Although in recent years the South Korean entertainment industry has positioned itself in the world especially for its musical projects of idols and for the production of its popular dramas, it is worth mentioning that its artistic production of Literature in narrative and mixed format – such as webcomics- flourish, particularly Sci Fi emerges after the lifting of the Japanese occupation in its territory. Because he most strongly inspired the imagine possibilities after the unfortunate events that put Korea in a critical situation full of violence and discrimination in various spheres.
Black Knight It is a delivery that, despite having the essential edges of what we know as Sci Fi in the West, allows itself to introduce some kinder twists, directs a very optimistic ending and debates between entertaining and motivating critical thinking a bit. towards society, systems and our role in them. Next we comment our opinion about the title.
The hits and misses of Black Knight
A Basic Premise: Black Knight’s Plural Heroes
Like every installment of classic Sci Fi, Black Knight will raise an ideological conflict about human positioning from ethical and moral perspectives that also imply the development or resistance to sensitivity. In the Sci Fi installments, the issue of justice is mainly debated, events are narrated that plunge society into a crisis due to unexpected and radical changes or it is narrated about the confrontation with unknown issues.
Black Knight does not have the high technologies of modification of corporeities like the cyberpunk of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, nor will it have dusty and sophisticated steampunk undertones as in steamboy of Katsuhiro Otomo, nor will it be a Sci Fi installment hard as interstellar either Tenet. Nevertheless, it will be made up of nuances of the previous traditions, and will support a staging full of shots, humor and sensitivity.
Black Knight is a story set in a world that only has 1% of humanity, due to a sinister asteroid impact that destroyed part of the world. After this, the population is embraced by a system that has a kind of barrier that protects a small space, avoiding total air pollution.
However, this same system placed people in levels and responding to these, they are assigned different districts to live, each of these places gives particular “privileges” to the population -assuming that oxygen for basic consumption can be considered a privilege in a dystopian world that proposes class discrimination.
At the highest level, people live normally; on the second level, the population has a small and sad apartment, in addition to basic supplies. On the other hand, those who live on the periphery are known as refugees and are completely denied their human rights; they survive in a very precarious way using masks while inhabiting spaces in the midst of violent and almost fatal sand eddies due to the quality of oxygen.
Refugees lack everything, however, there is a way to get out of marginalization, they can become delivery men who are better known as Black Knights. They, who are part of the lowest echelon, can aspire to be part of this group that is in charge of making deliveries in a hostile environment -type Tegami Bachi Reverse-. They deliver packages that belong to the middle class of their social hierarchy. However, it is a great goal, since they must cultivate impressive skills to survive the hunters – people who steal packages – or to not get lost on the desert routes.
The refugees who managed to become Black Knights they seek to support their class of origin. However, despite having changed their social stratum, they continue to be despised by senior officials who see refugees as burdens.
The adventure begins when we meet the 5-8 dealer as the reckless star, “the one and only”, “the legend”. He not only has a good heart, but also possesses very outstanding abilities. It all starts when the bold boy comes across a scene of cold-blooded murders.
This second painting frames Commander Seol-ha and her sister, who dies after the assault. However, she is not alone, she is accompanied by her adopted brother, Sa-wol who is a refugee rescued by the commander. However, a big secret about his person could be the key to more drama.
In order not to delve into and spoil the story, we want to say that Black Knight begins with a revenge narrative that fades away. Soon the characters will know that they are dealing with a bloody system that has no interest other than getting rid of the outcasts. And our cast will have to get down to work to save the day, despite the fact that the military and the delivery people are of different ranks, there will come a point where as a leak from the system they will have to collaborate to survive, because they share the most important part of the ideology.
It should be noted that we will observe a scenario that has futuristic elements at the system level but mostly we will contemplate the precariousness of a post-apocalyptic desert.
What is special about Black Knight?
The episodes of Black Knight They have a moderate rhythm and despite having many shooting dynamics, the action and the hand-to-hand combat scenes are limited to being satisfactory, just like that.. There are no very deep suggestions in this regard, no more real tension is generated. Partly due to the limited care taken with regard to the soundtrack although, to be fair, almost every Sci Fi installment errs on this and fails to optimize its best scenes.
