Legs That Won’t Walk: Who is Kwon Soo-Young? -part 1 🥊

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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Legs That Won’t Walk: First impressions 🥊

This is where you can read this manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/legsthatwontwalk But be aware that this manhwa is 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/

Now, you might be a little surprised that my focus is only on the manhwa created by Black Apricot. There is a simple reason for that. I wanted to treat the topic first impressions and its negative or positive impacts. “Legs That Won’t Walk” is really suited for this topic because the manhwa has just started and we are meeting all the characters for the first time. Hence first impressions play a huge role for the readers of this manhwa. First impressions are generally important that’s why the American actor Will Rogers once said

You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

The American film director Miranda July explained the reason for the significance of first impressions

“People tend to hold on to their first impressions that’s why those first descriptions can be so important. You don’t necessarily look at people that carefully after a while, you just hold on to that early impression.”

Now, you can understand why first impressions play a huge role in people’s life, they help to judge people quickly and serve as an orientation. However, they can be deceiving, especially if someone is making sure to leave a good impression. Therefore many authors condemned first impressions as it is connected to appearance and illusion. Hence Frank Kafka, a German speaking author (1883-1924), wrote

“First impressions are always unreliable”

and even the American comedian Daniel Tosh expressed a harsher opinion about these

“You know who makes a great first impression? Liars.”

In other words, these persons are pointing out that people should always question first impressions as these don’t necessarily reflect being or better said, the true nature of a person and of an action. They can even be fake, just an illusion. Yet we have to remember that first impressions are truly related to our experiences. What the person saw and felt before will lead him/her to perceive people differently later.

So now, let’s take a closer look at the different characters under the perspective of “first impressions”. We have for example Kwon Soo-Young’s employer expressing empathy and pity for the main character.

First, the reader think that he is a nice person because he is not indifferent to the former boxer Kwon Soo-Young. However, what follows is actually that the man is firing our protagonist with the excuse that he can’t bear to see the handicapped man working under these conditions. He explains that he couldn’t find him a desk job at his company hence he doesn’t want him here any longer. He thinks that this kind of job is too tiring and hard for a disabled man. So the supposed good man is forcing the main lead to resign, while the latter never complained about his job conditions. The first impressions of his words can be deceiving, in fact the employer is lying to himself thinking that he is doing a good deed.

chapter 1

He thinks so because he would give Kwon Soo-Young some compensation so that the latter would get money without working. What the boss fails to see is that he is worsening Kwon Soo-Young’s life conditions. Even a benevolent man is not willing to let an injured man work. How can Kwon Soo-Young find a job then? The former employer is treating our protagonist not as a real person because he only perceives the former boxer as a disabled person. All the persons Kwon Soo-Young meets only view his crutch and his weird walking. It was as if his disability had taken over his identity and his existence that’s why the former boxer is so infuriated with their “sorry attitude”. Strictly speaking, first impressions scar the unfortunate man even more.

But the readers have a different impression of our main character because the first thing we see is his fighting spirit as a boxer.

chapter 1

He is a very brave and strong-willed person for although he lost all his fights, he never gave up and kept fighting until he got injured. And this is what defines Kwon Soo-Young. He might be disabled now but he still hasn’t lost his spirit to live and fight. He was willing to work as a package lifter and he still wants to remain independent. The causes for his need of independence and for remaining strong is the abuse he suffered in his childhood.

His father was an alcoholic and abusive parent hence Soo-Young learned through the hard way how to become independent and strong. That’s why he is on his own and has no family. Due to his traumatic childhood related to his father, he learned how to recognize a dangerous person. It is written on person’s face and behavior.

Due to this experience, he fell into Song Si-Jun’s trap, the latter appeared in his life with such a smiling face. He was nice, gentle and caring. However, he never got to see the double personality of his admired hyung, his dark and violent side because the first impressions were deeply engraved in his memory. I haven’t read much of this manhwa but I have the feeling that the constant defeat of Soo-Young’s fights were actually no coincidence and his hyung was behind it. The more the main lead wanted to unleash his anger and fury due to the unfairness in his life, the more he punched into the air because hyung wanted him to rely more and more on him. The offer proposed at the end of the first chapter looks good on the surface.

