There will be spoilers for the manhwa series No Love Zone.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to cheating, power imbalance, dubious consent, death, hostile work environment, bullying, stalking, blackmail, assault, violence, BDSM, and blood, as it appears in the manhwa.
Eunkyum is a newbie at his company. He's been there a year, but his level of responsibility is still pretty low, much to his dismay. While he pines for better opportunities at work, he also longs for better in his love life. Unfortunately, his relationship history has been fraught with shitty men. His current partner is no different, always asking him for money and ignoring him most of the time. Still, Eunkyum will take what he can get… until he sees his beau out in the streets with a wife and child in tow.
Eunkyum is heartbroken. At least work isn't so bad… until he meets his new manager Jihyuk. Jihyuk is exactly Eunkyum's type, tall, dark, and handsome. Too bad he seems to have it out for Eunkyum, tossing all of the scut work onto his plate and criticizing every little thing he turns in. So his love life is in shambles, and his professional life isn't going so hot either. Can Eunkyum catch a break? And will he figure out why Jihyuk is trying so hard to put him down?
This art style isn't my favorite. Admittedly, I almost didn't read it because of the art style on the cover. It does get better. The kids and the chibis, especially, are just too adorable for words. But the art itself isn't very consistent. Eunkyum's head is often bulbous at the top and entirely disproportionate to his face, and their bodies look a bit weird during the smutty sections. It's not bad. Certainly, it's better than anything I could do, but this isn't the best compared to some of the other manhwa I've read. The best art is in the special episodes at the end, and I do think that's worth seeing. Don't let my pickiness over art scare you away because I think this is a fun read overall.
The story is fine. It feels a little bit half-baked, and the way Eunkyum flip-flops is a little weird and annoying. For example, Jihyuk confesses to still liking Eunkyum even after all this time and after Eunkyum rejected him. They're having sex, and Jihyuk wants to be with Eunkyum in a serious relationship. Just to play hard to get, Eunkyum agrees to form a fucky buddy or friends with benefits situationship, which Jihyuk accepts just because he wants to be close to Eunkyum any way he can. After a while in this casual relationship, Eunkyum begins to question if Jihyuk just wants him for his body or if he actually likes him beyond the sex. It's odd that he would question that of Jihyuk when Eunkyum was the one to create this solely physical relationship. Eunkyum, in general, is not my favorite character of all time. Jihyuk isn't really either, though he has a soft spot in my heart because of his puppy dog nature. There is also this unusual scene where Jihyuk calls someone to, presumably, take care of Eunkyum's ex, but we get no clarity on how Jihyuk has the connections to do that or what all was done. It just felt a bit random.
I will say this one has plenty of sex. Eunkyum and Jihyuk almost exclusively have sex, which is the majority of their relationship. I don't mind that, but I know some people may want more story or platonic growth in the relationship. That isn't here. I have also put a trigger warning on this for dubious consent, as one of Eunkyum's favorite things to say is “stop” and “no.” As someone who is also prone to saying stuff like that during sex, even when I don't mean it, this didn't bother me all that much and didn't seem like non-con to me. However, some people will probably be bothered by this, so I wanted to point it out.
This really shines in the special episodes, which take place in an alternate, historical-ish universe where everyone has animal characteristics and can turn into their animals. Eunkyum and his siblings are bunnies and live in a bunny village, while Jihyuk is a tiger. In my opinion, the story in this section is way better than the main story, and the art is also better and more consistent. It has a much stronger storyline with a well-built backstory. There's more tension between the villagers and Eunkyum, along with the pressures Eunkyum has to raise his siblings alone, which was lost since his grandma raised them in the main story. It just felt so much more well-crafted overall. There is also an implication that there could be mpreg. It isn't confirmed, so I can't tag it as such, but knowing it was possible made my little degenerate heart happy.
This is a fun little story. I'm always up for lots of smut, some light BDSM elements, which are always a welcome addition, and a stellar side story that I wish would have gone on forever. Is it perfection? No, but it's certainly not bad. So manage your expectations, and you'll probably have a great time with this one.
Have you read No Love Zone? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!