Initially, I definitely had my doubts about this manhwa. The short bits of the manhwa shared on Facebook or “spoiler previews” as I’d like to put it, often gave out more spoilers than I would’ve liked.
I eventually decided to give “Killing Stalking” a read anyway, despite believing that I’d already known the manhwa inside out already. At the time, I only saw this as a manhwa that was riding on pure gore and fanservice without any real plot or character development but, oh, how wrong I was.
Before we get into to good stuff, I’d like to state how “Killing Stalking” has changed my point of view towards people falling into abusive relationships. I’ll admit, it is somewhat exaggerated here but it is surprisingly realistic in a sense that you experience what it feels like to be in a situation like such. It allows you to see things the way the victim and the abuser would see it with the manhwa being point-of-view based, switching from the abuser’s eyes to the victim’s and vice versa. Kudos to Koogi, the author and illustrator, to have understood a good yaoi manhwa doesn’t depend on purely horror and yaoi.
“Killing Stalking” is based around Yoonbum’s unhealthy obsession with his classmate, Sangwoo. Yoonbum eventually sneaks into his home where he is knocked out cold by his beloved Sangwoo. Allow me to mention that this manhwa is NOT for under-aged readers as it contains gore, abusive behaviour, sexual scenes and I’ll say it’s just plain disturbing. People really weren’t messing around when they put Psychological in its genre.
There are quite a few factors that made me believe that this manga is definitely worth the read other than it being the First Prize winner of Lezhin’s 2nd World Comic Contest.
Love. What is love really? To Yoonbum, it is an excuse. Mistaking obsession for love, it drives him to do things that have made people despise him and find him disgusting. All in the name of love. Sneaking into Sangwoo’s home was no different. It was for love. The unfortunate reality for a victim of Borderline Personality Disorder. I love how Koogi incorporated real mental health issues into the manhwa instead of simply labelling his character as having gone mad. It is a very real thing in life and we get to vaguely experience what it is like to be in the shoes of a BPD victim.
At first glance, Sangwoo is an incredibly likable character. A pretty face and has a good attitude towards everything, you’d think he’s perfect. In Yoonbum’s point of view, we watch Sangwoo from a distance. Not knowing what he’s like in person, as if looking through a keyhole. You see what you can, you don’t see what you can’t.
As the plot progresses you will begin to see how Sangwoo isn’t how you thought he was. You realise you only know him as the person he wants you to see. It’s very intriguing to think into to be honest. Sangwoo is a very manipulative character after all.
The relationship between these two characters is no doubt abusive and obsessive for both parties. Yoonbum being attached to the point where he is unable to bring himself to leave despite having the incentive to. To Sangwoo, Yoonbum isn’t merely his captive, Yoonbum is someone who he loves albeit that being very disturbingly depicted.
Like I said before, Sangwoo is a very manipulative character. He treats Yoonbum with care, all the while abusing him mentally, causing Yoonbum to feel disturbed and confused. However, Yoonbum isn’t a saint. He made use of Sangwoo’s feelings for his own life. Sangwoo developed feelings for Yoonbum during Yoonbum’s captivity and I can’t say the feelings hadn’t developed through lust and a rough childhood. Yoonbum had eventually come to terms with himself, has adapted to his environment and is losing the motivation to escape. All this because he chose to love Sangwoo.
The panels of the manhwa is of course, the usual Korean manhwa-styled panelling position and in my opinion, it makes it very dramatic. It adds to the suspense of flipping from one page to another without knowing when it’s coming and what to expect.The art is very distinct and pretty for both the characters and the general art. I realised most characters have deep set eye bags; apparently it’s a huge fashion trend in Korea. I like how real Korean features are added into the illustrations, it makes it unique.
To conclude, “Killing Stalking” is a very interesting manhwa to say the least. It really messes with you and makes you rethink what you thought you knew about abusive relationships. It depicts it well, the abuser psychologically abusing his victim. As a reader, I’ve learnt a lot from my experiences reading this.
All in all, it’s a good manhwa with incredible character development, attractive art and lessons to learn. It’s still ongoing so don’t forget to check it out at this link to support Koogi;