Shipwrecked!/Tamra, the Island – Vol. 1 Review

ShipwreckedCover

lol I’m finally getting around to my first manhwa post! It’ll be the first of many to come *crosses fingers* I was wondering which one to start off with, since there are quite a few titles I liked, but I decided to start off with Shipwrecked! even though there aren’t many scanlated chapters out for it yet, because it has comedy and beautiful art, and it pokes fun at the “Orientalists” of the past, during colonial times, which I’m sure many animanga fans can relate to. ^.~

Summary:

It’s the 17th century, and William’s mother is started to get fed up with her son, who has no job, lies around at home all day, and collects trinkets and objects imported from the East. Spurred on by his mother’s attempts to marry him off, William decides to take his future into his own hands and, with the help of Yan, travel to the Far East, to Nagasaki Japan. However, during sea travel, a storm breaks out and William is washed ashore to a strange land, where a girl finds him and hides him away to try and keep him safe. For he has washed up on the land of Chosun, and no foreigner who stepped on this land has ever been able to return home…

And so begins the adventures of William, and Buh-Jin, the girl who took upon herself to hide this foreigner away. Throw in language barriers, an exiled prince about to get the cultural shock of his lifetime, an omnipresent old man who gets easily distracted by food and the shiny, and a clan of Haenyo, female divers of the Jeju island, and you get Shipwrecked!

The Cast:


IntroWilliam

William

By all rights I should loathe this guy, for he resembles the type of anime fans I revile the most: Japanophiles, people who fetish-ize Japanese culture to suit their own exotic impressions and ideas of the Far East instead of trying to understand and respect a culture that is different from their own. There is admiration and respect of different cultures, and there’s just plain “HOMG EVERYTHING IN JAPAN IS BETTER” idiocy and—the manhwaga doesn’t even bother trying to hide this—William definitely falls on the latter. And yet, I’m fond of him. This is probably because the manhwaga for this series, Hye Na Jung, makes it very clear from the beginning that William is one of those Orientalist (or, the historical versions of Japanophiles, as I’d like to call them), and calls him for the fool he is from the get go, instead of, you know, trying to make him sound more sympathetic by saying how he’s different from the others, or whatever. Having established this fact and poking fun of him consistently throughout the story, we also get to see that William has a good heart, good at getting along with others even if he can’t speak the language, and is quite good at adapting at the situation at hand. Also, when having a good laugh at a guy, it’s hard to dislike him. He’s fun, even if he’s an idiot. And I always appreciate a good laugh.

buhjinfull

Buh-Jin

lol, I normally wouldn’t like this kind of protagonist. She’s those rebelling-against-their-traditional-family type, always having her little soliloquy about wanting to run away and “be free”. What saves her and gets me to like her, in my opinion, is her interactions with William. Through William, we also see that she’s strong headed and does her best in whatever she decides to put her mind to. She’s also extremely kind, and tries her best to take care of others, to understand what William is trying to blather about even if she gets it completely wrong. The ways Buh-Jin and William interact, completely misunderstanding each other but sometimes getting it right, are so much fun to see. She’s funny, with a dash of naivety, and does her best. I simply hope that Buh-Jin and William don’t end up together by the end of the series. Two fools in love is just asking for a tsunami-like disaster to roll around. Besides, I like Buh-Jin’s other option better, and his name is~

parkyu

Park Kyu

AKA our exiled prince with a stick constantly shoved up his ass! Yeah, he’s a total jerk, and it’s seriously a credit to Hye Na Jung’s story telling abilities to have a cast of flawed, not easily likeable characters and make her audience fond of them through comedy. Usually an exiled prince in stories gets some sort of stupid sob story where he wasn’t to blame and all the girls around him love him because he’s royalty and whatnot. Not in this case. The reason why he was exiled was never mentioned or made important, but it’s quite easy to believe and assume it was probably of his own doing. He has no respect for “the commoners”, he finds the island completely backwaters, and gets into trouble and scolded so many times. It’s hilarious. I love the complete culture shock our high-class prince has to go through, especially when he found out where the “lavatory” was. I THOUGHT I DIED. Homg, too funny. And he’s such a praise junkie. The girls thank and compliment him on carrying water, and next thing you know he’s doing hard labour for everyone. It’s priceless. And as for my support of Park Kyu/Buh Jin? Nothing says love like knocking down the guy when you first meet him and ‘cause his hand to bleed. Park Kyu/Buh Jin FTW!

