There will be spoilers for the manhwa series Angel Buddy.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to suicide, self-harm, bullying, and death, as it appears in the manhwa.
Sooho can see ghosts. Unfortunately, he's one of the few who can, and as a result, all manner of creatures that go bump in the night show up to bug him. Since he is the only one who can see them, he is a social pariah among his classmates. However, it becomes even harder to look normal when an angel named Taker appears before him. Angels can see souls, and Sooho happens to have an extremely powerful soul. Naturally, Taker would love to harvest Sooho's soul, but Taker's days of soul-harvesting are over, and now he wants nothing more than to sate his curiosities and live among humans.
Unwilling to let anyone have Sooho's soul, Taker makes him an offer: let me be your bodyguard. Taker will help keep the ghosts at bay, and in exchange, Taker gets to hang around Sooho. While this is all fine and dandy at first, Sooho's soul begins to attract more than just ghosts. Angels and demigods alike are drawn to Sooho, so it's more important than ever for Taker to stick around. Over time, though, Taker's curiosity grows into something much stronger, and even Sooho finds himself drawn to Taker. What could grow between an angel and a human?
The art is super pretty; let me go ahead and get that out of the way. It isn't perfect, but there are some stunning character designs and panels, and it is hard to fault it. In particular, our man Taker is gorgeous. He is daddy material through and through. His birdsona form is adorable, much like Hyun's chickensona from The Devil's Temptation. I love a hot top with a precious second form.
The story is all over the place, which isn't all that surprising since it deals with time travel and a supernatural world that hasn't really been fleshed out. However, I actually think the time travel is probably the most interesting and well-executed part of all this. What really confused me was the inexplicable ability Sooho's mother has to fight off angels. I wish it would have gone into more detail as to why Sooho's mom has this unique ability. I also wish there was more clarity on the rules, expectations, and hierarchy the angels should follow. It seems like some angels just arbitrarily show up and do things that are against the rules, but then we have Taker, who consistently seems to go against the rules of angels without any actual intervention. I know Taker isn't a regular angel because he lost his blacklist, but surely he would have some other tasks given to him. What does an angel do without a blacklist? I feel like more world-building was needed here to help clarify some of those details.
Even with that, though, I absolutely love Sooho and Taker's relationship. I love the whole curious, ignorant non-human who latches onto and eventually falls in love with a human scenario. It makes the gradual change from cold angel to loving partner that much sweeter and more meaningful. But then, when Sooho officially gets placed on the blacklist and begins to deteriorate, seeing Taker become a caregiver for Sooho is heartrending. It was so lovely and sweet but so painful because inevitably, Sooho will die, and Taker can't do anything about it. That was probably the most substantial arc of the entire series. It was painful but equally beautiful, and this section leads to the time travel bit, which I felt was super well-executed. It was pretty quick, which I think played into why it went so well. There wasn't a lot of overexplaining or trying to be clever with a ton of flashbacks. It was very clean, and I love that we get that really sad arc ultimately resolved so cleanly.
Finally, I need to discuss the explicit tag I've added to this series. The main story itself does not contain any nudity. There is sexual content, but nothing explicit. However, a side story published separately on Lezhin Comics is explicit. Technically, since it is still part of the series, I have decided to mark this series as mature and explicit. However, the main story is not sexually explicit. It was actually a nice change of pace as most BL I've read as of late is explicit – I'm not complaining, but it is refreshing to experience BL without that explicit element. The side story is not necessary to the story, so if you'd like to skip the explicit portion, you can without losing out on any story.
This is a solid BL manhwa. It holds a very special place in my heart, primarily due to that painful scene of Sooho growing weaker and weaker, all while Taker can do nothing but watch. I am a sucker for sad stories, and this definitely strikes a chord. However, the sad bit is only a tiny part of an overall wholesome story filled with lovey-dovey goodness and just a touch of sexy stuff. I highly recommend it.
Have you read Angel Buddy? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!