There will be spoilers for the manhwa series Master of Master.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to animal cruelty, BDSM, dubious consent (dubcon), obsession, child neglect, violence, and sexual assault, as it appears in the manhwa.
Euncheol has led a lonely life. To stave away the loneliness, he frequently jumps from bedmate to bedmate and from relationship to relationship, hoping to one day feel the unconditional love he so desperately craves. Then, after a particularly messy breakup, his friends suggest he try getting a dog instead. Euncheol doesn't feel all that confident in the prospect of that, but he goes on to a shelter all the same, where he meets Jonggu, a nervous mutt in need of all the care and support Euncheol has to offer.
This starts a beautiful companionship between Euncheol and his dog Jonggu. Euncheol is still looking for his ideal human partner, but at least now he has Jonggu to help comfort and keep him company. Jonggu, on the other hand, desperately longs to be everything to Euncheol. He hates watching his beloved master suffer at the hands of his shitty lovers when he knows he could be everything to Euncheol. Everything comes to a head when, after a night of breaking up with his boyfriend, who hurt Jonggu, Euncheol wakes up to find a naked man in his bed, and Jonggu is nowhere to be found.
As the nude stranger in his bed explains, he is Jonggu, and because of his wish to be with Euncheol, the god of dogs, granted him the opportunity to become human so that he can live with his human for longer. Jonggu still has a chance to return to being a dog, but he doesn't want to. He aims to win Euncheol's heart so he never has to be in pain again. Unfortunately, a coworker is on the prowl for the newly single Euncheol. Can Jonggu win his master's heart, or will he lose him forever?
The art is great and super consistent. It reminds me a lot of AngryMonster‘s work (Oh! My Assistant and Love Tractor), but more on the realistic side. It feels very down-to-earth, and I especially love the style of censoring, which is just unshaded genitals rather than the standard lightsabers or bars. It's much nicer to look at, in my opinion. That is also another similarity this has with Oh! My Assistant, as it has that same style of censoring. My only peeve with the art is the character designs, particularly Jonggu and Jooseong. Their hairstyles are not my favorite, with Jonggu having this random little wisps of hair pointing up that is there to mimic his dog ears, and then Jooseong's hair is just awkwardly long in the front for some of the series (he, thankfully, does cut his hair). Otherwise, the art is awesome.
Something else that was really pleasing about this was the love triangle members. It is pretty clear that the end game is Jonggu. I don't think there's any question about that, and usually, when there is a straightforward endgame, the other person is either not given very much screen time or is characterized as a bit of an ass. On the contrary, though, Jooseong is a pretty good guy for the most part, and he gets a good bit of time with Euncheol, albeit it isn't as intimate as it is with Jonggu. Sometimes, I even preferred Jooseong to Jonggu until Joonseong tries to tell Euncheol to forget Jonggu because he's just a dog. As a dog parent, that hurt me deeply, but that's just me. Otherwise, he's a pretty good guy, which was nice to have as part of the love triangle, especially since it seemed he had a pretty strong chance of winning out.
However, after the main story, we get a side story for Jooseong. Admittedly, he didn't seem like the best dog owner as he seemed to just see his dog Polo as something to own and not much more than that. But because of how loyal and loving all dogs typically are, Polo makes a similar wish and becomes human. However, it seems like the entire purpose of the side story is to punish Jooseong. Polo forces himself onto Jooseong, and then it just ends with that. With the main story having been so well-developed and exciting, it was a letdown to end on that note. I wish we could've seen more development between Polo and Jooseong beyond the sexual assault, but we're left with more questions than answers.
I also have to note that I think they might have translated “hyung” to “bro,” which was painfully annoying. Even if they didn't translate it that way and Euncheol really did call Jooseong “bro,” I still found it cringy. I much prefer “hyung,” but this is an older manhwa, so it might have been due to the old translation standards. Who knows? I want to end this review on a good note, though, and I have to say I really enjoyed the story's core theme. Jonggu is more human than a dog, while it seems that Euncheol is more of a dog than a human. When it ends with Euncheol looking for Jonggu and suffering like a dog looking for his owner, it does a great job flipping the power dynamic between a dog and its owner and finally solidifies Jonggu's role as something more than a pet. It made my heart so very happy.
This isn't revolutionary, and admittedly, I had forgotten I read this until I was digging through my old list of finished manhwa to review and came upon it. Having re-read it, though, it's pretty solid. It's not too long or short, and it is full of BDSM smutty goodness, which is always a good time. So, if you have the spare cash, I say go for it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Have you read Master of Master? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!