“Who are you?” The significance of Masks in manhwas 👺 (second version)

Be aware that most of the manhwas I am using as illustrations are mature Yaois, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. Please support the authors by reading the manhwas on the official websites. This is where you can read the manhwas. 

  1. BJ Alex / Dine with A Vampire / The Beast Must Die / Legs That Won’t Walk / My Suha / Painter Of The Night / Legs That Won’t Walk / The Blood Of Madam Giselle / The pawn’s Revenge / Unintentional Love Story are on https://www.lezhinus.com/
  2. ENNEAD https://www.tappytoon.com/en/comics/ennead-mature
  3. Under The Green Light: https://tapas.io/series/under-the-green-light
  4. True Beauty: https://www.webtoons.com/en/romance/truebeauty/list?title_no=1436
  5. Doctor Frost: https://www.webtoons.com/en/mystery/dr-frost/list?title_no=371

Here is the link, if you are interested in more analyses about these manhwas:  https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/06/table-of-contents-of-analyzed-mentioned-manhwas/

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In this essay, I won’t examine a certain manhwa very closely, but I will focus on the mask, its different forms and functions in manhwas. Yet, the highlight of this analysis will be BJ Alex. Now, you are probably wondering why I picked such a topic. While reading these stories, I often noticed the presence of a mask, though it was only palpable through the mind’s eye and not to the eye. The reason for their presence is quite simple. The use of mask is strongly intertwined with the protagonists and identity quest. Therefore there is this question in the title: “Who are you?” Many characters are using a mask to hide their true personality or thoughts from their counterpart. Before starting to study the different types of masks and their utilization in the different manhwas, it is important to look at the definition of mask.

“Mask: a form of disguise or concealment usually worn over or in front of the face to hide the identity of a person and by its own features to establish another being. quoted from https://www.britannica.com/art/mask-face-covering

1. Mask and acting

As you can note, the mask is related to acting, but also to protection. That’s why in certain cultures, during religious ceremonies the priest will wear a mask, for he will represent the deity or the spirit the participants are asking for help or protection. This is no coincidence that in the theater of ancient Greece, the actors were wearing masks too. They had two reasons for this. First, women were not allowed to play a role, so a man had to take over their part. Secondly, by covering their faces, they would hide and protect their true identity. In other words, the mask in a religious ceremony and in a theater play ensures that the spectators are not confusing the identities. They have to distinguish between the seem and real, and as such between the person behind the disguise and the character represented. In other words, the viewers are asked to accept that the people covered with a mask are not representing themselves, but a different person: a god or a character.

2. Mask as protection

As for the protection, I could use as an illustration the mask put on the mummy in the sarcophagus. It was to protect the deceased in the afterlife. And these two functions (hiding the identity and protection) have not changed at all nowadays. That’s why we have in BJ Alex, the main lead Ahn Jiwon hiding his face with a mask, while he is following his ex-lover. (chapter 55) He doesn’t want to be recognized, but more importantly he is determined to hide his true feelings from Nam Dong-Gyun, for he believes that he has no chance to be his lover again. Moreover, during the Corona pandemic, people are requested to wear a mask in order to stop the contamination.

3. The use of a real mask

3. 1 A necessity or a desire?

To sum up, the person behind the mask would like to cover his/her identity or his/her true personality, implying that this person will play a role, while the mask will serve as a shield too. This explicates why in The Beast Must Die, the protagonist hides his ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder) from others. If people knew that he was a psychopath, he would get isolated. His parents are already very distant with him, for they view him as a monster. Due this experience (he killed a dog and his mother caught him), he got aware that he was not allowed to act on his urges. For him, the mask is a necessity, as he is living in society. He doesn’t want to end up in jail. But is it the same for Nameless from Painter Of The Night?

The criminal puts on his mask, when he decides to kill the vicious servant. (chapter 54) He is switching his identity to become a killer. In this panel, the manhwaphiles see the transformation of the figure, as his face is already half-covered. He is no longer a joker, but not the ruthless murderer yet. However, when he kills the servant, he has the cover on. (chapter 54) By putting a mask, he is protecting himself too, for he is acting as someone else, therefore his heart can’t be wounded. In this case, it is more a desire, though in truth it is a combination of both. The “butcher” has to hide his true identity. So when he wears his mask in chapter 44, he is doing his job. He won’t be recognized, but also he won’t feel remorse. He has been paid for that and the mask is helping him not to get emotionally invested. On the other hand when Jihwa met him in chapter 51, the manhwalovers could perceive the low-born’s true personality which coincides with the absence of the mask. In that episode, he was literally naked in front of the noble, which explicates why he showed concern and care for his client. He let the noble express his worries. Let’s not forget that the jester is a person with a pure heart, when he is true to himself. Hence I come to the conclusion that the mask serves as a protection for the criminal’s mind and heart. And now, you comprehend why Nameless didn’t feel remorse for hurting the painter. According to me, in this scene, it was Kim who was scaring the painter. (chapter 66) This is important, because the mask had two purposes here: to hide the identity of the perpetrator, but also to slip into a role, No-Name’s, the assassin. The main lead’s face was covered and turned around. At no moment, the “butcher” could see the victim’s gaze and facial expressions. The mask helped him to be ruthless, while he threatened Baek Na-Kuym. He might feel pity, but that was it. (chapter 66) In that scene, the manhwaphiles thought that they were seeing Mumyeong, hence they imagined that Jihwa’s safety meant more than the artist’s life and possible scars. But if you take my theory seriously, this was Kim, then the words from the butler had a different meaning. He was hiding his action behind the nobles. Only after paying attention to the mask, I realized the existence of two masks. (Chapter 61) (chapter 61) Smiling mask versus threatening mask. The presence of two masks explicates why No-Name had the impression that after the painter’s return nothing bad had really happened. He was not aware of the butler‘s wrongdoings. Simultaneously, since the artist had not been killed, No-Name imagined that he had done nothing wrong. (Chapter 61) Hence the existence of the Joker’s mask outlines the criminal’s duality. He can be a ruthless killer, yet he can be gentle and caring too. At the same time, it implies the presence of a biased view.

But let’s return our attention to the scene, when Nameless stands up in order to eliminate the vicious servant. Putting the mask had another purpose in that scene as well. It was to scare Deok-Jae. And note that in that moment the domestic got paralyzed, when he saw No-Name putting his mask and approaching him. Observe the divergence between the two panels from chapter 54. When Deok-Jae recognizes the seriousness of his situation, the mask is covering the low-born’s chin. Scaring an enemy was another function of the mask in real History. Greek, Roman or Japanese soldiers would wear one in order to instigate fear in their opponents. The mask gave their enemy the impression that they were not fighting men, but demons. As you can see, it was to disguise their true nature.

3. 2. The mask: a source of power and magic

And this leads me to the following observation: the mask in different cultures is often associated to supernatural powers. When a shaman wears one, he can chase evil spirits, cure illness, predict events etc… it was, as if the cover contained divine powers. Hence this is not surprising that in ENNEAD, the god Seth loses his mask (chapter 73), the moment he is deprived of his powers. It was, as if he became a human. This is particularly perceptible, when he accepts the judgement of Maat and says this. Striking is that in this panel, the mask doesn’t appear as a source of advantage, rather as a hindrance. He couldn’t see and hear the consequences of his crimes due to the mask. He was blind and deaf. By removing his mask, he becomes human and can face reality: he is facing his sins and the suffering of his victims, their wounded soul.

This leads me to the following conclusion, Seth chose to hide his pain under his mask. He acted as a terrible god, for he had lost his own identity. When Seth discovered that everything in his “life” was fake (his family [chapter 35], his son, his title [chapter 35], his power over the desert [chapter 35]), he lost his identity. Osiris made sure to imprison his brother, because the former was lusting after him and had the impression that the latter would always escape his control. (chapter 35). At the end, he raped him in order to claim him. The latter got literally destroyed, hence he hid his pain behind the mask and chose to hurt others. (chapter 37) In other words, the loss of identity was the reason why Seth decided to hide himself under the mask. Who was he in reality? The god was so tormented by his tragic past, Osiris had hurt him with his actions and words. He made sure that his brother would doubt himself. Hence the mask became the only reason to keep living. This item helped him to hide his wounds, but also not to lose himself completely. Hence I conclude that the “evil god” wasn’t just blinded by his heartache, but also by his mask, for the latter hindered him to see the real impact of his terrible actions. (chapter 37)

As you can see, we have the functions I mentioned in the introduction: disguise, protection and identity quest. Therefore we could say that in ENNEAD, the mask is a source of power, yet represents a hindrance. While Seth becomes human (chapter 73), his son makes the opposite experience. He transforms himself into a god, Anubis, hence he gets a mask. (chapter 73) However, this signifies that he won’t see his wrongdoings too, he will be oblivious to the pain he is causing to others. This time, his blindness will be caused by his resent. While in the past, Anubis was a sensitive and gentle person, but no real god due to Seth’s curse, in chapter 73 he becomes Osiris’ true son, an evil god. Why do I judge him like that? It’s related to Osiris’ words. The latter is encouraging his son to feel hatred for the one responsible for his curse, Seth. Moreover, he asked his son to forget his past signifying that he should cut ties with his previous family. Therefore I believe that in the future, Anubis will fight against Seth and even Horus. Nevertheless, the wounded Anubis doesn’t realize that he has been manipulated by Osiris. The latter used his vulnerability and fear to approach him and appear as his savior. (chapter 73) Besides, Osiris was in fact accountable for his injury (chapter 37) and curse (though indirectly). The latter took possession of Anubis’ body in order to approach Seth. (chapter 37) In other words, the god of the afterlife used a disguise, though his brother had the impression that Osiris was real. Yet, one might argue that in that scene, Osiris was not wearing a mask. However, since he took possession of Anubis’ body, we can clearly see the presence of a cover. Let’s not forget that this terrible god is not allowed to leave the Underworld, hence he needs a subterfuge to enter the world of the living. That’s why I perceive it as a disguise. While the Egyptian god used Anubis as his vessel, Kwon Sungha from Dine With A Vampire took a new identity: he became Sooin’s bodyguard. As you can see, in both cases magic provided the villains a new occasion to deceive their target. And this shows that a mask can eventually cover a whole body, when it is to create a new “identity”.

4. The visage and make-up as masks

However, I would like to remind my readers that a mask in literature and especially in manhwas can also have many different forms… We shouldn’t reduce it to the use of a real mask. And this is also visible in ENNEAD. On the surface, the goddess Isis is wearing no mask, just like Ra or Hathor. Yet, note that they are all women. Secondly, if you pay attention to their appearances, you’ll detect the presence of a hair dress and make up, especially around the eyes. This is no coincidence in my opinion. These accessories should be perceived as a “mask”. The make-up and hair dress are a form of disguise. This becomes really obvious in the manhwa “True beauty” from Yaongyi, where the heroine Jugyeong Lim hides her insecurities and true self behind a make-up. This is the real and natural protagonist (chapter 7), while we have here the disguised heroine (chapter 0). This goes to the point that her boyfriend Sujeon Han has no idea how she really looks like. As a conclusion, the make-up and hair dress should be judged as a mask too. That’s why in traditional Chinese theater, the actors have painted faces. It was, as if they were wearing a mask.

