Graphic Novel · Modern Fantasy · Review

One Thousand and One Nights Vol. 1 by Jeon Jin-Seok and Han Seung-Hee

1001 Nights Vol 1 ManwhaSeries: One Thousand and One Nights, #1
Writer: Jeon Jin-Seok
Artist: Han Seung-Hee
Translators: HyeYoung Im and J. Torres
Publisher: ICE Kunion
Pub. Date: 2004, 2005
Genres: Fantasy, Shoujo, Manhwa
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

In a retelling of the famous One Thousand and One Nights, Jeon Jin-Seok and Han Seung-Hee reimagine it with new characters and stories from around the world. The Shahrazad of this story is a guy who disguised himself as a woman to save his sister from execution, post-consummation. With his life on the line, what stories will Sehara tell the king?

I liked this manhwa. The premise of a brother taking his sister’s place to play one-night wife intrigued me. As the first third of the story played out, I felt that the events leading up to the storytelling were too similar to what I remember of the original book and to some Disney story lines. The themes of sacrifice and love played strong roles that kept everything knit together.

The frame story’s characters have some background developed, but they do not particularly change in the first volume. Sehara also asked the king a question that led to interesting backstory, but the question was never answered. That missing answer left the king underdeveloped. The story within the story, a retelling of the opera by Giacomo Puccini titled “Turandot,” is about a princess who acts a lot like the king, has full and complete development for the three primary characters within it.

For the future of the series, I am happy that the writer and artist will use stories from the original and other tales from around the world, but I worry about character development. The creators of this manhwa wrote a note that said they were working on using stories from around the world, instead of solely retelling tales from One Thousand and One Nights. As for future character development, I hope they are able to achieve major character development in both the storyteller and the king.

The artwork itself is beautiful. For the “present” day, the setting and characters were clean. The clothing of the princess in “Turandot” that Sehara tells is luxurious, and I think it would look more beautiful in color. I also like the harsh, crayon-like lines of the characters when they get angry.

This is a pretty good retelling of the beginning of One Thousand and One Nights, especially if you want to see our leading storyteller share “new” tales.

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