kawamurayan

Yan Kawamura

And now we round out with our final leading man, Yan! My favourite character of the four cast wherein the manhwaga didn’t even need comedy to convince me that I liked him. He’s so surly, quiet, and is always baffled by how easily William coasts through life. And he has such a sweet tooth. *hugs him* Probably the only main character that actually has his head set on straight. Yes, he has his sob story, but he doesn’t dwell on it and does his best to survive, and I respect that a lot. Also, William/Yan totally have a thing going on, I tell you. Yan didn’t cry out William’s name while looking for him so desperately as the boat was sinking for nothing, you know. Yan/William is gold, gold~ ❤

Rest of the Cast: The Haenyo & Old Man

Wee, female divers REPRESENT. I love how the women in this series are unabashedly uncouth and tough, and it’s nice to see women run the household for once. Also I may be biased because I read a story about the Haenyo a couple months ago and have been hungering for more ever since. (there’s never an end for the sea by ciderpress, if anyone’s curious) I even liked the old man who spouts his random nonsense in form of an advice. Everyone is just so vibrant and lively and hilarious, and I enjoy this cast so much. >D

Overall Review:

I love this manhwa. It’s got great comedy, an interesting cast, and awesome choice of setting. I say this last bit because by setting the story on Jeju/Tamra Island, we get to see two different layers of culture clash, the main elements of what makes this series so comical. The two clashes can basically be summed up to East Meets West and Urban Meets Rural. I think Hye Na Jung explores these elements beautifully, and it’s a fun, hilarious, fast read, really easy to get into. I can’t recommend it enough.

Also? I’m seriously excited about the Korean Drama adaptation coming out later this year. Thinking of seeing Yan remade into RL form makes my heart go all a-flutter. ❤

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8 Responses to “Shipwrecked!/Tamra, the Island – Vol. 1 Review”


  1. 1 Sapphire Pyro June 11, 2009 at 1:58 am

    I don’t like William . . . at first impression . . . based on the pic. But oh well, can’t tell if I’ll really hate him until I read this.

    I like the last two characters though (Yan and the prince), at first impression.

    You keep emphasizing about the comedy! It’s making me curious! Will read this when I find it xD

    • 2 wingstodust June 11, 2009 at 2:16 am

      lol it totally IS the epitome of comedy. (Okay, maybe I exaggerate.) I seriously had a blast reading through this cmanhwa and when the scanlations came to an end, I was like, ‘WTF WHERE ARE MY OTHER CHAPTERS?!’

      I didn’t want to give specific examples of the humour in this manhwa because I was afraid I’d spoil it, but… Oh, what the heck! So there’s a variety of humour in this series but the ones I like the best are the culture clash types. Like, for example, when William was trying to ask Buh-Jin in English if he was in Japan, his stomach growled. So every time he said the word ‘Japan’, she thought it meant he wanted her to feed him and she’d stuff his face with food! And that is just a small, tiny part of it. I honestly had a riot reading this, so yeah~

      mangafox.com and onemanga.com has it. >D

  2. 3 John August 29, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    While I do “hope” that William and Buh-Jin end up together, as it would be a big first for Korea in terms of the “internationalization” of its culture (and Manhwa is certainly a big part of Korean culture), I just don’t think they will. I don’t think Korea and Koreans are ready for it yet, so I think she’ll end up with the Park Kyu in the end.

  3. 4 jj September 27, 2009 at 6:46 am

    hey where do you guys find this manga? i really want to watch it too!!!

  4. 6 q_word October 16, 2009 at 5:07 am

    i’ve watched this n it was sooooo great. Park Kyu is very cute, i like him more than William.

  5. 8 leopon December 30, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Please tell me how can i find this manhwa. I’ve watched drama. It’s really funny and i want to wacht the manhwa


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