There will be spoilers for the manhwa series Tiger Lily.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to assault, missing persons, child abuse, neglect, abuse, bullying, dubious consent, self-harm, PTSD, death, enslavement, sacrifice, depression, manipulation, Stockholm syndrome, blood, self-loathing, suicide/suicidal ideation, animal abuse, and religion, as it appears in the manhwa.
Yoon lives a hard life. His mother despises his existence after his father died in a car accident while getting his birthday cake when Yoon was a child. His brother mercilessly bullied him before going missing, which their mother blames Yoon for since it occurred when he moved out. Plus, he has to take a leave of absence from college to work, save up, and pay his tuition. Yeah, life can't get much worse. He thinks so until he encounters a mysterious man named Jay.
As it turns out, Jay is a tiger goblin. This creature hunts humans, stealing their vitality until they are no more. Once consumed, their souls become tied to the tiger goblin, enslaved, and forced to bring new sacrifices in exchange for their freedom to the afterlife. As it turns out, Yoon's missing brother was Jay's previous victim, and the person his brother chose for his freedom is Yoon. He thought he could escape his brother's torment when he left home, but even in the afterlife, his brother wants nothing more than to torture Yoon.
The only thing keeping Yoon alive is that humans are best consumed at the peak of happiness. While Yoon is anything but happy, Jay is determined to make him the most delectable prey possible before consuming him whole. Unfortunately, it seems Yoon doesn't have a single wish in the world, and as such, Jay can't make Yoon happy. So, without any other course of action, Jay decides to go down the one path he thinks can brighten up Yoon's lonely life: pretend to love him.
To start with, let's talk about the art. It's very hit-or-miss, especially in the beginning. The proportions are pretty wild, especially with Yoon. This series is a major smutfest, which means they are nude the majority of the time. When Yoon is naked, his head and neck are usually far too big for his body, and Jay and Yoon both suffer from oddly short arms and small hands. It gets more consistent and much cleaner throughout the series, but these proportion issues persist. The best part, for me, is Yoon's design. Something about his design is just so attractive to me, with his big purple eyes, matching hair, and ear piercings. I love him. Plus, he's a sad guy, one of my favorite stereotypes. Jay is probably my least favorite until he becomes human. Until then, his smile is often far too wide for his face, and he looks more goofy than scary or sexy. Yoon's design definitely carries this for me, artwise.
The most painful part for me was the typos. The worst and most consistent error was actually the title. As you can probably see in the cover art image, the title is spelled Tiger Lilly, while the actual title everywhere else is listed as Tiger Lily. It is never corrected, so if something like this is going to irk you, unfortunately, there is no correction anywhere throughout the series. Furthermore, there are a few times when the character names change. For example, Hojoon becomes Hoyoon, and Yeowoon becomes Yeoyoon. Unlike the title, though, they do get corrected. These are very minor issues, especially relative to the title misspelling itself, but it is still worth pointing out.
I also have to talk about what Jay calls Yoon. This is very much a “me” problem, so I imagine many people won't care about this point or, at the very least, won't hate it as much as me, but pet names are super hit-or-miss for me. In this case, Jay refers to himself as a predator, which is factually accurate since he is a tiger goblin. That doesn't bother me all that much. However, he often refers to Yoon as his prey. That is also factually correct since Jay is actively hunting him, but I just hate it so much. It's not meant to be something we like to hear initially, but throughout the series, as their relationship changes, it's intended to become an endearing term, but I just despise it. That is super picky of me, but I had to talk about it. There's just something about it that gives me the heebie-jeebies.
I feel like I've been tough on this particular series, which is unfortunate since I did enjoy it overall. It's a smutfest, which I am all about, but it's not all that cohesive as a story. I enjoyed the big reveal that Yoon wasn't a hated child but that Yeowoon's wish to Jay was to make Yoon's life miserable since he was so miserable growing up. It still sucks that either of the children was hated to any extent, especially since the reason Yeowoon was distanced from his mother seems to be some kind of implied mental illness or disorder that could have benefited from some medical intervention. That doesn't excuse his behavior, of course, but it's just sad that someone felt abandoned by their parents in either scenario. I also don't think the curse or how Jay functions make much sense. I wish we could have gotten more information on that, as it feels like it's just brushed over. However, the smut and eventual romance are certainly the focus, which is fine with me overall.
Look no further if you're looking for something with all the smut and darker story elements. The art isn't perfect, but it gets better and has some lovely panels later. It's not perfect story-wise, but the focus is really on the sex and the romance, which was fine for me. It's certainly not a favorite, and it's not one that I would readily recommend to most, but it's not a bad one to pass some time with. You probably won't be disappointed if you aren't looking for a deep or cohesive story.
Have you read Tiger Lily? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!