Following the release of volume one, ABLAZE Publishing has released the official The Breaker Omnibus Volume 2 in English print. The second volume of this popular Korean manwha continues the saga of a blood-pumping and action-packed series while inserting a mystical element of cultivation that has captivated its audience for years to come. Anime Trending editor and writer Agnes Nguyen takes a dive into the second volume with high hopes and anticipation.
Unlike the first omnibus volume that covers more of the hilarious segments and the slow setup of Shiwoon and Chun Woo’s relationship, the second omnibus volume goes full throttle into the politics and action regarding the Clans Union and their dissenters. For starters, the One Moon Clan and the Chundo Clans’ clandestine talks reveal the identity of the “egg” that Shiwoon consumes in volume one, which is an all-powerful “One Moon Pill” that grants its user invincibility through Chinese alchemic arts. Since its conception, three of the pills have vanished, no doubt thanks to Si-Ho who may have acquired it for the sake of her original mission and tempted Shiwoon into consuming it. Its side-effects are momentous, and as such, the clans form a tentative agreement to recover any of the remaining pills and drop their assassination attempts on Chun Woo.
However, it doesn’t mean that the characters are out of the woods yet. While the clans are trying to salvage their assets, the aberrant Torrent Clan is in heavy pursuit of an elusive Lady So-Sul, who is also strangely vital to Si-Ho and Chun Woo’s mission. As a result, these two key events in the second volume embroil Shiwoon and Chun Woo into further chaos, as they are now at a crossroad to expedite Shiwoon’s training while maintaining a low profile from the Clans.
I absolutely love the second volume over the first, mainly because the pacing picks up and it deviates from the usual formula of the “training arc.” Usually, the training arc in shounen series consists of the protagonist and his mentor isolating themselves for the purpose of aesthetic training and spending very little time worrying about the outside world. However, in The Breaker, it manages to subvert this trope by having the characters’ loved ones be constantly threatened and the enemy always hunting them. This shift in the narrative forces the characters to continuously adjust themselves without breaking the routine, and creates a realistic sense of urgency. It’s rather refreshing, compared to the shounen series that sort of time-skip through the training arc or take too long to flesh out all of its intricacies.
To accommodate for this shift in plot, the series also becomes less comedic and more razor-focused on the characters. The perverted hijinks of Chun Woo are dumbed down in this volume to make leeway to his more jaded self, while the effects of Shiwoon’s power brings forth a new sense of humility and anguish in him. However, there are still remnants of those questionable perverted elements that linger, namely the “massage” techniques to regulate the flow of qi through the body. These scenes can be interpreted as non-con instead of comedic, so I hope that gets shuffled out quickly and The Breaker continues its focus on the politics, cultivation aspect, and gang warfare.
Speaking of characters, my new favorites of the volume are the side-character Alex and the volume’s new antagonist, Ma Mun-Gi from the Torrent Clan. Alex is unabashedly immature and his vanity and pride shouldn’t make him this likeable as a character, but he starts to grow on you with all of his antics. He shines the most when carrying out his mission and using his mad drifting skills to escort his friends to safety, which I love to see more of in these gangster types of series. Meanwhile, Mun-Gi just reeks of eerie energy with his boggly fish-eyed appearance and his wicked kukri machete that makes short work on car windows and limbs. It’s exhilarating to watch them both at their best, but I cannot help but be suspicious if they will be allies or enemies in the long run.
Finally, it goes without saying that artist Park Jin-hwan (Kamaro) has outdone himself again. Not only does he retain the same quality and meticulous style to draw out the fight scene, but he has even taken upon a photorealistic approach in drawing the background scenes of Seoul and the detailing on Alex’s cars. Very few series pay that much attention to detail, and the only one that is comparable in caliber is Until Death Do Us Part written by Hiroshi Takashige and illustrated by DOUBLE-S, a series that also has a hyper-focus on realism and gangster warfare.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Breaker Omnibus Volume 2 for its quick immersion and fast plot that sets itself apart from the first volume. There are still remnants of that perversion and possible non-con elements that’s played for comedy, but it is clear that it’s fading quickly to make room for more serious aspects of the story. I look forward to reading more of this critically acclaimed manhwa and falling in love with all of the realistic action and detailing in the panels.
Disclaimer: ABLAZE Publishing provided a copy of Volume 2 for editorial review.