Hyung seems caring and is willing to sacrifice himself for the protagonist’s sake. Hence we can say that when the hyung appears in the first chapter, the readers are a little fooled by the author. Yet, there are certain signs showing a certain aggressiveness behind Song Si-Jung’s actions. He is kissing Soo-Young, though the latter doesn’t want to and keeps asking the hyung to stop. The latter is ignoring his complains.

Here, he refuses to be kissed but Si-Jung manipulates Soo-Young by saying that his rejection is caused because they are outside on the street which is not correct in reality. Soo-Young doesn’t want his kiss.

Since Soo-Young was hurting his wrist by punching against the wall, I initially had the impression that the former boxer was just emotionally unstable due to his disability. We are close to think that Si-Jung is his savior, the reality differs and the forced kisses were just a small clue.

However, the second chapter already indicates the true personality of the boyfriend. He actually rapes our main character but the uke will never press charges against him because of his first impression left by the boyfriend. During the sexual encounter, Soo-Young sees glimpses of Si-Jung’s dark side

and even gets scared but because of the way they met for the first time and the way hyung seemed to treat him in the past, he can’t really judge Si-Jung correctly. Fact is that his “tempting offer” in the first chapter was just a bait, Si-Jung wanted to bind the uke to him forever. And this would mark the descent to hell. Deep down, Soo-Young felt that he needed to keep his distance from Si-Jung but he could never explain why. That’s why he is torn apart in the chapter 2. On the one hand, he declares to Si-Jung and pushes him away, whereas on the other hand, he went to the boxing club and wished that his hyung would find and help him. Deep down, Soo-Young has already sensed the danger of the offer and the violent personality but he is struggling to admit this because of the first impressions he had about Si-Jung and the experience he made through his abusive father. Bad people will never smile and be caring, they will always be violent. And this leads me to the introduction of the other protagonist: Park Tae-Sung.

chapter 1

The latter is the boss of a mafia gang and he is a loan shark. Soo-Young’s father took a loan from him and now our main character has to reimburse the huge amount of debts left by his despicable father. Striking is that when Park Tae-Sung met our former boxer for the first time, he was sitting on the ground hence he couldn’t see the handicap.

chapter 3

So for the loan shark, the main lead was just a normal citizen, a poor son who got exploited by his father. He expected that the former would beg and plead for more time, yet Soo-Young behaves the opposite to what he envisioned. He shows no fear and defies the boss.

All this incites Park Tae-Sung to beat up the man until he stops resisting. In this moment, the latter recalls his abusive father and has the impression that he has returned to his past. Hopelessness is arousing in him because it looks like he can never escape from this world of violence and abuse. He imagined that boxing would be a way to protect himself but he failed. Tae-Sung reminds him of his alcoholic and brutal father hence he has no good first impressions about him. That’s why at some point he shows no reaction to Tae-Sung’s words and punches so that the latter wonders if something is wrong. It looks like Soo-Young is finally admitting defeat. The poor man’s face is so damaged that even the boss starts showing some concern which contrasts so much to the attitude of Soo-Young’s father. He used violence because he thought he had to so that he would get back the money. Striking is that after seeing his bruised face, Tae-Sung wonders if he hasn’t met him before. And this underlines that so far, Soo-Young hadn’t made any impression on him, he expected that he would behave like the other creditors begging for more time aso. What caught the mafia boss by surprise is the sudden attack of the former boxer. Besides only when he is able to stand up, the chief gets to see Soo-Young’s handicap. As we can observe, the disability has another signification in the gangster’s eyes: he sees it as a strength. Despite his handicap and original disadvantage (position), Soo-Young didn’t fear him and was able to change his situation. The latter is even capable to overcome the mobster’s strength. At some point, he stands up in front of the gangster before going after him.

