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Manhwa / Let Dai

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Let Dai is a Boys' Love Sunjeong Manhwa by Woon Soo-yeon.

Set in a Clockwork Orange-esque Neo Seoul, Jaehee Yoo was just an Ordinary High-School Student who would buy flowers for his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. That is, until he sees a group of Delinquents assaulting a young woman. He decides to step in and play hero. Too bad for him this event will bring him face to face with Dai Lee, the infamous leader of the Furies gang and change the course of his life forever.

You know where this is going already, don't you? Another BL series that uses the generic gang violence, shafts every female character in sight and has the boys screw like bunnies. Right? Wrong! Let Dai takes slews of characters, grinds them in a blender of teenage angst and social rigidities, boils them in a climate of violence and emotional trauma and then serves it as a tragic story of love and freedom.

This series contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Dai's father, but only when it comes to Dai, and to a more emotional extent, his own mother. In a similar way, Eunhyung's father hits and abuses her when she doesn't do what her parents want her to do, but only her and not Yooneun, while her mother stands by supporting the physical abuse with an emotional counterpart.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Dai is mean, violent and frequently disregards Jaehee's human rights, but when he decides to show affection it's really clear how much he loves him, and Jaehee, no matter how pissed off he is at what Dai has just done, will always capitulate - usually after a brief if futile struggle to maintain his freedom.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: between Dai and Jaehee, to the point where when Jaehee is getting beaten up for the first time, Dai stops to kiss him on the mouth before branding him. Belligerent indeed.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Volume 15, page 85:
    Naru Hagi: Let me introduce myself. My name is Naru Hagi. I'm the most popular supporting actor in "Let Dai," and according to myself, as well as a few other people, the biggest heartthrob in the series. I'm the McDreamy to end all McDreamys, entering as a blonde when the author has time, and as a black haired guy when she's too busy. Should I call myself the male "Candy Candy"?
    Goohee Jang: Whaddya you, sick in the head?! I don't get anythin' you're sayin', you crazy ass!
  • Crack Pairing: In-universe everyone perceives Dai and Jaehee's relationship like this. No one can see why Jaehee - an honour student - is around someone as violent and dismissive of societal norms as Dai, and more than one person is completely shocked at finding out. In the beginning the Furies - before they're disbanded - can't figure out why Dai hangs out so much with a pacifist like Jaehee.
  • Double Standard: Dai can't stand people who act in a hypocritical fashion with double standards, and a lot of his hate for his father comes from the sheer hypocrisy of his actions and the wide spread double standard he applies to his life. One of Dai's core reasons for his rebellion is how he perceives the Double Standard perpetuated by societal norms, and he detests anyone who applies such deception or illusion. On the flip side of this trope, Yooneun herself also slowly starts to enact multiple double standards that become increasingly more obvious as time goes on - her greatest hypocrisies being 1) in blaming other people for situations she herself had a hand in, demanding they take responsibility for their actions while not doing so herself, and 2) not doing anything to help Eunyung at all while telling Jaehee that he should do so, despite being her older sister and the only adult who knows about her rape.
  • Gayngster: Dai. For the first few volume's he's a violent, borderline-psychopathic gang leader - who kisses his victim Jaehee halfway through giving him a beating.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Dear god, Dai! If you want to keep your sanity intact do not go anywhere near Jaehee with a twelve-foot pole. Bad things will happen to you. He's horribly possessive at the best of times, and he even reacted badly to Jaehee introducing Naru as his best friend.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: In the first few volumes, Dai and and Jaehee spend as much time hurting each other as they do treating each other romantically. Dai seems to be under the illusion that severely beating Jaehee, tying him to train tracks and then stealing his wallet means he loves him. Jaehee doesn't exactly agree.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Eunhyung's friends insult each other, beat up other girls and badmouth each other continuously, but when Eunhyung needs it, they are always there for her, and even though they don't know the details of her rape - they only know that something horribly painful happened to her in the past - they are far more supportive and helpful than her own family (something Eunhyung remarks on in narration). Noting that her family includes Yooneun who knows exactly what happened to her, lives in the same house, and is actually in a greater position to help her.
  • Masochism Tango: Dai and Jaehee's relationship plays out like this, sometimes to abusive extremes. Most of it revolves around Dai's possessiveness and wanting to completely monopolise Jaehee.
  • Our Love Is Different
    Eunhyung: You and Jaehee... what the hell kind of relationship do you guys have?!
    Dai: A relationship you're not allowed to even ask about.
  • Parental Abandonment: Inverted. Most of the main cast, for various reasons, try to escape their parents. Dai goes so far as to sleep in the school gym to avoid seeing his.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Yooneun could have avoided a huge amount of Angst in this series by explaining things to the people around her instead of just letting them believe their incorrect assumptions, doing nothing to correct them. Eunhyung's rape especially could have been completely avoided by telling her the situation with Jaehee instead of acting secretive for no valid reason. This kind of stupidity coupled with the fact that she's constantly in angst-mode and trying to play the martyr instead of actually helping out anyone when she is in the position to do so - particularly Eunhyung when the first thing she should have done after she was raped is told her parents and got her counselling - makes her probably the least sympathetic character in the entire series. And this is a series which includes a borderline sociopath. It doesn't make it any better that she rarely if ever takes responsibility for her part in events.
  • Pretty Boy: Jaehee is explicitly stated in-series to be very literally a "pretty boy," and the artwork makes that abundantly clear. It's one of the reasons that so many girls tend to go after him.
  • The Sociopath: Dai doesn't understand empathy or why Jaehee cares about anyone other than Dai and himself.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Eunhyung becomes a lot tougher and less naive after she's raped, to the point where she'll stand up to and fight a gang leader.