There will be spoilers for the manhwa series I Have a Boyfriend.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to gossiping, bullying, child abuse, child abandonment, death, manipulation, homomisia, religion, and blackmail, as it appears in the manhwa.
Hyunho is a show-out when it comes to soccer. It's his life, and he hopes to go pro before graduation. When he isn't thinking of soccer, though, he keeps the torch for his middle school friend Gyul lit. Unfortunately, due to unfortunate circumstances in Gyul's family forcing him to move away and Hyunho having to go to a different school, the two never speak again. Even so, Hyunho can't help thinking back to that sweet little boy who gave him the courage and opportunity to follow his dream as a soccer player.
To Hyunho's surprise, he ends up running into Gyul on campus. Hyunho is ecstatic, considering this his chance to confess his feelings to his long-lost love finally, but Gyul isn't the bright and smiley boy he once was. Instead, when Hyunho tries to get close to him, Gyul is cold. So cold that Hyunho wonders if this is even the same person. As Hyunho scours campus to get more information on Gyul, he discovers that most people avoid Gyul simply because he isn't at all friendly and spends all his time studying or working to pay for his little brother's school fees and put himself through college at the same time.
This doesn't deter Hyunho in the least. He's determined to do everything he can to help lighten Gyul's load and, hopefully, woo him in the process. Regardless, he just wants Gyul to be happy again.
The art on the cover is what drew me in. It looks so cute and wholesome, and thankfully the art in the story itself doesn't disappoint in that regard. It is just as cute and wholesome. This was the first thing I read from this creator, prompting me to buy everything I could find that was licensed. It's not perfect by any means. There are these weird panels where the only things visible are the eyes, nose, and mouth, which weren't my favorite. The eyes go a bit wonky at times, their faces are oddly shaped, and the hairstyles aren't perfect, but it's so cute and unique that it's worth all of the inconsistencies. As a warning, everything they do is in black and white, which is unique for manhwa. However, some of my faves are in black and white, so don't let that deter you. I assure you, this goes beyond an adorable art style.
I want to end on a good note this time around, so let me talk about the one major downside of this series. The translation is rough. There are a lot of poorly worded sections and grammar mistakes, and they speak like they're writing a college essay, even in casual conversation. This is a relatively old manhwa, so I am sure that's part of the problem, but it's still sad to see when the story is so good. I don't mind the occasional typo, but the odd way they speak to each other is on a whole other level. It's awkward and takes you out of the mood.
Other than that, though, I love this. I've been reading a ton of fantastical and heavy drama-based manhwa lately, so to have something so grounded in reality with reasonable drama was such a treat. I also love a good college romance, as it's such a turbulent time to learn about yourself, so it's always interesting to see what happens when you throw a romance on top of that. Hyunho is also such a bright beam of sunshine. He makes you want to root for him and his romance with Gyul. He carries the story along and often takes on the role of the reader, providing justice to those who harm Gyul and his brother. I love Hyunho so much. If my husband doesn't love me like Hyunho, I will just throw him away.
Of course, Gyul has it much harder than most run-of-the-mill college students, but it was so lovely to see him slowly start to open up and rely on Hyunho. It all begins with them being somewhat prickly, specifically with Gyul wanting to avoid Hyunho as much as possible. Gyul wants so badly to work hard and do everything on his own, as everyone he has ever wanted to rely on has either betrayed or guilted him for doing so. They had to go through bankruptcy, which tore away their lifestyle and ruined their reputation. His mother left them after their father died. His friends and classmates bullied him because of his sad past, and his aunt, who took him and his brother in to finish raising them, claims to have used up all of their father's life insurance and blames them for the financial burden put on their family. Gyul has every reason for distrusting people, but over time, because of Hyunho's tenacity, love, and kindness, we get to see Gyul's cold exterior melt away, and soon Gyul is relying on Hyunho, asking for favors and accepting his help when offered. It's such subtle and excellent character growth. I love it so much.
I love this one. I don't think that's a big surprise to anyone. It was such a nice little treat, especially since we get to see them outside of college in the side story, which was a delicious cherry on top of an already yummy cake. I highly recommend this for anyone in desperate need of something fluffy and sweet but with a touch of spice (there are some sex scenes, though there are very few, and succinct). It's such a good one and definitely one of my favorites.
Have you read I Have a Boyfriend? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!