This is where you can read this manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/legsthatwontwalk But be aware that these manhwas are mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. Here, you can read the other essays I wrote about this manhwa: https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2020/07/05/painter-of-the-night-legs-that-wont-walk-illusion-and-reality/ https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2020/07/13/legs-that-wont-walk-first-impressions/
On the surface, this question looks very simple. The readers would reply that he’s the protagonist of Legs That Won’t Walk, since the title is actually referring to him. He’s a former boxer walking on crutches. Furthermore he’s Song Ji-Sung, Lee Min-Hyuk and Park Tae-Seung’s love interest. However, this question can have a second meaning. It’s about the main lead’s personality. What kind of person is Kwon Soo-Young in reality? This question is actually not random since Park Tae-Sung is the one wondering about the former boxer’s disposition. He even asks this question twice showing how much the mafia boss cares about the main character. Even the second lead Min-Hyuk is also confused about the handicapped main lead. Why is there this confusion about Kwon Soo-Young? What caught my attention in this manhwa is the way Kwon Soo-Young is addressed. He’s called a son, a creditor , more or less a baby-face, a fucking cripple , a crippled bastard, a rat, a kid, a hyung, a boyfriend, a lover or a weak spot. Besides, he is compared to a dog or to a toy, to a bunny or to a cat. And these different names and comparisons are very important because they are related to Kwon Soo-Young’s appearance and the impressions he makes on people. Since everyone judges him differently, the nature of their relationship diverges. Now, you understand why I chose such a title. In this essay, I’ll examine the way the main lead is perceived and treated which unveils a lot about the other characters’ personality as well. We could say that the main lead serves as a mirror as he reflects his counterparts’ true state of mind. But since he is the one interacting with many different people, I’ll divide this essay in two parts. In the first part, I’ll focus on three characters and in the second on Song Ji-Sung and Park Tae-Seung because their relationship with Kwon Soo-Young can be compared so well.
Now, let’s start with Kwon Soo-Young’s father. The manhwaphiles might be astonished that I am mentioning him first as he never appears directly. We only see see him through the protagonist’s memories. However, the former is the reason why the former boxer meets the loan shark and mafia boss Park Tae-Seung. Furthermore that’s how the main lead is introduced formally: What caught my attention is that the father uses his son’s name in order to get money without reimbursing the credit. So the protagonist’s just a name for the father, a tool used for his own interests. He hasn’t changed at all, since in the past he used the son as a punching ball too. He used to release his frustration on Soo-Young.
And this explains why the latter is no longer acknowledging him as his father. As you can observe, the father never treats him like a son, either as a name or a punching ball. And due to the abuse experienced in his childhood, Soo-Young has never experienced real love and has always felt abandoned and lonely. As a first conclusion, the readers can only feel empathy for the protagonist due to the father’s ruthlessness and greed. Because of his terrible past, Kwon Soo-Young became a man full of resent and rage who tried to use box in order to vent his anger and frustration but always failed pitifully because he lost all his fights.
The second person who keeps calling the main lead with nicknames is one of the villains, the leader working for Park Tae-Sung. As you can detect, he keeps insulting Kwon Soo-Young. For him, he’s either a rat, a kid or a cripple. He isn’t just looking down on the main lead but he also resents him. He has many reasons for his attitude. First, Park Tae-Seung refused to help him by saving one of his minions, while he hired a creditor. Secondly, the former boxer has been personally hired by the mafia boss, a huge sign of favoritism, especially if you consider that this leader must have been working for a long time with the mafia boss. Finally, he stands on crutches, displaying a lack of strength. For the leader, he can only be a weak person, not worthy to work for the clan. In the leader’s mind, Park Tae-Seung must have gotten weak, since there’s only one explication for this recruit. Soo-Young must have begged for leniency. Therefore this doesn’t give a good impression about the mafia boss and can only push this leader to question Park Tae-Seung’s authority. It was as if he had exposed a certain vulnerability, since he felt pity for the handicapped man. And this is not surprising that in chapter 23, he joins Ki Kang-Il’s side indicating that he has decided to betray the mafia boss. Striking is that he becomes himself the “rat”, the one who betrays his boss because he was dissatisfied with his decisions.
