There will be spoilers for the manhwa series Addiction.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to sextortion/blackmail, violence, dubious consent (dubcon), child abuse, child neglect, bullying, PTSD, and sexual assault, as it appears in the manhwa.
Kim Ho is on the prowl. He may look like a human, but he is far from it. He is actually part of a species of foxes that once owned large swaths of territory that humans have since taken over. To survive, the foxes have integrated into human society in the areas they once ruled and go on the hunt for mates in clubs. Ho is doing his duty for his species by mating with someone in the club bathroom, but a wolf breaks down the stall door just before he can complete his mission.
As it turns out, wolves also used to own territory in this area and had to fight for the same territory as the foxes. The alpha wolf Han Sirang happens to be the one to come upon Ho in the throes of passion. As soon as he figures out what Ho is doing, Sirang, to gain the upper hand, Sirang takes a photo of Ho mid-coitus and threatens him with the image. Unable to do anything else, Ho goes along with Sirang’s demands, primarily sexual in nature, all the while trying to figure out how to get rid of the image so he can be free of Sirang’s influence.
But what started as a game for Sirang appears to be becoming something more.
The art falls into that middle area for me. Sometimes I really, really like it, but other times I am not a fan. Mainly, I am not a fan of how long the faces are. They are long, and I’m just not a fan. However, I really enjoy the choice of this being in black and white with the occasional use of color in their eyes. I find it to be very powerful. I also really enjoy the rough and sketchy nature of the artwork. This is a very dark series and that is only highlighted by the style of the art in the series. Unfortunately, though, almost every character in this suffers from “same-face syndrome.” Most of the wolves are indistinguishable from each other
Unfortunately, where the art is lacking, the story doesn’t do much to pick up the slack. The world-building, in particular, is severely lacking. The story’s description says that they seek out other foxes and wolves and that Ho was actually mating with a fox in the bathroom when he was caught, but that isn’t made clear in the work itself. It appears that the two species, the foxes and the wolves, have to breed with humans to procreate, but there are often mentions of them breeding within their species, so I’m not sure why they need humans to begin with. There are also implications that men in the fox species can become pregnant. However, there is no mention of the same in the wolf species, so I’m not sure why they would go out to mate with humans if male wolves can’t get pregnant, as I imagine it would be challenging to keep up with the women who get pregnant. It’s also unclear whether they can interbreed between the foxes and wolves. There’s just not enough world-building in this super short series.
The ending to the main story also isn’t that great. The romance is a bit of a whirlwind, with Sirang and Ho going from a coercive and forced relationship to suddenly confessing their love for each other. However, it ends with Sirang busting into the bathroom to stop Ho from being raped. Based on Sirang’s narration leading up to that moment, it seemed he thought Ho was willingly having sex with this other person and couldn’t fight against the expectations of breeding for their species. They meet each other’s gaze in the bathroom stall… and then it ends. That’s it. That’s the end of the main story, which is painfully disappointing. I imagine that is part of the reason they created the side stories, so we could see them reconcile and finally confirm their relationship, but I hate that we had to get a side story with that and not have it solved via the main story.
What’s worse about that, though, is they reconcile away from that initial scenario. We don’t see the fallout from that ending scene. We don’t have any context on what happened after or anything like that. The reader is just thrown into a moment where the foxes are planning a trip, the wolves are being invited along with them, and Ho works to get close to Sirang again. They don’t mention what their current relationship is or what happened following the run-in at the club, nor do we have any clarity on the situation between the foxes and wolves now. It’s not even all that clear what the problem is between the wolves and foxes in the main story. We’re repeatedly told that they shouldn’t mix together, and they try to avoid each other, but there is no reason why. There are also mentions of a grandfather on the wolves’ side who would disapprove of Sirang’s relationship with Ho. However, we never see the grandfather, nor do we get any clarity on what the grandfather’s role is in the pack.
This isn’t one I would recommend, which I don’t feel like I say very often. The story and art are rough, and there isn’t enough sex to make up for all of that. It has a ton of potential but isn’t executed well. I wish it were longer and more time was given to world-building, but here we are. There is an all-ages version, which I can’t imagine is much better, especially since it is everything I mentioned without sex.
Have you read Addiction? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!
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