This article is about the manhwa, for the organization, see Supernatural Investigation Department
Supernatural Investigation Department is an ongoing online Korean manhwa series written and illutrated by Sa Dum Hum, and published by Naver Comics.
It follows the adventures of detective Si Mun Lee as he is introduced to the supernatural world of spirits and thrust into a new division of the FBI, aptly named the Supernatural Investigation Department. Each volume encompasses a different case with a different ghost. While the first two were relatively short, the third includes a much broader purview with more ghosts and more suspects.
The premise behind the story is that Si Mun's grandmother was a famous shaman priestess that was able to commune with the goddess that guides souls to the afterlife. She hid her true abilities from her grandson but gave him a pouch with a Ba Juk in it for when he began to see ghosts again.
Presently, Si Mun is a detective, and has recently begun seeing ghosts. While initially he brushes these encounters off, he takes a firmer stance when the soul of a young girl and a victim of arson begins haunting the murderer, her father. Tenka, who pretends to have a chance meeting with Si Mun, but has really been seeking him out for help helps to protect her father, while simultaneously getting rid of the girl's spirit. He then reveals that instances like that one have been happening all over Korea, and that they should work together to prevent them.
Sophia Kang has a name for these cases, Somos478, and she recruits Si Mun, Tenka, and middle school psychic Baram Kang to the Supernatural Investigation Department in order to help solve them. Together, the four are willing to put themselves in danger not only to protect the humans in danger, but also the troubled souls being controlled by the malevolent organization, Somos.
For a comprehensive database of characters, see Characters
- Si Mun is a calm and serious police detective with a lineage that can be traced back to greatness. His grandmother was a powerful shaman who passed on her powers to Si Mun in the form of a Ba Juk that grants him the ability to create and manipulate electricity. With this new found power, he sets out to help vengeful spirits find peace and save those who would otherwise be harmed by them.
- Tenka's history is a mystery, but his present is boisterous enough to believe. Though he was born and recently lived in Japan, he came to Korea to help put an end to the Somos478 cases, by whatever means necessary. That means he's more than willing to force a spirit's ascension, a trait that the others in the organization don't agree with. His most striking power is his ability to cut objects without actually physically touching them, as well as his swordsmanship skills.
- Baram never had any intention of joining the department, but found a big-brother in Si Mun and was willing to follow him everywhere. Despite being so young, his skills as an exorcist is more advanced than both Tenka and Si Mun. He can use elemental Ba Juk to cast a variety of spells, but his most frequently used skill is to read the imprints of spirits on their surroundings and being able to sort through their collective memories.
- Sophia is a powerful exorcist who is less inclined to reveal information about herself and more inclined to lead with a soft, gentle hand. Though her beauty is what she is most known for and her manners are up-to-par, Sophia is determined to stop Somos, save spirits, and protect the public with her newly reformed organization.
- Exorcists (or psychics) are humans with supernatural powers. These powers can manifest in many different ways, ranging from Si Mun's ability to produce electricity, to Sophia's psionic waves, or even Baram's multi-useful elemental seals. No matter the individual ability, they affect humans and spirits the same, and must be firmly controlled to prevent destruction. Apparently, since Baram's father is a shaman, as was Si Mun's grandmother, these powers are also inherited genetically.
- Humans without supernatural powers are normally unable to see spirits. That is, unless they are the target of that spirit's rage or grief. If that's the case, then they are all-but-powerless to stop the ghost's attacks.
- When a human dies an unfair or sudden death, they may become a spirit. While most wonder the Earth formless and essentially dormant, those with particularly strong will or mental ability can strengthen their form and even use supernatural abilities. They are also subject to influence by Somos and their butterflies, which can cause them to become rabid, vengeful creatures with a diminished capacity for judgment.
Since it's release in late 2010, Supernatural Investigation Department has been published online by Naver Comics. New chapters are released every Monday in full color. As of yet, there is no word that the series will be animated, or that the series might spawn any spinoffs. While the original series is published in Korean, scanlations may be found at such websites as MangaHere and MangaFox.
According to BakaUpdates, a Manga database that records traffic for various series, Supernatural Investigation Department ranks consistently high (in comparison with other series). Recently, it has been ranked in the leeway of 300 to 400th place, with it being present on over 800 reading lists and having a rating of 10 by over 30% of voters.