5. The importance of the eyes in connection with a mask

Besides, let’s not forget the saying: the eyes are the mirror of the soul. Therefore the gaze reveals the true thoughts and emotions of the person to his beholder. While a person can control his facial expressions, it is impossible to control the gaze. (Doctor Frost, chapter 2) That’s the reason why the author Black Apricot didn’t drew a mouth, when she presented Song Ji-Sung here. (chapter 9). She wanted her readers and the main lead to realize the character’s true personality. The latter was upset, because Kwon Soo-Young was keeping his distance from him and it looked like, he had found a new protector/boyfriend. When the protagonist Kwon Soo-Young had met Song Ji-Sung for the first time, he had only paid attention to his smile. Therefore he had misjudged his personality. And now, if you contrast the previous panel with the following one (chapter 16), you’ll notice an important detail: The eyes are closed, when the character is smiling. In this situation, the figure was actually hiding his true thoughts, this explains why the main lead couldn’t correct his false impression about his future lover. He had no idea about his true nature, as the latter keeping concealing his true intentions, he was faking his emotions with his facial expressions. This confirms my interpretation: the face can also be a mask. For me, this character is like Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In this picture, Kwon Soo-Young got scared, when he saw this gaze and refused his lover’s advances. He is brutal, selfish and very manipulative. And now, you understand why in ENNEAD we had two different kind of masks: Seth and Horus are wearing real masks, while Osiris and Isis use their own face and make-up to conceal their true personality.

But closed eyes is not the only strategy to create a mask and as such create a certain deception. The nature of the gaze can be changed due to the make-up. As you can see, the hair dress and the make-up can be viewed as disguise… and remember that a mask is judged as a disguise. That’s why in ENNEAD, Isis is a real hypocrite and deceiver. She is similar to Seth, as she has been terribly wounded by Nephthys and Osiris’ betrayal, yet she chose to blame Seth. She decided to protect her husband’s reputation in the end. She prefers blaming the real victim of this tragedy. And this observation leads me to the next conclusion. It is no coincidence that Osiris is painted in green. (chapter 7) Sure, the color refers to his death, a decayed body, nonetheless the readers should judge the painting as a cover. Since he is using a whole body to disguise himself, this signifies that he is hiding his true personality and thoughts more than Isis or Ra. That’s why it is not surprising that this god is particularly scheming and deceptive.

5. 1. The absence of eyes

And note that in this image (chapter 73), the god’s face is not even visible, a sign of his deceptive nature and lies. He is not revealing his true plan to Anubis. What caught my attention is the importance of the eyes, since the latter are a reflection of the person’s true character. In other words, the absence of eyes in a manhwa can have a different meaning that just an indication of “blindness”. The absence of eyes is a clue for deception and manipulation. That’s why in the Pawn’s revenge, Jeon Hee-Seong is seen without eyes in chapter 6: The hair fringe and the shadow serve as a mask. In this scene, she used her body to divert her lover’s attention and hide her true intentions. She was inciting Do Seong-Rok to kill on her behalf. However, this temptation left such a deep impression that the main lead was tormented in his sleep later. His unconscious was telling him that he had been manipulated. As you can see, the absence of eyes in the manhwa can be viewed as the presence of a mask and as such a sign of deception. We have another example in BJ Alex: (chapter 10) The mask is a combination of shadow and absence of eyes. Here, Ahn Jiwon was remembering his first love and boyfriend, who faked affection and care for him. As a conclusion, the eyes symbolize honesty and naturality and its absence the presence of a mask.

Therefore the readers should pay attention to the characters’ gaze and eyes. This observation brings us to my next point.

5. 2. The presence of glasses

I came to this topic “masks” due to Painter Of The Night and Dine With A Vampire. In both stories, we have two characters wearing glasses, the scholar Jung In-Hun and the internist Kwon Sungha. While examining their characters, I made a connection between the glasses and their personality. I defined the function of the glasses as a mask, because both almost act the same, as vicious hypocrites. They hide behind their glasses and their fake smiles so that people misjudge them. And remember doctor Frost’s advice: Observe that each time the villains from the two manhwas smile, their eyes are closed. It was, as if they didn’t want their eyes to betray them and the glasses were a tool to redirect people’s gaze to their smile not paying attention to the eyes. This item serves as a guarantee that people would rather look at their smiles in order to mislead them. This explicates why people close to them are not aware of their manipulations. Not only Sungha’s girlfriend has no idea that he is two-timing, but also he chose her because of her social background. Baek Na-Kyum also fell for his teacher’s lies, as he could never see the scholar’s real gaze. However, the teacher reveals slowly his gaze and as such his true personality, that’s why in the chapter 29, the low-born detects his first betrayal, but he doesn’t realize his vicious and double-faced nature.Observe that the smile is less pronounced, giving the impression that it is vanishing. Simultaneously, the eyes are shown oozing a rather cold and heartless side. In the scene at the library (chapter 40), he’s finally able to perceive his own reflection in the scholar’s gaze, since the smile has totally disappeared. The gaze exudes coldness, despise and filth. Combined with the harsh words “you were born to be a prostitute”, the painter’s identity and personality are literally destroyed. The scholar has reduced Baek Na-Kyum to a prostitute, the lowest rank among the commoner. They have no rights and no real identity as they are forced to do what their clients want. (chapter 41) Hence it is not surprising that the protagonist remembers the cold gaze. His eyes were the other reason why Baek Na-Kyum’s heart was so wounded. He could sense despise and rejection. In other words, the scholar had used two weapons to hurt the main character: the gaze and the words. This connection between the smile and the eyes is visible in Dine With A Vampire too. As soon as the smile vanishes, the eyes become visible unveiling their true personality. That’s why it is not surprising that Kwon Sungha has the same behavior towards the main lead Joo Sooin. The former has also destroyed the protagonist and reduced him to a puppet. The villains keeps calling him a pervert. He was even worse than Jung In-Hun in the sense that he kept abusing him mentally and physically after the coercive persuasion. Both are hypocrites hiding behind their glasses and their gaze. Therefore they are portrayed as cruel and mean hypocrites. The other common denominator is their hatred and rejection for homosexuality. Kwon Sungha seems to be even worse than the scholar, as he is in reality a repressed homosexual. He has sex with Joo Sooin, but resents him because he sees in him the reason for his “perverted” sexuality. He rejects sodomy because of the Church and his mother. Both reject this sexual orientation. I could mention Carter Nathan from The Blood of Madam Giselle (the fake and the real (chapter 13) or Jung from Unintentional Love Story as well as selfish and ruthless hypocrites. In other words, the next time you read a manhwa, be careful with characters wearing glasses, they might be dangerous and their smile might be fake.

However, the manhwaphiles shouldn’t generalize, Mathew Rayner from Under The Green Light represents an exception. (chapter 16) The main lead explains that he chose to wear glasses, because he desired to avoid rejection and fear. He had noticed that the absence of facial expressions (smile) and his cold gaze would be misjudged by people. Here, Matthew used the glasses as protection. And this illustration reinforces my interpretation: glasses in manhwas have a huge importance in the end, they should be considered as masks too.

6. The mask wearers

But the example with the glasses illustrates that there exist two types of characters utilizing masks. The first ones are the villains and antagonists who are hiding their true personality in order to achieve their goal. They need people and good connections so that they can gain power or more money. As for the second category, they are the main leads trying to hide their own issues and wounds (Nameless, Mathew Rayner, Ahn Jiwon, Yoon Seungho, etc). For them, the mask is a shield, they are trying to protect themselves from torment and rejection. Their acting is not mainly to hurt others. And note that the moment Kang Moo from “The Beast Must Die” removed his mask, he unveiled his inner thoughts and emotions to his lover Lee Ki-Rin. The latter is the only one who can control him.

7. BJ Alex: Mask and identity quest

This manhwa is very interesting for two reasons. First, in BJ Alex, the author used so many different types of masks. I have already mentioned two of them: (the absence of eyes and the shadow in chapter 10, the normal mask in chapter 55) . Why are there so many? The reason is simple. The central topic of this manhwa is the protagonist’s journey to find his true self! Remember what I wrote in the introduction: a mask concerning a protagonist is always connected to identity quest.

So it is time to focus on the main character Ahn Jiwon. He is introduced wearing a mask, for he is broadcasting. (chapter 1) This is his second identity: BJ Alex. On the one hand, he desires to remain anonymous so that no one can recognize him in real life, on the other hand this signifies that he is living a double life. He would like to protect his privacy, but also his secret life as homosexual. That’s why he said this, when his relationship with Nam Dong-Gyun was revealed: As you can observe, a name and as such notoriety can also serve as a mask. The president of the council was admired by his peers, he was so perfect that some students even wondered, if he was human.

Here, I could also mention two other manhwas, where reputation was used as shield and mask: Yoon Seungho in Painter Of The Night and Park Do-Hyeok in My Suha. The latter utilized his grand-mother’s favoritism, for President Lee considers Park Jiwon’s father as a black sheep. Since Park Do-Hyeok’s father was obedient, she assumes that the red-haired grand-son is the same. Due to this privilege, the villain was able to create the perfect illusion, he is the perfect grand-son. That’s why he is also faking his smile and the president is not recognizing it. But why is reputation a mask? It is, because people often judge others on hearsay and first impressions. The social medias are the perfect example for superficial and quick judgement. But we have to question ourselves about Ahn Jiwon’s initial motivations to hide behind a good notoriety.

But let’s return our attention to the manhwa BJ Alex. Ahn Jiwon had the reputation of the prefect student , for he was always friendly and kept helping people. In the beginning of the story, he doesn’t even know the other protagonist very well, yet he is willing to take care of him, when the latter is drunk. The president is seen constantly smiling and has never externalized negative emotions (anger, violence…). This explicates why the uke was so shocked and confused, when he saw a brutal BJ Alex. The latter had discovered his secret, hence the former felt vulnerable. On the other hand, Nam Dong-Gyun wondered about Ahn Jiwon’s true personality. But the uke was not the only one who had no idea about Ahn Jiwon’s true character. The latter was also confused.

