This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/pearlboy (English) https://www.lezhin.com/ko/comic/seashell_boy (Korean) The second season has not been released in English yet, hence I will just use 10 screenshots from the Korean version due to copyrights. Besides, 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/
In the essay “Choi Pilwon’s true face”, I pointed out that the fish in the aquarium represented Jin Jooha’s fate. The CEO desired to keep him trapped in a huge house so that no one would know about his existence. Only him would be entitled to look at him. But since the poor fish felt lonely and encaged in this huge aquarium, the latter started eating his own tail, a sign that the fish was suicidal and could no longer bear its situation. Hence I had predicted that Jooha would attempt to commit suicide later, and my prediction became a reality in episode 31. However, what caught my attention in the second season is the stronger presence of animals. That’s why in this essay, I will examine the allusion to the preys and predators in the manhwa, which will help us to perceive the characters’ evolution. Hence I can make some new predictions too.
1. The cover for the second season
Striking is that the manhwaphiles can detect the presence of an animal, a black snake, whereas in the first season the cover only portrayed the two protagonists. As you can imagine, the snake symbolizes Choi Pilwon. This was already outlined by the authors:
Besides, it fits his personality perfectly, as he is the one seducing Jin Jooha and his mother to temptation. I couldn’t help myself connecting it to the bible. As you already know, the original sin is actually a metaphor for sex. (chapter 30)
The brown-haired man was the main character’s first lover, and had even planned to marry Jooha’s mother to hide his relationship from his own family. He knew that if he came out, he would be rejected by his own family. That’s why he imagined that by getting married to Jooha’s mother, he would meet less resistance from his own family. Let’s not forget that he belongs to another social class: the high society, where homosexuality can only be rejected, as it is judged as a weakness and abnormality. However, the young CEO never anticipated that Jooha would reject the idea, and even perceive the marriage as a betrayal so that he would choose to end their relationship.
The innocent boy had many reasons to be wounded. Choi Pilwon had never explicated his plan in advance. Besides, his boyfriend was caught in the act, so that Jooha could only view it as cheating. As for the mother, she saw the young CEO as a blessing, for he would help her to live a decent life: no more debts and no more running away from the creditors due to her first husband. She definitely considered the wealthy man as a blessing, a way to escape poverty and help her son to have a real future (college). However, nothing happened like expected, because Jooha refused his lover’s project. He hated the deception and lies. Observe that with such a plan, Jooha would always live in the shadow and darkness, exactly like the image displays it. On the surface, they would live like a normal family, whereas the relationship between Jooha and Pilwon would become a secret, even a sin.
Therefore Jooha’s rejection announced the start of the main lead’s suffering. What the family Jin saw as a blessing was in reality a curse: Choi Pilwon ruined their life. He used the debts from the first husband in order to pressure Jooha to accept his idea. That’s why I perceive this panel as a new version of the Fall of man, the departure from Eden. Consequently, the main lead paid a huge price for accepting the CEO’s advances in the first place. He never thought that the CEO was a hypocrite and coward. He would choose to act behind people’s back. He was ruthless enough to manipulate Jooha’s mother, not taking into consideration the lover’s feelings towards his own mother. That’s why the CEO can only be judged as a snake, as the latter is connected to evil, death, destruction, deception and temptation. Jooha’s mother died, and the main lead suffered terribly: isolation, sexual abuse and prostitution.
This is not random that Choi’s words are also poisonous to the point that he is able to manipulate and gaslight the protagonist, particularly visible in episode 29. Observe that at the end of his duplicities (the manipulation of the footage and recorded conversation), his smile looks malicious. (chapter 29) At the end of the first season, it became clear that the purple-haired man started believing that his lover Kang Dooshik had betrayed and abandoned him. That’s why during the episode 29, Jooha was slowly vanishing, before getting replaced by the fish as a metaphor. The last image has even something in common with the cover of the second season: the colors and in particular the red. Unaware of the consequences of his actions, Choi Pilwon was hurting Jooha so much that the latter was bleeding internally, which corresponds to the red eye of the snake. As you can see, Choi Pilwon is associated to red, the color for passion and love, but also for blood, violence and rage!
