Pearl Boy: Choi Pilwon’s true face

This is where you can read the manhwa.  But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. Here is the link, if you are interested in more analyses about this manhwa and others

Striking is that the last chapters from the first season of Pearl Boy confirmed many observations I had made about the CEO Choi Pilwon in the analysis “Curse or blessing?”. There I had already pointed out that he would view Jooha as his possession, hence he treated him as his gem, pet and doll. This statement was reinforced in the following scenes. First, the rich man asked his former lover to dress with the clothes he had bought for him. (chapter 28) Here, he didn’t ask for the protagonist’s consent and choice. The brown-haired man was the one who selected the pullover and the pants. Later, he even ordered dishes Jooha was supposed to like, nonetheless he never asked him directly. (chapter 28) Furthermore, the readers can detect the symbolism in this scene. (chapter 29) The rare fish in the huge aquarium symbolizes Jooha, hence both are in a similar situation. They are not only isolated, but also imprisoned against their own will. Their common fate is particularly perceptible in this image: (chapter 29) Remember how the CEO bought the restaurant and the main lead was supposed to repay the debts. So he definitely spent a fortune for Jooha in order to obtain him. On the other hand, the manhwaphiles discover that Pilwon and Jooha were quite close in the past. (chapter 27) They were friends before becoming lovers. For Jooha, Choi Pilwon must have appeared as the Prince Charming, until the latter revealed his true face… The blessing became a curse. But how did their relationship deteriorate so much and so rapidly?

First, it is related to the discovery of Jooha’s special condition. Even if Choi Pilwon laughed about this, he could only see the “mermaid” as a rarity. It was, as if he had found a real treasure. This explicates why he confesses to his purple-haired pet, he is only interested in the special ones. (chapter 29) Jooha’s ability to create pearls pushed the villain to claim Jooha as his own. (chapter 28) However, I don’t believe that the discovery of Jooha’s condition was the only trigger for their alienation. First, the real cause is Choi Pilwon’s personality. Furthermore, the restaurant and Jooha’s mother played a huge role in the deterioration of their relationship. The manhwaphiles shouldn’t forget that the main lead chose to remain by his mother’s side, while all his friends left the town in order to study. (chapter 27) In other words, the main lead refused to leave his mother’s side and chose to sacrifice his youth for her. This is normal, as the mother meant everything for the protagonist. While struggling financially, his relative could provide comfort and love for him. On the other hand, the mother was well aware of her son’s sacrifice, therefore the mother promised to her son that she would ensure that they would move to Seoul, when they had gained enough money. (chapter 27) As you can observe, Jooha and his mother had a very good relationship, and the presence of the promise to move to Seoul could only reinforce the main lead to remain by his mother’s side. From my point of view, Pilwon must have asked the young man to follow him to Seoul and his mansion. There exists another clue for this theory. Kang Dooshik proposed his lover to leave the place (chapter 26), but the young boy refused explaining what the restaurant meant to him. But after hearing the young man’s story, Kang Dooshik chose to respect his lover’s decision. That’s why I believe that the CEO must have requested from his lover to follow him too. Note that before they became intimate, the rich man kept coming from Seoul in order to meet Jooha. (chapter 27) But contrary to Dooshik, Choi Pilwon couldn’t bear the rejection and took it too personally, hence he decided to play a trick. The latter had to take away the restaurant and remove Jooha’s mother from his side. With no one by his side, Jooha would be forced to rely on him and as such follow him to his mansion. Therefore, from my point of view, Choi Pilwon used the father’s debts to corner the main lead and his family. This explains why the purple-haired man blamed his former lover for the loss of his mother later. In my opinion, Choi Pilwon didn’t intervene directly, he used the loan shark by tipping him off about the whereabouts of the family. Let’s not forget that he investigated Kang Dooshik’s past and even used his friend Lee Choonbae to separate the couple. But why would Choi Pilwon cause so much pain to his lover and manipulate people in order to achieve his goal? Like I mentioned it above, it is connected to his character.