On the other hand, Although the cast could have potential, the narrative seeks to be structured only in the system as an ideological essence, but they limit the development of the characters that become quite flat, and consequently the corporation as a construct is not evidenced either.
Even the secrets and the discursive threads that could be more complex or more poetic are distorted by the simple direction that covers several scenarios.. Despite the fact that ideological crises of the characters are suggested, they remain very superficial and as a mere insinuation. However, this is not all bad, because it manages to balance, for example, the appearance of all class vertices and provides a bit of each context. Probably, for a miniseries it was a brilliant enough achievement.
On the other hand, link building is light but manages to exert more pressure. However, we understand the bonds between the characters by associations of our personal constructs, rather than by precise narrative guides, this certainly feels rather bland and falls into nuanced characters in a generic way.
Black Knight could be summed up as a limited but balanced proposal.
However, even with the aforementioned, Black Knight it would fall short in almost all its approaches, resolutions and limits its possibilities. Although the performance of the cast was nice, especially Woo-bin.
The first traces of the world of Black Knight
Black Knight of Netflix is based on the webcomic by Lee Yun Kyun, the first four chapters of which are available for free here. His delivery was awarded in 2018 at the Asian Film Market.
And through it we find the general proposal of the new adaptation, which, far from being faithful, could be interpreted as a new vision that is inspired by the webcomic, because the differences in the narrative are stark.
For this, thinking about a second season is difficult, since it would have to have a completely new script. It would probably move much further away from the original slope and the bases held up to now would fracture, leaving a perspective even more different from its original base.
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A general view of the sand blanket
Black Knight It is a sufficiently optimistic installment to be certainly recognized as Sci Fi, for example, it does not have the expected acid or empty ending that results from the most irremediable crises.
On the other hand, it fails to generate a real climax, nor does it resolve part of the doubts it raises. Each one of the arguments is resolved as if you were throwing a handful of salt into the water, quickly and without a big event, the emotion dissolves.
However, it is necessary to mention the particular cultivation of Sci Fi in the East: the points that South Korea slowly raises to differentiate itself from the tradition of America, and from the Orient itself. His general position differs, for example, from the notions of the strong and sophisticated structure that China is building or the phantasmagorical and dark corporate-human question that is proposed from America.
Although Sci Fi, as Andrea Chapela mentions, is considered a minor genre of Universal Literature. Korea generates truly innovative proposals that hybridize notions that seem very unconnected and for this reason renew interest.
Some neat examples of this are the works of the following contemporary writers. Bora Chung with Cursed Bunny delivers an anthology of Sci Fi short stories steeped in dark folklore coupled with the difficult position of women in present-day South Korea. For his part, Kim Bo Young delivery On the Origin of Species and Other Stories and I’m waiting for youwith a mechanical epistle and the tracing of the origins.
Also, Kim Cho-Yeop aims to keep cyborgs on the scene and nuances nature and its destruction with titles like Greenhouse at the End of the Earth, Becoming a Cyborg either The World We Just Left Behind.
In addition, we have Seyeong Jeon who through home and Cosmic Go -the latter received an adaptation to a webcomic- he tries to deconstruct sexuality and identities through a risky and sensitive writing that is as sharp as it is. We will even see some inclusive language in his work.
This is the staging in which he emerges Black Knight; It is worth mentioning that Sci Fi in Korean translates as gongsang gwahak. The first word refers to fantasy, to the unreal, but rather points to the future or a possibility, a vision. The second is made up of two parts, gwa means law or truth and hak study. In this way, the study of truth would end up giving us the word science.
In conclusion, we can say that the nuances of gongsang gwahak they also suggest different narrative possibilities -due to their implications- in South Korean Sci Fi.
Against this background and focusing Black Knight From these particular aspects, it is likely that you have a proposal that gave a little of what we are trying to recognize as Sci Fi. Definitely, if we look for the classic, we will have difficulties, gaps and doubts about its performance. From this perspective, Black Knight loses its way between all the vertices that it tries to unite, but manages to tune everything through simple constructs.
Black Knight It does not enter the parameters of Western Sci Fi, but it seems that it emerges together with other interpretations and possibilities of it, leaving behind the acid and deep voids that this type of deliveries usually leave.
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