However, when this leader meets the former boxer for the first time, he experiences a big surprise as the protagonist doesn’t accept the insult like that and is even willing to defend his honor. He’s well aware that with a high number of minions, he is destined to get beaten, but he doesn’t mind at all. He has been used to such hardship, on the other hand he shows a real resistance and fighting spirit impressing Lee Min-Hyuk, the witness of this unfair fight. Striking is that the leader even gets beaten, he is so enraged and humiliated that he demands for Soo-Young’s death, reinforcing the gap between Park Tae-Sung and the leader. Imagine, the man who insulted the boxer for his handicap is defeated and has to witness how he loses another minion and the others are punished harshly by Kim Sang-Cheol. The irony is that all the insults (kid, rat, crippled bastard) are in reality reflecting this leader’s personality. He definitely acts like a spoiled child and becomes a rat in the end. He behaves like a jerk, when he sends his minions to kill the main lead as there’s no fair play. While the main lead mirrors the true personality of the gang leader, at the same time he shows his true color. Soo-Young is the exact opposite of the criticisms expressed by the leader. He is mature and loyal because the man with the crutches protects Lee Min-Hyuk from a flying knife. At no moment, his handicap was visible during the first fight. He might have been beaten, yet the others got injured as well. The true victor was indeed Soo-Young, he was even able to impress Lee Min-Hyuk. The latter is indeed very surprised as he witnesses a fearless man able to bear any injury which marks the start of his infatuation for Kwon Soo-Young. And this explains why the leader decides to join hands with Ki Kang-Il in the end. Since Park Tae-Seung is supporting Soo-Young and the latter defeated him twice, he needs to get revenge on both protagonists. He decides to become the traitor, the rat.
And just like I implied before, there’s a huge change in Lee Min-Hyuk’s perception about the protagonist, reflected in his description and names about Kwon Soo-Young. Initially the minion with the cute face describes the main character as a baby-face. This indicates a certain lack of respect. In his eyes, the man seems to be lacking of experience and maturity. He seems to question his boss’ decision, however it changes when he discovers the former boxer’s strength. When he witnesses how the man with a baby-face never shows any fear or even pain in front of danger, Min-Hyuk addresses Soo-Young differently. After getting rescued, the minion starts calling the main lead as hyung. It doesn’t display just respect but also closeness, as if they had become brothers. He is even now perceived as the one with maturity and experience. However, as time passes on, their relationship evolves. The main lead feels so comfortable with the smiling minion that he considers him as a friend and invites him to his house. For him, Min-Hyuk represents the first friend he has ever had after meeting Song Ji-Sung and Park Tae-Seung. What the hero doesn’t realize is that the man with the cute face is already eyeing him and would like to woo him. The reason for Soo-Young’s mistake is that the blond-haired man continues calling him hyung, giving him the impression that nothing has changed. As the manhwalovers can sense, the meaning of hyung has switched, there’s a certain endearing connotation now. First, Min-Hyuk saw a strong and brave man in Soo-Young, but he got mesmerized, when he discovered a new side of his hyung: his vulnerability and his sensitivity. He never imagined that the main lead could be so sweet and weak simultaneously. He only recognized it, when he witnessed the kiss exchanged between Park Tae-Seung and the protagonist, when the latter was paralyzed due to a panic attack. This event left such a deep imprint in Min-Hyuk’s mind that we could say that this represents a turning point in Lee Min-Hyuk’s love life. He can’t forget that image. From that moment, he wants to see Soo-Young’s vulnerable side again. In my opinion, this is important as Min-Hyuk has gone through a similar experience. So far, people fall for his pretty and cute face, however they should be careful as the blond-haired man is not a good guy per se. Even his former boyfriend calls him a bad guy and the way he has sex with Dong-Hyun truly illustrates his roughness and selfishness. He’s quite brutal hence people should be careful with first impressions or appearances. [See my other analysis about Legs That Won’t Walk called First impressions] On the other hand I feel, the minion must be bothered that people only judge him by his pretty face and not perceive him correctly: he is definitely strong and talented with the knife. He can definitely be ruthless, visible during his two sex sessions with Dong-Hyun. He gives order, forces his sex partner to remain silence, pressures him to make a fellatio. Observe that the main lead is judged by his disability but like Min-Hyuk discovered it, he is everything except handicapped. That’s why I think, Min-Hyuk