Thursday, July 25, 2024

Manhwa-Manhua Mash-Up: Rooftop Sword Master.

November 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Anime, Manga, News

( We’re back to Korean manhwa, folks! This time it’s one of the most extreme series I’ve read out of South Korea with Rooftop Sword Master. The series was created by KIM Ui-Kwon and has been running since 2020.

The Story of Rooftop Sword Master

At its core, this is an extreme revenge story rooted in fantasy that crosses into superhero territory. It’s headed up by an anti-hero who kills those that wronged his parents and those close to him because he has the power to do so.

In middle school, Tak Se’Young is bullied by a group of more well-to-do students. One day, he is humiliated and beaten up along with his close friend/girlfriend Siyeon.

The beating is so vicious, that he is put into ICU for a coma. When he awakens nine months later, he is thin and weaker than before. His aunt—who has visited him often—tells him about the events that happened during his coma.

Tak’s parents attempted to appeal to the police and public for justice against the rich students and their parents but saw no progress. As a matter of fact, the bullies’ parents had the incident covered up.

At the end of their ropes and wanting justice for Tak Se’Young, they stage a two-person protest in the middle of the city that ends with them setting themselves on fire.

In the follow-up, there is public outrage, the bullies are all expelled and their parents issue a public apology as well as compensation to Tak. The president takes advantage of the situation for a press opportunity with Tak who is still in a coma.

Seething with rage, Tak eventually makes something of a recovery and is moved into a rooftop apartment. There he lives in solitude, too weak to do anything about it and unable to get his revenge.

This is amplified when he finds out that the eight students were sent out of the country to finish their schooling outside of the South Korean media’s eyes. However, they are planning to return to Korea after finishing high school.

Not only that but one of the bullies’ parents is poised to become president or prime minister of the country—I forgot which, I’m 90+ chapters into this series and its based in a country that has both a president and a PM.

Manhwa-Manhua Mash-Up - Rooftop Sword Master-2021

The Turn Around for Tak

Fortunately, in a moment of either other worldly or divine intervention, a massive sword strikes the rooftop. Tak Se’Young investigates the sword. It calls to him and the words and visions inside drive him to train and improve his weak physique into that of a hulking, near-indestructible murder tank who can wield the sword.

His training also allows him to control the sword with his mind. Through the simple but incredibly effective exercises, he becomes a rooftop sword master. At one time, he didn’t have the power to exact revenge and get justice for his parents but now, he has more than enough strength to do so.

As a matter of fact, he’s more powerful than the money that his bullies’ influential parents use to protect their kids and silence the police and media.

What follows is a path of mass destructive revenge that equal to the Incredible Hulk going on a rampage. While Tak tries to keep civilians, police, and soldiers out of his graphic, hyper aggressive killing spree, he’s not above taking out people who stand out of his way.

His sole targets at the start of series are those that hurt him and Siyeon. However, he has those who hurt his parents—the bullies’ parents—on the back burner and the kettle is whistling.

Manhwa-Manhua Mash Up Verdict: 8.75/10

It’s just so rare that you get a manhua or manhwa series with action this intense. You really have to dig to find them and even then, the action isn’t as graphic as it is in Rooftop Sword Master.

Not that we as readers should just seek out graphic violence. It’s just that when you’re used to comics based around fantasy martial arts, cultivation, and reincarnation, this is truly a breath of fresh air.

I can see how it might not be appealing to some for a number of reasons. Some readers might scoff at revenge fantasy, others were probably bullied in school and can’t get through the opening back story, and some might not dig the artwork.

Honestly, the part of the series that didn’t do it for me initially is the artwork. It’s very different from what usually comes out of South Korea and I love it when it comes to the action scenes.

However, the design of women in Rooftop Sword Master are cookie-cutter slim waist and large bust with the hair up. Every artist has a type—man or woman. Hell, comics legend Rob Liefeld loves drawing hyper muscular males with tree trunk legs and necks—similar to the artist for this series—and pin-up females who keep the leotard store in business.

Everyone has a type and it often works for the story they’re telling even if I’m 50/50 on it, they manage to make it work well.

When pairing the two in RSM’s case, it works very well. I’d say the main hits against this series is that the revenge went a little long. Once Tak was done with his classmates, he moved on to the parents, then the government.

Like, he only took breaks when traveling between spanking his targets and when he was finally knocked out by another hulk. Then the story direction shifts towards there being more like him in the world.

I say give it a read if you want something different from manhwa but familiar in comics.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!