What caught my attention is that Ahn Jiwon is not only hiding his identity, he is also hiding his true self from his fans. Note that during the streaming, he told old or possibly fake stories, until he met Nam Dong-Gyun. His interaction with the other main character affected his broadcast so much, for his stories felt more real, genuine and exciting. Besides, observe that in the picture above, Mingwa didn’t drew his eyes. This is relevant, because it truly exposes Jiwon’s life. He is soulless, signifying that he isn’t true to himself in reality. Why? It is related to his childhood. Due to his neglecting parents who always favored the eldest son, the main lead was forced to live in his brother’s shadow. But the worst is that his parents never looked at him. This explicates why the parents in all the panels are represented without eyes. This signifies that the protagonist was never confronted with his own reflection. (Doctor Frost, chapter 11). That’s why he became an empty man in the end. He has no idea about his true self (his likes and dislikes). He was forced to follow his parents’ requests and his brother’s shadow. This emptiness is palpable in chapter 49, when the main lead confesses this:

All these observations lead me to conclude that Ahn Jiwon had not only be wearing one mask in fact, but minimum 3!! We have

  1. the mask BJ Alex (chapter 1)
  2. Then he became a second version of his eldest brother: (chapter 49) Since the adults kept criticizing him, he imagined that if he copied his brother, he would get recognition and acceptance. In other words, he forced himself to become a second version of his brother. But even copying his hair dress and tastes, he was doomed to failure, for the parents had already categorized him: he would always be inferior to their eldest son. He realized gradually that this wasn’t right, for his parents still didn’t perceive his true identity. That’s why he feels drowning, when he loses his mask. He doesn’t have the impression to exist.
  3. Furthermore he had imagined, if he was popular at school, his parents would change their mind about him through the comments from people (other parents, teachers, students). (chapter 49) That’s why he chose a third mask: he tried to be admired at school. He was caring and considerate towards his fellows. However, since he had made this rational decision, in his mind he was acting. Hence he didn’t truly enjoy this situation. (chapter 49) He felt that he was forced to smile. Besides, I believe as he was fake, this admiration was quite superficial in his mind. Therefore he didn’t feel truly loved. That’s why at some point, he wondered if he would ever be loved… However, the readers should interpret this question differently: he was asking indirectly, when his true self would be recognized by someone. And the one who made him discover his true sexual orientation was unfortunately a player. That’s why the main lead was so devastated and hurt, when he discovered that his relationship was based on deception and fakeness. So after being sent to the army, Ahn Jiwon chose to act like in the past. He became a role model as a student, yet he could no longer hide his homosexuality. Hence he led a double life.

Through his interactions with the other protagonist, Ahn Jiwon was forced to recognize that he needed to drop the mask BJ Alex. In the presence of Nam Dong-Gyun, the dark-haired man came gradually back to life. The break-up and their last sexual encounter, where the uke refused to look at him, made him realize that he was in reality Ahn Jiwon and not BJ Alex. The latter was just a role and not his true self.

Because of the uke’s frankness and sincerity, the main lead was forced to feel emotions. And this leads me to the following observation. The author even used panels to illustrate a mask. (chapter 08) In this scene, the charater is disguising his true thoughts. The black and red are representing his emotions: he is irritated, because he needs to have sex with Nam Dong-Gyun. Note how Ahn Jiwon is avoiding his counterpart’s gaze. The figure is acting, his mask is his face and the presence of the colors symbolizes the repressed and hidden thoughts and emotions. Mingwa colored one picture in chapter 51 marking a turning point in the protagonist’s life. For the first time, he was acknowledging his feelings and as such his own desires. This picture represents the removal of one mask. He is slowly living for real, but in this chapter he still hadn’t found his true personality. The other mask (his reputation as good student) was still existent. Besides, he still believed that his smiling and caring attitude were just an act, while in truth he was genuine and caring. But due to his past, he had already internalized that this was just an act. And now, you comprehend why the latest episodes from BJ Alex are in color. The main lead had finally found his own identity and place.

As a conclusion, the masks in manhwas can be represented in many ways: real masks, absence of eyes, glasses, make-up, facial expressions (Painter Of The Night, chapter 54), colors, reputation, etc. The protagonists are often hiding their true thoughts and emotions due to their past, while the villains are using masks to deceive people.

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.

Painter Of The Night / Dine With A Vampire: Yoon Seungho’s obsession and its origins (second version)

This is where you can read the manhwas. https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/painter  https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/dine_vampire But be aware that these manhwas are mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents:  https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/table-of-contents-painter-of-the-night/

Due to the title, I am quite sure that you are all expecting that my focus in this essay will be about Yoon Seungho’s last confession, since his last action and words remind us more of obsession than of love. First he corners the painter against the wall, making him visualize what his future situation will look like. He won’t be able to escape from Yoon Seungho’s control and monitoring. The lord will always stand within his reach. Secondly, the expression “I will never let you go” indicates that the rich main lead will cling onto him, he will remain sexually close to him. That’s why they are still connected through their bodies. By clinging onto the artist, the aristocrat reveals his dependency. He can’t live without the painter, hence all his thoughts are revolving around him. This definitely looks like an obsession. The reason is simple. Baek Na-Kyum has now given a certain sense in his life, his presence makes him feel emotions, positive and negative. In my opinion, the artist made him feel less lonely and empty. Consequently, he can’t bear the thought of being separated from him. This exposes that the core issue has not been solved: his Dependency Personality disorder which is strongly connected to his abandonment issues. Since the butler had become his helping hand, the lord’s statement “I will never let you go” lets transpire a change. The lord is now dependent on Baek Na-Kyum. It was, as if he had just replaced the butler with the painter.

However, what the readers shouldn’t forget is that the master’s behavior is actually unveiling his own past and mirroring his past traumatic experiences. The main lead is acting the way he was taught, or even I would even say, the way he experienced it himself. There’s no doubt that he is replicating father Yoon’s gestures. The first evidence for this deduction is the way he grabs the artist’s neck in chapter 62. (chapter 57) Let’s not forget that he was trapped in his own house, like the doctor pointed out in chapter 57. In other words, his moves were controlled and he was forced to remain by his father’s side as well. However, I realized at the end of the second season that these traumatic experiences are not just related to father Yoon. This night from chapter 62 to chapter 65 exposes all the crimes the young protagonist was exposed to. First, we have the imprisonment (chapter 61) (chapter 74). Then he was raped in the shed and butler Kim was a witness who betrayed and abandoned him. (chapter 65) Hence, later the main lead questions the butler’s appearance and interruption: (chapter 64) That’s why I come to the conclusion that the main lead isn’t just utilizing the same expressions and actions from his father’s, but also from all the perpetrators: the rapist in the cabin and his main sexual partner, the king. (chapter 74) Consequently, I come to the conclusion that this statement mirrors the king’s obsession for Yoon Seungho. Yet, unlike the main lead, the monarch was unable to keep his “promise”, as his obsession, blindness and selfishness led him to make terrible decisions. He ended up destroying the young man, hence he was forced to send him away. (chapter 57) The protagonist had lost his sanity and there’s no doubt that the king didn’t want to be confronted with his own wrongdoings. In the first version of this essay, I had assumed due to Yoon Seungho’s behavior, that the latter had been sexually abused by his father. This theory was developed based on previous observations, like for example, Jung In-Hun, as a new version of father Yoon and the painter’s surrogate father, seemed to be a pedophile due to his strange behavior in chapter 29. However, now I believe that the real sexual predator was the king himself, who was definitely an old-bearded man. Since he is mentioned in episode 76, it becomes more obvious that Yoon Seungho’s tragic fate is intertwined with the monarch. Therefore I deduce this. The king is a combination of Jung In-Hun and father Yoon. He’s an arrogant, stupid, selfish, emotional, violent, jealous, impulsive and obsessive man. Why? First, jealousy is a common denominator between the two fathers, like it is palpable in the following panel: Hence the eldest master Yoon had to diminish his son’s good reputation by describing him as ill. However, if I hold this theory, the nature of the king’s jealousy gets a different signification. He decided to held the teenager captive in the palace, so that the son would stop attracting attention from other men. That’s why no one knows their special relationship. As for father Yoon, the house arrest was justified with the excuse of illness, because he couldn’t stand the idea that his son’s notoriety was better than his own. However, when the first rape occurred in the shed, the eldest master Yoon saw an occasion to use his eldest son in a better way: a prostitute. The manhwaphiles should keep in their mind that the learned sir witnessed the artist’s rape. This means that father Yoon must have been aware of the king’s preferences. For him, it looked like the perfect solution. He didn’t need to do anything, yet he would get benefit from this exchange of favors. Through Yoon Seungho, he could get more power and influence thanks to the monarch’s support. One might argue that the father hates sodomy, hence he can’t have sold his son to the king. In chapter 1, we hear from the painter that father Yoon cut off his son’s topknot in public because of sodomy. Yet, the disgust for sodomy is not a real argument in reality. In order to collaborate my theory, I will introduce another manhwa called “Dine With A Vampire”, created by Pangin and Pinko. The characters serves as an example.

Here, the antagonist Kwon Sungha is in a hidden relationship with his former best friend Joo Sooin, although the former hates homosexuality. Just like Jung In-Hun, Sungha is a hypocrite. Yet, he abused his schoolmate physically and sexually for so long that at the end, the main lead became a shadow of himself, a zombie. Therefore there was no light in his eyes. Kwon Sungha resents the protagonist, because he can’t accept his own sexual orientation and blames the poor uke. That’s why the antagonist is rough and violent during the intercourses. He even shows some sadistic tendencies, because he enjoys it very much, when the victim is crying due to pain. Therefore it signifies that each time the main character sheds some tears, his behavior will incite the seme to become more brutal. As a result, it is better to repress tears.

The reason for his violence is simple. This represents his antipathy for sodomy. He has internalized it so deeply that he can’t hate himself due to his huge ego and selfishness. He can only turn his resent towards the object of his obsession. He sees in Sooin the cause for his deviation and his “misery”, as he can’t live normally and follow the social norm which is that homosexuality is repulsive. That’s why in the end, Kwon Sungha gives such a negative reflection towards Sooin. What the victim sees in the abuser’s eyes, is only resent and the image of being a monster, while in reality Sooin is not perceiving his own true reflection, but the picture the former friend has about Sooin and homosexuals in general. This explains why the main lead has such a low self-esteem and self-hatred as a result. He despises his own image and has the impression, he is not lovable. He has the feeling that he is nothing worthy, hence he has no goal in life. He has given up on himself, since he sees no hope and no way out. Each time, he tried to run away, he was caught and tormented even more than before. His life is already controlled by Sungha, who tells what he has to eat, how he has to dress and when he should come home. The villain is ruling Sooin’s life like a vicious tyrant.

Hence when Sooin has sex with the vampire Park Chi-Hwan, who helped him to get rid of Kwon Sungha, the uke is triggered by the vampire’s word and is reminded of his past experience with Kwon Sungha. He is reliving his past. Notice how he avoids the other main lead’s gaze. He hides his eyes behind his arms and apologizes to his lover. He is already imagining that he will get punished. His behavior is so conditioned that in order to escape a punishment, he apologizes, although he knows that Sungha is dead. Even in his sleep, he is plagued with nightmares.

The villain views sodomy as filthy, therefore he rejects any intimate and tender gesture from the uke. As a conclusion, Sooin is not allowed to touch him. As you can envisage, Sooin is never kissed nor hugged. However, despite his hatred for sodomy and the abuse, he is not willing to give up on his sexual partner. He is so obsessed with Sooin that he even envisions to keep him captive in a cage, though he plans to marry a woman coming from an influential family. The irony is that after getting betrayed by the main lead, the former “lover” is not questioning the reason behind the treachery. In fact he blames Sooin for everything. He reproached him that the latter never smiled in front of him, but now he is giving his smile towards another man. The antagonist, who has now become a vampire himself, definitely perceives the uke as his possession. The description of Sungha’s behavior indicates that Sooin was his obsession, but not his love.

