I am not much of a Manhwa expert. What was once its own page on Otakupost I quickly removed, grouping up the Korean comics with Manga. Why do you ask? Simple, for over eight months only one story even appeared under that tag, Miss Mystic. Now ignoring the fact that story is 90% porn, I will still say as of now it is one of my all-time favorite Manhwas but hey, that isn’t why we are here. Lately, between novels and manga, I have been incorporating more Manhwas into my content consumption. While I will admit most of them are of erotic nature, none of those I have read thus far did much for me. Turns out Miss Mystic is a bit of its own thing when it comes to that tag.
But none the less I have completed one series I will write about today and am about halfway through the ever-so-popular Solo Leveling which I haven’t been impressed with, but that will come later. Being a tomboy can be hard sometimes, especially if you are a college student Eun Sian. See Sian has a problem, she is hands down the most popular girl in school….. with other girls. The thing is, she doesn’t really swing that way.
On face, this issue doesn’t seem like one of massive drama. But Sian has another problem, even though she is attracted to men, due to past trauma and her mother’s controlling distrust of males in general Sian has grown up being attracted, but paralyzingly terrified of them. Locking up anytime one approaches her or tries to talk to her. Understanding this handicap is something that is not viable as she grows older Sian decides to do subtle things to work on that fear.
Oh, then the hottest girl at school Yuri confesses to her then proceeds to stalk her every move for about 40 chapters.
When I first started reading Secret Alliance I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. It starts out as this story of a girl with a social problem being stalked by this yandere yuri with no boundaries. Yuri, who is, I guess properly named. Has no qualms about going out of her way to impose and force herself onto Sian, even going as far to kiss her from time to time simply stating it was as a friendly way and she means nothing by it, respecting the face Sian isn’t gay and her love confession was rejected.
Expect of course none of this works like that.
Off put by Yuri’s actions, people within Sian’s circle warn her of the freshman, stating her behavior is not only unnormal but dangerous. For some reason, these warnings fall on deaf ears as she goes out of her way to put up with Yuri’s selfish ways. The first major conflict of this relationship comes when Sian decides against her mother’s and Yuri’s interest to get a job, specifically one where she has to deal with men little, but possibly enough to help her get over her fear. Getting hired on at a female-only café she is shocked to discover that even though the place does not allow men patrons, the cook of the place, Yu-Jin Hyeon is very so much a man, and even worse, he is a player.
Understanding he is scum to women (he even admits so himself) Sian knows that he Is the definition of the guy she should be afraid of. Someone who would use her and throw her away as if she meant little at all. The kicker is, he is also the first male she has ever met that doesn’t scare her. Garbage or not she doesn’t want to blow the chance to get out of her phobia, seeing him as someone who can slowly over time make her brave and be able to stand up on her own. Pleading she declares that he can help her, virtually forcing him to take the role as the two build a friendship that surprises both Sian and Hyeon
We all know where this is going.
So let’s do a roll call, tomboy that is scared of men, a womanizer she pleads into helping her, a female stalker, a mother who constantly berates her making her fear more rational, and a single, good friend, Min-Hyeon that no one listens to. Sounds like a fun time yeah?
This is the part where the series actually surprises me. As Sian and Hyeon play their parts clearly becoming closer as time goes on we get to see a different side of Yuri. She is not dangerous, or at least for the reader, there is an understanding that she to some extent hostile to anyone who may get in the way of her and Sian. But as her own story plays out, we learn more about Yuri, her feelings, and how long she has had some sort of impact in Sian’s life. We discover that she is much more treacherous than first perceived. As her secrets get out, Hyeon falls for Sian becoming more protective of her this comes to a climax where all cards are on the table. A table that will determine Sian’s life soon, a table she wasn’t even invited to.
The sheer desperation that is instilled in the later chapters added with the back story and history really makes the reader feel just awful for Sian while also making one hate pretty much everyone else. Sian for better or worse is just trying to get control of her life, is trying to be a better person and experience love, actual, caring love, unlike the manipulation she and her mother had always been victims too. But within this quest she is put between a rock and a hard place, dark past traumas dictating the future motives that eventually leave her utterly hopeless, giving up on all notions of a normal life.
Secret Alliance as far as any other Manhwa I’ve read is a solid lineup. It is sad and disturbing even with the lack of development we get for some plot points. Being only one volume and 47 chapters it is a rather quick read that left me with a lot of highs and lows, even throwing some curveballs in there I wasn’t prepared for or even seen coming. Which not to brag, is rare for me. Far and in-between does a story actually surprise me with a twist but congrats Secret Alliance, you did it.
This will be posted under the manga tag for organizing purposes but if you are interested in a toxic romance cluster, this series might be for you. After a lot of thinking I will be adding a new page to Otakupost, books. Though they do not fit exactly into Otaku cultured I decided that the mixture of light novels as well as Western Novels have a place on my site. And while I am not near as versed in those as I am anime or manga I hope I can share some insight that will pull readers in some direction.
As always, thanks for the read!