I was browsing through the horror manga collection and I came across this little gem. It’s an adult malexmale (yaoi) web toon called Killing Stalking Manhwa.
Our main characters are Sangwoo And Yoon Bum. There is blood, adult scenes, violence and gore. There is plenty of psychological abuse and horror.
Yoon Bum is an awkward, obsessive stalker but fortunately Sangwoo is no better.
The manga starts out pretty tense, with Yoon Bum, our main stalker attempting to break into Sangwoo’s apartment. Yoon Bum tries a combination each day, and by now he has a few patterns figured out. What he finds inside, however, is not the precious Sangwoo he knows or thinks he knows.
—– Heavy Spoilers from this point forward. (My opinion mostly.)
Right away, we are introduced to the ugliness of Yoon Bum’s world. Enlisted in the army even though he was heavily underweight and raped by an officer. This is the core of where Yoon Bum’s obsession started. Sangwoo, for whatever reason reports the officer and Yoon Bum is saved and the incidents come to a stop. Present day, and Yoon Bum’s gratitude towards the kind man that saved him turned into a crush. Unable to speak to Sangwoo yet attending the same school, sharing bus rides and sparing a few glances, naturally that crush turned to obsession.
Why was Yoon Bum trying his hardest to break into Sangwoo’s apartment? It wasn’t just because he had advanced to stalker level…but more out of desperation. When his handsome and considerate Sangwoo started hanging out with a girl, he wanted to confirm that Sangwoo was in a relationship. Normal people, however, would confirm this type of suspicion in another matter.
Unfortunately for Yoon Bum or fated by his gloomy destiny, he encounters the ugly side of Sangwoo. The first meeting is nothing short of tense, violent and even traumatic. This is the event where Yoon Bum looses his ability to walk.
More than that, let’s explore Yoon Bum for a moment. The same things that marked him for being a loner, awkward stalker are the very same things that saved him when he was confronted with a murderous Sangwoo. It is because he impulsively shouts his love confession that Sangwoo lets him live instead of bashing his head in. An opportunistic or honest love confession doesn’t save him from abuse or nasty shocks. At first, he is the replacement of the bounded girl instead of being killed like all the other guys, Sangwoo even admits that Yoon Bum’s legs are pretty like a girl’s. For awhile, he also takes the place of a mother, dressed as a girl and doing chores and such and finally as a lover.
Despite Yoon Bum’s love for Sangwoo, he is both frightened into submission and traumatized. At the beginning, he does several failed attempts at escaping. Despite him getting out, no one can hear him in the almost abandoned neighborhood. There are other times when he desperately asks for help but no one takes him seriously. He has a chance to run away or attempt to expose Sangwoo in front of his new friends but appearance is everything. Yoon Bum is unsightly, skinny and he is always shy or frightened. They would either think he is drunk or crazy. Yoon Bum knows this and at some point stops trying to escape. He realizes just how futile it is.
When Yoon Bum makes his first kill due to being triggered, we see that he has become mostly numb. Although Sangwoo would argue that that was his second kill, the first situation was definitely forced.
One might say that due to the circumstances and psychological stress Yoon Bum was placed under that he would be almost..pitiful, traumatized and a survivor. That may be so, but there is also my theory that Sangwoo is not drawing out the worst in Yoon Bum with abusive and manipulative tactics but maybe he is drawing out the real Yoon Bum, hidden under layers of what is accepted in society and hypocrisy.
In fact, Sangwoo does a great job at exposing the ugliness that humans hide by placing them under dire and life threatening situations. Is he the good guy? No. Not even by chance. He is however demonstrating that anyone can become a pitiful and weeping rat begging for forgiveness or an impulsive and murderous beast trapped by past traumatic experiences.
There are many times when Sangwoo uses Yoon Bum’s affections against him and we are led to believe this is just one great act executed by a manipulative and sadistic youth. However, as the story progresses, we can see that Sangwoo also holds Yoon Bum dear to his heart. He calls his feelings for Yoon Bum irritating and he is almost relieved when he believes that now he must kill him. This isn’t a person that hesitates to committing acts of violence or murder and yet he must find an excuse to be able to end Yoon Bum’s life.
When searching for Yoon Bum, we see just how distraught Sangwoo is at being unable to find him. At first relieved because he has evaded the police, but relief soon turns to worry, dread and finally anger. He feels betrayed because Sangwoo believes Yoon Bum wouldn’t run away even if he had the opportunity.
Another peak at his feelings is when Yoon Bum makes his first kill. Sangwoo feels rage when Yoon Bum says that he felt nothing or doesn’t care. Why? If Yoon Bun feels nothing at having stabbed a woman 12 times, then what guarantee does Sangwoo has that Yoon Bum’s feelings are genuine?
The characters we meet in the story have ugly personalities or a traumatic past that defines them. Both Yoon Bum and Sangwoo are troubled and disturbed individuals but the difference is that Sangwoo hides it beneath his charming and kind persona and Yoon Bum doesn’t know how to. It is sad that due to appearances and circumstances, we are so quick to judge and yet sometimes the murderer isn’t the guy huddled up in a corner, shivering and frantically looking about but the guy who is socially accepted and loved by everyone.
The Art Style: Beautiful. Vivid and Detailed. Some nudity is censored yet some things are not censored such as the graphic violence, slicing, stabbing or nudity itself. Monotone colors are used at times and yet some other scenes are intense in color or vibrancy. Color plays a very important part in this web toon such as the redness of the apples.
Other notes: This web toon is still ongoing but I’m hooked. If this is the type of story for you, you should definitely consider picking up Killing Stalking Manhwa. If you have enjoyed other types of manga that fall under the same or similar genre, feel free to leave it on the comments below.