And now it is necessary to summarize all the elements indicating that Sooin has been abused sexually, physically and emotionally:

The lack of light in Sooin’s gaze, his self-hatred, a negative image about himself, plagued with nightmares, words can trigger the victim and he is reliving his past, his entire life is controlled by the abuser, the attempts to flee, the lack of warmth and tenderness, punishment if the abuser is angered, the feeling of being trapped, living a hell. Like I described, Sooin had become a zombie, was no longer living his own life.

And now, I am quite sure that the manhwaphiles will recognize these symptoms in Yoon Seungho’s behavior. And this is no coincidence that Yoon Seungho is so obsessed with the painter’s tears. Due to the repetitive abuse, the main lead had to stop crying, if he didn’t want to infuriate his father and later the king. That’s the reason why he can no longer cry and Kim and the noble asked the painter to stop crying. Moreover, the main character is dressed like his father. Both wear a robe with long sleeves without any pattern and even the color is quite similar in the beginning. This shows that he has internalized not to draw attention through his clothes. However, the moment he wants to impress the painter, he starts wearing a different color (blue), like in his youth. And the more time passes on, the more he dresses up in order to attract the artist’s attention, which is already visible in chapter 23. This evolution displays that his original taste for clothes was influenced by the abusive sex partner. Striking is that the beautiful hanbok in chapter 52 reminds us of the king, as the phoenix is a symbol for the Joseon monarch. That’s why I am more and more convinced that the traumatic past causing abandonment issues is caused by the father and the Joseon monarch. And it becomes more understandable, why the lord could only fall for the painter during their Wedding night and desired to renew this night. He was hugged for the first time and he was the source of happiness of his partner, something he has never heard before. Neither his father nor his “sexual partner” embraced him. Why? In my opinion, it is linked to the way the lord was offered to the king. Due to the position of the candles, it looks like the noble’s fate is already determined. He will be a sacrifice for the monarch. He will become his plaything. However, in order to ensure that the favored courtesan would never get power over the monarch and would remain under the control of his father, the latter had to indoctrinate his son. Thus the father created these rules: sex was just a battle and the teenager was not allowed to confess. Then I remembered the scholar’s words: Striking is the word “courtesan” in this picture. It’s here linked to the kisaeng-house, however the expression as such implies the royal court. This definitely shows that there’s a strong connection between the brothel and the palace. Since the learned sir mentioned it in Yoon Seungho’s library, I am more than ever convinced that father Yoon transformed his mansion into a brothel in order to train his son as a future courtesan. Let’s not forget that the nightmare in chapter 74 takes place in the mansion: We never see the palace, only the hands of the nobles. That’s why I come to the deduction that father Yoon must have asked the noble families close to him for help. They were supposed to train his son. After getting drugged and gangraped, the noble’s strong will was broken. The father did it intentionally. He needed to turn him into a obedient puppet who would never make any request or even try to escape from his father’s claws through the king. That’s why I believe that when he went to the capital, his heart had already died. He was in a similar state than Baek Na-Kyum in the beginning of the second season: passive and submissive. Since we have two rapes with the painter (one is planned), I assume that the lord had this terrible fate:

  1. The rape in the shed
  2. The gangrape leading to the sexual education as prostitute:
  3. The second rape which I associate to the king : that’s why he couldn’t yell or defend himself. Who could help him in front of the most powerful person in Joseon? He was like a low-born next to the monarch.

However, like Sungha from Dine with a vampire, the king was a very possessive and jealous man who hid his homosexuality. Nevertheless, I guess, he got fascinated by his plaything that at some point, he wanted to possess the main lead’s body and heart. Let’s not forget that Yoon Seungho’s obsession in the beginning of the second season was this: And since we have a repetition in the story, it means that this must have happened in the past. Besides, I doubt that father Yoon would have questioned such a behavior. He definitely hated Yoon Seungho’s strong will. Consequently, I believe that the king must have had a similar attitude. He wanted to obtain the main lead’s love, yet unlike Yoon Seungho, the king became violent and angry by such a submissive behavior, which could only contribute to the protagonist’s silence and fear.

From my point of view, father Yoon was too simple-minded to realize that among the palace, there were rivals and enemies who would target his son. Since I have developed the theory that Yoon Seungho’s painting had been stolen by Jeong Seon, his special relationship to the king could have been perceived as a source of threat for the painter. The theft could have been discovered. I had stipulated as well that a painter could have been kidnapped and killed, especially if we take into consideration Nameless’ words who seems to know how to deal with artists: (chapter 60). Besides, the readers should remember that the main lead tasked the artist to paint his sexual intercourses, therefore it is definitely possible that Yoon Seungho’s request was influenced by the king’s. The latter could have had the desire to have his sexual intercourses with Yoon Seungho portrayed as well. However, since father Yoon hates sodomy and doesn’t want to be associate to this, he had every reason to hate the painter. The pictures were a proof of the eldest master’s hypocrisy.

Moreover, it is also possible that the main lead tried to escape from his hell, but he was betrayed and abandoned. The fact that his description of the flee is so vivid makes me believe that he could have done it himself once. He thought, he had succeeded, before he was caught, because he had been betrayed by the person whom he trusted the most: Kim. Moreover, the main lead had another enemy in my opinion: the culprit of the first rape, as the latter had not been caught. There’s no doubt that in the shed, Yoon Seungho is acting like father Yoon and the king. Both mistreated him, but were unable to give him love, whereas they expected from him total obedience and even attachment.

To sum up, when the lord was brought to the capital, he was confronted with a bearded man again, hence the second rape occurred. That’s why the king thought that the teenager had lost his virginity to him. Let’s not forget that during the Wedding night, the lord never expected this, therefore I am expecting the opposite with the king. The latter imagined that they would send him a virgin. Besides, it is a custom to send virgin concubines to the ruler.

I have to admit that this idea came to my mind, when I wrote the essay “The birth of the zombie”. This panel symbolizes the purge which the main lead witnessed. It started with the following question: Why would the monarch eliminate the families close to the Yoons? In my opinion, someone revealed to the sovereign that the protagonist had been trained by the nobles close the eldest master Yoon. They had tainted his sex partner and even ruined him, although there’s no ambiguity that the ruler’s attitude (jealous, violent and possessive) contributed to this evolution: the main lead was slowly becoming a zombie. From my point of view, there are three persons who had a desire to destroy Yoon Seungho and through him his father: the culprit of the first rape (my theory is now that it was father Lee), the butler who witnessed it, and like I mentioned it above, the artist who stole Yoon Seungho’s work. This leads me to the following conclusion: the butler could have revealed it to the king, faking his care and concern for his master. “Imagine… the poor boy was gangraped by the families close to father Yoon.” But he never mentioned the training, as Kim’s MO is always to tell half-truths. This would divert attention from the other perpetrators. When the king confronted Yoon Seungho, the latter couldn’t reveal what had truly happened, because this would mean that his father was involved. Hence he remained silent, which was perceived as a confession. As a revenge for the dirty trick, the ruler ordered the purge which the main lead had to witness. The latter was so devastated that he was literally destroyed. The king didn’t expect such a reaction, hence he sent him back to the mansion, only to hear later that father Yoon had punished his own son. The latter believed that the main character had betrayed him by revealing the indoctrination and prostitution.

And now, you are wondering about lord Song. From my point of view, when Kim realized that Yoon Seungho was suffering from memory loss and had even forgotten his relationship with the king, the butler decided to use lord Song as the scapegoat for the lord’s suffering. He created fake memories, a mixture composed of half-truths. Father Yoon and lord Song were blamed, while the real perpetrators for Yoon Seungho remained hidden.That’s why he doesn’t want them to meet. He never expected that the noble would write a letter to his master, although the letter was fake. Lord Song was definitely father Yoon’s rival. Another possibility is that it was indeed lord Song who had decided to betray lord Yoon and expose the plot. But like I mentioned it above, I am suspecting that this is just another lie from the valet. For that, he used the main lead’s situation in order to divert father Yoon’s attention. Father Yoon was too mad at his son, hence he didn’t realize that in the mean time, the other noble had revealed the plot to the king. Therefore the father could only resent more his son and chose to punish him by betraying a second time. He abandoned his son and punished him in the worst way: not only he castrated him, but also he ruined his reputation for good. That’s why the terrible reflection is engraved in Yoon Seungho’s memory. Under this new approach, it becomes understandable why the butler encouraged Yoon Seungho to lead a life in debauchery. That way, he wouldn’t attract the king’s attention: The latter had killed many people due to his obsession for Yoon Seungho, whom he treated very poorly: full of mistrust and violence. The latter was not able to take care of the young man properly.

It is also possible that after the purge and huge revelation, the king decided to offer Yoon Seungho to his officials as retaliation. Observe that we often have two events of the same nature: two rapes, two incidents with the door, two “escapes” etc. Since the protagonist had been tainted, then he was nothing more than a prostitute which led to a real breakdown. Hence the young man was sent away from Hanyang. One might argue that this theory is not possible, since I had already stipulated that the king was obsessed with Yoon Seungho. How could he offer him to his officials? Let’s not forget that Yoon Seungho almost did it, when he got rejected in chapter 54: If he was so obsessed with the main lead (mind and heart) to the point he wanted to keep him away from others, then he would have never used him as a whore. However, even this point can be refuted. First, even Jung In-Hun, who hated homosexuality, was willing to betray his own doctrines for his own interests. Let’s not forget that in the other manhwa “Dine with a vampire”, the antagonist has no problem to use his sex partner for his own interests. In one incident, he makes sure that Sooin interrupts him with his girlfriend, so that the villain is not forced to have sex with her. At the same time, he uses this as an excuse to punish the uke. Furthermore, I portrayed father Yoon as especially greedy and ambitious, hence despite his jealousy and obsession, he had a big dream. Besides, he hates sodomy so by using his son as a prostitute, he can remain clean and perceives his son as dirty, since he is the source of his “misery”. As for the king, notice that the latter doesn’t have a bad reputation. This shows that his sexual orientation and even perversion is a secret. The king could have a similar attitude than Sungha: he hates homosexuality, but he can’t stop his urges. So for his own career, father Yoon taught his son that sex is a battle, therefore he described love as a weakness. However he made him believe that if he obeyed him, then he would benefit him: . He requested that his son would never fall in love with a man so that he would have the upper hand in front of the king. Only the father was somehow able to control him. That way, he would bind his son’s mind and heart to him. This would explicate why the lord chose to become as a ghost in the end. Imagine, he had been ripped apart by his own father and by the king. The body was possessed by the other nobles, while the father was still possessing his mind and heart. He had no freedom at all. After writing this, I feel so horrible. Father Yoon was definitely ruling his son’s life and the monarch tried to change this, but failed as he was himself too selfish, violent and ruthless.

