When it comes to works of fiction, I am of the strong opinion that fiction is where we as humans can explore the darkest of taboos in society. It is for this reason why for me when it comes to horror, psychological horror is the kind that fascinates me to no end. If any of you my readers have been following my Fanfic Recommendation posts you will have noticed that a lot of these well-written fanfictions explore themes of abuse, mental health, and violence. As painful as these subjects are to talk about, the fact is that they NEED to be talked about and sometimes talking about issues close to us are easier in fiction because there is a sense of dissociation with the subject matter when it is fiction, but this does not make the subject matter any less real.
Before I continue this review I want to make one thing clear right now, I don’t believe this work glorifies an abusive relationship. There are many kinds of ‘love’ stories out there and not all of these stories are sunshine, rainbows, and smiles. I am strongly against abuse in any kind of relationship of any kind from any partner, but at the same time, I am happy that this story is being told because relationships like this do happen and just pretending that they don’t is pure stupidity and ignorance which is also something I can not stand.
When I announced on Twitter that I would be reading this Manhwa, I was warned by many that this would not be an easy read. To be completely honest, I have read stuff that has made me a lot more uncomfortable. Soylent Green and Lolita are works of classic literature that came to mind and if I was to name a more uncomfortable but brilliant manga; the manga adaptation of Battle Royale is pretty out there with graphic imagery of violence, abuse, and sexuality. (note to self-review Battle Royale at some point)
That being said I can see why this sort of story is not for everyone and this is one instance where the term ‘Trigger Warning’ actually does apply. The term to me at the very least feels overused even when used as a joke, but then again in this day and age of the SJWs, it can be hard to tell when said warning is a joke or not. I have already made it clear that I am not a fan of SJWs and I am sure that by the end of this review they will have yet another reason not to be a fan of mine, I am past the point of caring what these kinds of people think of my opinion. Ok, rant over… for now I guess I have a review to write and for you to read.
Yoon Bum see’s himself as nothing more than pathetic. He has a history of stalking as well as a brief stint in the military that has left mental scars on top of that which was already beneath the surface. How he would have passed a psych exam to become a soldier I honestly cannot figure out and as more of his past is revealed in the ongoing story it becomes clear that the only reason he is still alive is that he fears death and that fear might be the only thing keeping him alive.
Sangwoo on the outside is perfect in the eyes of Yoon Bum. He is handsome, popular and even a hero to Bum at one point. However behind that handsome face and popular visage hides a monster that has learned to adapt to the ways of the world so he can hunt for what he wants, and he will get what he wants.
To put it bluntly he is a socially well-adjusted Psychopath, however, don’t quote me on this one as I have never studied psychology formally but have read up upon many subjects of psychology in my own time to improve my own writing with realistic character development.
It becomes very clear with the actions between the two characters that Sangwoo has very little if any empathy for others even Bum. This detachment becomes even more obvious in scenes where he talks of loving a person in a sentence in which he ends with how he killed them.
One of the more infamous scenes of torture in the manhwa shows just how disjointed from reality Sangwoo is and that is when he puts a rope around Bum’s neck, at first he shows joy and fascination from the moment but then something else happens.
Sangwoo suffers from Sexual Sadism Disorder, a disturbing mental illness where the person reaches sexual gratification from the pain and or torture of others, again I emphasize that I have no background in psychology.
This is a disturbing read, there is no doubt about that. But then again it reminds me of an old saying… see it’s like when you go past a car crash, you know you should not look especially if there is a tarp up, but in the back of your mind, your own curiosity wants that tarp to fall. Deep down you want to see that which they say you must not.
This is why stories like these fascinate those like myself. It’s why gore and shock websites, the quarantined parts of Reddit and the /b/ board on 4chan are constantly updated and watched. It’s why we google something when we are told not to.
There is a dark curiosity within us all and the world can be a very dark place. Every day we make choices on what we choose to look for in this world, we choose to learn about that which that disturbs us so that we can better understand it.
In that sense, we continue reading ‘Killing Stalking’ because we want to understand the actions of Yoon Bum, Sungwoo and those around them. I cannot in good conscious recommend this Manhwa to everyone, but if you are not easily disturbed, curious about the extreme another side of the spectrum that is boys love/yaoi and have an open mind, by all means, read this story.
This is their story, it is not meant to glorify abuse or be admired but it is their story and there are stories like theirs out there in this world. They might not all be this extreme but abuse can happen to anyone and if you or anyone you know are in an abusive relationship know that if you ask for help it will come.