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Love Practice

Warnings: Animal Cruelty


My Thoughts

Well, this was certainly a surprising little manhua that I stumbled on. The premise is simple, a teen girl is in love with a boy but is too shy to confess. It starts off sweet and the art style is dazzlingly cute! Things quickly take a dark turn once she stumbles on a book called Love Practice and begins to prepare herself for the real confession.

I can’t go into too much more without heading into spoiler territory, but this manhua was pretty clever and goes in unexpected directions that I couldn’t have predicted. Even when I thought I knew how things were going to end, my expectations were exceeded. It’s a little silly, the main character gives off yandere vibes and you really have to suspend your belief that the main dude wouldn’t be more terrified of the entire scenario.

It’s short so there is not a whole lot of room for character development or a deeper plot but as a standalone it was just fine. An interesting mix of horror and high school romance that somehow goes horribly right? Either way, it’s worth a read for the wonderful art and for those that enjoy cute stories with spooky themes.

“If you still don’t have enough courage to love, just practice some more.”

Rating:

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Killing Stalking


My Thoughts

This manhwa was like a car that was driving wildly out of control toward tragedy and I felt like a bystander that couldn’t look away. Killing Stalking is perhaps one of the best psychological horror-thriller series I have ever read that is really plotted well. The plot moves at a startling pace, like an engine on full throttle up to the very end and it is an incredibly thrilling ride.

The main trio of characters⁠—Yoon Bum, Oh Sangwoo, and Yang Seungbae⁠—are all complex characters with strong moral grey areas in their personalities. I really enjoyed seeing each of these characters clash and unravel as the story goes deeper and deeper into their pasts and the way that their paths intersect.

“Do you know…? How to kill someone without killing them…?”

From the first chapter, I was hooked and I binge read this series, I was in so deep during the latter two volumes that I read each one in a single sitting, I just could not get enough of this series. The series is gruesome and tackles some very taboo subjects displayed in graphic detail due to Koogi’s phenomenal art, so I would not recommend it for the faint of heart. I felt genuine unease whenever Oh Sangwoo was in the scene, especially during the cat and mouse games that he and Yang Seungbae play. Sangwoo was genuinely a memorable and charismatic serial killer that reminded me of some of my favorite literary killers—Patrick Bateman from American Psycho or Harper Curtis from The Shining Girls. Charming devils that are almost pitiful in their relentless quest for power.

Mild spoilers ahead, but I feel that the romantic aspects of the story need to be addressed. There is debate as to whether this series constitutes as a boy’s love series due to the content and the nature of Sangwoo and Yoon Bum’s relationship. I’m personally in the camp that feels that it does not qualify as a boy’s love although there is a lot of romantic and sexual aspects to the story. Sangwoo states point blank that he is not homosexual, and his attraction to Bum is complicated and it is not just because of the abuse. I can’t delve deeper without going into major spoilers, but I caution anyone going in to not set up any expectations of a healthy romance in any capacity.


Warnings: explicit sex, sexual assault, rape, gaslighting, graphic violence, verbal abuse, physical abuse, child abuse, gore, death


five-stars
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Suicide Club


My Thoughts

Based off of the cult film, Suicide Club, the distressing nature of this manga hits the reader hard and fast. A stunning thriller that is difficult to put down, I ended up reading it in one sitting. The story follows Kyoko as she watches the descent of her childhood best friend, Saya, the only survivor of mass suicide. Kyoko finds herself pulled deeper into the mysteries of a suicide cult as she attempts to save Saya.

“How do you relate to yourself?”

The scary part of this manga isn’t the gore, though it is very gory. No, the real horror here is psychological. Saya and the other girls of the suicide circle are suffering from depression, feeling that they have no one that they can talk to. It is this feeling of isolation that pulls them into a terrifying sisterhood where they can share each other’s pain. The group quickly becomes a mob driven insane with devotion to each other, like a hive.

I think that the concept for this manga was good, and it deals very directly with the dangers of apathy. It’s easy to become tangled up in our own lives and neglect the people closest to us that need help. It’s clear from the beginning that Saya was severely depressed. Kyoko witnesses it but becomes too busy with her personal life to address Saya’s issues until she is already too far gone.

Despite my praise, I do feel that this manga is lacking in some aspects. While the story is about Saya, it is told from the point of view of Kyoko, limiting the narrative. Saya acts out and starts doing terrible things because she is depressed which in turn makes her life worse, but why or what caused the depression isn’t clear. There is a gap between the normal Saya that Kyoko remembers from childhood and the outright psychotic Saya of the present, and the lack of steady development in between is disjointing and doesn’t feel consistent. I would have liked for more time to be taken to develop the two main characters.

Overall though, I had a hard time deciding how to feel about this manga. I initially didn’t care for it due to the poor character development, but after letting the story settle in my mind for a few hours, I ended up liking it more for the sheer insanity of the cult which makes this manga really stand out. I watched a little bit of the movie and I’m not sure if I want to watch all of it since it felt a little campy, but I feel that the manga is a good adaptation and a solid entry into the horror genre.


Warnings: violence, death, bullying


four-stars