Disclaimer: There might be spoilers up to chapter 82, except it probably wouldn't matter mcuh because the story is as linear and straight-forward as it could get. Basically, long story short, an old man gets reincarnated back in time before some war with Dark Heavens Sect and abuses uses his knowledge from the future to save the world. I'm truly surprised at just how smoothly everythinh went for him despite how much things deviated , from preventing his masters death, to making his name known throughout the murim world.
Story and Characters: As you all know, a good story has to keep the readers engaged, but Volcanic Age just doesn't do it for me. There's no plot twists, no mysteries (I'm telling you, diluted colors+undrawn faces does not equal "myterious"), no nothing; just a straight and linear forward story of a kid using the cheat of "being from the future" to become op. Not that there's anything wrong with that; in fact, I enjoy reading straight and linear stories with a clear-cut goal- goal? goal. What was it again? Ah, it was something about saving the world. Why do they need to save the world? Because some evil cult wants to take over the world again (or something along that line). Why do they need to to take over the world?
...See, that's what I mean.
There is just so many problems I have with the goal-aka the theme-aka the core of the story and the whole point of everything-so much so that I don't know where to start.
First off: the theme gets lost amongest all of the side activity that the mc is doing. There is nothing wrong with the theme itself, but they failed to emphasize the importance of the mc's desire to save the world. It was almost as if that goal was just a means for the mc to flex his OPness. I mean, he is so op that he literally accomplishes everything without a single drop of sweat, and the only enjoyment I got out of it is was the cannon fodders getting there a** handed to them after looking down on the mc, which soon became repetitive due to lack of variety. At this point, many people would assume the problem is that the mc is way too overpowered, however, I don't think that's the case at all. As a matter of fact, op characters can be extremely benefical to the development of the story when used in the right way (ex. Solo Leveling, Chronicles of HD). My definition of an op character is someone who is unstoppable in terms of power, but that doesn't automatically mean that that character can't have inner conflicts or flaws, which is something that the mc in here greatly lacks. One of my biggest regrets is that the mc became op way to quickly. They could've slowly built up his character and power, which could've made a bigger impact when the mc finally becomes op. But instead, they used the fact that his master was sick to find the power-up fruits (which I'm almost completely sure that will never appear in the story ever again) that 'just so happened' to be nearby. And this is a prime example of the problem that there are just too much unnecassary things going on. As they say, every action will have a cause and effect. Because of all these extra gimicks, I have a feeling that most of the actions will probably be forgotten as the story progresses. It also causes everything to deviate from the original purpose.
Secondly, the villains are bland, which is part of the reason why I had problems with the theme. They give little information about them in attempt to make them more mysterious, but all that it accomplished was making them feel bland and one-dimensional. If they really wanted to add that mystery element, they should feed the readers information little by little, instead of cutting it off all together. You know, they could've put the effort into building the villains instead of those extra gimicks. By handing us just a small amount of info that builds up over time, it could make the readers feel a sense of foreboding and tension.
As of where I'm at right now, the main villain seems like the stereotypical antagonist. Here's a description of him: Ruthless, cruel, bullies his suboordinates, and his wants to take over the world or get revenge. Sounds familar? Yeah, it's the description of a typical third-rate villain that I've seen way too many times in every wuxia C-dramas. (TN: It always profounds me to see so much followers for these types of villians. Just look at how they are treated! Unless they were all blackmailed into doing it, then history proves they should've revolted long ago, or at least went to ask for help. The whole notion is illogical as heck, and yet this trope is still over and over again)
I don't really have much to say about the rest of the cast. At the end of the day, the only character that I had taken a bit of a liking to is Poison Pheonix Tang Hye. I hope she gets more character develop later on.
Art: The art was good. The action scenes were fluid and clean for the most part, though it didn't have that voodoo magic. You know, the type that possesses me to take a screenshot every two panels till my storage pleads uncle. Yeah. that. I'm not sure if I should be happy or not, but my storage is definitley grateful for being spared this time around.
