The World My Arena Manga REVIEW + Interview
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Hello, my name is Imani aka MaddMoniArt, I’m the creator of the psychological thriller manga Bleakville, and the founder of MaddIndies, a place where I review and support independent Web Comics.
Hello readers and creators, if you enjoy manga then you're going to enjoy this. Today, we are going to be diving into Kang Jing's action, drama, manga titled The World My Arena. I reviewed Jing's spin-off series, Save Me From Chloe. If you haven't read that yet, be sure to check it out after this review. In contrast to Kang Jing's mini-comic, "Save Me From Chloe", The World My Arena is a full-page graphic novel that has a much darker tone and monochrome artwork.
I was so fascinated by his work, I interviewed him. He kindly gave me an insight into his series. Along with the interview, I have written a review of his work. I will not spoil anything, but I will share my first impression of the first five chapters of The World My Arena. Yes, you heard me, I couldn't get enough of this manga.
The world my arena
A low self-esteem teenager who is despised by nearly everyone in his life, Nathan struggles to find his place and purpose in the world. A world filled with mockery, dissing, abuse, and misery that seemingly drives him to the brink of death. Life has other plans for him though, as the chanced encounter with martial arts begins the unexpected upturn in his life. But in a world that has been unkind to him, his morals will be challenged at every turn.
Themes of being bullied almost to the brink of death are dark. This manga is dark and goes into the cruel depiction of bullying. There is a great story here with memorable characters, drama, and action. The pacing is quite thrilling. Every page turn for me was a surprise.
The world is cruel and hypocritical and life for Nathan is no different. Regardless, he wants to stay happy in front of his Little sister no matter what. Little Chloe is still here, and she still cares about her older brother. Chloe is so sweet and special. She gives the story hope and is the main supporter for him pushing through this humiliation and beating at school.
Trinity high school is a prestigious school where students pride themselves not just on their academics but on their image. Nathan is everything opposite about what that school describes.
Because of his body type, someone who looks like Nathan in the manga or anime world is not meant to be the main character or portrayed as the hero of the series. It is refreshing to see a different protagonist like this in manga, especially a martial arts manga.
As the synopsis mentioned, Nathan does encounter martial arts, which would benefit him in defending himself. Perhaps, or maybe he is just an unfortunate guy. I will not leave any spoilers. You can check it out for yourself.
INTERVIEW PART 1
Why did you decide to make a spin-off?
“Save Me From Chloe” is a spin-off title that came out from my main comic series “The World My Arena”. One of the main reasons is for me to grow as a comics creator, and to try out more variety of storytelling through comics. “Save Me From Chloe” adopts the standard four-panel comic strip storytelling format, which is in contrast to the long-form storytelling in “The World My Arena”. This requires a very different technique to deliver the story to the audience. Additionally, “Save Me From Chloe” also allows me to practice my digital colouring skills and a different drawing style compared to my usual.
What inspired you to create Nathan?
Nathan is a character born from the pages of “The World My Arena”. Of course, in terms of personality, it arises naturally from the story; A low self-esteem teenager who is bullied by everyone in the school. As for the character design, I decided to go against the norm in manga and comics, where the main character of the series is always that lovable, good looking, cheerful, happy go lucky kind of character. Coincidentally, the character design and personality strings neatly with the storyline.
Where can fans read your manga, “The World My Arena”?
For the main series, readers can purchase a physical copy through my online store. Readers may also purchase a digital copy through ComiXology for now, though I have plans to migrate the digital edition to gumroad very soon.
For the spin-off series “Save Me From Chloe” readers can read it for free by simply following my Facebook/Instagram pages, or just head over to Webtoon or Tapas. There’s a new strip every week!
How long have you been creating comic books?
I have only been creating comic books seriously for the past 1.5 years, even though I have been fond of drawing from a very young age.
What inspirations did you have behind this project?
The biggest inspirations for “The World My Arena” are definitely manga and anime. Even though I am more involved in Western Comics now, I have always been a big fan of the storytelling in manga, be it character development or the story arcs. There is this permanent growth of characters and the stakes within the story are usually much more real. Besides these, I have also taken a lot of inspiration from my all time favourite novel, Legend of the Condor Heroes by Jin Yong.
What are the main themes behind the series?
The main theme is martial arts. Throughout the series, several martial arts will be showcased, in particular, Jeet Kune Do and Boxing, which I have spent several years practicing.
What do you have to say about a certain character from your series?
The protagonist of the series, Nathan, starts off as a low self-esteem character, but as per any Hero’s Journey kind of story, he grows throughout the series. The way his journey pans out, may not be what you expect to see normally, but I think it presents a good representation of the pitfalls that many of us go through in real life. Check out the series to find out more!
How long are you planning this series to run?
As of Novemeber 2020, there are 5 issues/chapters of “The World My Arena” published, with 2 more coming in December. That will wrap up the second arc of the story. I have around 5 arcs in total planned out, so a good estimate would be around 15 issues or so.
As for “Save Me From Chloe”, it’s a side project that I would love to keep on going for another year or so, and hopefully much longer if readers love it.
Anything else you want your readers to know?
The World My Arena is much more than martial arts. In fact, while martial arts is the main theme that the story revolves around, readers will soon find out the complexity of the characters and the drama in it. So I would encourage everyone to give it a try and check it out!
SUPPORT THE CREATOR
Online Store: https://artofkj.storenvy.com/