Hey guys! Welcome back to another OWLS post. For this month I decided to sign up for the last day of February, thinking that would give me enough time to figure out what to write about. Turns out I was wrong…such is the life of a procrastinator…
In February, we will be exploring love and romance. The word selected is “adore” because it has two main connotations: to be loved and respected or to feel worshipped. We will analyze characters that give us a feeling of admiration and explain why we love those characters. We will also be exploring different forms of love (familial, friendship, and even self-love) and how those types of love influence our lives.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Anyways, after much crying and staring aimlessly at the clock change from 1pm to 11pm, I finally decided to do something different for this month’s tour. I usually focus on one series and talk about how certain elements relate to the theme, but because there are so many things I adore, I thought I’d explain a bit about my fascination for the psychological and throw in some titles that portray different types of loves that are not exactly healthy.
Well, we probably have to go back to my childhood where I was rejected by this really cute guy who took me on unofficial dates around the local area. He probably realized I was a weirdo who would “coincidentally” show up to the library only on the days he was there…
Ok no, I’m just kidding. I’ve just always had a fascination for the morbid. I think that the extremes on the unhealthy spectrum are very interesting. In our society we can’t really express desires like wanting to seriously kill someone or beat people without consequences because it doesn’t conform to what our society considers “correct” (and I don’t think any of this IS correct, it’s bad, don’t be mean). So when I find myself reading about someone who has crossed this line and are getting away with things, I am just HOOKED.
I want to know what they are doing that lets them get away with these actions and, in webcomics, the reason tends to be love.
If you guys have read (or even heard of) Killing Stalking, you know this has unhealthy depictions of love. We have Bum (a stalker) who loves Sangwoo and Sangwoo (a killer) who appears to have some unnamed affection for Bum, however, there’s just so much physical and mental abuse here that you automatically think, that’s not love! But love can be blinding and Bum is only too quick to forgive Sangwoo for any transgression against his person. We do have moments of real terror, like when Bum is first captured by Sangwoo and he doesn’t want to have his chin slit, but just one nice word or action towards Bum (“I love you”), who also struggles with self-worth issues, makes everything better in this fantasy.
These are characters that never really learned what love was, as we come to learn about their tragic backstories later on in the series.
An Uncomfortable Truth
An Uncomfortable Truth is a webcomic I stumbled upon a year ago and is about two brothers who also have trouble expressing love and knowing limits.
The first time I was exposed to incest in anime was probably art from Oreimo. I ended up watching a bit of the anime but ended up not finishing it for reasons I can’t remember. An Uncomfortable Truth paints things a bit more darkly. We have Yoseob who is being held by the police after he murdered 8 civilians and after he meets the police lieutenant, he decides to confess everything that happened and why he killed everyone. We learn that he was adopted into a loving family that already had a son (Jaeha) after he had been orphaned. The two of them created a very unhealthy dependent relationship without initially realizing. Yoseob always had trouble expressing himself socially because of his abusive family history and Jaeha helped him through it all. Jaeha became his light and he only wanted his brother’s eyes to look his way. If you are thinking yandere-vibes, you are correct.
Jaeha had a different type of dependence. He craved to have someone depend on him, to love him, and instead of seeking help for his brother when he realized Yoseob was violent (stabbing himself and others), he believed he could fix things alone. He believed that if he gave Yoseob enough affection, things would work out. The problem was that the more one fed off the other, the more extreme and our of control the situation became.
Up until it all ended in tragedy.
An Easy Target
This was probably the hardest webcomic I’ve ever read. From beginning to end, there is no stop to the horrors that Kyungsoo has to live through and it breaks my heart that he doesn’t realize this
It all begins when he falls in love with Yul. Like any type of relationship, things are like a dream at first. Boyfriend picks you up from class, takes you on dates, you have sex, and it’s perfect. Up until you wake up and get passed around by your boyfriend’s friends with your boyfriend watching and approving…and taking the last dip. Kyungsoo realizes this is wrong and disappears from Yul’s life, but as we come to learn, there are still some lingering feelings. The problem comes later when Yul finds Kyungsoo and locks him away to use as a sex slave.
And that’s not even the worst part! No, the worst part isn’t even that he later gets taken by Yul’s brother…for the same purpose.
Yul truly believes that what he did was out of love and even expresses confusion over why Kyungsoo is so mad at him. As the story progresses we learn that nobody in his family is truly stable. His brother always covets Yul’s things, which is why he takes an interest in Kyungsoo. His sister seems to coddle him so much that she ignores all his psychopathic tendencies and constantly begs Kyungsoo to stay with Yul. Having to interact with all of these characters causes Kyungsoo to seek actual and true love, but can someone who has never experienced it really recognize it? According to this story, no. Yes, Kyungsoo finds someone “nicer” but Dong-hyuk also becomes obsessive over Kyungsoo and begins to manipulate him in a subtler way…
What is love?
Love has always been a strange concept for me. I’ve only ever dated once and it lasted a little over 2 years. Thinking back on it, I hardly ever told my partner that I loved him and if I did, I probably wanted something. He was the one that said it the most and I would respond by saying “me too”.
Even when people ask me now if I loved him, I can’t really say. Perhaps I might have felt something then, but right now I would say no. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced love before and I don’t think I ever will
First off, I don’t even know what love IS and second, I refuse to say it. It’s so easy to say we love something and even that we love our family members because there’s an expectation there, but when it comes to something more, I always feel hesitant. I don’t want to lie, but am I lying? I guess I feel like if I Love someone, it should be an experience as romanticized as it is on TV. Imagine my surprise when I had my first kiss. I was disappointed that no actual fireworks went off, but instead of disagreeing with the concept, my thoughts immediately went to find the fault. Was there something wrong with me? Maybe I did something wrong? Or was it because my partner wasn’t “The One”? Does the One even exist?!
Perhaps this is why romance isn’t my favorite genre and why I gravitate towards more “bad romance” type stories.
p.s. I have probably said “I love you” romantically one dozen times but I have NEVER said “Te amo” to anyone. The power of language
Whelp! That’s all for this month’s blog tour. If you haven’t already checked out everyone’s posts, a roundup will be up soon on the OWLS site (in the meantime, check out Scott’s post on His and Her Circumstances and work your way back to the first post!).
Also, we are having our first livestream for 2019 this Saturday at 4:30pm PST!! Our hosts will be Lyn, Mel, and Marth so keep a lookout for more information via the OWLS twitter page, facebook page, or follow us on YouTube (and click the bell) to get all notifications~