There will be spoilers for the manhwa series My Housemate.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to pseudo-incest, sexual assault, and dubcon/dubious consent as it appears in the manhwa.
Jinwon has lived an unlucky life thus far. The first company he worked for went bankrupt. He got fired from another job for looking like a person that a manager's girlfriend cheated with. He's also been fired just because upper management didn't like him. To say finding work is hard is an understatement for Jinwon. So, now unemployed, nearing thirty, and trying to study for the civil service exam, Jinwon is desperate for some stability in his life.
Luckily, Jinwon's sister has recently married a wealthy older man, and the pair need some help. Gyungha, their twenty-year-old son, has run away from home because he hates his new stepmother. Worried over their son, the father and stepmother ask Jinwon to become Gyungha's new housekeeper and keep an eye on him. Jinwon, desperate for something new and some money in his pocket, hops on the opportunity. Gyungha is less than excited about the idea but allows Jinwon into his world.
As Gyungha finally begins to open up to Jinwon, feelings emerge that go beyond a friendship or familial relationship. What are these feelings? And what do they mean for the new housemates?
I feel like this is a highly underrated series, and I am not sure why. I don't see many people talking about it. I suspect it might be because of the cover since I almost didn't read this because of the cover art. I don't feel like it is a great representation of the stunning artwork that can be found in this series. Admittedly, it has some oddities. Everything is very soft and round, especially their heads. Every character looks young and feminine, including Gyungha's dad, a much older man with facial hair and everything. Even so, it has some of the prettiest panels you'll ever see in manhwa.
With that said, if you prefer manly men in your BL, turn away now (if you prefer masculine men, I highly recommend Love Me, Doctor! instead). But, if you love feminine and pretty men, then you're in the right place because there is plenty of that. Jinwon, in particular, has some of the most stunning faces you will ever see, especially during the sex scenes. Something about the sex scenes in this series is just gorgeous. Of course, they are sexy, too, but sometimes I find myself just studying them because of how pretty they look. This art style really comes into its own during the sex scenes. It's nice outside of the sex, too, but the sex is where it really shines. It does get better later, especially in the side stories, but it's pretty regardless.
Now, enough gushing over the art. Let's talk about the story. The main point of conflict in the story is that Jinwon is Gyungha's uncle by marriage, and he doesn't want to hurt his sister or her marriage over that. Usually, I find myself frustrated with a main character's reasoning for wanting to avoid a romance because it is sometimes a bit overdramatic or based on a misunderstanding, but in this case, I find his reasoning to be actually reasonable. There isn't any misunderstanding. There isn't any other person trying to get between the two. It's simply because Jinwon's sister is married to Gyungha's dad, which makes Jinwon Gyungha's uncle. I can totally understand wanting to avoid that taboo, and I can understand wanting to protect your sister's happiness. This might be the most believable main character I've ever encountered.
I can even understand the stupid decision he makes to avoid telling Gyungha that he is going to leave and just wants to selfishly enjoy their last few weeks together as lovers under the pretense that he is being kind. I also liked that Gyungha, who comes off as an obsessive top, lets him go and then doesn't go out of his way to pursue him. It feels pretty natural that they would go their separate ways and live their lives. Then, when Gyungha goes out to apologize to him, Jinwon is the one to bring them back together. It's all very satisfying and understandable to me. The most unrealistic part is Gyungha not knowing how to masturbate at the start of all this, haha. I just really like this story.
This was so satisfying, sweet, sexy, and even realistic for a bit of a taboo setup. I'm not saying this is a perfect representation of real life and genuine relationships, but among all the other BL out there that explore things like pseudo-incest and age gaps, this feels like it's more realistic. This is certainly not for everyone. I can see people not liking the art style, and I can foresee people being disturbed by Gyungha calling Jinwon “uncle” to emphasize how taboo their relationship is. Still, it's ultimately a fun and heartrending read. I won't recommend this to everyone, but I feel it's worth giving a shot.
Have you read My Housemate? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!