Whereas average people reduced him to his handicap and saw it as a burden, Park Sae-Tung judged it differently. He was so impressed therefore he hires him. Observe the huge contrast between the beginning of the chapter 3 and later. Soo-Young was first lying on the ground with his hands tied together, at the end his hands are freed and he stands in front of Park Tae-Sung and even assaults him. Despite the beating, Soo-Young never gave up, although he was so close to surrender. Moreover he’s taking it out on him, all his resent and hatred is directed at the boss. It was as if Tae-Sung had become his punching ball. The mobster is impressed by the man’s attitude and fighting spirit and doesn’t get angry because of his reactions.

So Tae-Sung has a very good impression of Soo-Young hence he wants to keep him by his side. On the other hand, Park Tae-Sung’s initial behavior left a negative image on the former boxer as he was reminded of his own abusive father due to the beating. No wonder, if the disabled man calls him a bastard. This explains why the main lead is not accepting any sign of kindness from Tae-Sung. That’s the reason why Tae-Sung will have to show his good will and intentions by treating him well for a long time so that Soo-Young can start trusting him.

Then we have the gangster Lee Min-Hyuk with a handsome face. He stands so much in contrast to the other minion because he looks less muscular and is quite passive whereas his colleague Mr. Kim is torturing a man in order to get info about Zu You Long, their enemy. He doesn’t seem like a mobster due to his smile and his passivity. He appears at the end of the episode 4 but the readers get to know him better in the 5th episode.

What caught my attention is his admiration for his boss, Park Tae-Sung. We actually get a good introduction of Park Tae-Sung through Min-Hyuk’s perception, just like the pictures above illustrate it. Lee Min-Hyuk sees Park Tae-Sung as a hardworking boss who was able to gain respect thanks to his ruthlessness. This doesn’t bother the second character at all, it is quite the opposite. Hence behind his gentle manners, Lee Min-Hyuk should be judged as someone as ruthless and violent as his boss, since he views him as his model. He even says it himself.

“We need someone like him”.

The first impression we have is that Min-Hyuk is a trustworthy and reliable minion who listens to his boss pretty well and I must confess that this admiration makes me wonder if Lee Min-Hyuk will betray his boss at some point because of our main character Kwon Soo-Young. But this is just a speculation from my part.

After hearing about the new “employee”, Lee Min-Hyuk starts imaging the face of the new recruit. He is curious about the identity of the man who could impress his boss so much, which is really unusual for him. It is quite funny because in his mind, it is either an old but experienced minion or a woman. That’s why the handsome minion is so surprised to encounter a man with a baby face.

And for the first time, he starts doubting his chief’s decision hence he needs to test the man. The latter has not only a baby face but also is standing on a crutch. So the appearances leave a negative impression on Lee Min-Hyuk. Only after feeling the strength in the grip, he realizes the former boxer’s force.

Imagine that Min-Hyuk is not spared and his hand is hurting after the little struggle. He has to admit defeat and he never expected it from such a man. That’s the moment he wants to get to know the man.

On the other hand, what Min-Hyuk fails to recognize is that he also has a similar face, he doesn’t look so manly compared to Tae-Sung, Mr. Kim and the other minions. Furthermore, he lost the “fight” against Soo-Young while they were messing their strength. Hence for Kwon Soo-Young, Lee Min-Hyuk seems to be weak compared to him and Mr. Kim. Appearances can indeed be deceiving, because this first impression of Lee Min-Hyuk on the disabled man will affect their relationship in the future.

When angry minions barge in the room because they want to get revenge on the former boxer for punching them and humiliating their boss, Soo-Young feels the need to protect Lee Min-Hyuk.

