There will be spoilers for the manhwa series Love is an Illusion!.
Trigger Warning: Sexual assault, abortion, child abuse, rape, prostitution, kidnapping, and child abandonment may be discussed as it appears in the manhwa.
Hye-sung is an alpha. Er, or at least he thinks he is an alpha. However, that belief quickly goes down the drain while Hye-sung is working at a party and runs into the dominant alpha and musician, Dojin. After being exposed to Dojin's pheromones, Hye-sung goes into heat. Dojin tries to take care of Hye-sung and save him from himself as the newly awakened omega tries to throw himself on a few alphas. Dojin whisks Hye-sung away to a hotel where Hye-sung rants and raves that there is no way he could be an omega. Finally, Dojin, flustered by Hye-sung's pheromones and frustrated by Hye-sung's delusional beliefs, proves to Hye-sung that he is indeed an omega… physically.
After the dirty deed, Dojin realizes that he actually enjoyed it even though he supposedly hates omegas because of the notion that omegas and alphas have to be together. Even more distressing is that Dojin follows up their encounter by writing a song that his peers say is his best work yet. Believing it is just a coincidence, he runs into Hye-sung again, and they have another steamy encounter that not only results in another great song but something neither of them expects: a baby.
Hye-sung wants to get rid of the baby while Dojin intends to keep it, but more importantly, he now desperately wants to hang on to Hye-sung. They make a deal together where Dojin will pay Hye-sung to carry the baby to term, and Dojin will assume full parental responsibilities. Hye-sung will finally be financially comfortable, and he won't have to be a mother. Still, Dojin plans on doing anything he can to talk Hye-sung into raising their baby together. The problem is he only has the span of Hye-sung's pregnancy to do it.
Let me go ahead and out myself: I am a mega-fan of this. Like I don't go a day without thinking of this. I have 20,000 screenshots of different panels that I peruse throughout the day. This was my first omegaverse comic of any kind, and it has, unfortunately, set a standard that I have yet to find in any other piece of omegaverse media. I say all this because if you are expecting a harsh critique of this series, then you are in the wrong place. I have way too much love to shower on this piece, and I plan on pouring it all over this review. Prepare to drown.
Let me start with the art: I love it. This might be my favorite art style of all time. I love it all so much. I don't think there is a single character design I am not attracted to of all the couples. Dojin, in particular, is so hot I can't express how much of a turn-on all of his scenes are. On the other side of the spectrum, we have Chowon, probably the prettiest man I have ever seen in my life. I am attracted to all men, regardless of their presentation. I was equally drawn to Dojin as I was to Chowon and pretty much every other character that falls in between. Then there is Byul, the cutest baby in the world. The only critique I might have in design is the fact that Byul pretty much only looks like Hye-sung. I would have really liked to have seen a baby with a better mix of their features, but Byul is so adorable. Who cares?
Then, we need to talk about the story. Most BL stories claim to be drama-based, and while they often are filled with drama, 99% of the drama is just an unfortunate misunderstanding. This story is one of the few where I felt the drama was more reliant on the characters' pasts and was much more active than some of the more passive dramas I usually see. What do I mean by active and passive? Active is where a character doesn't rely solely on their own thoughts to create drama for themselves but instead takes action. Passive is where a character fabricates drama through misunderstandings. Misunderstandings are pretty played out to me, so this was super refreshing. They knew their issues; they fought over them and ultimately resolved them together. Both male leads are pretty forward in their feelings, so the drama is created based on that, not because they cannot communicate.
If I had to give something some kind of criticism, it would be the story of Chowon and Kyungsoo. I really hated Chowon, and I found him wholly irredeemable. I mean, he tried to have Heesoo raped, for goodness sake. If that doesn't make someone an unforgivable monster, I don't know what would. I don't think he deserved a happily ever after with Kyungsoo, especially since he is such a ray of sunshine, but maybe that's why they work well together. If I had it my way, though, Chowon would have ended up alone.
Even with that, though, we still get such a complete story packed from beginning to end with delicious drama, steamy sex scenes, and fun family moments. Hye-sung is forever my favorite tsundere, Dojin is the daddy of my dreams, and Byul is a precious bean that should always be protected. Even for how long and well-crafted this all is, I can't help but selfishly crave more. If I had it my way, this story would never end, and I would just live in this world forever. I can only hope we get more from Fargo, especially more “raising a family” style omegaverse stories, but at this point, I think I'd read anything from this creator.
This is probably my favorite manhwa of all time. I have re-read this series 4 – 5 times when writing this, and I anticipate that number to only increase as I constantly find myself coming back to this masterpiece. I absolutely love this manhwa, if you can't tell by the review thus far. It single-handedly made me obsess over the omegaverse, and I've read more of the creator's work since then (which I plan on reviewing, as well). I can't recommend it enough to anyone who is not bothered by the trigger warnings or the subject matter.
Have you read Love is an Illusion!? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!