There will be spoilers for the manhwa series A Man of Virtue.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to homophobia, use of gay slurs, sextortion/blackmail, and sexual assault as it appears in the manhwa.
Jinwoo works with his greatest enemy, Sangtae. Their rivalry began back in high school, where Jinwoo used to dominate academically. However, when Sangtae transfers to Jinwoo’s school, it isn’t long before Jinwoo roots himself firmly in Jinwoo’s spot, leaving Jinwoo permanently in second place. While this is frustrating, Jinwoo isn’t too worried about it. Of course, this won’t last forever. Sangtae is going to go to college, and they probably won’t ever see each other again, right? Wrong. As luck would have, Sangtae ends up working in the same company and even in the same department, and just as he did in high school, Sangtae rules the roost leaving Jinwoo in the dust.
One evening when Jinwoo is particularly frustrated by Sangtae, Jinwoo drinks excessively. Then, in his drunken stupor, he pukes on a haechi statue, drawing the beast’s ire. The following day, at random, Jinwoo is inundated by dirty fantasies to the point that he can barely function. Unfortunately, amid one of these fantasies, Sangtae catches Jinwoo trying to relieve himself, resulting in further embarrassment and rivalry between the two. Amid their fighting, though, Jinwoo realizes that he only gets the fantasies when he is near Sangtae, leading him to conclude that these are actually Sangtae’s fantasies.
With Sangtae mysteriously at the crux of Jinwoo’s curse, will he be able to team up with his greatest enemy to solve this issue? Or is this just one more reason to avoid Sangtae for the rest of his life?
The art isn’t all that great, especially at the beginning. It gets better as it goes on, but it’s pretty stiff, awkward, and inconsistent initially. However, that is not to say it is ugly or anything like that because it isn’t at all. When the art is good, it is good, particularly during the sexy time. This isn’t the only thing I have read or am currently reading by this artist, and it’s incredible to see how far their artwork has come, but if you expect perfection from this, you will be disappointed.
Now, while the art isn’t the strongest, the story does make up for it. I really, really love the concept of this, especially with all the comedy that comes along with it. For example, when they discover there is a certain radius that Jinwoo can see Sangtae’s fantasies, it is absolutely hilarious. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-read the scenes with Jinwoo putting his foot in the radius, then pulling it out of it when he discovered the radius. I don’t know why I find it so funny, but I do. I wouldn’t say this series will make you laugh out loud, but if you like humor mixed into your sexy time, I don’t foresee you being disappointed with this one. Now, I highly recommend The Devil’s Temptation if you want to laugh out loud.
One downside is the lack of BDSM. There are some depictions, especially in the side stories, but the main story is severely lacking in BDSM that doesn’t take place in Jinwoo’s mind. It’s unfortunate because one of the main draws of this series is the BDSM element. Now, the BDSM we do get is sexy and a good time, but I really wish we had gotten some real BDSM and not just the fantasies. My man Sangtae deserves more of that BDSM loving, which is probably why we ended up with the side stories so he could get some of those BDSM fantasies in reality.
Finally, I find it super adorable that Jinwoo fell in love with Sangtae when they were in high school and has secretly held this torch for him all this time. I love that kind of stuff. Now, it’s not apparent from the jump that this is the case. Instead, it’s set up as if they were enemies and rivals in high school, resulting in their antagonistic relationship at work. I say this because if you expect them to have any love or attraction immediately, that is not the case here. It is definitely a hate-to-love situation, but if that’s your thing, you’ve got it here.
I love this series. Is it perfect? Not at all, but it has a unique concept, lots of smutty fun times, and a nice, syrupy romance behind it all, and it just doesn’t get better than that. The art is not the star here, but it doesn’t have to be. I think the story and smut are enough to overcome any of the weak art. I highly recommend this for anyone into smutty BL.
Have you read A Man of Virtue? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!