But since the latter has worked for Park Tae-Sung for a long time, we can assume that he can definitely protect himself. Lee Min-Hyuk who had been impressed by the fist fight earlier, is definitely attracted by the man. He is already admiring him for his force and fighting spirit. That’s why he calls him “hyung” indicating that he is submitting himself. He is deeply impressed and even fascinated, just like his boss. He continues wondering what could have caught his boss’ interest. As you can see, Lee Min-Hyuk had a false image of the former boxer first but corrected it very quickly. However, it is not the same for Kwon Soo-Young. The latter perceives Lee Min-Hyuk as someone who is physically weaker and didn’t protect himself correctly, when the main character assaulted him because he thought that the angry minions were coming back. So will this first impression be corrected in the future? How much will this affect his relationship with Lee Min-Hyuk?

As a conclusion, the introduction of all the important figures in Legs That Won’t Walk were all somehow affected by first impressions. The mobsters misjudged Kwon Soo-Young, just like the latter didn’t perceive the vicious and manipulative side of his boyfriend Song Si-Jung. So what Miranda July and Kafka said was proven correct in this manhwa.

Strangely, only Park Tae-Sung was able to see Kwon Soo-Young’s true personality without any prejudice. He only discovered his disability after the former boxer had freed himself. No wonder, why he has the impression to have met him before. I suspect that the boss must have felt connected to the boxer due to his unleashed emotions (hatred, resent). I have the feeling that he must have experienced something similar in the past. Maybe they had similar childhoods. But here, these are just suppositions from my side. And we have to wonder if Will Roger’s words are correct, when it comes to Lee Min-Hyuk. Will he get a second chance to change the first impression he made on our main character?

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Painter Of The Night/Legs That Won’t Walk: Illusion and reality 🥊

This is where you can read these manhwas. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/painter  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 is the link, if you are interested in more analyses about manhwas https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/06/06/table-of-contents-of-analyzed-mentioned-manhwas/

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During the first season of the manhwa Painter Of The Night, we have many scenes where illusion and reality are mixed or where reality differs from the appearances.

In the first case, I could mention the daydream in the chapter 2 (chapter 2) or the wet dream in the chapter 6 where the painter’s repressed natural desires resurface. The readers are a little confused because initially they have no idea how to judge these drawings. Are they reality or fiction? This is in particular visible in the following picture: On the surface, it looks so real, while in reality this image was a vision in Baek Na-Kyum’s dream which marked the start of his unleashed unconscious. In the wet dream, we had a similar question. The beholder wondered if these images were true memories or fantasies. (Chapter 2) These were a mixture of both, although the more pictures we got, the more it became an illusion, a phantasm. As you can observe, the boundaries between seem and real were sometimes not clearly defined. The beholder had to distinguish this.

In the second case, I could refer to the chapter 42 and 43. While the reader witnesses Seungho embracing wholeheartedly the painter and detects the longing for affection and warmth from the noble as much as he is expressing his love for the low-born, Jihwa imagines to see something else. Baek Na-Kyum is the one who seduces the powerful lord hence he believes to detect a cunning smile on the artist’s face. (Chapter 43) The red-haired man is too biased towards the young low-born because he has so many prejudices against commoners. He believes that each low-born has no principle and virtue and will do anything in exchange for power, money in order to improve his life. However, the reality is different from the illusion Jihwa experienced.

Baek Na-Kyum is so pure and innocent, he has strong principles. When he made the vow to never paint any erotic pictures, he was willing to suffer which underlines his determination and strength. He might have shed some tears but he never regretted any decision. What Jihwa failed to see is that he was projecting his own mentality into the painter’s mind. In fact, the one who is somehow corrupted and influenced by power and money is our red-haired man. Let’s not forget that Jihwa claims in the chapter 18 that he has been using his friend all this time.

chapter 18

Sure, he did it in order to maintain a certain dignity and out of pride, yet I suspect that there was some truth in his words. He might have loved Yoon Seungho but not to the point to have his reputation ruined as sodomite. His intimate interactions with Yoon Seungho occurred behind the curtain under the excuse that they were childhood friends.

