There will be spoilers for the manhwa series Surge Towards You.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to depression, illness, orphans, PTSD, dubious consent, manipulation, violence, assault, male pregnancy, blood, child abandonment, stalking, spying, gossiping, and prejudice, as it appears in the manhwa.
Cheong-ho is a prolific athlete. He's an Olympic-grade swimmer, but his position is constantly questioned with his diminishing records. His condition would be better as an alpha if he would have sex with an omega, but his fear and repulsion toward omega pheromones make it impossible. Due to a traumatic event in his childhood, Cheong-ho can't stand being around omegas, which is part of why he loves to swim because they can't trigger him in the water. With suppressants, he can achieve his goal of being a professional swimmer, but with them being banned as performance enhancers and considered doping, Cheong-ho's future in the sport is bleak.
At the end of his rope, he tries exposure therapy to overcome his repulsion. While in a park, he encounters someone hanging out on a bridge. The person looks unwell, which leads to them passing out and falling into the water below. Without hesitation, Cheong-ho jumps in to rescue them, but upon pulling them out of the water, he discovers that it is an omega in heat. Strangely enough, he isn't put off by them, but the reason is even stranger still: they're odorless. The person he rescued is Olympic figure skater Yi-rim, a “defective” omega with odorless pheromones.
Yi-rim has never been able to attract an alpha since no one can smell his scent, and, as such, he assumed his life would be lonely until he met Cheong-ho. Cheong-ho needs Yi-rim, and Yi-rim will give anything to be with Cheong-ho, even at the risk of his heart.
I love the art style. I have read some people complaining about the hairstyles being reminiscent of Yugioh's wildness, but I'd disagree. I think they're fun and interesting. It is worth noting that the beginning of the series is in black and white. It does become full-color in later episodes, but you'll have to get through season one before seeing the color. It is also worth noting that our male lead, Cheong-ho, goes through a hairstyle change, so if his hair bothers you, it does eventually change, though not until the end. Yi-rim also has hella thick and chunky eyelashes (and so does Yi-ho), and I'm sure that isn't going to be everyone's taste. Again, I love all of it, so none of that bothered me, but it seems to be a point of contention with some people, so it's worth noting that this may not be for everyone. I find the art to be absolutely radiant, and it only gets better when the color is added. It isn't perfect by any means, but the style is so unique and soft that I love it, inconsistencies and all. It's certainly not for everyone, but I think it's worth a peek, at least. I also love that we get to see Yi-rim's pregnant belly. It's usually hidden or skipped over in most BL with mpreg, but we get to see it as it grows and changes, which I am a massive fan of.
While the art is close to perfection in my eyes, this really shines for me in our main character's personalities. I long to be as meticulous in crafting a character's personality based on their experiences and background. That might sound obvious, but the way Cheongyeon hones in on how every decision, reaction, and feeling these characters experience links directly back to their history is masterful to me. Yi-rim allows himself to be used and abused because he's desperate for a connection with someone, having never known his parents and being raised in an orphanage where he was praised for being selfless. On the other hand, Cheong-ho longs for a connection, too, but avoids it since he knows relationships often lead to more pain, having experienced it firsthand after trying to find his mother, only to be assaulted with omega pheromones. They're both selfless and selfish because of these histories and traumas. They come together because they desperately want a connection with someone but pull away because they don't want to hurt the other while simultaneously fearing losing each other. They are far from infallible and, in that way, feel so real. The characterization is top-tier for me.
Don't get me wrong, as much as I love the characterization that doesn't mean some of their decisions do not aggravate me. Yi-rim, in particular, is so annoying with how he runs and hides, not wanting to burden Cheong-ho but burdening him by running away anyway. It makes total sense for his character, and I enjoyed the drama, but just note that these individuals are making decisions based on their trauma, which means they might not always be the most well-thought-out or logical. However, what's more annoying than that is the underutilized characters of Woojin and Juho. There is some implication that they might have been a potential sub-couple and that Juho was maybe supposed to be a rival to Cheong-ho for Yi-rim, but they never really reached that level. Juho is hinted at having a pretty tragic background, but that is glossed over and is just a bunch of implications. I really hope there will be a sequel or spin-off with Juho and Woojin because I'd be all about that. Unfortunately, though, we hardly get a taste of that.
We get plenty of Yi-ho, though I could always use more. This is an immediate favorite just because of Yi-ho. More broadly, this series has pretty much everything I love in an omegaverse. We have a pregnancy, child-rearing, and all the smut one could want. More important than anything is how beautiful Yi-ho is. He might be the prettiest baby in all of BL. Seeing his parents grow together and then watching him grow alongside them is so satisfying. It's also nice that Yi-ho isn't just a prop but ends up with a very clear personality of his own. Of course, he's only a baby as far as we see him, so his emotional development is pretty limited. In contrast, the physical development is much more dramatic, but what we get emotionally from him is substantial. I love seeing how Yi-rim and Cheong-ho parent and how that, in turn, changes Yi-ho over time. It's probably my favorite section of the entire manhwa.
I could go on and on about how much I love this series. I followed it religiously as it was released, and when it was over, I found myself waiting and hoping for more, though I knew there wouldn't be. I still hope we'll get a spin-off or a sequel with either Yiho or Juho and Woojin, but regardless I love this series. I am super biased toward omegaverse, but this hit all of my preferences perfectly. For me, it doesn't get much better than this. If you like omegaverse with mpreg, why not? If you're not into omegaverse or mpreg, this isn't the one, but Yi-ho is worth giving this a read, in my opinion.
Have you read Surge Towards You? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!