There will be spoilers for the manhwa series Love on My Terms.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to incest, pedophilia, attempted murder, sexual assault/rape, and homophobia, as it appears in the manhwa.
Mogyum is a former child star trying to make a comeback as an adult. However, the unfortunate accident that led him to drop out of the limelight haunts him, hindering his acting. However, what makes acting that much harder is Mogyum's co-star, Chamin, who seems oddly fixated on Mogyum. Chamin is an established A-lister who acted with Mogyum when they were kids on the same set where the traumatic accident occurred. What Mogyum doesn't know about Chamin is that Chamin can read minds, which is part of the reason he has become such a great actor.
However, Chamin is so drawn to Mogyum in the first place because Mogyum is the only person whose thoughts Chamin can't read. So, to learn why and to better their chemistry on screen, Chamin offers Mogyum a contract. A dating contract would allow Chamin and Mogyum to intimately act out their scenes together as if they were actually dating while the two live together at Chamin's house. While Mogyum is hesitant at first, learning more about acting from an A-lister like Chamin is too good an opportunity to pass up.
Things start to get a little too real, though, and soon, the lines between characters and reality begin to blur. While Mogyum and Chamin are sorting out their feelings, the mystery of Mogyum's accident looms in the background, threatening to destroy everything for them once more.
Let me go ahead and get my art comments out of the way. The art is nice for a good chunk of the story. I really loved that sketchy style at the start; if you aren't a fan of that, it does go away and cleans up as the story goes on. It sort of gave me Oh! My Assistant vibes (though, to be clear, they are nothing alike other than they both have sketchier styles, but even that goes away after a while for Love on My Terms). However, where it doesn't look great is really apparent. There is something about the size of the heads, the eye shapes, and even the face shapes that just go wonky. I also have to mention that Doyoon's dimple looks more like a scar or dirt. I also believe it ends up swapping sides a few times. Don't get me wrong, though, there are some gorgeous panels in this, and the cover art is yum for sure. This isn't for you if you are looking for perfection in every panel, though.
One thing I have to praise this for before I get too deep into the story is that we don't waste a ton of time on misunderstandings in this. Our main characters, Chamin and Mogyum, thankfully get their act together pretty quickly and, as a result, get together pretty quickly. That is always a refreshing change from the tired trope of “will they, won't they” we usually see. Once they get together, it's pretty much smooth sailing as far as their relationship is concerned, minus a few insecurities, which aren't really worth mentioning. So, with that being said, where does the tension for the rest of the story come from? The main focus is really on solving the mystery of the fire that caused Mogyum to quit acting as a child.
I thought that because the mystery element of the story took over the romance, we would get to see more of Chamin's mind-reading ability come into play. However, because Chamin spends so much of his time with Mogyum and can't read Mogyum's thoughts, we don't actually get to see it that much, which is a real shame. To make things even more disappointing on that front, Chamin briefly loses his ability, which isn't really explored all that much. It's pretty much just swept under the rug. I feel like that should have been fleshed out a bit more because I really liked that concept. I also would have liked to see more of an explanation as to what made Mogyum special and immune to Chamin's mind-reading abilities. I also have to mention some of the random flashbacks to scenes that aren't actually present in the main story and are just shoehorned in without explanation. It made it feel like I had missed something when, in reality, these flashback panels aren't flashbacks to something we have already seen. I get it, though. It is a fairly short series, so there is only so much time to dedicate to those story elements, especially when you have so much sexy time to get to. Let me just say there is a lot of it, and it is all great. So, if the story isn't that big of a deal to you, and you're just here for the good times, then yes. This is for you. If you're looking for nicely tied-up storylines, you will probably be disappointed.
Finally, it's time to discuss the side couple. I don't think there should have been a side couple simply because the two characters who make up said side couple are generally terrible people. Doyoon is just generally an asshole, while Seungho is a murderous asshole who desperately needs therapy (not to say Doyoon doesn't need therapy, but of the two, I think Seungho could use it a bit more). They are perfect for each other because of how toxic they are, but I wish we didn't have them coming together through a love triangle. Joonyoung is Seungho's former manager who has absolutely no character development at all until his sudden appearance in Seungho's arc. He is a completely innocent and seemingly good guy and ends up in this twisted love affair between Doyoon and Seungho. I couldn't be happy for their relationship because it ultimately meant Joonyoung, the only good guy in this trio of toxicity that isn't toxic, gets hurt. Hurts bad.
This one is fun for the sexy time, not a great time for the story, but I think it achieves what it sets out to do. The mystery element ends up being a much bigger point than I initially expected, completely overshadowing the supernatural part. I think this really would have benefited from being longer. We could have gotten more background to help us empathize with our characters and their implicated traumas. Joonyoung might have actually obtained some redemption in the end, and maybe we could have gotten that supernatural element more fleshed out. Regardless, though, it was a fun ride.
Have you read Love on My Terms? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!