Let’s not forget that Jihwa did cover his body so that the servant wouldn’t see the hickeys left by the seme. (chapter 3) Furthermore, it seems that each time Yoon Seungho had a sex session with Jihwa, he had no other sex partners. (chapter 13). Notice that Jihwa wasn’t present at the sex orgy in the chapter 33 hence he trusted Min’s words when the latter told him that the seme was hopping from one bedchamber to the other. From my point of view, Jihwa never participated in that kind of events that’s why he was able to have a clean reputation.

And in that instant you know why, for the other nobles like Min, it was visible that Jihwa was pinning for Yoon Seungho. My suspicion is that he only had our alpha seme as sex partner. Now, you can imagine why Jihwa must have resented the low-born so much after the chapter 18. The nature of his relationship with the protagonist was revealed, when he was dragged by the topknot in front of the servants. Here through their yelling, Jihwa tried to force his childhood friend to give up on the commoner. undefined(Chapter 18) With these words, the red-haired noble implied that his friend had to choose between him or Baek Na-Kyum as Jihwa had no intention to share him with the artist.

This reinforces my impression that Jihwa had always perceived himself as Seungho’s lover who was willing to share him with other nobles. He had been expecting all along that at some point, the protagonist would realize that Jihwa loved him. Striking is that after that topknot incident, Jihwa could no longer keep this honorable image and started acting like a spoiled child and paid no attention to his reputation as a noble. His servants have to clean his mess here. He became himself a drunk. (chapter 36)

chapter 41

Imagine that in the picture above the depressed noble slept on the street and his servant had to wake him up so that we can assume that the servants must have gossiped about his drunkenness and lack of dignity. The aristocrat doesn’t pay attention to his own image as a honorable noble any longer. He is too affected by the riff between him and Yoon Seungho.

But the illusion in the chapter 43 is just the result of his misinterpretation of the scene in the chapter 12 and the sex session in the chapters 14 and 15. We know that he has no info about Baek Na-Kyum hence he is unaware of his past and the vow. Yet I have to object that the friend never tried to get any info about the painter. He just saw him as a commoner hence as someone below his social status. That’s the reason why he became the victim of an illusion so easily, although in reality he might have already perceived some truth behind the appearances.

Now, let’s examine the scene in the chapter 12 where the boundaries between seem and real were mixed, just like in the first case. (Chapter 12) Nevertheless, it contrasts to the first case as in this scene every action is real, it just depends on the interpretation of the participants. Here, the red-haired uke is observing from far away how Yoon Seungho is treating the low-born. We have to remember that his perception of the reality is limited because the lord is turning his back to him and is in front of the painter. Secondly he stands too far away to be able to hear their conversation. In other words, he can’t see Yoon Seungho’s facial expression nor the painter’s face as the master’s shoulder is covering his face. Based on these parameters, I selected all the pictures Jihwa could witness due to the movement of Seungho’s arm and hand:

All the lord’s gestures displays care and gentleness. It was as if the lord was caressing the artist’s face and the hair. We have to remember that while Jihwa observed these gestures, he had already caught that Yoon Seungho would show more respect towards the low-born than himself. (Chapter 12)

While the noble hadn’t left his room to receive his guest, he made the effort to come towards the artist the moment he appeared. Besides, we shouldn’t forget that he had been warned by his aristocratic friend that Seungho was somehow fascinated by the painter’s gaze. (Chapter 14) All this led the jealous man to the conclusion that there was something going on between the commoner and his childhood friend. However, we have to remind to the readers what Jihwa couldn’t see in the pictures above. The uke was avoiding the master’s gaze. Either he closed his eyes or looked down. If he had witnessed it, Jihwa would have realized that the fascination was coming more from his childhood friend than the reverse and as such, Baek Na-Kyum didn’t seduce the lord in this chapter. For him, the reality was that the low-born was using his position and influenced the lord in a bad way. He was already showing some favoritism. This perception of the reality was definitely influenced by his biased view about commoners.

What he couldn’t view or hear is the following:

– a smiling master making a ironical remark

– The content of the whispering (Chapter 12) Here, the master is actually threatening the commoner. So his words stands in opposition to his gentle demeanor.