From my point of view, the CEO is a person suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder. How did I come to this diagnosis? First, if you pay attention to the last chapters, his manipulative nature gets more and more pronounced. Hence I decided to make some research about manipulative people. This is what I found:

If at least 14 criteria out of 30 are met, the person in question is a manipulator.” (quoted from

Below, I am posting the list of 30 criteria, but also adding pictures of Choi Pilwon, each time a criterium is met. I am sometimes adding explanations.

  1. “They make other people feel guilty (chapter 28) (chapter 29), in the name of professional conscience, family ties, friendship, love, etc.
  2. They unload their responsibilities onto others (chapter 28) or dismiss their own responsibilities. (chapter 29)
  3. They do not clearly communicate their requests, needs, feelings or opinions. (chapter 28: Here, he is not clearly expressing his true desire: he would like the protagonist to remain by his side. Instead, he proposes a deal in order to corner Jooha.)
  4. They often respond vaguely.
  5. They change their opinions, behaviours, or feelings depending on the person or situation. (chapter 28: Here within a few minutes, he transformed into a fury the moment he was criticized and rejected)
  6. They cite all kinds of logical reasons to disguise their requests.
  7. They make others believe that they must be perfect, never change their minds, always know everything (chapter 28) (chapter 29), and immediately respond to requests and questions.
  8. They cast into doubt the qualities, skills and personalities of other people—they criticize without appearing to do so, devalue and judge. (chapter 28: here, he is looking down on both protagonists)
  9. They have their messages communicated by other people (He used Lee Choonbae in chapter 18) or via intermediaries (telephone instead of face-to-face: /chapter 29, written notes).
  10. They create suspicion and stir up ill feeling; they divide to conquer, driving a wedge between people, which can lead to relationship break-ups. (In chapter 28, he threw away the pearls making Jooha believe that Dooshik ran away with the pearls. Then in chapter 29, he shows him this video and lets him only hear a conversation over the phone (chapter 29) Note that he cut the conversation, an indication that he left out an important information)
  11. They know how to make themselves into victims to gain sympathy (e.g. exaggerated illness, « difficult » surroundings, overloaded at work).
  12. They ignore requests (even if they claim to be taking care of them). (chapter 28: he never answers Jooha’s questions, in fact he replies with a question and makes himself a request: (chapter 28)
  13. They use the moral principles of others (e.g. notions of humanity, charity, racism, « good » or « bad » mother) to satisfy their needs.
  14. They make veiled threats or openly resort to blackmail. (chapter 28)
  15. They abruptly change topic in mid-conversation. (chapter 28)
  16. They avoid or get out of discussions and meetings. 
  17. They rely on the ignorance of others while vaunting their own superiority. (chapter 17)
  18. They lie. (chapter 29: note that here he doesn’t explain the reason for the debts and describe his past as dark as possible, while in reality the main lead had a good reputation)
  19. They make false statements to discover the truth, twist and interpret facts to suit themselves. (chapter 28 and 29 reveal how he manipulates truth)
  20. They are self-centered. (chapter 29: He hurt the “mermaid”, yet he blamed the victim for this, as he was furious.)
  21. They can be jealous, even if they are parents or spouses. (Remember my explanation about the mother, he removed her from Jooha’s side, as she represented a hindrance; chapter 17)
  22. They cannot take criticism, and deny facts. (chapter 28)
  23. They do not take into account the rights, needs and desires of others. (chapter 28: )
  24. They often wait until the last minute to ask, order or have others do something.
  25. Their words appear logical and consistent, while their attitudes, actions or lifestyle are totally opposite.
  26. They use flattery to seduce us, give gifts or suddenly start waiting on us hand and foot. (chapter 28)
  27. They generate a state of discomfort or of not being free (trap). (the whole chapter 29 exposes how Choi Pilwon is destroying Jooha’s personality in order to trap him)
  28. They are excellent at meeting their own goals, but at the expense of others. (Chapter 29: Jooha is now trapped in the huge mansion, while Dooshik is held captive. Choi Pilwon succeeded not only to keep Jooha by his side, but also to bring him to his home)
  29. They make us do things that we would probably not have done of our own free will. (the prostitution for example, chapter 3)
  30. They are constantly the focus of conversation among people who know them, even if they are not present.

