There will be spoilers for the manhwa series Love Shuttle.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to health issues, dubious consent, mpreg, sexual assault, violence, sexism, misgendering, invasion of medical privacy, manipulation, bullying, BDSM, gossiping, blood, incest, obsession, possessiveness, and toxic relationships, as it appears in the manhwa.
Doyun feels like he's only a half-omega. From the time he was small, it was clear he wouldn't be the standard, stereotypical omega. As the youngest of four, all his older brothers being alphas, he was the strongest and tallest. What's worse is that he has never gone into heat, which means he can't get pregnant, nor can he sense or put out pheromones to attract alphas. Doyun isn't all that concerned, content with his life as it is, though it does bother him when people assume he is an alpha based solely on his build. The main worry is that one day he might randomly manifest and won't be able to protect himself, but there is no sign of that happening anytime soon, so Doyun isn't all that worried about it.
One evening, after having his regular scuffles at work with his coworker Taehan, Doyun is hanging out at home, trying to sleep, when he is struck with a panicky feeling. His body is heating up, and his heart is racing. He's never felt anything like this before, but he's pretty sure he knows what this is: his first heat. He calls his doctor, who rushes over, only to find that the feeling he had is gone. The following day, at an after-work dinner with his coworkers, Doyun sits beside Taehan when that feeling hits him again. This time, though, he puts out pheromones that everyone at the table can smell. The only one who realizes it's coming from Doyun is Taehan, and when Doyun attempts to leave on his own, Taehan follows.
Rather than Taehan taking advantage of Doyun, Doyun ends up pouncing on Taehan, leading to Doyun's first night in full heat with an alpha. The next day, panicked, Doyun rushes away from Taehan, hoping he'll just forget the whole thing. While they agree to put it behind them, Doyun's body doesn't seem interested in forgetting, going into heat over and over again whenever Taehan is near. Why can't Doyun seem to escape Taehan's allure?
The art changes by leaps and bounds as the series progresses, getting better and better as we move along, but it is still super inconsistent. The body proportions go wonky a ton, the posing is sometimes stiff and awkward, the hands are rough, and the ears look too big and high on the sides of their heads. It's just not the prettiest or most consistent thing out there. The shading choices are also weird. Their facial features have very distinct lines and shading, but their bodies have this smudge shading to them that just looks out of place. Again, it does get better as it goes along, but it is really rough for the first half, at least. I love seeing work improve over time, so it was a worthwhile journey.
Another thing that's a bit bothersome is the way time is shown. It's impossible to determine the timeline for this. As the name suggests, this shuttles you through a rapid romance that almost instantaneously develops from hate to love. I don't know how either of them has a job since they constantly go into rut and heat. Doyun is understandable since he is a very late bloomer, and his heats are stabilizing, but the frequency in which Taehan's heats come and go seems a bit much over the time period we're privy to. I'm sure way more time passes than is shown, but that's unclear, as they often use short-term terminology like “a few days ago” and the like. I would have just liked a more distinct description or indication of time passing.
I feel like I've been pretty tough on this one when I really like it. So, let's talk about one of the major positives. The humor is excellent. The premise is based on two people with crappy personalities working through their issues together. It works super well, and even though they're both trash in their own ways, I love them. The subtle ways they show that they love each other before they even realize it themselves gives me all the feels. Some examples include Doyun saying he could have picked any other alpha but couldn't think of anyone except Taehan. Taehan finds himself constantly thinking of Doyun. It's all so sweet and subtle. Makes my shriveled old heart pitter-patter. Besides some of the inconsistent art, the smut is everything, too. These two have sex constantly, so you will not be disappointed if you want lots of smut.
Unfortunately, we're back to some negatives. The side couple with their dedicated side story is not my favorite. I didn't like the doctor as a character, and Dojun was just annoying. While the whole trash coming together to become treasure worked well with Taehan and Doyun, it isn't nearly as successful with Jinyoung and Dojun. This is also where many of the more… questionable tags come into play. In the side story, Jinyoung and Dojun's relationship is threatened by Dojun's brother Do-Hwa, who is attracted to Dojun. Yeah, good old brother-brother incest. That felt pretty out of left field, and it just highlighted how much of an asshole Do-Hwa and Jinyoung are. I felt terrible for Dojun, something I didn't feel at all throughout the main series. If you are into incest, I still don't think this is worth it, just because the sexual content between the two is minimal and with dubious consent. They also don't end up together, so there is that.
The worst part about the side stories is no baby reveal. Doyun is still pregnant during the side stories, which is so disappointing since the author's note implied we'd be getting stories about the baby. I was planning on doing this review way earlier when I first read it almost a year ago as of writing, but I was hoping for more side stories. Since it says completed again on Lezhin with no indication we're getting more content, I gave in and worked on this review. I am still hoping there will be more content because I would love to see Doyun and Taehan's married life with their baby, but it's not looking good. If there is, you can be sure I will update this review.
I love this. It's one of the first omegaverse I've ever read, so it has huge nostalgia vibes for me. Admittedly, that probably makes me biased, but I've read this multiple times at this point, and I still enjoy the main story. I skip the side stories every time because I just despise the side couple, but our main couple is everything. If you're interested in omegaverse and looking for fun smut, I can't recommend the main story enough. I can't say the same for the side stories. Those are a miss.
Have you read Love Shuttle? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!