There will be spoilers for the manhwa series The Sweetest Man.
Trigger Warning: Violence, gore, and sexual assault/rape could be discussed as it appears in the manhwa.
Minhoon and Hyungwoo have been best friends for 15 years. Minhoon has always been inexplicably drawn to Hyungwoo, but Hyungwoo has always had a wall up that Minhoon has never been able to cross. Yet, for some reason, Minhoon is desperate to do just that. One evening, after heavy drinking, Hyungwoo is in no state to take care of himself, and as he has always done, Minhoon makes it a point to take him and let him sleep at his house. What neither of them expects, though, is Hyungwoo to suddenly attack Minhoon, biting him on the lips in a sudden kiss.
At this point, Hyungwoo is forced to admit to Minhoon that he is actually a vampire, and due to the bite, Hyungwoo is now a kin – a partial vampire created as an immortal food source for their creator. A dark world is soon opened to Minhoon, one that is full of violence and danger, primarily because of Hyungwoo's father, the head vampire, who wants to take control of Minhoon so he can then control his runaway son Hyungwoo.
While Minhoon is struggling to come to terms with his new immortality, the threat of the surrounding vampires, and his daily life, he must also contend with something he has had to figure out for the last 15 years: what are his feelings for Hyungwoo?
I love this story so much. Minhoon and Hyungwoo's relationship has so much background from the previous 15 years together as friends, giving their budding romance so much weight that it is impossible not to root for them. The best part is that Hyungwoo is the vampire, this immortal and powerful being, but for the last 15 years, Minhoon has always taken care of him because Hyungwoo has consistently refused to drink blood, which caused him to weaken and fall ill at the drop of a hat. So, Minhoon always made it a point to be there for his friend, and that just solidifies their bond and helps explain why Hyungwoo loves him so much.
However, I didn't expect to fall in love with the side couples as much as I did. Hyungwoo's father ends up taking in a kin, something he usually wouldn't do, and that relationship is on par with Minhoon and Hyungwoo's, which is really refreshing. In most romance manhwa, if there are other couples alongside the main couple, they are severely underdeveloped compared to the main couple, but that is thankfully not the case here. I looked forward to the main couple and the side couples just as much as the other, which is so great.
The best part, though, is definitely the romance scenes between Hyungwoo and Minhoon. They are super sexy individually, but when they come together, it is pure magic. Some of the best-drawn scenes are the romance scenes, and in my opinion, this is worth reading just for that. They have a lovely relationship, and there are moments where Hyungwoo is extremely dominating, but then there are instances where he will cuddle and be gentle with Minhoon, so there is a nice balance for those who really like the dominating type but who also enjoy sweeter more caring moments.
But, while the art is the best during the romance scenes, it is painful in other sections. There are times when the style is just ugly. I can't tell you how many times there was a close-up of a character's face, and their eyes are going completely different directions like a chameleon. It is rough, especially when you have some stunning sections. The beauty just makes the ugly look that much worse, but the romance is enough for that not to be a problem for me.
However, one of the more disappointing parts is the story itself. Beneath the romance, there is a plot revolving around the hierarchy and political structure of the vampires, but it is explained horribly. For example, Minhoon wants to take over management of the kin, but it's not really clear what it means to manage them, how they do that or anything like that. So, they often mention these different tasks and structures with little to no context, so it feels like unnecessary fluff. I would have rather the story be more focused rather than taking something so grand.
I did really, really love this. This couple might be one of my favorite romantic couples that I have read thus far, and I find myself coming back to look at different parts of the manhwa over and over again just because of how sweet it is. If you can get past some of the weak art, then I think this is definitely a must-read.
Have you read The Sweetest Man? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!