This theory also explains why valet Kim wondered about father Yoon’s reaction in chapter 57. First, this indicates that the eldest master Yoon is still paying attention to Yoon Seungho’s behavior, and Kim is well aware of it. Imagine that Yoon Seungho used his bad reputation as a notorious hell-raiser in order to torment his father, yet the latter never intervened. This signifies that he could bear the humiliation, because the truth had not been unveiled. The father turned his own son into a black sheep, a sign that there’s actually something wrong in a family. However, it becomes a different story, when he hears that Jihwa has already confessed in public. It means that his son could definitely fall in love and this could also reach the king’s ears. If the lord maintains a terrible reputation, then no one will try to become his partner, hence the king’s position remains untouched. Notice that Kim is worried that the elder master hears about the confession, indicating that he is well aware about his doctrines. Love is a taboo. I doubt, he is referring to sodomy as such, because it is well known that Yoon Seungho sleeps with men. As a conclusion, this panel reveals that the lord was keeping an eye on his son all this time. Since he never meddled before, in his eyes, his son’s rebellion was nothing to worry about. Consequently, this is not surprising that the father and Seung-Won imagined that once asked by them, Yoon Seungho would obey and help them, because he had always done it before. Yet, this time, the main lead refused.

Although the damaged painting wasn’t sent to his father by the father, it is important to examine its signification. In fact, the painting showed the main character having sex with other men. For the first time, father Yoon was confronted directly with his hypocrisy. In the past, he was never present, when he sold his son, hence in his eyes, he was still someone honorable. However, the painting confronts him with his true nature: He was his son’s owner and pimp. In other words, the father is facing reality. He let men to touch his own son, while in his mind, he justified his action by saying that he was an educated man. He thought, he still possessed his son’s mind and heart. He became infuriated, because he had the impression that he was losing the control over his son. Yet, since this is a threesome, it still looks like Yoon Seungho is just fooling around. And with this theory, his love for the painter gets a different significance. For the father, it would mean the end of his ruling over his son’s life. He would lose Yoon Seungho as his pawn for good. He would use the low status of Baek Na-Kyum in order to separate the lovers, while in reality he would try to regain ownership over the main lead.

If we take this aspect into consideration, then the story gets another dimension. Byeonduck would show us, how a sexual abused victim becomes a perpetrator himself later, which is often the case. And this would explicate why the lord never acted before towards his sexual partners. He might have cut Jihwa’s hair or dragged them by the topknot, yet he didn’t rape them. And since the painter is a low-born, he is put in the same situation than Yoon Seungho in the past, vulnerable and defenseless against the authority of the king, the supreme lord. And remember that he asked the painter to call him “my lord”, and his sex partner might have requested the same calling. However, when the painter whispers “Lord Seungho” for the first time, it pushes the main lead to act differently, like I pointed out in the former analysis. In this perspective, the chapters 62 and 63 get another signification. The painter’s expressed apology is the expression Yoon Seungho used himself in the past, when he had displeased his father and the sovereign, or even worse, when he got caught after his escape attempt. This would explain why he saw it as a confirmation for the painter’s flee. He was definitely sent back to his past, therefore he turned into the shadow of his father and the king. That’s why when the painter started confessing, he stopped him, because back then the lord had a similar reaction. He proclaimed, he loved the man, while deep down, he only feared and even detested him. We know for sure that the main lead has never been in love before, father Yoon ensured this. That’s the reason why his third love confession resembles more to an obsession than to love. This is how the king treated him. And read the last two chapters under the perspective that the king is Yoon Seungho and the powerful noble the painter, now you understand why Kim has the intention to intervene this time. He knows why the noble is acting like that. Then we understand why the lord chose to become blind and deaf to the truth, as he was reliving his own past and he knew very well what he had done back then. The painter’s words can only be lies, since he was forced to lie in front of his abuser. Therefore he can not use his brain like during the first season. As for people asking a punishment for Yoon Seungho’s wrongdoings, I can only reply: if my theory is true, then the man needs therapy more than anything else. He is a perpetrator, because he has been conditioned by his father and the king, and since he is willing to change and even shows remorse, he needs help more than anything else.

I have to admit that my initial intention in this essay was different, although I chose the title “Yoon Seungho’s obsession”. While reading the last two chapters, a detail caught my attention: his obsession for the painter’s motivations. (chapter 62) Then in chapter 63: In fact, I noticed that the lord was fixated on “why”, although he doesn’t use it constantly, he often makes allusion. It is already palpable in chapter 21, when the lord wonders about the artist’s reaction: With these words, the lord is actually questioning the reason for the painter’s behavior. Why did he push away the lord before? The artist replied that this had nothing to do with him, he didn’t dislike it. Then in chapter 40 and 41, he pushed the painter to question his own motivation. Why would he support his former teacher? What does he expect from him? Then we have the chapters 45 and 47, where the main character keeps asking about the artist’s reason for his behavior. Why did he remain by his side? Why is he so indifferent and submissive unlike in the past? I judge it as his obsession and there’s a reason for that. Sure, one might say that he would like to know why the painter stayed by his side. He is so desperate to be loved, he is still wishing to feel loved. However, there’s another motivation behind this obsession. In my opinion, this obsession to the “why” is related to his past and as such to his father and the king. He saw his negative reflection in his father’s eyes, the man he wanted to please at any cost. He must have wondered why his father tormented him so much, why he betrayed him, why he lied to him, why he was so fixated on him, since he had the impression that he was unlovable and even a monstrosity. The lord must have been young back then to perceive his father’s true motivations: jealousy, obsession and his immense greed and ambition. And after being sent to the capital, he met a similar person: the ruler who didn’t treat him better.

By meeting the painter and falling in love with him, the lord is forced to reflect on his past and indirectly on his father’s behavior. I perceive the recurrence of the “why” as a sign that Yoon Seungho is changing. He definitely affected the painter with his critical thinking, just like the artist affected his life as well. Both are forced to question themselves. Slowly, the aristocrat is liberating himself from his father’s claws and the king’s obsession. However, in order to transform totally, he needs to realize that he is making Baek Na-Kyum suffer the same bad experiences than his father did. At the same time, he needs to remember that the king was just a selfish and possessive monster. The image he saw in the king’s gaze was the reflection the ruler had for himself: too selfish and arrogant to resent himself for being a sodomite. Hence the words lord Seungho said to the painter didn’t reveal Yoon Seungho’s obsession, rather the king’s. But the latter betrayed and abandoned him, when he discovered that he had been lied to. This observation explicates why the protagonist’s so determined to use his position as lord to claim the painter as his possession. Experiencing this terrific experience, where he couldn’t escape from his father and the king’s tyranny, he came to the conclusion that his position as a lord and master was the only way to protect himself from danger and misery. If he was a powerful lord, then no one would be able to abuse him like in the past. That’s why it is urgent that the lord realizes that his approach is wrong. He needs to get rid of this doctrine: relationship is a balance of power. The moment he is no longer a lord and he treats Baek Na-Kyum as his real lover, he can experience the artist’s happiness and love. As a final word, I would like to point out that the main lead is not a new version of his father or the king. He is definitely different, since he doesn’t see the artist as dirty and filthy, though he is a commoner. Besides, he was caring enough to give up on his own bed, pay the visit of the doctor and the expensive medicine for him and even wash the painter himself after their intercourses. And this actually shows that when he was the uke, no one cleaned him. He had to do it himself. That’s how he learned the basics.

That’s why I believed that Yoon Seungho could redeem himself and could change for the better. Just like Sooin from Dine With A Vampire, the main lead must find a purpose in his life, must gain more confidence and realize that he is lovable. More importantly, he has a different disposition: he has always reflected on his own actions, whereas I suspect it is not the case for the king and the eldest master Yoon. In my eyes, both seem to blame others for their own misery. Even after leaving his abuser behind, Sooin hadn’t still found his place in life. He thought that his only value was to give blood to the vampire, therefore he refused to become a vampire. His goal in his life was to help the vampire, however this could not be right. Sooin and Yoon Seungho needed to love themselves, so that they could become independent and love their partner. The moment Yoon Seungho treated the painter with respect, the latter showed more confidence again. He could play pranks again. As long as they were full of insecurities, they could never love their partner properly.

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.

Dine With A Vampire: Liberation

This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/dine_vampire  But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes.

Actually, I wanted to write about this topic much sooner but due to “Painter Of The Night”, I kept postponing it. Once again, I’ll examine the evolution of Joo Sooin and Park Chi-Hwan, yet under a different aspect: Emancipation. When both met and came to an agreement, both experienced deliverance. While the human was no longer exposed to abuse, the vampire was no longer forced to kill vampires in order to survive. Consequently, while liberation will be the topic of the essay, I’ll question at the end, if their emancipation just announces a positive change.

Before explaining Joo Sooin’s liberation, it is important to remember how the protagonist’s life was preceding Kwon Sungha’s death. Joo Sooin had no control over his own life. The abusive roommate supervised main lead’s every single move and word. For example, Sungha forced Joo Sooin to lie to his girlfriend.

chapter 1

Or he even ordered him to return from work at a precise time, well aware that Sooin would have to struggle in order to follow his order.

chapter 1

In that scene, Kwon Sungha was particularly vicious because he planned to set up a trap for his roommate, like the drawing below proves it. He knew that his “friend” would arrive at this hour.

When Sooin arrived two minutes later than ordered, he caught the so-called friend with his girlfriend in a embarrassing position. He interrupted them, while they were about to have sex. This gave the double-faced man the excuse to send away his girlfriend, avoiding to have sex with her, whereas he could accuse the poor “roommate” of embarrassing him and his girlfriend. Later he could even justify his abuse because Sooin needed to be punished for his wrongdoings (the interruption and his lies). Simultaneously, he ensured to make his former best friend feel guilty in order to underline his superiority and demonstrate his power. He was the master, the one deciding about Sooin’s fate.

Furthermore our main lead wasn’t even the owner of his own body, Sungha marked and bruised him like he wanted. The double-faced man even supervised their sexual encounters, he never took the uke’s pleasure into consideration. In fact, he actually enjoyed it, when the protagonist would cry. He abused the main character so much that at the end, Joo Sooin had even adopted Sungha’s worldview. As a homosexual, he was a dirty and filthy pervert. The red-haired man had succeeded to transform Sooin into a man with no confidence, no dream and no desire. That’s why I described him as a zombie in my first analysis about Dine With A Vampire (“What defines being a human?”). Imagine that for a brief moment his “only hope and dream” was to be thrown away, as if he was some garbage.

That’s how little he thought of himself, a vulgar and soiled object. Besides, Sooin would even use the same vocabulary than his abusive “boyfriend”, like for example “dirty”.

However, everything changed the moment Park Chi-Hwan helped him to cut ties with Kwon Sungha by killing the inhuman doctor. When the vampire got rid of the violent roommate, Soo Jooin could finally be free and could regain the control of his own life. However, this perception has to be relativized.

The problem with victims of abuse is, they need time to change completely as their thoughts and actions have been formatted by their violent partner. Since everything revolved around their partner before, the abused need to regain a new identity, to change their own behavior and as such to rediscover their own taste. That’s why the red-haired man’s influence still exists in the protagonist’s life, even after the perpetrator disappeared.