As you could detect, Choi Pilwon’s personality met more than 14 criteria, hence he has to be diagnosed as a manipulative person. From this statement, I made some research about the origins of such a condition. One of the causes is family history. Either the person was influenced by a manipulative relative or it is related to the family dynamic where competition for power or affection or recognition exist. So far, we know that he has siblings, hence there’s no doubt that his family played a huge role in his transformation into a manipulative personality. Another origin is the professional and social environment. Let’s not forget that Choi Pilwon is a CEO, hence he has to face hard competition. (If you want to read more, then But there’s more to it. Experts say that people with a manipulative personality are either suffering from Borderline Personality disorder or from Narcissistic Personality disorder. And remember my initial statement. The CEO is in my opinion suffering from NPD.

And now, it is time to list the symptoms of this disorder in order to corroborate my diagnosis:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate (chapter 29)
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior (episode 17)
  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office
  • quoted from

After reading all the symptoms, the manhwaphiles can see that many criteria are met. His arrogance is perceptible, when he states this to Jooha: (chapter 29). This also explicates why he asked people from a host bar to have sex. He wanted to feel powerful and be in the center of their attention. Observe how many men were starring at the brown-haired CEO, though he is not visible in this picture. He is definitely envious of Dooshik, as the latter has been able to get close to Jooha, while he failed to achieve his goal in the past. Besides, he is well aware that the drunkards in chapter 1 envy him for Jooha. This is no coincidence that Choi Pilwon is associated to green, the symbol of envy and jealousy. Therefore you comprehend why I came to this diagnosis. Sure, the way he grew up played a huge role in his disorder. The latter is strongly connected to abandonment issues. These patients are in truth hypersensitive and vulnerable, but they mask this by boosting their ego.

And now, if we return our attention to Choi Pilwon, we’ll detect the character’s loneliness and emptiness. His house is huge, yet he is on his own. Moreover, there exists no picture of his family. It was, as if he was an orphan. The only presence of life in his propriety is the rare fish. Loneliness and emptiness explicate why he felt bored, until he met Jooha. He had already sensed that Jooha was precious, even before sleeping with him. Yet the problem is that the moment the CEO discovered his condition, he made the decision to bring him to his home… while he was not realizing that he could have found happiness by helping the “mermaid’s mother”. He ruined his relationship with Jooha in order to achieve his goal. Due to his disorder, he couldn’t accept the rejection, but simultaneously he couldn’t comprehend why Jooha chose to follow his mother over him. He had no idea what a real family is, and what true love is. Hence he imagined that by betraying the “mermaid”, he would obtain what he desires.

The antagonist has the impression, he has finally achieved his goal. The gem won’t escape him any longer, unaware that by hurting the purple-haired man emotionally and mentally with his manipulations, he is driving the young man over the edge. Note that the fish is now eating his own tail, a sign that it is suicidal. It can’t bear the loneliness any longer, it is too painful. Even the protagonist could feel its solitude. (chapter 29) In the past, Jooha survived hell, as first he thought to rely on Choi Pilwon. However, even when he realized his betrayal, he still had the restaurant, the place where he shared happy memories with his mother. However, this is no longer possible due to Dooshik. The latter worked there and seems to have abandoned him too. Furthermore, he is now living with his past lover. That’s why I think, the purple-haired man will start hurting himself in the next season,

