‘A Bittersweet Life’ – Is life as bitter as lemons?

Image courtesy of Line Webtoons

Wow this year is almost coming to an end and what a great start it’s been for Manhwa Chronicles, eh? As I sit here typing this review on Christmas Eve – trust me after working the build up to Christmas at work, four shifts in a row, writing this review is one of the best things I could do during my festive holidays! I feel myself reminiscing through the manhwa titles that I’ve reviewed so far, some have been amazing and others have…not.

For my final manhwa review of 2015, I’ve decided to go for a series of comic shorts called  ‘A Bittersweet Life’ (달콤한 인생)!

‘A Bittersweet Life’ (달콤한 인생)

This webtoon is created by Donggun Lee and it depicts daily moments of three sets of characters. It fits perfectly in the ‘slice of life’ genre! I’m really not kidding, because it really plays up to the genre’s name and meaning! The main characters are Nani (a single, working female), Jisook and Donggeon (a long term couple) and finally, Bunny and Youngjin (an actual talking bunny rabbit and his friend Youngjin).

Lee reveals different moments in each of these characters as ways to present their background story, who they are and as humorous lessons to the readers.

What I liked about it

I wanted something light and easy to read through, and although there is no set plot line for this title, like the rest of the comics that I’ve reviewed, ‘A Bittersweet Life’ is something you can really whizz through and chill out with. Whether it was something I could relate to or whether it reminded me of a family relative or a close friend, I always found myself laughing at something in the chapters.

The seven-year couple Jisook and Donggeon are my favourite characters because while reading their chapters, I could really see how much they loved each other. One of the best moments is in chapter/episode 13 “I’m A Man Too“, where Jisook cannot open a jar of strawberry jam and therefore Donggeon just naturally takes up the challenge to open the jar. Is he successful? Well, I think you should read the chapter to find out but the way Lee lays out Jisook’s dialogue completely in capital letters and the difference of the characters’ illustrations especially in the last five squares adds to the comedy! There are also exceptional moments where aspects of Jisook’s personality and her actions affect Donggeon’s daily life and emotions too, for example their introductory chapter is a comic scene I’ll never forget!

What I disliked about it

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the other characters – Nani is often put in daydream like scenarios that are centred around getting revenge on her cheating ex boyfriend/first love. It’s very rare to tell what she is like in the present, but it is crystal clear that she is still emotionally attached to her ex, their history and the reason why they broke up in the first place. There is also a scene where the clothes in her wardrobe have a voice too, which is very random but gives you an insight of how her emotions are breaking her down as a person.

These scenes eventually make the readers realise that they are starting to feel sympathetic towards her and I guess I should have taken the warning stated on Line Webtoons’ website that “there’s more than a touch of bitterness here” more seriously. My personal warning with this webtoon is that it meddles with your emotions a bit, so don’t be fooled that you’ll be laughing throughout this piece because by chapter 16, you’ll be doing the exact opposite!

Youngjin is the slightly awkward individual who has a one-sided love. Now I know we’ve all been there but if I have to be brutally honest, I found him awfully creepy! Maybe it’s because he seemed to be hung up on the idea that the person he really likes, does actually like him back! So…who’s going to break it to him? Me? Lee Donggun? Or you?

I also wasn’t too keen on the bunny character either. It just seemed to be there to constantly mock Youngjin and humans in general!

Final thoughts

Despite its length and comedic genius moments, I unfortunately found that after seventeen chapters, this comic can come across slightly annoying. It is a very easy read but also doesn’t really make any sense. I wouldn’t call it a ‘pointless read’ completely because it is handy if you happen to be bored one day!

You can read ‘A Bittersweet Life’ on Line Webtoons here. If you have or are currently doing so, why not let ATK Magazine know your views on it through our comments section below? Are there any other manhwa titles you would like us to check out? Please include them in your comments too!

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