I haven’t read as many manwha’s as I have manga, in fact I can count four, two of which are by Woon Soo-yoon and Let Dai, is NOTHING like Full House.
For starters it’s a boy love tale, but don’t let that stop you from reading if you aren’t into that kind of thing. For as deep as the love between Dai and Jaehee is, their expression of it is pretty chaste.
There isn’t anything gratuitous; the raunchiest it gets is some heavy snogging in the shower, so there isn’t any need to avert thy eyes.
But the intensity of their relationship is amazing and I think that is what is so fascinating in this manwha, how Woon Soo-yoon really does bring across just how much everything seems so life and death when you are young.
Dai and Jaehee literally sometimes feel so tortured by their love, that it can cause Jaehee to feel physically sick at times and Dai can get so possessive that he’ll allow his gang to go as far as brutally attacking Jaehee’s girlfriend out of sheer jealousy.
Jaehee can even still stand to be with him after that, he can overlook the brutality of Dai and his almost sociopathic behavior at times, because as much as it pains him as much as he abhors it, living without Dai or his love would be worse.
From the moment they met, they were inexplicably drawn to each other and no matter what they do to each other, no matter how painful their relationship is, they can’t be away from each other.
I always love character growth in manga and it’s great to read this and see the changes not only in Dai and Jaehee but the people around them. For some those changes aren’t healthy, such as in the case of poor Eunhyung, Jaehee’s ex girlfriend, who cannot seem to get past her attack.
Instead she withdraws into herself and only gets sucked deeper and deeper into depression as her isolation gets worse. As tragic and gut wrenching as her journey is through this story, I still love the way it was handled. Too many mangas make light of rape. The victim will overlook it because the guy is hot and oh she started to like it half way through anyway, or the hero stops it just in the nick of time.
This doesn’t happen here, Dai gets the opportunity to put a stop to things, but once he realizes Eunhyung’s connection to Jaehee, he instead urges his gang to continue.
Even later on when he beats the shit out of his gang in retribution for what they did to Eunhyung, it isn’t about making her feel better at all. He does it to free Jaehee from his guilt, because he doesn’t want Jaehee to have any ties to her, he wants him to belong only to him, for them to be one.
Back to Eunhyung though, her life is forever changed, you don’t see the act itself, you just see the broken person she becomes afterwards. What really brings home the reality of how badly her trauma affects her unravels over the course of the manga.
She doesn’t end up inexplicably liking her attackers. She becomes a bitter, isolated, scared person who can only watch her life continue to spiral out of control until her tragic conclusion. She almost breaks free, but has become so fragile that it really doesn’t take much to push her back into her downward spiral.
It’s nice to see a realistic portrayal of such a horrible act in a manga, one that doesn’t shy away from the consequences, that doesn’t seem to glamorize it but instead hammers home the true brutality and repercussions of such a horrible act.
It also brings to my mind just another reason why this manwha is such a captivating read.
While you are always fascinated by the tortuous relationship between Dai and Jaehee, you are just as enthralled by all the other side characters that surround them.
Something else that is portrayed somewhat realistically is the whole boy love aspect. This is set in Neo Soul, not some happy la la land manga world, where everybody is totally accepting. The reaction of the boys’ parents is written really well.
Jaehee’s mother never really seems totally accepting, rather she chooses to just bury her feelings and really just ignore what’s going on. Jaehee is her world, and better to do that than drive him completely away.
For Dai’s father the fact that things have to come to an end is just an absolute, on some level I don’t think he even really cares Dai is with another guy, but he put his career before the health and death of his own mother and he just does the same with Dai.
What Dai feels, what Dai wants is just inconsequential to him, but it has the possibility to affect his career and therefore it has to stop.
I could talk about this all night, I could go on about how while often brutal and destructive, the relationship between Dai and Jaehee is, its also good for them in a lot of ways.
I could talk about how, Jaehee learns to not be so completely self sacrificing and how Dai learns the opposite, that isn’t to say he becomes completely self sacrificing, but he becomes someone who isn’t a completely evil bastard.
But really, you should just do yourself a favor and read it yourself. I know this is something I will re-read often over time, some manga’s/manwha’s/books/songs you just really like and some, just leave an impression on you that won’t go away. For me this is one of those manwha’s.
Now for something a little more lighthearted I’m off to catch up on Kimi ni Todoke!