Now, having clicked on this article, you have probably heard of Killing Stalking and its dark themes. I’ve decided to write on this topic because it has come to my attention that this particular manhwa has been vastly misinterpreted as one that is romantic.
People are shipping Sangwoo and Yoonbum left and right, and really, there is absolutely nothing wrong with mere shipping but one must consider the canon, abusive relationship between these two characters. Breaking into someone’s home, keeping a loved one hostage and messing with their heads when they’re mentally and emotionally unstable is by no means a relationship kept together by romance. It is a relationship built off obsession, desperateness, fear and lies. Killing Stalking surely is not meant to romanticize such traits.
From what I can see, Killing Stalking is a manhwa that illustrates the absolute horror of an incredibly unhealthy relationship to instill awareness to a target demographic, young adults and growing teens.
Why? Because prevention is better than cure.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. This statistic being sourced from here. While this may seem trivial, domestic abuse is never to be taken lightly and there is literally no way to stop all or resolve every single case of abuse because more cases of abuse go unreported than you may think.
So what’s the next best thing? Prevention. How? Start with vulnerable and growing minds, those that may or may not have been exposed to abuse before they begin to think it’s okay to be an asshole to their significant other or child. How to draw them in? Use a medium that will definitely catch their attention, through comics.
However, somewhere along those lines, it has begun to evolve into something dangerous. Somehow, all of these negative traits have begun to seem… romantic because of the intimate aspects of the manhwa itself. I do not believe that this is because of the manhwa, as the intimacy is completely necessary as to illustrate the abusive nature of an incredibly unhealthy relationship. Rather, I believe that misinterpretation plays a major role in romanticising the relationship between Sangwoo and Yoonbum. It’s unavoidable and quite often overlooked.
I’d hate to be the party pooper but I feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed. It’s alright to ship the characters, I know people who ship Sangwoo and Yoonbum in a non-canonical way where they are in a healthy and loving relationship with all that cute stuff. Nothing wrong with shipping.
The issue lies with those who support the abuse because they think it’s cute and that there is no problem with it because it’s fictional and not hurting anybody. If a comic can be used as an incredibly powerful medium to spread awareness, it can be just as easily be misinterpreted and unknowingly be turned into something more vicious. Especially towards under-aged readers. (Yes, it has mature content but you and I both know that it isn’t hard for a kid to get their hands on it quite easily anyway.)
But if misinterpretation is unavoidable, what in the world can we do about it?!
Well, if there is a willing community, there will most definitely be a way. Have healthy discussions on the manhwa, place disclaimers on posts that seem to unintentionally support the unhealthy relationship between the two protagonists, enlighten newer readers on the positive aspects of the manhwa if they seem to be veering off the correct path. Misinterpretation may be unavoidable but that doesn’t mean it can’t be cleared up.
With that, that’s it for this week’s manhwa article. I hope it will bring forth positive outcomes! Do you agree with the contents of the article? Have something to add? Let us know what you think about this topic in the comments. It would be wonderful to hear your thoughts!