Dokja Kim is the only reader of the online novel Three Ways to Survive the Apocalypse who has followed the series until the release of the final chapter. But as soon as the epilogue is uploaded, Dokja’s world, modern-day South Korea, turns into the fantasy novel he was reading.
Dokja can’t believe it. Everything is going according to the novel, from meeting the series’ characters to the appearance of the goblin, a creature that creates and manages the ‘scenario’ in which the humans will need to survive. After the creation of each scenario, the humans need to overcome the trial set by the goblin, and they can do so with their newfound powers or by becoming incarnations of ‘constellations’. Constellations are mysterious beings that watch what’s going on in the scenario, just as if they were the spectators of a TV programme.
The world has turned upside down, and Dokja is the only one who knows what will happen next. Thankfully, he can always refer back to the novel as the author gifted him a copy for being the only reader until the end.
Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint is the latest manhwa released in print edition that embodies the increasing interest in isekai-like stories, where the main characters get transported to a different world or their world turns into one based on novels and games. While this new world with a video game-like setting usually focuses on the main characters increasing their level to become stronger, it doesn’t seem as if this manhwa will follow the trope completely. Dokja’s goal seems to be to survive and not become the strongest. It’s a different take, and I’m curious to see how it will develop further in the story.
As the title says, Dokja’s skill in this dystopian world is to be the omniscient reader. While an omniscient narrator tells readers everything about the story, Dokja can see the characters’ window skills, which show each person’s attributes and powers. With this knowledge, he can predict the best course of action and move forward in the scenario. Each scenario is like a game level, and the characters need to clear it before moving to the next one. I found it quite interesting that some characters show window skills like in the novel, while others still show as ‘humans’ instead of novel characters, like Dokja’s co-worker who happens to sit with him on the train when the first scenario starts. This raise many questions, which I hope will get answered in the following volumes.
This series is written by singNsong, the author of The World After the Fall, a manhwa with a similar vibe, where the main character finds himself having to climb a tower to become stronger and get back to Earth. While both series fall within the same genre, I found Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint to be clearer in terms of the story narration as it gives a better explanation of what’s going on and about the new characters, humans and non-human, that appear. One of these non-humans is the goblin who is like a TV presenter whose TV channel is viewed by the constellations. Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint has similarities to the author’s other series (the goblin could be compared to the dream demon and the constellations to the masters). The skeleton plot of the two series is similar, but it differs in how the stories develop and, of course, the style of the illustrations, which are done by different artists.
I found the story of Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint utterly captivating as our main character’s personality is a mystery to unravel. Is he good? Is he selfish? We still don’t know much about him other than his skills. Moreover, we know he’s not the main protagonist of Three Ways to Survive the Apocalypse. He’s not even a side character. I wonder how the author will intertwine Dokja’s story as the main character for us readers with the main character of the actual novel the world is turning into. We haven’t yet met the hero of the web novel, but the author drops hints that he’s definitely not a prince on a white horse. This just intrigues me even more. Is he an antihero? How will the relationship between Dokja and him develop? The questions are endless.
Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint is a full-colour manhwa. The illustrations are full of action scenes, which are both violent and gruesome. Once the first scenario starts, murder seems to become common, and the artist doesn’t shy away from illustrating every single blood splatter. I wouldn’t recommend the series if you’re squeamish. There is also a lot of internal narration from Dokja’s point of view. And for those who are familiar with gaming, you’ll notice that the artist includes that aspect as well in the illustrations, and not just for the window skills; scenarios’ goals, attack skills and even advancement levels all appear as if they were in a videogame.
Ize Press delights the readers with spot UV on the cover and with a folded poster inside. Something else I appreciated was the explanation at the end of the volume of some puns and names used throughout the story, courtesy of Hye Young Im, the translator. I didn’t find out about this list until I reached the end as there is no marking in the text that would indicate there is an explanation (such an asterisk), but the meaning was still understandable in the story.
As this series has already been serialised as a web comic on Webtoon, its fans will have noted a few discrepancies between the digital and print editions. The first is the title, as the digital comic is known as Omniscient Reader. Moreover, in the print edition, some of the characters’ names have been westernised, as the goblin whose name in the English digital series is kept as dokkaebi.
Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint is written by singNsong, illustrated by Sleepy-C and adapted by Umi (REDICE STUDIO). The web comic is ongoing on Webtoon while the print edition is published by Ize Press. Volume 2 is slated for release in March 2024.
Our review copy from Ize Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.