There will be spoilers for the manhwa series Kinks in Development.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to violence, blood, homomisia (including use of the f-slur), bullying, pseudo-incest, implied incest, implied pedophilia/molestation, obsession, memory loss, rape, BDSM, harassment, coercion, murder, child abuse, sex work, drug use, possessiveness, stalking, PTSD, adoption, homelessness, attempted drugging, confinement, self-loathing, blackmail, suicidal threats, and suicide attempt, as it appears in the manhwa.
Jaewon's life has been pretty smooth since moving in with his casual sex partner. In exchange for sex, he's fed, clothed, and housed without having to do much else, which is a great deal as far as Jaewon is concerned. He spends his days idly until his partner asks him to sign up for martial arts classes at the dojang he works at. Jaewon isn't interested, but if that's all he asks, he could do that, at least. He joins a class, inadvertently joining under the tutelage of a former classmate, Jung-wook.
For whatever reason, Jung-wook seems to have it out for Jaewon, not that Jaewon is making it hard for him. Jaewon is lazy and self-important, spending class time napping or playing around, and while that's enough to draw the ire of Jung-wook, the reasons are so much deeper than that. Jung-wook and Jaewon got close in middle school, far closer than friends. They kissed and shared some of the most intimate moments of their lives, both when they needed it the most. Jung-wook was ruthlessly bullied and tortured in school, and though Jaewon never came to his defense, he often lessened the bullying as much as he could by hanging out with the bullies. Jung-wook was fine with this arrangement, and he was fine even when Jaewon ended up spreading a rumor around the school, making the bullying worse.
What Jung-wook couldn't stand was Jaewon moving on and abandoning him. Jung-wook wants revenge, and he's willing to give Jaewon his body if he can get revenge. What Jung-wook doesn't know is that Jaewon doesn't remember anything about his betrayal. He hardly remembers Jung-wook at all, and he's all too happy to go on this lusty ride of vengeance.
This is another one that gives shotacon vibes because of the style in which our main character is drawn. He is not a minor, but he is very, very young looking, which is not my favorite. He looks identical in the present-day panels as in the middle school panels, giving the impression that he never really grew up past that. With that in mind, it makes the sex scenes very uncomfortable, and with a title like Kinks in Development, there's no question that there are a ton of sex scenes. Even beyond the uncomfy design of our bottom, the art is usually ugly. Don't let the cover fool you. It is hardly ever so soft and pretty like that. It is super consistent in its inconsistency. That's not to say it can't look pretty. There are some very nice-looking panels, and I love the chibi panels, but when the chibi panels are the best looking most of the time, that's a problem. If art quality is essential to you, this probably is a miss.
Story-wise, this is pretty chaotic. This is very short but with story beats that are very similar to PAID. It doesn't work nearly as well as it does in PAID, and I think part of it is due to the creator trying to fit so much more than PAID had in a similar length work (PAID has 55 episodes, while Kinks in Development has 58 episodes). Like PAID, our main character suffers from memory loss due to an accident. There is an asshole older brother hurting people and being a menace. Jung-wook starts a physical relationship with Jaewon to get revenge for being cast off. So far, this is almost identical to PAID. However, what this has that PAID doesn't is the addition of a secondary love interest that is actively trying to kidnap and confine Jaewon. The older brother (in this case, Jung-wook's older brother) has a sexual attraction toward him that he expresses through roleplay with a random sex partner that seems to be trying to undermine the family company. There are just so many added facets to this that are never really fleshed out. It makes the story fly by, as a result, but it also ends up feeling like nothing was explored. I never thought I would say this, but I think this needed less smut and more story development. Either that or fewer characters with the same amount of smut.
For more specific examples that cause so much chaos and probably could have been dropped, let's go over some of the secondary characters. The secondary love interest with Jaewon also doesn't make much sense. He is presented as another teacher at the dojang, but he also seems to have ties to the underworld and utilizes them to corner and tie Jaewon to him. The criminal underworld side to him felt a bit like an afterthought and was one of those aspects I think could have been dropped without much hindrance to the overall story. Similarly, the older brother's relationship with his sex partner is hinted at and implied as long-term with some kind of contract. Then there is some indication that they've broken up, only for it to be revealed that the sex partner is actually some kind of mole trying to blackmail Seongjin. I think the clingy, incestuous, and desperate older brother would have been enough on his own without the corruption and scheming of a conglomerate. I also think the secondary love interest could have been just as obsessive and weird without the added underground weirdness he had tacked onto him.
I've been pretty critical of this one, and I'd like to end with something positive, so I want to talk about the best part of this entire series: the humor. I wanted to say the smut, but the weirdness over Jaewon's design is just too uncomfy to say that's a positive. There is plenty of smut, so if that's all you need to hear, there you go. But what I really like is the humor in this. Jaewon is one of my favorite types: the horny, ditzy, and prickly bottom, which he fits perfectly. He's childish and blunt, leading to all humorous situations. If you liked Hye-sung from Love is an Illusion!, then you'll like Jaewon. Jaewon's a bit more bubbly than Hye-sung, but he still has that edginess. It's nowhere near as funny as The Devil's Temptation, but it did make me laugh a couple of times, which was great.
This was pretty disappointing. The tons of smut might make it worth it for some people, but if you're looking for a strong narrative alongside your smut, this isn't worth it in the least. For me, this is a miss.
Have you read Kinks in Development? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!