Manhwa Review: Milkyway Hitchhiking Vol. #2

Most manga and manhwa have lengthy plots with human main characters. However, if you prefer a feline narrator and more of an anthology feel, you may want to check out Yen Press’ Milkyway Hitchhiking. Read on for the review of Volume 2. (If interested in my review of Volume 1, click here.)

Back Cover Blurb

There are as many people on Earth as there are stars in the sky. From the unique marriage traditions of a faraway tribe, to the unusual relationship between a fox and a chick, to the tale of a complicated royal succession, Milkyway continues to leave her mark across the bright stars of people’s lives, loves, tears, and laughter.

The Review

Milkyway’s tales continue in their non-linear fashion. As in the first volume, her roles vary from main character to mostly uninvolved bystander, but these stories run longer overall. Volume 2 contains only six “episodes,” and only two are single chapter stories. In one of these shorts, “Find a Bride,” Milkyway plays her biggest part when she disrupts a tribe’s time-honored marriage tradition. The tribe, a mishmash of Pacific Islander and Native American, is very obviously fictional but offers fun comedy as well as a chance for Milkyway to show some sass. In contrast, Milkyway’s more of a prop in “Flower Painting,” which explores the relationship between two brothers in long-ago Korea.

Her role is also minimal in “Tiger’s Present”/”Fox’s Dream.” Unlike most of the Milkyway stories, animals take the main stage in this one. The brightly colored artwork and whimsical style give it the feel of an Asian folktale and would definitely appeal to a younger reader. On the other hand, “Three Stories” is solidly set in the contemporary human world. Three elderly women trade memories that involve a cat (Milkyway), but though their anecdotes happen in different times and places, they all have a positive feel.

That is definitely not the case for the two longest works in the collection, “Crimson” and “The Watcher in the Shadows.” Those who enjoyed Volume 1′s “Knight of the Fallen Leaves” will probably enjoy “Crimson.” Like “Knight,” “Crimson” features a viciously dysfunctional royal family and has a color scheme that involves a lot of red and black. “The Watcher in the Shadows” has more of a Victorian Goth than a Grimm feel, but it also delves into disturbing territory with its predatory siblings. In both these stories, the humans dominate, and Milkyway’s little more than a narrator.

“Milkyway Convenience Store” makes another appearance, and Sirial also introduces “Milkyway Café.” This time around,  characters from the featured stories get thrown into the bonus mini-manhwa for comic effect. Other extras include a bonus illustration at the end of the book and footnotes explaining cultural terms.

In Summary

Milkyway Hitchhiking returns with six more “episodes.” Most these stories are longer than the Volume 1 works, and though there are lighthearted stories in the mix, they tend to have a darker feel. Milkyway continues to be the common thread binding the stories, but as in Volume 1, the stories are more about the lives she encounters so the particulars about her remain largely unknown.

First published at the Fandom Post.


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