Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning. Also, I will reveal plot points from the chapter including the conclusion so if you have issues with spoilers, maybe pass.
I started reading this after becoming quite intrigued by some of the teasers and images, and even outright plot spoilers, people were posting on Twitter. While manga (or web comics, or whatever word you’d like to use here) aren’t my favourite way of taking in a story there was enough of a buzz around this that I decided to give it a go. Going into this knowing some of what happens in later chapters probably makes a lot of chapter 1 even harder to take because you’re just waiting for everything to go horribly wrong. Although given Yoonbum’s life up to this point, it kind of seems like things have just gone wrong for him forever so maybe we shouldn’t have expected any other outcome.
The story starts, as many do, with the protagonist introducing himself in an internal monologue.
What we take away from this is he is in love with another man who he watches from a distance but he already knows it is a doomed relationship so makes no move to actually interact with his target. That doesn’t stop him from using his memory of the target for his sexual fantasy.
I love the character design as it really helps convey the absolute sense of misery that this character’s words and actions carry throughout the course of this chapter.
I did have one moment of, are the actually trying to justify stalking via social media, however given follow up events it seems clear that none of Yoonbum’s actions as a stalker are being condoned.
“Isn’t it obvious I’d want to know about the personal life of someone I like? It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”
We learn about Yoonbum’s two encounters with Sangwoo prior to his current stalking lifestyle. First in college and then in the army. Yoonbum connects Sangwoo with saving him from abuse he was facing from two officers and realistically it is that emotion that becomes obsession and really just kind of seals the rest of the events into place.
If Yoonbum had just remained a passive stalker it still would have been creepy, given the obsessive nature of his actions, but he takes it one step further and breaks into Sangwoo’s house. He’s nearly stopped by police on a patrol but manages to bluff his way out of it and he get’s inside (I wonder if later he’s going to regret not being arrested for attempted break and enter – it seems quite likely). There’s a particularly good image where Yoonbum is at the door and the perspective has us looking down and passed him to the officer standing at the gate. It really drives the tension of the scene home.
Ultimately, he ends up in Sangwoo’s basement where he finds a mostly naked and very battered and securely bound woman (see what I meant about the content being confronting). While he is attempting to untie her she starts screaming and then the view changes and we see Sangwoo behind Yoonbum and a baseball bat in mid-swing.
That is of course where chapter 1 ends but it’s kind of a cliff-hanger done right. We’ve met our main character and seen his view of Sangwoo. His perfect, stylised view of a man he has essentially never spoken to. And we’ve had the reveal that the image Yoonbum has is completely false. We don’t know what the story is behind the woman but it isn’t going to be good. No good story ends with a naked, bound and battered woman in a basement.
We’ve also been given reason to believe that one of the police officers is at least a bit suspicious, though whether of anything in particular or whether he is just suspicious by nature I guess remains to be seen.
I really enjoyed reading this chapter. It was a tense experience as I said because I’ve seen bits and pieces of what’s coming, but at the same time I felt really drawn in to Yoonbum’s story and at times even felt sorry for him even while really wanting him to be caught as a stalker and given some much needed counselling.
If you’ve read or started reading Killing Stalking, what did you think of chapter 1?
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