Normally I don’t get all that invested when reading manga but I think I’ve made an exception when Freaking Romance was concerned.
Usually it is quick, light reading, done largely to satisfy curiosity about a story that I probably started in a different format or because someone insisted I should check out a title. With the exception of boys love (where manga tends to be more readily available than novels), there aren’t all that many genres of manga that I actively seek out to read in that medium. However, I did during my most recent travels (over the Easter break) add the Webtoon app to my phone and well that opened up a whole range of readings.
Throw in a Saturday afternoon where I’d abandoned the show I was planning on binge watching 3 episodes of for another watch or drop post after episode one and I opened up the app to find something to kill an hour before I sat back down at my computer to potentially do some work. Or at the very least write some blog posts. Either way I had good plans to be productive.
I have no idea how ‘Freaking Romance’ by Snailords came up in my read list. However, it was a completed story, so no waiting for chapter updates, and it was all unlocked, throw in the blurb that called it a supernatural romance and I decided there were worse ways to spend an afternoon.
Turns out, this was the best way to spend an afternoon.
Freaking Romance – highly recommended.
Very light spoilers ahead.
The story focuses on Zylith and Zelan who are sharing an apartment only they both kind of think at first the other one is haunting the apartment. Turns out they are both living in the apartment but not in the same universe. It actually works really well and the final ‘season’ of this story really looks at the aspect of different worlds but this isn’t a deep science fiction story.
It is, an absolute romance.
And because of Zylith’s warped personality it also has some horror elements strewn in at times which even the characters choose to offer commentary on because things escalate through the full range of emotions in a fairly compact period of time as we move from a touching and sweet moment to a moment that is super intense, to something that is a little hair-raising, to something that will just break your heart with sadness, before you end up smiling in delight at these adorable characters. The transitions are well handled and the emotional roller coaster is real.
Now there are a few triggering ideas amongst the soft and fluffy. All of the characters are a little bit broken and as we learn about their childhoods it becomes pretty clear why. One of my favourite moments came after I’d been crying while reading for nearly an hour and Zelan was having a bit of a moment alone when a random girl asks for his number. He kind of rants at her and so she writes down her therapist’s number and hands it to him before walking off.
So yes there are depictions of cruelty to animals, emotional manipulation, gender identity issues, um… death from idiocy, a love triangle actually done well and heart breakingly so, as well as the risk that you might break the device you are reading on when the two get so close to happily ever after only for it to be snatched from their fingers on more than one occasion.
Despite my comments about crying there’s a lot of laughs along the way as well. The early season where Zylith and Zelan are still learning about the ‘haunting’ and about each other is full of delightful moments where either he or she are pretending the other doesn’t exist. Their reactions when they finally admit that the other is real is pretty awesome and the two are really cute in their interactions. Also, love the cat. Mr Purrfect is adorable.
Also, some of the made-up TV and movie titles the characters reference along the way are pretty hilarious. My favourite is ‘Healer Who’ which was most definitely a Dr Who reference and had me grinning from ear to ear.
Seriously, this was one story that just needed to be consumed. I was so into this world and these characters that it was actually disorientating when I got to the end and realised there was no more.
I should probably comment on how pretty it was visually, but I think the better word would be immersive. It didn’t feel like I was reading a manga or webtoon, it felt like I was in the world with those characters. Even now I can close my eyes and perfectly visualise them. I don’t normally get this from manga. Well written novels do it where I’m just sucked in and lose hours without realising. A beautifully made movie or anime can. But I don’t think I’ve ever been this immersed in a manga before.
If you want to read a romance and you aren’t scared of having your heart broken a few times along the way, I’d fully recommend giving ‘Freaking Romance’ a go. Though given it came out in 2018 I’m probably the one a little behind on this one. Still, its awesome and I loved losing my Saturday to this story.
Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.