First, Sooin is reminded of Sungha, when he touches the vampire’s cheek in order to restrain him. The reason is simple: he did the same gesture with his roommate.

chapter 7

As you can observe, a victim of a toxic relationship has some issues to forget the ex-partner and his past habits, born out of fear and the need to protect themselves. This shows that many reactions have been internalized. This incident explicates too why Sooin finds it very difficult to choose his own food and clothes properly. Notice that he picks not only the least nutritious meal

but also something looking similar to Sungha’s porridge (white and sticky due to the butter):

Here, he is manipulating Sooin. The latter has no choice to accept the porridge. Observe that with the remark “white and sticky”, the internist is making fun of his roommate because of his sexual orientation. He is referring to cum in this situation.

Imagine, he doesn’t even look at the more delicious dishes and even feels awkward to receive so many expensive clothes, hence he has to be pressured to pick up some shirt and trousers. Here, due to the colors (dark blue and black) the selected shirt and the trousers resemble to the jacket he wore, when he was living with the future doctor.

His choice of clothes and dishes not only reflect his low self-esteem but also mirrors his problem to forget his life with his abusive friend. As you can detect, despite the disappearance of Sungha, Sooin is not truly liberated from his ex-best friend’s shadow.

Therefore during his sleep, our main character keeps having nightmares about Sungha, revealing that his fear of his former best friend has not completely vanished. (chapter 9 and 14). He recalls the way the monster had sex with him.

Fortunately, the man remembers Park Chi-Hwan in his dream so that the ex-partner is repressed. Yet, he comes back in form of a shadow, making him feel guilty. He is the one responsible for his death.

In other words, Sooin is still tormented, although he has someone nice by his side. Because of the long exposure to abuse, his angst and guilt are deeply engraved in him. This explicates why the young man keeps apologizing to Park Chi-Hwan. He imagines that the vampire might react like his ex-friend (see the chapter 12 too).

Furthermore while having sex with Park CHi-Hwan, Sooin’s requests are related to Sungha’s sexual habits. Sooin didn’t want the vampire to cum inside him during their first sexual intercourse. There is no ambiguity that this is again related to Sungha as the latter saw sperm as something dirty, especially when the manhwalovers recalls his remark made with the porridge. When Sooin asked the supernatural creature to grab his head so that he could take his whole shaft, I believe that this desire was influenced by Kwon Sungha too. What caught my attention is the main lead’s reaction, when he hears from his lover that he will do what Sooin wants. The quotation marks indicate a certain surprise and hesitation expressed by the sensitive human. At that moment, the new lover has no idea that the request doesn’t truly reflect the human’s wish, it is more linked to the violent internist. Besides, if you consider how rough the fellatio is (deep throat), even the vampire wonders how he can allow this, because he knows how delicate the human is. This would explicate why at the end, when the vampire declares that Sooin looks like a mess, the latter starts crying and apologizing. The deep throat fellatio and Chi-Hwan’s words triggered the main lead to remember about the negative image he has about him.

As the manhwaphiles can observe, time is essential for victims of abuse. That’s why this story is very interesting. It makes the readers understand how difficult it is for these victims to distance themselves from their terrible experiences and their past. Outsiders often don’t understand why abused people can’t cut ties with their controlling and violent partner immediately. The latter often uses guilt as a way to dominate their partner. In the manhwa, Sungha even blackmails Sooin and the latter had no way to protected himself. That’s why the victims of abuse have problems to leave their abusive partner, they sometimes think that they can even turn them into a better person. In other words, if they want to start a new life, they have to leave everything behind: their former habits and thoughts. It was, as if they needed to relearn how to live on their own. This is what people caught in a controlling relationship need to do in order to be truly emancipated:

  1. Reclaiming activities
  2. Being kind to his own body.
  3. Connecting with people.
  4. Verbalizing
  5. Remembering
  6. You. Survivors need to learn to put themselves at the center of their lives. After structuring their time around the abusers’ demands, it can be difficult for survivors even to remember their own opinions and wishes.” quoted from https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/invisible-chains/201512/recovery-after-controlling-relationship

The murder might have helped Sooin to run away from Sungha, yet he has not truly cut ties with his past and overcome his trauma.

However, the readers get to see more and more small changes in the protagonist. For the first time, he is able to think on his own and even speak about himself, a huge step in his emancipation. . The personal pronoun “I” is quite central in order to detect the slow recovery. If you compare to the way he spoke much earlier, his sentences in the second picture above are much longer and without any break. Sooin is less reserved and more determined. There is a progression between the two pictures, the “I” becomes more and more important.

Sooin’s slow transformation and liberation is only possible because Park Chi-Hwan treats him with respect and tenderness. He ensures that the young man eats better. He lets him eat some meat so that the human is able to discover that he likes that dish. The supernatural creature doesn’t mark his lover with bruises and bites in order to claim the human as his partner to other vampires, he uses his scent. He even tells Sooin that he will always listen to his wishes and desires. Why is there such a huge contrast between this relationship and Sooin’s bond with Sungha? Sooin and Chi-Hwan call each other master hence there exists no superiority between them, unlike Sungha who was the only master. For him, Sooin was just his pet or his object. While Sungha planned to cage his sex partner in a studio for his own sexual desires, Chi-Hwan uses the expression “our home”.

The more time passes on, the more Sungha’s influence is fading away as the innocent human discovers how a real relationship works. Chi-Hwan and Sooin are open to each other, there is no secret between them. The vampire never lies or sets up his lover. They don’t hide their fear or thoughts from each other contrasting so much to Sungha’s manipulations and secrets. Besides, the vampire is determined to erase this monster from Sooin’s memory. This explicates why the more episodes we read, the more the human’s mind is focused on Park Chi-Hwan. Little by little, the young man accepts him in his heart. He is even willing to do anything for him. He is not even repulsed, when he sees blood on the ground. He just gets scared as his lover has blood on his face and he could have been hurt.

While Sooin wanted to escape from Sungha’s claws, the opposite is happening with the vampire. The human fears to get separated from his lover. He even envisions how to help Chi-Hwan because the latter could get arrested for murder. As you can detect, Sooin’s liberation is not complete as he is still concerned about Sungha, but the former has already made huge progress. He has found comfort and love in Park Chi-Hwan’s embrace and care. Consequently the moment Sooin discovers that his former lover has survived, he might get scared shortly. However, I am expecting that the victim will reject his former lover and no longer fear him, although he has become a vampire. His relationship with Park Chi-Hwan will become his strength and anchor to fight against his former best friend. The irony is that Park Chi-Hwan might be a vampire just like Sungha, yet the former metamorphosed into a “human” due to Sooin’s scent and blood (while keeping his supernatural nature), whereas this won’t be the case for Sungha. He was a monster as a human and I am quite sure, he will remain one as a vampire.

Now, it is time to focus on the vampire’s emancipation. In the introduction, I mentioned Park Chi-Hwan’s liberation and explained that thanks to Sooin’s blood, he was no longer forced to kill other vampires for his own existence. However, I see another aspect in his emancipation. His new lover has turned him into a human, being able to ooze warmth and tenderness. Notice that he smiles and even laughs more, while in the introduction, he appeared more grumpy. He was avoiding humans and even vampires. The reasons were quite simple. He disliked the scent of humans’ blood and he needed to avoid vampires so that he could hunt them without getting noticed. In other words, he was quite lonely. He couldn’t share anything with others. Affection and care were non-existent. I also believe that he also discovered sexuality and its pleasures thanks to Sooin. Notice his reaction, when he drinks the human’s blood for the first time.

The human’s reaction works like an aphrodisiac for the vampire too. His words in the picture outline that his knowledge wasn’t based on experience but on hearsay. His gaze and mouth express fascination and joy. This new discovery awakes the vampire’s appetite for excitement. Therefore he warns Sooin that he won’t be satisfied very quickly. We could say that for the first time, he felt thirst for sex and pleasure.

That’s why I say that his life has changed a lot too. Thanks to Sooin, he is no longer living in hell, can finally smell nice things, feel pleasure during intercourse. He is hungry and thirsty for love and sex. Observe that at no moment he questions his relationship with Sooin. Homosexuality seems something natural and normal for the supernatural creature. His mentality stands in opposition to the internist’s, the latter judging sodomy as filthy. For the first time, the supernatural creature is enjoying life and is no longer living in hell hence sodomy can’t be dirty. No wonder why Park Chi-Hwan calls it a miracle.

We have to imagine that before meeting Sooin, his life was quite empty but gory at the same time as he needed to kill his “fellows” for his own survival. Moreover, his comment in the drawing above lets transpire that he hadn’t expected to ever meet such a human in his life. We could say that the supernatural creature has come back to life. He has been set free from his life as vampire, now he is living like a human, without losing his supernatural powers.

We discover in the chapter 14 why Park Chi-Hwan is able to kill his fellows so easily. Since he eats vampires, his powers are stronger than vampires feeding on humans. And this could be the weakness the new vampire, introduced for the first time in the chapter 16, is referring to. Since he has bonded with a human, the origin of his powers is now Sooin and no longer the vampires. Does it signify that he will lose his supernatural powers over other vampires in the long term? Honestly, I believe the opposite. But we’ll see if this impression will be proven correct. Besides, as human’s life is so fragile, it is normal that Park Chi-Hwan’s enemy will target Sooin because he seems to be the weaker one. Once Sooin is removed from Chi-Hwan’s side, the latter will lose his happiness and joy.

Let’s not forget that the gentle protagonist keeps reminding Sooin of his mortal condition. Therefore the vampire’s liberation appears to be a source of danger. He might have found joy and love but these become his weaknesses thereby he could lose his immortal life for good. However, I doubt that the new vampire is taking into consideration that Joo Sooin is metamorphosing into a strong and reliable human thanks to Park Chi-Hwan. At some point, the human will become the vampire’s strength, the more he gets loved and encouraged to be his own person. They are already working together, worrying about each other very much

that’s why their liberation will help them to fight against their enemies. Sungha and the new vampire might be working together, yet they have different mindsets and goals in my opinion. Sungha will try to reclaim his “pet” and prey, while I can envision that the other vampire would prefer getting rid of Joo Sooin. I envisage that Sungha could decide to go after his rival but the white-haired vampire won’t permit it. For the latter, killing the loved one would be more effective than just removing him from Park Chi-Hwan’s side. We can also sense the white-haired vampire’s resentment and lack of emotions in the final scene. Observe the contrast between the supernatural creature’s words and his facial expression.

The secret beholder is far from showing any happiness and relief. He seems to be far from emancipated from the past. I believe that just like Sungha, he must resent Park Chi-Hwan for abandoning him. He is certainly jealous of his former friend who could live without him and he is now annoyed that he could find happiness with a human. I have the impression that this vampire wants to make Park Chi-Hwan regret his past decision. The latter shouldn’t have freed himself from his fellow and former friend.

While Park Chi-Hwan made a huge new experience with Sooin, the other seems to still live in the past, full of resent. He will make sure that Park Chi-Hwan’s liberation turns his life into hell.

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 tumblr-twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and the support. 

Dine With A Vampire: Master and Monster

This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/dine_vampire  But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes.

