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Bastard is a Korean webcomic (Manhwa) about a boy that has been his father's unwilling criminal accomplice since youth. A Coming-of-Age Story of sorts, it deals with said boy coming to defy and overcome his Serial Killer father. While the premise sounds standard in and off itself, it actually delves more into psychology and romance than it lets off, as the main pull of the series is the complexity of its characters, and the unpredicability of the plot, which lends itself to suspense.
Without actually discussing the plot, I can safely say that while it is mostly standard, as far as the murder mystery and criminal elements are concerned, it stays interesting by blending in other genres and themes, mostly those normally targeted at the teenage demographic, albeit without becoming a series targeted directly at teenagers. This is largely because of the realistic and often dark storytelling, as it doesn't shy away from some mature topics.
However, its forte is unquestionably its characters. The main father-son duo receive the most development and focus over the course of the series, but in completely different directions. While the titular bastard comes into his own and begins to search for answers on the morality of his actions and how he can escape them, he still seeks to preserve his own interests in the process, and he slowly comes to question the inherent righteousness of attempting to do so. More specifically, how it makes him any different from his father. Said father, on the other hand, is only seen from the son's eyes at first, and although someone to be feared, we don't really understand much about him or his motivations until later in the series, when we begin to question if he is really as arbitrary as he seems. The side characters, although interesting, are largely for the sake of fleshing out the main duo, so while they undergo enough growth and experience enough in the ways of tragedy and suffering, there are very few of them, unfortunately making the manhwa a lot more foreseeable and restricted.
The art is distinct, mostly using dull shades and a predominantly brown palette, which works well and accentuates the mood of the plot. The series is only 94 chapters, and it benefits from it, since it allows it to be both concise and fast paced, ironically making the progression of plot and characters feel natural, as the series actually takes place over a short period of time, and the number of actual happenstances are fleeting but powerful. Hence, I find this manhwa difficult to recommend to people, since it is difficult to gauge its appeal, given its unique approach to the commonplace.
My final score is 7/10
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