Another difference is that the black snake is wrapped around the necks of the main leads, a sign that Choi Pilwon will do anything to disturb the OTP. He is willing to strangle them.
Yet, if the manhwalovers pay attention to its position, they can notice that the snake is bringing them closer. Due to adversity, Dooshik and Jooha will come closer. Their relationship can only deepen. Dooshik was able to convince his lover that it was just a trick from Choi Pilwon, and he had never planned to use his partner with his special ability. That’s why at the end of chapter 32, both main leads kissed each other so passionately. They could overcome the riff created by Choi Pilwon’s lies.
The black, dark purple and red in the cover announce the darkness of the second season. Imagine that within three episodes, we had a lot of bloody and painful scenes: Jooha got raped, hence he bled. In addition he had to fight against his creditor, just like Dooshik had to defend himself from thugs sent by Choi Pilwon. Then the restaurant from Jooha’s mother exploded, and Jooha attempted to commit suicide twice. Finally both protagonists clashed against each other.
As a conclusion, Choi Pilwon, as a snake, is a predator and this is not surprising that Jooha as his prey couldn’t defeat him, for the former is a fish. But there’s more to it. Choi Pilwon, too blinded by his own desires, misjudged his lover’s real personality. He thought that Jooha was just a fish due to the pearls, hence he stood in front of the aquarium and compared him to Jooha. (chapter 29) The antagonist didn’t recognize Jooha’s second nature: a cat. This explains why Choi Pilwon couldn’t accept his struggling and rejection. He thought, both were similar: two cold-blooded animals.
2. The fish as Choi Pilwon’s prey
Though Jooha is a fish, he could escape from the snake. The irony is that he broke a vase on the antagonist’s head. (chapter 30) For me, this gesture is not a coincidence. It was, as if the fish broke the glass from the aquarium in order to free himself. But as you know, a fish leaving an aquarium can die. Therefore the vase already implies that Jooha’s escape can only lead to his death. The fish can only suffocate, as its lungs are not adapted to the air. That’s why Jooha’s first suicidal attempt fits to the fish’s death. The latter decides to kill himself by breathing gas. (chapter 31) In other words, the main lead plans to die by asphyxiation. That’s his only way to escape from his miserable life and from Choi Pilwon.
However, what brings the main lead over the edge is the reminiscence of his last date with Kang Dooshik. Both were sitting next to a blossoming tree, which made Jooha totally happy. He had the impression, a dream had come true. However, now by looking back, he believes that this was just an illusion and the petal from the tree was in fact the forbidden fruit. This means, Jooha concluded that this event was a lie and as such a sin. The blossoming tree had deceived him… reminding me once again of the original sin in the bible. And now, you comprehend why Jooha chose to kill himself in the end. He had no longer any hope, every happy moment with Dooshik felt like a lie. He felt more lonely than before to the point that he started having an hallucination. He imagined himself having a conversation with his mother. In his mind, she was the only one genuine and honest with him. Since she is dead, he preferred following her in the afterworld. At least there, he would no longer suffer and could be comforted. Only by dying, Jooha could escape from Choi Pilwon’s obsession. He felt so lonely and hopeless.
3. Jooha as a cat
However, if you read the main lead’s portrait, you will notice that he is also associated to the cat. And this connection was already palpable during the first season. We had an allusion to it, when Jooha, following Dooshik’s advice, used the scissors to protect himself. It was, as if the scissors were a claw. (chapter 9) Observe how the protagonist’s face got scratched with the scissors. It definitely looked like an animal had used its claw to defend itself. (chapter 9) But there were more obvious clues.