In my first analysis about Dine With A Vampire, I pointed out that the vampire Park Chi-Hwan was behaving more like a human than the real humans Joo Sooin and Kwon Sungha because he showed more empathy and care for Joo Sooin than the human Sungha. Besides, Sooin had become a zombie due to Sungha’s hatred for homosexuality and the latter was in fact the real monster due to the emotional and physical abuse he perpetrated on the main lead. Now, I would like to examine the chapters 12 and 13 because both revolves around the new relationship between Sooin and Chi-Hwan. What are they to each other? Who is the master and who is the animal, the monster, in their relationship? This essay will try to answer this question.

What caught my attention in the two chapters is that the long abuse experienced by the main lead totally changed his perception about himself. He judges himself as a monster because he is a homosexual. That’s why he keeps using the words “weird” in the chapter 12 and in the chapter 13, he calls himself “a pervert, a fag”. Imagine, he is actually insulting himself. He sees himself as an anomaly, as a monster who is not allowed to exist. Hence he can’t attract attention. We shouldn’t forget in the chapter 10 and 11, Sooin felt so uncomfortable with the new clothes and the number of dishes proposed by Chi-Hwan because he was asked to choose. Since Sungha took away his freedom, our main character lost his ability to say what he truly likes and desires. The last image above illustrates the impact of the violence used on Sooin. It becomes clear that Sungha truly destroyed Sooin’s personality and identity. Just like Baek Na-Kyum (the main lead from Painter Of The Night), Sooin can’t voice his true desires and thoughts properly. Notice that there are a lot of pauses in his sentences, when he speaks. Besides, he uses the same idioms (pervert, fag) than the manipulator Sungha so that we can conclude that the former friend used coercive persuasion. The outburst of his self-hatred was caused by the single words said by the vampire: Striking is that the moment he hears this sentence, he starts mistaking the vampire for Sungha. Note that he is not even looking at his sex partner, because he hid his eyes with his arm. This reveals the importance of the gaze once again. Sooin can’t look at Park Chi-Hwa as he fears to see his own reflection in the vampire’s eyes. Will he see himself in the man’s gaze as a monster? Here, I feel the need to elaborate Jean-Paul Sartres’ theory about the gaze.

In Sartres’ theater play “No Exit” (“Huis Clos” in French), the three protagonists Joseph Garcin, Inez Serrano, and Estelle Rigault, are dead and their damned souls are brought to the same room in Hell where there is no mirror. As they are locked inside by a mysterious valet, they are confronted with their own reflection through the gaze from the others. Here, in this deformed reflection, the three sinners are unable to accept what they see that’s why at some point Garcin concludes that “”hell is other people” (“l’enfer c’est les autres”) because the judgement perceived through the gaze of people makes it unbearable for the “sinners”. They avoid the gaze because they can’t face their own wrongdoings and flaws. In other words, the gaze serves as a mirror, however there is a lot of subjectivity in it and the gaze doesn’t truly reflect the reality. Here, Joo Sooin never sinned but he was sent to hell due to Sungha’s gaze containing hatred and resent. As you can detect, Sooin’s fate resembles the fate of Garcin and the others. He lived in a cage like an animal with no hope to escape, yet he was innocent. Because he spent so many years with such a terrible reflection, he kind of became “blind” and relied more on his ears. That’s why the uke’s eyes were so lifeless, when the vampire met him for the first time. It was as if his eyes had died due to the constant confrontation with Sungha’s gaze. As a conclusion, the main lead sees himself as a monster, not deserving any attention and warmth. He is still surprised by the affection the vampire is exuding towards him. This explains why the main lead started fearing the supernatural creature, when Sooin heard chi-Hwa sighing after the uke had refused to comply to the vampire’s needs (drinking his blood). He heard Chi-Hwa sighing and misinterpreted this as dissatisfaction. Observe that the drawing doesn’t show Sooin’s eyes and at the same time, he is only focused on the vampire’s voice and not his eyes. We could say that the uke is still under the influence of the brainwashing operated by Sungha. Sooin has not regained his humanity, his true identity. The so-called monster is still under the ruling of Sungha, because he rejects to fulfill the vampire’s need due the ex-friend’s ideology. The innocent man still fears the gaze and the gossip from others. Now you can understand why Sooin became a zombie, a monster in his eyes. He saw a bad image of himself in Sungha’s gaze but at the same time he was manipulated through the friend’s doctrine that even others would perceive him like that. At some point, Chi-Hwa gets aware that Sooin needs to look at him, so he forces the man to look at him in the eyes. This is important because for the first time, Sooin is confronted with a different gaze and judgement. He recognizes the lord, his kindness.

Striking is that the moment Sooin shows himself with the new clothes, he awakes the vampire’s appetite. Surprising are the clothes Sooin chose. They are dark (dark blue, black) reflecting his actual state of mind: almost lifeless, very pessimistic. So the vampire’s excitement is not caused by the colors, rather by the form of the collar revealing his neck and his chest. This is very alluring for the supernatural creature. In Park Chi-Hwan’s gaze, the main lead is definitely no monster but a delicious meal. That’s why he gulps loudly and his fangs come out. He wants to taste the man’s blood. In this moment, Chi-Hwan seems to follow his instincts hence he approaches Sooin. It was, if the vampire’s true nature would surface, he is a monster led by his blood thirst. Remember that Park Chi-Hwa even described the vampires as predators or parasites, so one might say that they are indeed monsters. So do we have two monsters here?

While the main lead judges himself as a monster, Park Chi-Hwa calls him “master” and treats him as such. He listens to Sooin’s excuses and wishes. When the uke refused to give him his blood in the cabine, the supernatural creature questioned himself. The readers can witness how the so-called monster reflects on his behavior. He even kisses the man, comforts him twice, when he realizes the traumatized state of Sooin. He knows the importance of Sooin’s well-being. In the vampire’s eyes, the human is so precious and delicate as he represents his source of energy and life. Sure, he needs his blood thereby one might argue that Sooin is just a prey, the vampire’s meal and not a master. The reader could even confirm this judgement, Park Chi-Hwan is a monster because in the chapter 13, the author chose to reveals the creature’s inner thoughts showing his beastly nature. He wants to devour Sooin. All his thinking revolves around food and even death, the manhwaphiles can detect the brutality in his language. I chose as illustration the following image since it represents the peak of his hunger. The readers can even sense the increasing of his bestiality as the expressions are getting more and more violent: “I want to devour him”; “I just want to rip him open” … “and devour every part of him”. We have the impression that the vampire’s animalistic instincts are growing to the point he could lose the control of his bestiality. However at no moment, he changes his behavior. I feel that while his thoughts indicates the awakening of his “monstrosity”, he acts more humanly in reality. He stands in opposition of Sungha, who gave up on his humanity and his reason. He let social standards and religious doctrines ruled his behavior and his thoughts.

My point is that Park Chi-Hwa followed all the requests Sooin had in the chapter 12 and 13. One might dispute that he rejected to have a fellatio in the cabine, as Sooin wanted. However, his proposition to do it home represents the compromise between the concerns the uke expressed before (people might hear his voice, his fear of people) and the request Sooin had. All this mirrors how caring and attentive the vampire is. He might be an “animal”(when we analyse his thoughts), nonetheless he never lets his instincts cloud his reasoning and judgement. At no moment, he acts like a monster towards the human. Like I mentioned before, the vampire treats the human like his master. However, if you take a closer look at the following image, this reflects their relationship: Sooin is the master, yet he is below the vampire as if he was inferior to the vampire. Furthermore, the creature gives the order: “Suck it”. Besides, the man calls Chi-Hwa “sir” and this is how someone addresses to a master. So in my opinion, both are masters. The vampire is helping the man to become a human again, he is helping him to get a personality and identity. He knows that the man needs to discover that his homosexuality is something natural, that he is first a human. That’s why he promises Sooin to let him forget Sungha. For him, Sooin should never define himself based on his sexual orientation. They live in symbiosis, in perfect harmony. Sooin is receiving love, warmth for the first time and the other can finally enjoy life too. He is no longer living like a vampire but like a human because he shows his human side to Sooin. As conclusion, both are masters and monsters, although it is only a matter of time, until Sooin becomes a real human who can express himself perfectly and know his taste.

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 twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and the support. Tomorrow, I’ll post about Painter Of The Night again.

Dine With a Vampire: What defines being a human?

This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/dine_vampire  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 https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/06/table-of-contents-of-analyzed-mentioned-manhwas/

Yes, I decided to write about another manhwa which caught my attention for two reasons. While reading this story, I couldn’t restrain myself from connecting this manhwa to Painter Of The Night and to the American series True Blood which I enjoyed very much. The latter has not only vampires as a common denominator but also uses vampires as symbol for homosexuality. In True Blood, the integration of vampires in the society is a terrible process because of the fight for legalization of vampire rights, paranoia and religious extremism leading to exclusion and even persecution. All this resembles the legalization of rights for homosexuals concerning marriage and even children. Moreover, while this American series questions the values of Western societies (role of politics, morals and Churches/religion), it also makes the viewers ask what defines being a human and how humans are superior to other species. And it is the same with the manhwa. Even after a few chapters, it becomes clear that the characters are not really human or better said, their humanity is questioned.

Before examining the definition of humanity through the manhwa, it’s important to summarize the story thereby the manhwaworms can better comprehend why I came to this topic while reading Dine With a Vampire. Our main lead Joo Sooin is forced to live with Kwon Sungha, his first love and best friend in the past, because the latter has been blackmailing him with his homosexuality by taking pornographic pictures of our protagonist. In their flat Sungha torments the young man physically and emotionally.

Here, Sungha is talking to his girlfriend, the daughter of an ex-congressman with his cellphone. In this scene, he forces Sooin to tell his girlfriend that Sungha is exercising.

Sooin is so desperate that once he has the impression he will never be able to escape from this abusive relationship. However everything changes once he meets the vampire Park Chi-Hwan, his new boss. The latter discovers that Sooin’s blood is so special that he can drink it without any discomfort that he proposes to kill his terrible roommate in exchange for his blood. The poor man agrees so that the vampire fulfills his promise. After killing Sungha, Chi-Hwan brings the uke back to his home. From that moment, Sooin lives with the creature and his life seems to change for the better. Now let’s focus on the definition of human.

If we look up, this is what we find:

human: adjective

  1. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or having the nature of people: human frailty.
  2. consisting of people:the human race.
  3. of or relating to the social aspect of people:human affairs.
  4. sympathetic; humane:a warmly human understanding. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/human?s=t

human being: noun

  1. any individual of the genus Homo, especially a member of the species Homo sapiens.
  2. a person, especially as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species:living conditions not fit for human beings; a very generous human being. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/human-being

Based on this definition, a human being belongs to Homo sapiens and distinguishes himself from other species like animals due to his appearances and habits. Furthermore, being human is a synonym for having compassion. If we compare the definition human as noun with a vampire, the reader can detect a problem because based on the common legend about vampires, the latter used to be human beings but after their death, they came back to life. Therefore we could say that they also belong to the genus Homo but they evolved to something else.

The first difference with human beings is that a vampire is supposed to be immortal. Since he is already dead, then he can’t die. Yet both in True Blood and in Dine With a Vampire, vampires can die. In the series, they are weak to sunlight for example. In the manhwa, the vampire Park Chi-Hwan is a predator killing someone from his own kin in order to survive.