feels a certain connection with the protagonist, as they are put in a similar position. Simultaneously, I sense another cause for the attraction. Imagine, Soo-Young is a strong and fearless man, and if the latter became Min-Hyuk’s lover, the thug with a baby-face would have the feeling that he is dominating a strong alpha, able to turn Soo-Young into a sweet and vulnerable man. He would feel quite powerful. This is quite palpable in this panel. The fellatio is definitely a sign of submission. The most striking is that although he witnesses the special relationship between Park Tae-Seung and his hyung, he has decided to ignore this and make a move on the former boxer. That’s why he doesn’t confirm to his former boyfriend that his boss has a boyfriend. For him, Soo-Young can’t be his boss’ boyfriend because he desires him himself. As you can see, Soo-Young’s designation plays a huge role for Min-Hyuk. And in my opinion, the question from his acquaintance serves as a trigger for Min-Hyuk to make a move on the main character. Since Soo-Young is neither living with Park Tae-Seung nor working for him, his status has not been officialized. That’s the reason why he visits his hyung at the bar/brothel and keeps him company there. But strangely, the thug also reveals a new side of himself in front of Soo-Young. Note that after seducing him, he kisses him quite tenderly and for a long time. Another aspect which caught my attention in his attempt to woo the main lead is his desire to perceive Soo-Young’s words as signs that the latter was attracted to him. The innocent protagonist who has never had a true friend in his life was just saying things because he wanted to bound with him as a brother and nothing more. His words express his interest, care and his need to treat his new “brother” properly. I would even say, the minion even projects his own feelings towards Soo-Young, when he asks the bodyguard if he has feelings for him. He wanted so much to be seen in a good light by Soo-Young that he considered the words “cute, handsome” as a signal that the bodyguard would be interested in him. However, this was just his wishful thinking. We shouldn’t forget that he was present, when he witnessed the effect of Park Tae-Seung’s kiss on the former boxer. He saw how the kiss calmed down the latter revealing that his boss could affect Soo-Young so much. The kiss unveiled that Park Tae-Seung had a very close and special relationship with the former boxer. But even so, he tries to repress this event and even refuses to admit that he has already lost the fight, when the rumor is circulating that his boss has a boyfriend. He continues denying the truth.
This was definitely his karma as he did the exact same thing to Dong-Hyun, having sex with him while thinking about Soo-Young and never recognized how wrong it was towards the lover. When it happens to him, he even wonders if he is getting punished. The irony is that he could have realized that Soo-Young was not calling him, when he said “hyung”. Let’s not forget that “hyung” is a designation for an older brother/older close acquaintance and we all know that Lee Min-Hyuk is 22 years old, whereas the former boxer is 26 years old. Hence the blond-haired man can never get called “hyung” by Soo-Young. It was as if the mark “hyung” which the minion chose for his admired “sir” has now become a burden and curse. Soo-Young will always perceive him as his friend or younger brother (dongsaeng), in other words Soo-Young will only remain his hyung and nothing more. And even at the end, he still refuses to admit defeat. He even acknowledges Soo-Young as his boss’ lover
, yet he is definitely not giving up. He is determined to win Soo-Young’s heart and his cold gaze underlines his strong will. And this love triangle will definitely affect Min-Hyuk’s relationship with his boss. Remember that the former was full of admiration for Park Tae-Seung, even saying that he was a role model and someone the organization needed. Therefore I believe, this admiration will change into rivalry and competition. Let’s not forget that Min-Hyuk is as ruthless as Park Tae-Seung, which was displayed the way he had sex with Dong-Hyun. Furthermore the author described the minion as someone who would work with knives pretty well and the mafia boss killed a thug by throwing a knife in a single attempt as well. What the blond-haired thug fails to recognize is that the label “hyung” is one of the causes for his failure. The other causes are that Min-Hyuk was defeated in his fist fight with the former boxer and he has never revealed his ruthlessness in front of Soo-Young. Consequently, the latter can only consider the minion as his “dongsaeng” who needs to protection. Min-Huyk’s first impression on the bodyguard explains why Soo-Young doesn’t sense danger from Min-Hyuk.
As a first conclusion, Soo-Young is more just than a former boxer and the labels he receives reflect a lot about the characters using these designation. And like I demonstrated, the designation “hyung” becomes a burden to Lee Min-Hyuk.
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