First, I could mention Jooha’s closeness to the black cat (chapter 5), the latter even rescued him from getting raped. Furthermore, Jooha behaved in certain situations like a cat: (chapter 7). In the last panel, he looks like he is hissing with spiky hairs. The double nature of the main character explicates why he resisted to the snake Pilwon. He was hot-tempered and he would never blindly follow his former boyfriend. He would always try to run away and fight back. However, in chapter 29, Jooha had been suffocated by Pilwon’s last tricks, so that Jooha could only wish to die. The tragedy is that he chose the claw to commit suicide. (chapter 31) Observe the debris next to the scissors. The beholder gets the impression that an animal had scratched some tissues, like a cat sharpening his claws, whereas in reality Jooha had used the scissors to destroy the gas pipes. By acting so, it was, as if he was giving up on his nature as cat and as such on Dooshik. Remember that the latter was the one who taught him how to use the scissors and as such his claw.
From my point of view, Jooha had never sensed his other personality: the cat. He only viewed himself as a fish, but by meeting the black leopard Dooshik, he discovered his second nature.
4. Kang Dooshik, the black leopard and the crow
Exactly like the protagonist Jin Jooha, the other main lead is embodied by two animals. However, I doubt that the young man was also aware of his true nature. Only by meeting the “mermaid”, his true personality came to the surface. His attraction to Jooha triggered his protective instincts. But since he hadn’t detected Choi Pilwon’s true character, he never saw an occasion to demonstrate his strength in front of his boss.
However, in chapter 30, he, as a captive, is wounded by thugs. In this panel, the manhwalovers can detect in him the predator, the black leopard. (chapter 32) He’s growling like a panther, the clenched fist on the left reminds us of a paw, while the fingers from the other hand resemble to claws. Once faced with a terrible situation, he can unveil his real strength. That’s the reason why the gangsters could get defeated so easily. For Choi Pilwon had never sensed his rival’s true nature, he didn’t warn his minions. Then he runs so fast that Jooha is not able to escape from him.
And now, you comprehend the significance of his encounter with Jooha. Thanks to him, Dooshik’s second nature came to life. That’s why he taught him how to use the scissors, the symbol for the claw. Under this new light, the readers can comprehend why Dooshik is wearing a black shirt in the cover of the second season. It is a reference to the black leopard and the crow.
And now, it is time to list the features linked to the black leopard. First, a leopard usually embodies strength, agility, stealth, elusiveness, perception, self-reliance, authenticity, and rare beauty. However, Dooshik is a black leopard, which signifies that this animal has even more significations: mystery, rebellion and transformation. Dooshik helped Jooha to change and to reveal his second nature. This explicates why with his appearance, Jooha couldn’t resist to help Dooshik and become attached to his sexual partner. Jooha’s second nature as a cat became more obvious. However, it ends the moment he wants to end his life. As a conclusion, since a cat and a black leopard are both felines, the authors gave us an explication why both fell for each other so quickly.
But like I mentioned above, the main lead has two natures, he is also a black crow. The readers could sense this in the following panels: (chapter 32) The hand has turned into a claw, Dooshik, as a strong bird, is a natural predator of the snake. Then when Dooshik is able to catch his lover so that the latter doesn’t try to kill himself a second time, you have the impression that his arms are like wings. (chapter 32) He caught his lover by flying over. From my point of view, his encounter with Choi Pilwon incited to transform and show his true nature: he was a strong animal, capable to resist to any attack. Let’s not forget that the black crow is not just associated to death, it is associated to change and transformation. And now, you comprehend why Jooha changed in his company. Their encounter awoke Jooha’s second personality: a cat, which is also a predator. Therefore he will be able to protect himself more and more from Choi Pilwon.
Since this bird doesn’t live alone, but in a colony, the black crow embodies teamwork and reciprocity. Therefore this is not a coincidence that Dooshik was so popular in Seoul. His colleagues and clients liked him for his cheerfulness, modesty and honesty. Furthermore, he was always willing to assist his friend Lee Choonbae or his ex-lover. For the black crow lives in every continent, except Antarctica, the bird is also linked to adaptability, cleverness and intelligence. It can survive everywhere and is full of resources. No wonder that Dooshik could adapt so easily in the small town next to the sea. This truly shows that the author paid attention to the characters’ features.
As a conclusion, the crow brought the change in the relationship between Jooha and Pilwon. He naturally incited Jooha to metamorphose. The latter started having hope again and desired to rely on him. But with the second season, this signifies that a cat and a black panther will have to fight against a snake.
