyone directly involved so that the minor reveal had its own conclusion. Unordinary makes few mistakes and mostly avoids mistakes so common in quite a few other manga and anime.  At least one detractor arises which is too common which is the long winded story or taking to long to connect all the dots and close that arc so another can take a turn.  It still does that.  As good as the story and buildup are, it’s lacking sufficient substance and has too many unanswered questions/open contiguous arcs.  It really drags its feet to deliver answers to questions pretty far back.  I’m fearing this might like a grift game. Where players are lead into an endless game to fleece them as much as possible.  Uru-chan has foreshadowing, but she doesn’t show the results of them as often as she leads on with foreshadow.  She should close a few more open arcs before starting new ones.  For the most part, the style and structure capitalize magnificently on writing standards seemingly absent from too many other similar media.  Solid characters, abhorrent enemies, gripping surprises, and dramatic engaging and emphatic story make unordinary as good as they come and with a few minor tweaks it may outlast all the other manga.

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