Ping is a really stylized action oriented Korean manga that I stumbled upon while searching for new stuff to read. This is the first Korean manga that I’ve taken the time to read and I’m really happy that I started with this one. Had I started with one that was less impressive than this I may have been turned off Korean manga all together and just stick to Japanese manga. So with that being said I should mention that if you are a regular manga reader and have become accustomed to the way in which manga is traditionally read you will have to change your thinking a bit before starting this one. You see Korean manga is actually read from left to right like comics and English books, unlike Japanese manga which is the opposite way around. I actually started reading this one without know this and so I had reached maybe two pages in when I started thinking “hmm this manga must be poorly serialized”, but then my mind caught on that the panels were reversed and that I’d have to switch my reading prospective. After doing that it was smooth sailing, and what good sailing it was.
So about the story?
The Story of Ping is about martial artist that live in a world run by their trade. A trade where the strong survive and excel and the weak are just forgotten. Schools, businesses and more are ran under the fundamental rules of fighting and advancing one’s skills. The main character Kang, is a young boy who constantly tries to defeat one of his fellow classmates who he deems his rival, but repeatedly fails in this task because of his lack of any training or skill with martial arts. After one of his numerous defeats he proceeds to hide away on the roof of the building where his father works as a security guard, but as faith would have it he meets a beautiful girl who is being chased by ninjas from roof top to roof top. When she comes in contact with him she realizes immediately that he has the ability to absorb other people’s martial arts skills and techniques and use it as his own and so she being injured, transfers her abilities into him and uses him as a way to defend herself and escape. After a bit of story progression it is revealed that she is actually a not who she appears to be and the two characters set out with a few other characters to defeat those that want her dead and ultimately save the world they live in.
Ok I know that I’m being rather vague with this review, but there is a reason for that. You see most manga that I read are quite long and so It is possible to reveal content from the first few chapters without spoiling the manga for potential readers, but this manga is actually only 30 chapters and it progresses at a rather fast rate. This progression is actually good for the story, but it’s not good for a review. At least not the regular way that I review manga. It’s a really good story and I’ll recommend everyone give it a read as it’s short, and unlike most of the other manga I read it’s not as ecchi as it initially seemed.
I had very few issues with this one like the previously mentioned reading arrangement. The only other issue that comes to mind are names of the characters, which were extremely long and complicated for me to read. By the end of the story I only remembered the female leads name, (Horan) but I’m sure If you’re Korean or into Korean culture you may be be accustomed to such names.
The art style in this manga is very stylized and caught my attention and drew me in when I may have otherwise drifted away. What this means is that like bleach if you like the action in the panels then you will probably love this one. You’ll love the look and design of the characters and the way in which their attacks are presented in the panels. It’s all done rather beautifully, and paired with the great story it all makes for a great manga to read.
Ping is a manga that that surprised me enough to have me finish it in practically one sitting and it will probably do the same to you. If you have the time and space in your manga reading collection please give this one a try. You won’t regret it.
if you’d like to hear more about my thoughts about this manga, then I suggest you listen to the Buttonsmashers podcast.