– What looked like a caress from far away was actually a scratch. (Chapter 12)

For Baek Na-Kyum, there was nothing like a caress and a nice comment. Behind the appearances, he was hurt and threatened. For him, this was the reality. The gentle smile with the ironical remark was just a mockery and a simulacrum. He was hiding his true personality behind his caring manners. Now, you can understand why Baek Na-Kyum can not perceive the affection from the protagonist’s due to his past actions. From his perspective, the master was disguising his true nature. He had already witnessed his ruthlessness and violence therefore he took the menaces very seriously. In other words, Yoon Seungho appeared to be fake, his gentle manners were just an act. The gentleness was just an illusion. That’s why Seungho will suffer so much later, as he has to pay for the consequences of this behavior. Baek Na-Kyum could no longer distinguish reality and illusion. Even if the master asked for a doctor, in the low-born’s mind, it was possible that this care was linked to a new thread.

Now, if we look this scene from Yoon Seungho’s perspective, we have a different reality. His threads are real, just like his tenderness and smile are genuine as well, so this huge contradiction mirrors the noble’s personality. He hurts the boy by using his finger nails but not to injure him for real. In my opinion, the scratching has a different signification. He is already targeting the painter as his next prey. Deep down, he has already fallen for the artist but he is under the illusion that he has everything under control, he just needs to use his position as lord, his sexy body and charisma so that the uke will fall for him as well. The lord makes the mistake not to realize the true meaning behind his own actions what Jihwa could observe from a distance. He has already fallen under the spell from the painter. He behaves under the illusion that this is just a matter of time until he can taste the commoner. While he perceives himself as the one with the upper hand, he is not aware of Baek Na-Kyum’s strong will and strength. As you observe, being and appearances are much more difficult to discern. I believe that here, the lord’s unconscious was visible. Besides, we have to remember that these values are highly affected by the perception and interpretation of the participants or observers. In Seungho’s case, we could say that his unconscious was somehow triggered by the painter’s gaze which brought to light a new side of the lord and the latter was not aware of it… only Jihwa and his loyal valet could detect the true meaning behind his unusual behavior.

That’s the reason why it is important to pay attention to details and not judge too quickly. Like I wrote above, the boundary between seem and real is not clearly distinguished. Now, I will take an example from another manhwa in order to sensibilise the readers to question being and seem to be. The manhwa in question, called “Legs that won’t walk”, is written by Black apricot which has just been released on Lezhin.

Striking is that this manhwa is in black and white, as if there was only darkness in the protagonist’s life. The choice of colors underlines the depressing and violent atmosphere oozing from his manhwa reminding me of a Roman noir, “a subgenre of crime fiction where right and wrong are not clearly defined, while the protagonists are seriously and often tragically flawed” (Definition from wikipedia). In other words, there is no superhero here, only dangerous and flawed characters indicating that this story will be quite heavy.

The main character is Kwon Soo-Young, a former boxer who became handicapped after a match. On the surface, he looks pitiful and weak hence the passerby often excuse themselves, when they shove him by accident or see him walking.

This infuriates him but he doesn’t express his anger and fury in front of them. Yet his personality stands so much in contrast to his physical condition: he is resilient, brave and quite strong-willed. Even at the lowest point of his life, he has been beaten up by the boss from a gang,

chapter 3

the loan shark Park Tae-Seung, he fights back

chapter 3

and is able to punch the gang leader.

This resistance and perseverance catch the boss by surprise. He never expected this reaction from someone like him, with so many bruises and a handicap. He thought that the man would beg for leniency and ask for time to repay the debt. Kwon Soo-Young has to reimburse the debt from his abusive father. The former has already cut ties with him and the reason for his rage and fighting spirit is definitely linked to his tragic and terrible childhood. Therefore we learn through Soo-Young that reality and appearance can be really deceiving. The exterior doesn’t really reflect what we truly are. Impressions can mislead to false conclusions and interpretations. But this is not the only case where appearance and being can differ so much. The other character is the ex-boyfriend Song Si-Jung. Here, the exterior doesn’t contrast to the interior, rather it was as if he had two personalities, as if he was Mr. Hyde

and Doctor Jekyll.