Overall: My overall enjoyment of this manhwa was okay. Nothing about the plot, art, or characters particularly stood out, but it wasn't bad either. If you want something with a more complex and grittier storyline, or intricately weaved characters with flaws, emotions, and complex backstories, this might not be the thing for you. However, if you are just looking for some mindless action manhwa to past time, then by all means, go for this.
I know that many of you probably disagree, and I'm perfectly fine with that, because as of chapter 82, my feeling for this manhwa has only amounted up to a... meh. Just wanted to put my two cents out there.
When old-man Joo Seo-Cheon dies, fe is returned to feir eight-year-old body and is given the opportunity to change history and perhaps prevent a war (I say "returned" and "given," but as far as we know there is no agency behind feir soul migration). Fe uses knowledge and discoveries from the previous timeline to help advance feir goals. Fe knows the locations of treasures and cultivation ingredients which will be discovered later and accumulates great strength and rare techniques (learned from martial arts tomes). A lot of the manhwa is fem doing these treasure-hunting expeditions. Fe also makes crucial connections with people fe knows will be important later on. Probably most important is Lee Ue-Chae, who becomes an extremely influential and powerful merchant. Fe also befriends/recruits a genius child inventor (Seung-Kye), a poison user (Dang-Hye), and an exceedingly powerful swordsman (Wu Qu). And fe impresses many sect leaders along the way.
One of the faults of the way the story is presented is that fe will have a goal "A", but then fe must achieve "B" before fe can do "A" and fe must do "C" before fe can do "B" and so on. That layering of goals along with the inclusion of subplots makes it so you can forget why fe's fighting such-and-such group or what the purpose of a given quest was. I especially felt this way whenever fe was fighting as the Phantom Bow Swordsman or as the Silent Reaper. Yes, fe gets several nicknames as fe travels: Killing Noise Blow, Phantom Bow Swordsman, Phoenix Fall, Pure Blossom Sword, Dagger Ghost, Silent Reaper. For what it's worth, up until chapter 53, feir goals involved finding treasures and ingredients to increase feir strength. After that point, it seems fe's starting to focus on undermining the Dark Heavens faction, either by thwarting their plans or killing their high-ranking members.
This world is split into many factions, and their interplay isn't always clear and often seems that new ones are just made up as the author goes along. We start out with two broad groups--the Just Faction (also known as the Murim Union) and the Unjust Faction. But then they tack on the Dark Heavens faction, who work in the shadows and only Seo-Cheon knows of their existence. They are the ones who caused the all-important war. Then later, there's the introduction of the Five Evil Sword Sects, the Five Great Royal Families, and the Two Demonic Forces. And to further confuse matters, the Unjust Faction is later translated as the Unorthodox Alliance and the Just Faction becomes the Orthodox Sects (or the Martial Alliance) and may also be synonymous with the Beggar Sect and the Nine Great Sects. And finally, the Black Way/Xia Wu Sect is tacked on as a new category.
[Reviewed at chapter 110]
Just a heads up that chapter 73 is the end of the first volume, in other words the first season of the whole story. They went on break so that they could stockpile chapters for the next season and not burn themselves out hard like they did at the end of this season, see below for why. This happened in fall 2018 and they planned on returning by March-ish 2019. The bad news is that I am writing this on the final day of June 2019 without anything new starting to my knowledge. I only write this to let others know that there is an unknown eta if/when this one will continue as the artist had a tumor surgically removed towards the end of the first season causing them to not be able to keep up with the release schedule and bleed through their rainy day stash until the season completed. You have been warned.
Edit: It's back baby, now go read it and enjoy the journey.
amazing story. For me it feels the void the breaker had created and it is surely one of the best murim based manhwa out there. Give it a try and you will be hooked up for sure. I strongly recommend it for anyone who likes "The Breaker". BTW, I truly wish that someone with magnanimous heart will translate the novel as well. I really want to read it.
If you're looking for a manwha with an op mc in murim that has a well orchestrated storyline, very good character development, very good world building with elements of cultivation, martial arts, and diverse (well-thought out) martial art techinques this is perfect for you and is possibly better than Nano Machine if you have a larger emphasis on involved side characters and world building (as well as the diversity/and number of martial techniques).