Since he can’t digest human blood which he finds repulsing, he has to eliminate other vampires in order to eat their heart and live on. In other words, a vampire can become the prey of his own brethren. Consequently, we can say that they are mortal and not invincible, just like humans. So immortality is not what really differentiates them from humans. In reality, they just don’t age but this is not obvious. Therefore I come to the first conclusion that vampires are not really different from humans. They can die and they look like humans. They might feed on humans but the latter are not aware of this because they are kind of hypnotized. That’s the reason why they don’t catch the attention of humans. The latter are usually not aware of their existence. Striking is that the introduction of the main lead in the second chapter gives us the impression that he is a ruthless monster. He has no problem to kill other vampires, shows a certain disdain for humans as well due to his intolerance to human blood. When the readers meet him for the first time, he looks cold and detached from the world. Therefore we can say that the first impressions the readers have about the vampire is not quite positive. He seems selfish, very particular and merciless. Hence we could define him as inhuman as he is not able to show any empathy and compassion for others.

Striking is that in the first chapter, the life of a vampire is compared to hell as they are shown as ruthless and brutal. What differs a human from a vampire in reality? Are humans better than vampires because the latter are actually parasites living on sucking blood from their prey? Based on the introduction of the vampire, it looks like their nature as ruthless and bloodthirsty creatures separates them from humans.

Striking is that Park Chi-Hwan reveals his true identity by showing Sooin his sharp canines. Therefore we could say that what distinguishes vampires from humans are the teeth. However this is not visible right away. This explains why vampires are difficult to discover. Nothing on the surface differentiates them from humans, although their personality could be the major divergence like I illustrated above. We could say that these fantasy creatures are not truly different from humans. In fact they have a lot in common: their origins and as such their morphology and even mortality. Furthermore humans are also predators as we are hunters too. We kill other species in order to survive. I could even say that humans are also parasites since we raise cows and chickens for milk and eggs. Here I am excluding vegetarians because historically speaking, the first Homo sapiens started eating meat before discovering agriculture. So the only big difference between vampires and humans is the aging and death due to illness that’s why their existence has something supernatural, only explainable with godly or devilish powers.

What caught my attention is that Sooin shares more common points with Chi-Hwan. While in the first chapter, vampires’ life is described as hell,

the main lead’s life is also like hell due to the abuse caused by his roommate. The irony is that although Sooin is a human based on the definition from the dictionary, the manhwaphiles can’t perceive him as a real human. He resembles more a zombie, even Chi-Hwan notices this. He describes him as « lifeless ». Furthermore Sooin has no control over his life because the abuser tells him what to do and what to say. Then if you look at the main lead’s body, you’ll notice how pale and thin he is. His eyes are also apathetic.

He is even covered with scars and marks due to Sungha’s cruelty and perversion. It was as if the protagonist had been sucked dry by his former best friend hence he looks more like a walking dead than a human. The only thing distinguishing him from a zombie is that he bleeds when he cuts his finger. Blood is the reminder that Sooin is not really dead. Striking is that the moment he accepts the deal with Park Chi-Hwan and is even willing to give his blood for real in exchange for a murder, Sooin becomes more lively. The death of Sungha seems to confirm my comparison of the protagonist with a zombie as we know that this kind of monster feeds from blood.

The main lead could even feel nothing under’s Sungha abuse. I interpret the vampire’s intervention that way. It was as if Chi-Hwan was taking away the pain and suffering brought by Sungha. I would even say that the vampire is erasing the shadow of death in Sooin’s body. The zombie can only return to his original state once the parasite Sungha has disappeared. Sooin became a walking dead due to his ex- best friend and the latter has to pay the price for his wrongdoings with his life. Funny is that both, Sungha and Sooin, are humans on the surface but lost their humanity because of their toxic relationship. Because Sungha didn’t view his friend as human but only as homosexual, he transformed him into a zombie. Strangely, the vampire has the opposite effect, although he doesn’t actually belong to the living.

Another important aspect is that Park Chi-Hwan keeps reminding Sooin of his mortality. Since Sooin is a human, he can die easily by chocking or falling hence the vampire wants to ensure that nothing like that happens. The creature fears for the uke’s life, whereas it never mattered to Sungha, which makes us see that the vampire acts more like a human than like Sungha (human = empathetic). Although the vampire is supposed to be cold as he died once, Sooin notices Park Chi-Hwan’s warm hand.

Compare the contrast between the vampire and Sungha. While the latter is a human and should be warm and empathetic, Park Chi-Hwan is in fact the one oozing warmth and showing care and compassion. The divergence is important because it already implies that the vampire will treat Sooin differently.

For the vampire, he is an important human therefore his homosexuality is irrelevant. He has no problem to accept such a relationship since blood and his life matter more than religious dogmas and social standards. Striking is that the supernatural creature even calls him master underlining who has the upper hand in the couple. Park Chi-Hwan has no problem to lower himself, to become a dog or a wolf for the human.

This indicates that the vampire is willing to renounce to be treated like a human. While this qualification displays a certain modesty, this also illustrates his determination to act like a guardian. He’ll become a wolf, a big predator, if it’s necessary, in case Sooin catches the attention of other vampires. That’s why the main lead marked Sooin as his possession through his scent. On the other hand, Chi-Hwan can become a dog if the uke is threatened by his own brethren, humans disregarding his master. Though the vampire is financially and physically stronger than Sooin, the former perceives the human as more significant because he knows that his own « life » depends on him. He is the first human being whose blood is so alluring thereby he can drink it. Notice the contrast between both treatments. For Sungha, Sooin was like an animal that he needed to tie up and put in a cage (the flat).

Both are parasites, yet for the creature of the night Sooin is more valuable because of his precious blood and humanity, whereas the uke was never a human, just a homosexual in the homophobe’s eyes. For the roommate, the main lead represented a sin, he could never see beyond his sexual orientation.

That’s why he enjoys to torment the poor man, turning him into a zombie.

As you could observe, the vampire in this story acts like a human (showing care and compassion) but at the same time, he gives up voluntarly on his status as human in order to protect his “master”. Thanks to Sooin’s blood, Park Chi_Hwan is no longer forced to kill other vampires, besides he can now feel pleasure. We could say that both perceive each other as savior. Thanks to the other, both could change their nature, one metamorphosed into a human, although it’s already announced that he’ll be a dog or a wolf for the uke in order to protect him. The other was a zombie at the beginning, yet with Park Chi-Hwan’s help, he regained his liberty and as such his humanity. Now he can choose his food and his clothes, whereas in the past his ex-best friend took Sooin’s liberty and as such Sooin’s human rights. He was ordered what to do and what to say, he was like a doll who wasn’t allowed to voice his own thoughts and emotions.

Just like in True Blood, religion plays a huge role in this manhwa. Striking is that Sooin has already lost hope until his encounter with the vampire.

The protagonist sees it as a miracle, calls Park Chi-Hwan a savior and describes his life with Sungha as hell.Hope, savior, miracle nd hell are terms referring to religion and especially Christianity. Imagine th iron, Park Chi-Hwan is like Jesus Christ for Sooin and it was as if Sungha had been acting as the Devil, Satan punishing Sooin for his sexual orientation.

On the other hand, Kwon Sungha visits Church,

seems to live like a perfect Christian so that a mother tries to set up her own daughter with the internist.

It becomes obvious that the future doctor, who is supposed to save life, is a hypocrite. Furthermore, the readers can also perceive the negative influence of religion condemning homosexuality. Sungha rejects his best friend,

curses him after hearing his love confession and starts abusing him at high school

because he represents temptation and embodies what the roommate should hate. Sooin made the friend realize that he was also a homosexual.However since he was raised in an environment where sodomy was condemned, he projected all his hatred onto Sooin. Notice that he calls his roommate filthy but he can’t help himself to have sex with him. The former even anticipates that at some point he will get rid of Sooin, the moment he gets tired of him, but it’s quite obvious that this is just an illusion and he is lying to himself. He is just a repressed homosexual who hates sodomy at the same time. Since he can’t hate himself, too selfish and too arrogant, he projects his hatred onto his roommate. In reality, he needs him hence he keeps him by his side. It was as if he could live out his true sexuality by hiding Sooin. Therefore he even plans to maintain his sexual relationship with the protagonist after his marriage. So on the surface, he lives like an exemplary Christian: he has already chosen his bride, the daughter from a rich and influential family, he is about to become a doctor and he has a good reputation. In reality, he is a sodomite with sadistic tendencies.

Now you can understand why he reminded me of Jung In-Hun from Painter Of The Night. First, they both wear glasses. This item symbolizes that these persons are wearing a mask and are not revealing their true self. Secondly, they both often smile, nonetheless they are selfish and vicious. They use moral standards and religion to insult and look down on homosexuals. Both are huge hypocrites, yet the only difference is that Kwon Sungha is himself a sodomite refusing to acknowledge his own sexual orientation. He resents Sooin so much because he sees in him the cquse of his deviation from the doctrine he has been taught. Since humanity is a synonym for benevolence, we can describe Sungha as inhuman as he is violent and cruel towards his best friend. He showed no empathy for him due to his sexual orientation. When we recall the uke’s question about Park Chi-Hwan, if the latter is a human, a person or a monster, the readers should apply this to Sungha. Is he a person, a human or a monster? The reply is quite obvious: Sungha is a monster, a parasite sucking on Sooin’s misery. This explains why the main lead’s body is covered with marks and bruises. These are the evidence of Sungha’s perverted nature, his monstrosity.

It becomes clear why Sungha is so inhuman towards the main character. For the double-faced internist, his roommate is just a homosexual. He can no longer perceive his ex-best friend as a human hence he is no longer bound to respect his human rights. Through this story, the author reminds us how important the legalization of homosexual rights is because they’re first of all humans. As humans, they should have the same rights than others: being able to find their own happiness and live openly their sexuality. It looks like Sooin could never reveal the abuse to his family since he feared the rejection and the criticism for his sexual orientation. Consequently, the main lead turned into a zombie because he was a human being in the beginning. This person can never be treated like an object as there is life in his body. blood is and was the proof of his existence, yet Sungha could never see it, too obsessed with his homosexuality and his rejection of his own sexual orientation. The vampire Park Chi-Hwan, who was introduced as a monster, acted like a real human as soon as he met the main lead and brought the latter back to life. The humans in this story appear more as different species (parasite and zombie) than the vampire himself.

As you can observe, this manhwa is interesting because it makes the readers question the definition of human and his supposed superiority. Is a vampire a human, when he helps a person in distress and shows a caring side, although he odes it out of selfishness? Or is Sungha a human because he is a mortal and sinned? Sure, Sungha is not dead and it is only a matter of time until he comes back to life as a vampire. There is no doubt that he will go after Sooin because he will need his blood and he will be attracted by him. The question is now: how will he perceive his ex-friend? Will he still resent him, especially after the protagonist ordered his death and betrayed him (in his eyes)? I doubt that Sungha will change for the better first.

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 twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and the support. Tomorrow, I’ll post about Painter Of The Night again. The title is: Dreams.