An Easy Target

Alt title: Hogu Hagyeongsu

Ch: 73
2016 - 2018
3.115 out of 5 from 966 votes
Rank #37,261
An Easy Target

Kyung-soo's spent the past three years trying to forget about one traumatic night. It isn't until he meets Dong-hyuk that he gets a full night's sleep. One night without the nightmare of being tied down by a room full of men under the watchful eyes of Yule.

Source: Lezhin

Includes 3 side story chapters.

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I'll just drop a quick disclaimer here to say that these are my personal opinions, and you are free to agree or disagree with me. I know that a lot of readers enjoy this manger, or rather manhwa, and I'm not here to tell anyone to stop reading or enjoying it. As you may have guessed from the rating I've given this manhwa, I didn't enjoy this story very much. There will be spoilers for the first few chapters. Story When I first read the premise, and the first couple of chapters, I thought this was going to be a different take of the BL narrative. A BL with a more serious undertone and emphasis on what it's like to live in an abusive relationship, and the life after said abusive relationship had ended. Well, I did get that, but too bad that it was executed poorly. That, in part, has a lot to do with the characters, but I'll get to that later. The manhwa starts out promising with the introduction to our main character Kyng-soo who was formerly a victim of abuse by his former lover, Choi Yule. It's been 3 years since he escaped his boyfriend, and he now lives in hiding, working in a convenience store. But not all is good since he's suffering from PTSD and has livid nightmares of his past abuse. Enter Dong-Hyuk who is person who frequently enters said store and develops a bond with Kyng-soo which in turn alleviates his PTSD a great deal. Though shit hits the fan as the former abuser, Choi Yule, suddenly finds our protagonist - and this is where the real story kicks off. The summary of the introductory chapters were the best part of the manhwa, and unfortunately it only goes downhill from here. This may have something to do with my expectations of the manhwa when I first went into it, as I thought I would get a psychological and character-driven story of how it is to live in an abusive relationship and watch how Kyung-soo deals with his circumstances. Instead the story just seems like one giant setup to put our protagonist in horrible situations and make his life a living hell. Well, these kind of stories can work fine, as the audience can get to see how the protagonist copes and deals with the situations and root for him. It just doesn't work in this case, since the main issue is our main protagonist, Kyung-soo, himself - but I'll get into that later. In addition to that, the situations that Kyung-soo is thrown into gets so over-the-top and extremely horrible, that it seems downright comical. This over the top "horrible-ness" for a lack of a better term, pulls me completely out of the story and this is where my suspension of disbelief disappears completely and I'm no longer invested in the story. It's a shame though, as I think the setup and basic premise seemed so promising, and in another story it would have been an engaging read. But still, as I'm writing this review I've only read up till chapter 58, so the manhwa still has time to get better. But for now I'll settle with giving the story a 4/10, and this is me being generous - the only reason I'm not giving it a 2 or 3 is because the basic premise is still interesting. Art This is the only area of the manhwa that I've given a high score of 7/10. I think the art is wonderful, the characters are designed nicely and I can easily distinguish between them and tell who is who. It is always appreciated when the artist have colorized every chapter. I also think that the expressions of all the characters are done very well - especially on Kyng-soo. I would have given this a higher score, if the artist also had made nice backdrops, but the art is good nonetheless. Characters In my opinion this is where the entire manhwa fell completely apart. All of the characters are two-dimensional and have paper-thin personalities. This is especially frustrating as our main characters, that we read about in every chapter, have no likes and dislikes, motivations etc. This also includes Kyung-soo. I'll just go through the three main characters Kyung-soo, Dong-Hyuk, and Choi Yule to restrict myself and stop this review from being way too long. At first glance Dong-Hyuk seems really likable, as he in the beginning of the story alleviates  Kyung-soo's PTSD. And to me, this is where his likability stops as his character traits boils down to: liking instant food, his sister, and Kyung-soo. That's it. There's nothing else. All right, maybe he also likes to go to the bar. But this is not enought to flesh out a character, and I need more depth to really enjoy reading about someone, especially when they're essential to the story. There is really not more to say about Dong-Hyuk, so I'll move on to our abuser. My first impression of Choi Yule was that he was deliciously despicable. This impression soon wore off as Choi Yule have even less personality than Dong-Hyuk, despite Choi Yule being included in a lot more chapters. He has no personality, no like or dislikes, his motivations and goals are unclear, and I suspect they are non-existent. His only character-trait seems to be that he's "evil"... Or maybe just fucked up. But that isn't enough for me, as I need more - especially since Choi Yule is such an essential part of the story and is a main character. We need questions answered as "Why does he want Kyung-soo so desperately?" and "Why does he abuse him?" Choi Yule's backstory vaguely eludes to him growing up in a broken home of sorts, but to me this doesn't answer the questions. There also doesn't seem to be any logic or any particular intend to the abuse a lot of the time, but I personally don't know much about abusive relationships, so I'll just leave it at that. Finally we have Kyung-soo. He's a whump. He's mostly just a chess-piece that the author can use to put in horrible and inhumane situations and occasionally make a sad and/or pained expression. There's really not much else to him. He has little to no backstory, no personality, no distinct character traits, no likes, no dislikes. This is makes it difficult to root for or sympathise with him whenever he's put in a situation of either psychological or physical pain. Sure it's sad and "heartbreaking" when he's in pain, but honestly why should I care when I after 50+ chapters still dont know him? Another problem with him is how passive and sometimes completely stupid he is. He never seems to make active decisions to escape from his circumstances and abusive relationship. Instead he just sits backs, relaxes, and let the other characters do the worst to him without much protest. This may be a bit spoilery, but there's a point later in the story where Kyung-soo escapes Choi Yule... and he runs directly to Dong-Hyuk... and stays there. He stays there. Almost as if to say "Teehee, I ran away now come find me!" So you're not gonna go into hiding? Or run further away? No? Ok. Whatever. Overall this was a disappointing read. This had so much potential because of the interesting premise, but that gets overshadowed by a sometimes over-the-top abuse of Kyung-soo that seems downright comical and paper-thin characters with no personality. This gets a 4.3/10 stars from me. The only reason that it didn't score lower is because of the art. I'll still continue reading though in hopes of it becoming better.

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