In the middle of a futuristic concrete jungle, an old man named Sul cares for an exquisite garden filled with rare plants and flowers. However, his passion is frowned upon by the general community and eventually things come to a head when his home is torched, destroying his garden and rendering him blind. While staying in the hospital, he falls into a strange, dreamlike forest known as "Hill," where he is taught five rules for survival by a mysterious guide:
- Do not allow yourself to become a gardener of Mua. Escape immediately;
- Avoid those afflicted with the "Forest's Curse";
- Quickly cross Torore's River, as that is where the way out, known as the Gate, lies;
- Be careful of fire when near the combustion trees;
- Don't ever give up on the hope that you can escape.
With these words in mind, Sul must make the long journey to escape the Hill and return home to those he loves as his niece, Sul-yin, is waiting for him.
This manwha is completed at 34 chapters and is written and illustrated by Ahn Sung Ho. Especially notable is the distinctive, highly detailed artwork of the series, which is an unusual deviation from the more caricatured appearance of most manhwas and comics.
The original webtoon
in Korean can be found on Naver here
. A full translated version can be read here
Kiss Wood provides examples of:
- A Dog Named Dog: Llama the black llama.
- Animorphism: Ro can transform into a butterfly.
- Big Damn Heroes: Ahbon rescuing Jubahm just before Mua throws him off a building and punches her in the face.
- Back from the Dead: Ahbon is alive and well.
- Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Ro.
- Brainy Brunette: The Professor, Ramona.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The bag of ants that eat anything, that Mua gave to Ro, which the latter uses to break out of the former's prison.
- Combustion trees which lead the way to the Gate and set Hill on fire when Mua is freezing it to death.
- Cool Old Guy: Sul certainly hasn't decided to let age slow him down.
- Creepy Child: Mua, who captures men like Sul and forces them to work in her garden. When one trips, the guard kills him believing he is no longer able to work, Mua laughs and says there's a new spot open on her workforce.
- Crossing the Desert: Mua creates a hellish desert to stop Sul from getting to the Gate.
- Curse: The forest's curse, aimed at people who have needlessly hurt nature such as Ahbon, who was an illegal logger.
- Dead Hand Shot:
- When the Professor is killed.
- It's all that's seen of Ahbon's corpse. Subverted as he survives.
- Downer Beginning: Trees and gardens are slowly vanishing over the world; Sul has the only one in the city which he loves, though people have been complaining about it and want it gone; his niece feels he never pays her any attention because he's so obsession with his garden and somebody comes to his garden and burns it down, causing Sul to go blind. End of Chapter One.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Ahbon's, though he survives in the end.
- Everything's Better with Llamas: Jubaan's black llama, which is also the fastest steed in the Hill.
- Eye Scream: How Sul lost his eyesight. He entered his burning house to save Ro and a piece of burning wood stabbed/burnt his eyes.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Mua sports a pair near the end.
- Green Aesop: Nature is important, be kind to it otherwise you'll get transported to another world where you're cursed and trees will kill you.
- Happy Ending: Sul gets out of Hill and reunites with his niece (whilst fixing their problems); Jubaan has been reunited with Jubahm; Mua has died, after replacing the forest in its original condition and letting those within it have a normal life; Ahbon is alive and on a journey to reunite with Sul and Jubahm and both worlds are saved.
- Happy Rain: The village has been cursed with no rain unless Jubaan and Jubahm leave (which means certain death). Jubaan escaped Hill entirely and Jubahm escaped the Watchers, who kill anybody leaving the village, with Sul and Ahbon - when it rains the villagers start cheering, except the mayor who hopes Jubahm makes it out safely.
- Heaven: Hill is a place where abandoned trees grow - so in a way it's tree heaven.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- When they're escaping from Mua's prison Ahbon, knowing he's the reason the forest is attacking him, Sul and Jubahm, decides to not bother saving himself. He throws Jubahm to Sul (who is riding Llama to the rapidly closing door) and throws the switch to keep the door open long enough for them to escape. The forest then attacks and kills him. Subverted when it's revealed he survived.
- The desert that is in the way of the Gate is powered by a "machine", which can only be turned off after entering a force field, doing this kills Ro.
- When Sul gets to the Gate, he's told either he or Jubahm can go through (as punishment for burning his garden down) so he lets Jubahm go through, accepting his death. He goes through later.
- The Homeward Journey: Sul loves the forest and all, but he has a niece waiting for him back home.
- Hungry Jungle: Hill.
- Karmic Death:
- Ahbon was previously an illegal logger, which is why the forest hates it and eventually kills him. Subverted when it's revealed he survived.
- Sul accepts his death as this, when the Gate only allows him or Jubahm through because Sul burnt down his garden. Subverted, as he survives.
- Kubrick Stare: Mua does this to Ro after Ro has freed Mua's slaves.
- Made of Explodium: The exploding plants.
- Missing Mom: Sul-yin's mother isn't mentioned and neither is Jubahm's.
- Nature Lover: Sul loves plants and was happy that there were animals in his garden and was genuinely sad when people starting getting rid of their gardens.
- Oh, Crap: Mua's reaction when there's an exploding plant right behind her that counteracts her freezing the garden by setting it on fire.
- Pajama Clad Hero: Sul spends the story in the hospital pajamas.
- Parental Abandonment: Sul-yin's father dumped her on Sul when she was a child.
- Parental Substitute: Professor Ramona acts as a mother figure for Jubahm (it's ambiguous if she was having a relationship with his father) and Sul tries to act as one for Sul-yin but she feels as though he doesn't love or need her.
- Really Dead Montage: After Ahbon dies. Subverted as he isn't really dead.
- Redemption Equals Death: For Mua. She makes up with Ro, helps Sul leave (after trying to kill him, but still) and returns the forest to its natural state (saving the "real" world in the progress).
- Red Herring: It looks like Jubaan burnt down Sul's garden, but in fact it was Sul out of loneliness after his niece left and hating the garden for being his obsession and blames it for taking his attention away from her.
- Say My Name: Sul screams "Ahbon!" when the latter is killed.
- Shoo the Dog: When Sul and co. reach the bridge to take them over Torere's River, the maintenance man says while it will support the weight of them, it won't support the weight of Llama so he has to stay behind. Llama looks at them and wishes them luck (in his head).
- Snow Means Death: When Mua realises Ro has died and "become" a tree, everything becomes a winter wonderland.
- Spit Take: Sul spits out his food when Ahbon tells him he (Ahbon) has been trapped in Hill for five years.
- Town with a Dark Secret: The village is cursed by Mua after Jubaan accidentally sets part of the forest on fire. Unless Jubaan and his son, Jubahm, is cast out the village will not get any ran and nobody will be able to leave the village (else they'll be shot by The Watchers).
- Trapped in Another World: Really, getting out of it is the ball that sets the plot rolling.
- Villain's Dying Grace: As Mua dies, she releases Sul and frees Hill from her domination (as well as Ro).
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Jubaan is repeatedly setting fire to trees in the "real world" so he can get the Forest's Curse and be sent to Hill to help his son.
- Wild Hair: Sul
- Would Hurt a Child: The Watchers have no problem targeting Jubahm and the villagers are willing to kill him to save themselves.
- Abhon punching Mua in the face. Justified because it's Mua.