There will be spoilers for the manhwa series In My Closet.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to self-deprecation, self-hatred, idol culture, violence, homomisia, child labor (specifically idol-training), assault, solicitation, dieting, gossiping, being outed, age gap, sexism, manipulation, stalking, BDSM, excessive drinking, abusive and toxic relationship, PTSD, chronic illness, strained familial relationships, and blood, as it appears in the manhwa.
Sua knew he was gay from the moment he saw his first love: Jung, an idol at the same agency Sua was training in. It's enough of an intense moment that Sua nearly quits his training, afraid of what these feelings might mean for him in the future, only to be convinced to stick with it. Thankfully, he does and ends up being part of the successful idol group L. Boys. All is well in the world until the group's new manager is introduced.
As it turns out, it is Jung who had quit being an idol some time ago for unknown reasons. Suddenly, all of those quietly kept feelings come bubbling back up. Unlike in his youth, Sua is no longer terrified of these feelings. If anything, he sees this as an opportunity. It has to be fate that has brought them back together, and Sua isn't going to let the moment pass him by. Sua is determined to seduce Jung and make his first love his forever. But will Jung take the bait?
Before we talk about the art, I do want to mention that this is similar to Cherry Blossoms After Winter with the non-explicit first few seasons, then a split off of explicit seasons with a non-explicit variant. I always read the explicit version over the all-ages variant when available, so please note that this review is based on the first two seasons, which are all-ages, but then on the explicit version of the third season. You can read this entirely as all-ages, but I can't speak on the all-age version of the third season's quality or content. I do imagine the third season is probably very, very steamy, as the third season is littered with smut, so be warned that while the third season might be censored, it probably still isn't totally SFW. Granted, even the first two seasons are pretty steamy even without an explicit version, so be warned. Please note the link I provide at the end of the review is to the all-ages version, as the first two seasons are exclusively all-age. To read the explicit third season and subsequent side stories, you will have to search for it on the platform.
The art in this is very bright and airy, with very vibrant coloring. However, it is not my style whatsoever. All of the characters look very similar from one to the other, and I find the eyes to be far too big for their faces. Their chins are very narrow, and it's just overall inconsistent. It sort of reminds me of classic, old-school yaoi, just with color. That's not to say it isn't pretty because it is. It just isn't my personal preference. However, I have to say the chibis in this are chef's kiss. They are super round and cute and actually very, very consistent, which brought my heart so much joy. Sua's chibi pout is probably one of the best character expressions in existence and is so worth seeing.
While they don't necessarily have same-face syndrome, some characters look very alike. I'm not sure if this is an error in translation or if this was just a general error in the original language, too, but Yoon and Jung are mixed up. There is a scene of them in the van together. Jung gets in the front passenger seat while Yoon and Sua sit in the next row. Yoon is texting someone, clearly uncomfortable, while Jung is upfront, just hanging out. Sua is feeling self-conscious because he believes Hyun and Jung were in love during their idol days together. Sua ends up calling Yoon “Jung,” and they have a conversation as if Yoon is Jung and Yoon is telling Sua not to worry about his relationship with his former idol group members. It's a very confusing scene, and while this doesn't happen again, it does represent a problem with characters being so similar design-wise.
I really dislike the side couple of Yoon and Hyun. Really, though, I only dislike one half of the couple: Hyun. He's a tsundere type, which isn't my favorite. Don't get me wrong, I like tsundere characters (Hye-sung from Love is an Illusion! for sure), but Hyun is just unnecessarily cruel to Yoon both physically and mentally. I hate that he tries to hurt Yoon by flirting with who he assumes is Yoon's boyfriend, and I hate that he also goes to the lengths of hitting Yoon when he's embarrassed or angry (which is all the time). Tsunderes are usually cruel, though it's usually depicted as being silly and foolish, and while Hyun does come off as foolish, he doesn't have that silly and ditzy quality to him. So what usually would come off as playful is much more calculating and mean, which sucks all of the fun out of the tsundere archetype. The specials at the end remedy this a bit, with Hyun being a bit more lighthearted and silly trying to show his love to Yoon, but it's far too late for that development, and I just couldn't bring myself to like him.
This is cute and has some super sweet and fluffy moments. It is a major feel-good read, with very little tension and almost no misunderstandings, which I am a huge fan of. It does meander a bit because it is so soft and doesn't always have a course of action, but it will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy by the end. It's not all sweet, though. That final season is smutty spice for days and is a delectable sweet and spicy snack. I recommend.
Have you read In My Closet? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!