Lest there be any misunderstanding, I have not yet rescinded my special admiration for The Ravages of Time.
Rather, given that my horizons are somewhat limited, I am asking for favors and assistance in trying to find a narrative text (preferably manga/manhwa/manhua, but animation, film, or TV series would be fine too) that surpasses Ravages in these four respects: (1) the complexity of the layers of scheming; (2) the profundity of the ideas presented; (3) the incisiveness of the explicit or implicit socio-political commentary; and (4) the extensiveness of allusions and references to ‘classical’ texts.
I am already aware that there are plenty of texts and media that are way ahead of a simple pop-cultural product in terms of at least one or two of the rubrics that I mentioned (from philosophical treatises and scholarly manuals of military history to the fictions of Joyce, Borges, and Eco as well as convoluted conspiratorial conjectures), but I have yet to see something that would decisively overtake Ravages in all four characteristics.
Now of course I am not suggesting that Ravages is the greatest show there ever is, but I simply want to someday be surprised and awed by an alternative (and if I do manage to stumble across one such text, I can at least claim on behalf of Ravages that unlike other ‘lighter’ works it comes close to whatever masterpiece that surpassed it).
To be sure there are tons of other texts that I peruse and I enjoy in different ways (though I won’t be focusing on them in this blog).
But insofar as I rate Ravages highly in those four aforementioned characteristics – notwithstanding some reservations – I feel like in order to help show how awesome (and grossly underappreciated) it is, some form of indirect challenge is in order.
Kindly show me a superior alternative, and in the meantime do try to get into Ravages.