5. Lee Choonbae
One might wonder about his role in the story, since so far, he didn’t play a huge role. He was tasked to separate the couple, but he decided not to accomplish his mission, for he sensed that Jooha and Dooshik were compatible. He couldn’t bear the thought of separating the couple. What caught my attention is the following: Lee Choonbae is a snake as well, more precisely a python. As you already know, a python is capable to eat a goat, even a human!! Therefore, Lee Choonbae is a predator to the black snake. That’s why I believe that he will play a major role in Choi Pilwon’s defeat. We could detect his strength and his “predatory” nature in episode 17. He could push down the man, and it gives the impression that he is almost swallowing the man. Here, at no moment he felt intimidated by the CEO. He even refused his money, a sign of his strong will. He could even make a deal with Choi Pilwon. (chapter 17). During this episode, it was obvious that the CEO imagined himself with the upper hand. However, if the manhwaphiles pay attention to Lee Choonbae’s words and actions, they will notice that at no moment, he was hurt or humiliated by the antagonist’s actions. The former knew exactly what he wanted. That’s the reason why I deduce that the antagonist misjudged the second lead’s personality and as such his dangerousness.
Consequently, I am wondering if the black snake in the cover for the second season is an allusion to Lee Choonbae as well, the latter is next to the protagonists, not strangling them but surrounding them in order to protect them, ready for the battle. Or it is also possible that he has already swallowed the antagonist.
Unlike Choi Pilwon who would like to get a real family with Jooha, Dooshik’s friend is not truly looking for love. His dream is to get a rich guy as sponsor. Yet contrary to the antagonist, he has not become immoral and ruthless. He is well aware that Dooshik has different needs than himself. The blond-haired man is sensitive and selfless enough to recognize that his own desire shouldn’t ruin others’ happiness. Striking is that he considered the CEO as a blessing, when he met him for the first time. He corresponded to the dream Lee Choonbae had. That’s why he followed the CEO’s request in the first place with the idea that after his deal was done, he could get more out of it. There’s no ambiguity that the young man misjudged the antagonist’s personality. That’s why it is definitely possible that he will retaliate against the antagonist, for his desire to assist Dooshik will be stronger than his own desire. Let’s not forget that he was the only one who was truly worried about the main lead, and looked for him. He truly desired to help him. Besides, observe in the biography that the second lead’s strong trait is fakeness and hypocrisy. This signifies that he has a cunning side, and can even act. Consequently, I have the feeling that Lee Choonbae will not only be able to deceive Choi Pilwon, but also swallow him. The result is that he will push the antagonist to transform into a swan.
Note that each character has two natures, even Choi Pilwon. I had already elaborated that Choi Pilwon must have been raised in a cold and ruthless family, which pushed him to become a snake. However, his second nature is a swan. I have to confess that I couldn’t restrain myself from connecting him to “the ugly duckling”. Remember that he has siblings… similar to the ugly duckling who felt rejected by his own family. Furthermore, this would explicate why Choi Pilwon is so arrogant as well. A swan is known for its beauty, but also for self love, which would coincide with Pilwon’s narcissistic personality.
On the other hand, the swan symbolizes love, trust and loyalty. But since Choi Pilwon is always connected to black, I have the feeling that he is in truth a black swan, and the latter represents personal power. As a conclusion, I believe that the antagonist will be cornered and transformed into a black swan thanks to Lee Choonbae. Remember what I wrote about the latter in “Curse or blessing?”, he could be a blessing in disguise. There’s no doubt that if this theory is correct that Choi Pilwon will view him as a curse at some point.
As a conclusion, the second season is already announcing a hunt, a fight between preys and predators, a snake fighting against a crow and black leopard and even later at some point against a python. On the other hand, I believe that we will witness another transformation, Choi Pilwon’s. Simultaneously, I am encouraging the readers to pay attention to the images so that they can try to perceive the characters’ animalistic behavior. When is Lee Choonbae acting like a python or Dooshik like a black leopard in the second season? Moreover, it is very possible that the authors introduce other villains: Dooshik’s former partner, Choi Pilwon’s family etc.
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