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"No sun. No future. Life beyond Earth is an exercise in tolerance to extremes, and that includes more than the weather."—Official summary for A Broken Winter
A web comic written by Kale Night and illustrated by Archie-the-Red-Cat, A Broken Winter follows three central characters; Kokkan, a heavily traumatized child who grows up to be a flippant, sarcastic teenager, Kuroda, the soldier who raised Kokkan because the boy reminded him of his own murdered son, and Reisen, a doctor who is accused of terrorism after he uncovers some unsettling truths. The story primarily takes place in Terasu, one of two remaining countries on the planet, which uses chemical means to keep its citizens docile and is known for brutally enforcing compliance with the government. Sound familiar?
There are currently two threads to the story. The first deals with Kokkan and Kuroda and how they met. The second follows Reisen, a free spirit who discovered the government's darkest secret when he learned the mysterious origins of "Moon Sickness" which is also called Tarqila. The two threads are tied together by the fact that Kokkan also happens to be Reisen's biological son.
Most notable for being unflinchingly dark and often times brutal. It also only updates as chapters are completed, with the typical update window being a few months long. It is NSFW due to graphic images of blood and torture, but it can be read here.
If you want to know more about the world, the glossary and character page is here.
Currently there are 8 chapters posted and a ninth is planned to be released in late May.
A Broken Winter contains examples of
- Axe Crazy: Kuroda's wife, though Seisui also showed signs of being axe-crazy-in-training.
- Bishonen: The whole cast is full of them. Just look at our protagonists.
- Break the Cutie: The first four chapters are ALL about this. Poor Kokkan.
- Bread and Circuses: Interestingly, the two countries of Ibara and Terasu embody different aspects of this. Terasu is the bread -- focused on keeping its people provided for and content. Ibara is the circus -- allowing hedonism and pleasure above all else. Both are effective at keeping their people content and compliant.
- Blood-Splattered Innocents: The breaking point for Kokkan seems to come when he is forced to kill a baby left alive after a purge. He then threatens to kill himself. He was seven at the time this happened. This also seems to be the turning point for Kuroda as well, as he finally rescues Kokkan and adopts him.
- Cool Pet: Winkie, a cottontop tamarin who belongs to Arandano but has an affinity for Kokkan.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Kuroda.
- Does Not Like Meat: Kokkan, for extremely justifiable reasons.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Not a lot of them, but one notable one is the same scene mentioned in Blood-Splattered Innocents above.
- Hearing Voices: Kuroda has an entire conversation with his son, Seisui, who is shown to be nothing more than a ghost/figment of his imagination. We're not sure what to make of that yet.
- His Story Repeats Itself: Kuroda initially takes Kokkan off the execution list because he looks like Kuroda's son, who was murdered a few years earlier. Kuroda couldn't save Seisui, but he could save Kokkan.
- Human Resources: It's implied by the art that the so-called "brisket" you ordered at the restaurant might not actually be brisket at all.
- Immortality Begins At Twenty: Even with their extended lifespans, it still only takes about twenty years to reach adulthood, at which point everyone looks fairly young. Reisen, despite being several hundred years old, barely looks older than his seventeen year old son.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Reisen and Kuroda. Mostly Reisen though -- just look at all that pretty red hair.
- Lunacy: Tarqila, aka Moon Sickness, is bacteria from the moon that can cause blindness and eventual insanity.
- Mad Scientist: Arandano. Just look at the page where he's introduced.
- Nightmarish Factory: Irihi Slaughterhouse
- No Medication for Me: Kokkan refuses to take medication for his PTSD. He has some... less than safe... coping methods he uses instead.
- The Ophelia: Apparently, at one point in time, Reisen. At least, according to this page.
- Really 700 Years Old: They're not immortal, but the average lifespan of humans is between 582 and 589.
- Sadistic Choice: Kuroda could either watch Kokkan commit suicide or he could step in and save him. The second option has the risk of resulting in the loss of Kuroda AND Kokkan's lives if it was ever found out by the government that Kuroda saved a so-called criminal on death row.
- Slave Brand: Kokkan has one on his shoulder from his time in the special division at Irihi. While he largely ignores it, Kuroda seems to be ashamed by it.
- Sympathetic Murderer: Kuroda Tadayoshi and to some extent, Kokkan, though he didn't have any choice in the matter.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Kokkan claims not to remember what happened during his failed attempt at forming a pact.
- Troubled but Cute: Kokkan, through and through. Because of the trauma he endured as a child, he can't eat meat, he apparently rarely sleeps, and he self medicates by smoking because he refuses to take medicine for his PTSD.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Kokkan as a teenager. He's the protagonist, but otherwise he acts like the stereotype.