Choi Pilwon is thinking that he is powerful due to his social status and wealth, nevertheless he is powerless in front of death. How will he react, when he witnesses how the mermaid hurts himself. The episode 29 was terrible to read, for we could see how the pure and gentle man was literally destroyed by Choi’s manipulations. The young man has no longer any hope… so why should he keep living? The CEO is not recognizing that due to his past behavior, the mermaid will never rely on him ever again. He couldn’t trust him any longer. This explicates why we never saw Choi Pilwon having sex with the main lead. Due to this observation in my first analysis, I was wondering if the antagonist was suffering from a erectile dysfunction. But now, I have found the real signification. He was in reality faithful to Jooha, because he only got fellatios. But since the main lead had perceived his true personality, he was no longer willing to accept him as his partner. From my point of view, Choi Pilwon forced the main lead to sell his body in the neighborhood for one simple reason. He wanted him to develop resent towards people from that town. His purpose was to isolate him from the community so that at some point he would ask for Choi Pilwon’s comfort and help: a new version of this panel. (chapter 28) Remember what I wrote above… he saw the restaurant as a hindrance. Hence I come to the following theory. After Jooha had called him for his assistance, the CEO imagined that he had succeeded. The mother was already dead. Hence he proposed a deal. But the main lead rejected the offer so that the brown-haired man wounded his lover. There’s no doubt that the former beat him during that night. So he made a new decision, he would buy the restaurant but Jooha would have to repay him. Yet, his true goal was to make Jooha go through hell so that the latter would give up on the inn and ask for Pilwon’s comfort and help. The terrible man thought that after getting treated as trash by people, he would feel the need to leave the town. But Dooshik’s appearance ruined his initial plan.

But let’s return our attention to the episode 29. Choi is ruining Jooha with his lies and tricks that the main lead is in agony. His destruction is palpable with the end of that scene. Note that after his panel , we never see his face again. It gives the impression that we are witnessing his slow vanishing. In addition, the scene in the mansion ends with the picture of the rare fish. It was, as if Jooha was turning into the fish… and the latter chose to hurt himself out of agony. Therefore, I am predicting that Choi Pilwon will get a real shock in the end. He is not anticipating that such a treatment could lead to suicide.

And this leads me to the following conclusion: Choi Pilwon is the negative version of Kang Dooshik. While the latter embodies honesty, love, nature, simplicity, maturity and selflessness, the former lover represents the opposite values: fakeness, obsession, civilization as a source of corruption, manipulations, irresponsibility and selfishness. One might wonder why I associate Dooshik to nature and the other to civilization. What caught my attention is that Choi Pilwon was the one who introduced smoking to Jooha. Why do I think so? It is, because the latter had to hide the cigarettes from his mother after “speaking to his friend”. (chapter 27) One might argue that Dooshik is smoking too, hence this interpretation is wrong. However, note that the latter was willing to work in the sea (chapter 3). He had no problem to wear weird clothes and look for shells. He enjoyed his stay in this town, he only proposed to move away, as he felt that Jooha was hurt due to his bad reputation. In other words, Dooshik was no longer missing the city, but was choosing Jooha’s side. When the latter revealed his decision to remain in the city, the latter understood this. In other words, Dooshik is no longer attached to Seoul and the city.

So now, Kang Dooshik is held captive, therefore he needs the help from his friend Lee Choonbae to escape the claws from his captor. There’s no doubt that his former colleague will assist him, as he has already done in the first season. However, the last panel exposes Dooshik’s determination. The latter is no longer a puppet, and has found a true goal in his life. He will make sure to find his lover and free him. So far, Dooshik was living day by day, hence he never paid attention to the CEO’s moves. He never imagined that the brown-haired man would play such dirty tricks. For me, the last panel represents Dooshik’s final loss of innocence. He let his former partner betray him so many times and it happened again with Choi Pilwon. Hence I deduce that Dooshik will be reformed in the second season, which means that I am expecting a change for Choi Pilwon as well. The latter will learn that his so-called reality is in fact an illusion. I also foresee that Dooshik’s ex-boyfriend will play a role in the future as well, as the latter’s face was not revealed so far. On the other hand, his colors are similar to Choi Pilwon’s: dark green and black. Therefore I am anticipating that Choi Pilwon will face adversity in the second season.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My instagram-tumblr-twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.

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