When I first heard what this was about I thought of Stephen King’s Misery and it appealed to me. I tend to enjoy the darker stories with a disturbing thread. However other than hobbling and being trapped this has nothing else in common with Misery. I was curious and had high hopes for a properly twisted read and this offered a whole lot more than I bargained for.
- Mangaka: Koogi
- Genre: Horror, Mature, Psychological, Webtoons, Yaoi
- Volumes/Chapters: 14.5 chapters
- Korean Title: Salhae Seutoking
- Title Kanji: 살해 스토킹
- Release Date: 2016
- Is it ongoing? Yes
- Does it have a series adaption? No
Yoonbum is an outcast with a predisposition towards stalking those he loves. He doesn’t have the courage to speak to them and he does not want them to know. However he wants to know everything about them. His current love is Sangwoo. He had gone to college with him and had by chance enlisted in the army with him as well. Yoonbum does nothing but watch from afar. After they leave the army they both go their separate ways. Yoonbum however, still wants to know more about Sangwoo. One day Yoonbum breaks into Sangwoo’s house and discovers his secret in the basement. Catching him red handed, Sangwoo will not let him go. Now Yoonbum’s legs are both broken and his life is on the line. Will he escape with his life or will he be killed by the man he ‘loves’?
As mentioned this was so much more than I had ever bargained for or expected. To the point where I was horrified and quite disturbed with what I was reading and I have a high tolerance for these kind of unusual stories. It was well done in the way it was put together even if some of the timing is jilted as you are suddenly seeing past events so that the ‘current time’ makes sense.
The art is done really well! The colour scheme suits the story and actions to a tee. The pacing of the plot is done well but with some of the aspects a little confusing and not fully explained. Sangwoo has quite a few screws loose with both daddy and mommy issues. Which in all fairness I don’t really blame him, although his ‘coping mechanism’ is a tad extreme. Yoonbum also could not pass for a full deck of cards (if you’ve read chapter 14, you’ll get it), He hasn’t had it easy either which when put together just exploded. The dynamics of their relationship is clearly dominant and subservient. I don’t mean in the S&M kind of way, I mean in the master and slave kind of way.
Sangwoo gets enjoyment out of tormenting and abusing Yoonbum, which in turn leads to Yoonbum desperately trying to please Sangwoo to avoid ‘punishment’. Which means he will also do anything to keep Sangwoo happy; from cleaning to sexual favours, all in order not to be returned to the dark and cold basement.
It is clearly an abusive dynamic that these two have going. The way Yoonbum works so hard not to displease Sangwoo is a very common element in real life abusive relationships, from watching what you say to even how you act and always trying to gauge the other person’s mood. However just like in real life the abuser has their kind moments. Times where they are not a complete monster. It is those moments that truly taint and warp the mind of the abused. The way the mangaka has managed to portray the full extent of this dynamic really impresses me and really gets to me even if it is warped. Even the way that Yoonbum fantasises of ways to escape, ways to free himself but won’t do it because he is too afraid and for some of it, he can’t find the will.
Would I recommend this? I would but very selectively. This is one of those that should come with the warning ‘not for sensitive viewers’ or in this case, readers.
This has also flared up a debate on whether this romanticizes abuse and there is a controversy over the two main characters and whether they have a relationship or not. Unfortunately I am starting to lean towards the side saying they do. However it is far cry from love, trust, understanding or anything resembling a healthy relationship. This is a relationship based purely on dominance, dependency and a twisted possession which makes for a very negative and dark relationship. It has nothing to do with love; there is no room for love. The whole relationship is a power struggle that on the one hand is clearly dominated by Sangwoo. I am really concerned for the people who are romanticizing this couple. I can only think that they romanticize it because:
- They have never been in an actual relationship
- They are in an abusive relationship and are hoping that Sangwoo and Yoonbum ‘work it out’
- They are depressed
- They themselves want to dominate or be completely dominated/owned. Once again not in the S&M way.
If there is any other reason, I fail to see it. In all honesty, I hope Yoonbum changes the way this seems to be going. I hope he is just focusing on survival and not giving in. I hope he grows a pair and figures a way out of his situation and manages to turn his life around and pull it out of the current downward spiral it has been.