He is very difficult to discern and only after rereading the chapters, I could discern the darkness in this character which Soo-Young has already sensed but not really understood. Behind his smiles and gentle demeanor, he is a very violent and manipulative person. In the following scene, you’ll observe again his double personality. When another boxer enters his father’s club, Ji Sung is smiling and polite.

However, the moment the friend reveals that someone with a crutch was standing in front of the club, his facial expression changes so abruptly.

He looks really scary and you can sense his possessiveness and obsession about Soo-Young. So first impressions can have tragic consequences, for Soo-Young it was the case. He saw a smiling and nice Si-Jung showing some concern and inviting to join his boxing club. However, his relationship with him was the reason why he lost his leg.

Just like in the manhwa Painter Of The Night, there is a scene where the boundary between illusion and reality is unclear, so confusing that the reader has some difficulty to judge the situation.

chapter 2: Here, he is calling Si-Jung hyung

Is it a rape or not? This is quite difficult to judge at first and this mirrors the reality. A verdict in a rape case is not easy to sentence, especially if the involved parties were or are in a relationship.

Despite the endearing name, he asks the man to stop which means he is not willing to have sex. In that moment, the boyfriend looks at Soo-Young with a scary expression. Here, the uke can perceive the violent side of his “boyfriend”, he won’t accept a refusal.

The frightening gaze deeply affects Soo-Young, he gets scared, thus he doesn’t really fight against Si-Jung.

From my perspective, Soo-Young is actually raped, but the latter doesn’t seem to realize the true nature of this sex session. Si-Jung is using his “charisma” and “Mr. Hyde”‘s personality to submit the uke. Fact is that after this sex session, Soo-Young never pressed charges against the boyfriend. Strangely, the uke appears defenseless and vulnerable, which is actually reflecting the real nature of his relationship with Si-Jung. The latter is physically and mentally abusing the uke, yet the man with the crutch has not realized it yet. The climax of this sex session is the following situation:

It looks like the top wants to help Soo-Young. He is willing to pay for the surgery bills so that Soo-Young can walk normally again. At first, the reader has some difficulty to understand the main character. Why would he refuse help? Is he emotionally unstable or does he do it out of pride? Fact is that Si-Jung wants to bind him forever so that Soo-Young can never escape from his claws.

Soo-Young has already sensed the terrible truth behind these words, besides the threatening tone in the voice made it clear that Si-Jung wouldn’t accept a rejection. Notice that Si-Jung used sex to coerce the protagonist. That’s why the latter only fights back soon after and pushes the boyfriend away.

The moment he is able to run away, the gentle side of Si-Jung resurfaces. It was, as if the protagonist would awake the beastly instincts living inside the boyfriend. However, this rape doesn’t change the fact that Soo-Young has some love and affection for Si-Jung. He confesses to himself that he would like the boyfriend to find him and support him.

chapter 3

That’s why he stood in front of the boxing club, but didn’t dare to enter. Unconsciously, he has already detected the double personality of his hyung and still loves him, because he is the only one who showed concern and affection so far in his life. Yet, he doesn’t want to live in another abusive household like in his childhood. Now, you can understand why this manhwa is quite interesting. The relationship between Soo-Young and Si-Jung is quite complex, just like the characters. Impressions are quite deceiving and the bad boy can be the next-door neighbor with a huge smile.

chapter 3

Soo-Young fell for the illusion, but has already detected a part of the reality. Furthermore, the uke is quite strong… at the end of the sex session, he was able to free himself from a manipulative and brutal man despite his handicap.

As a conclusion, appearance and reality are two important aspects, because they serve to question the true nature of actions and gestures. What we saw or felt can in reality totally different. Consequently, it becomes clear why we shouldn’t judge people too quickly. People need to question people’s actions and words.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for a topic and a manhwa worth an analysis, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. Thanks for reading.