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Webcomic / Bastard (2014)

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Like father, like son.

"My dad is a murderer... And I... am an accomplice."

Jin Seon is far from an Ordinary High-School Student. For one, he's raised by his single father Dongsoo Seon, the popular and charismatic CEO of an influential company. For another, due to a severe childhood "accident" that stripped him of his memories and the use of his left eye, he has artificial valves in his heart and pins and plates in his joints.

Also, his father is a serial killer, and Jin is his unwilling accomplice.

Bastard was a 2014 psychological thriller webtoon by author Carnby Kim (City of Dead Sorcerer) and illustrator Youngchan Hwang. It was hosted on Naver and updated weekly before finishing in 2016. The official English translation can be found here.

Not to be confused with the unrelated manga series Bastard!! (1988).

Bastard contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Playground: Jin and Kyun Yoon sit and chat at one in episode 8 after he buys her ice cream to apologize for shouting at her the day before.
  • Abusive Parents: Goes without saying when one's father is a serial killer. Jin's father is extremely manipulative and controlling as well as physically and emotionally abusive. He slapped his son in the face with little provocation, constantly keeps him under watch, and forbids him from working out (even just doing pushups) in order to keep him physically weak and passive so that he never tries to rise up against him. As a result, Jin is outright offended when Kyun Yoon naively suggests he appreciate his father while he's still around.
  • Berserk Button: Jin's father is this to him in general. But so is harming Kyun or Manny.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Jin shouts at Kyun Yoon to screw off when he learns his father is coming to the hospital to see him because he doesn't want her to become his next victim.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Jin is quite possibly the biggest cutie to ever be broken. Nothing in his life goes right, and in his own words, he doesn't have a single good memory.
    • Kyun as well. Her beloved father died when she was young, leaving her with an enormous debt that constantly puts her at the mercy of vicious loan sharks. To make matters worse, she has to take care of her grandfather, who has dementia and thinks she's his mother.
  • Broken Tears: Jin cries to Kyun in episode 31 after an emotionally-charged confrontation with his father.
    Jin: I've got nothing. I don't have a single good memory... Nothing.
  • The Bully: Manny Kim, Pann Han, and Beau Park are a trio of bullies ranking from most to least powerful with Beau being a bully victim himself. As of more recent chapters, Manny is coming out of this, at least towards Jin.
  • Bully Brutality: Jin's classmate Beau Park beats him so severely after Jin steals his wallet that the artificial valves in his heart stop working, and he nearly dies. Fortunately, new transfer student Kyun Yoon happens upon the scene and calls an ambulance.
  • Character Death: At the end of Chapter 83, Dongsoo nonchalantly stabs both Manny and Mandeuk in the neck before flooding the room with oil and setting it ablaze.
  • Chaste Hero: Unsettlingly deconstructed with Jin. Episode 15 reveals that he doesn't know what sex is, how it's done, or what its purpose is, despite being in high school. When he innocently asks Kyun to explain porn to him, she asks him why he didn't learn about it in sex ed (he missed a class), on the Internet (he didn't know it could be viewed online), from his friends (he doesn't have any), and finally, from his parents, which triggers in him a panic attack when he recalls an instance in which he listened in on his father murdering a woman. Despite knowing all about a woman's "inner workings," Jin is completely naive in regards to sexuality, emphasizing how exposed he is to the evils of the world and how sheltered he is from the pleasures.
  • Crush Blush: Jin gets one at the end of episode 22 when he realizes he really does like Kyun.
  • Damsel in Distress: Kyun, twice. Justified since she's the target of a serial killer and later, a second one too and has no experience in that sort of situation.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Jin's father is a serial killer who forced him to help commit his crimes, so it goes without saying.
    • Also Mandeuk, who is implied to have been a mercenary in a foreign country.
    • Kyun technically counts as well, what with her father dying and leaving her to repay all his debts. All while living in poverty and while taking care of a grandfather with dementia.
  • Double Meaning: In the prologue, Jin abruptly lists a series of dates and asks his tutor if she knows what they mean. When she admits that she doesn't, he tells her that they're the dates his father went on business trips. She remains unfazed by this and stays where she is, so Jin carries out his planned attack on her, revealing to the reader afterward that those dates are also when people from their neighborhood disappeared: He was trying to give her a last-minute warning to escape the house, but she failed to pick up on it.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: And how! After years of psychological abuse Jin learns that not only is his mother alive, but that Dongsoo never actually threw him off the roof as a child. After going through inner turmoil of whether or not he should kill his father and thus become just like him, Jin fully commits to doing what was previously thought unthinkable: He forgives his father. He is let go by Dongsoo, who throws himself off a building admitting defeat, he saves Kyun, and confesses everything to the police while Kyun stands beside him. He goes to Juvenile Hall of course, but Kyun writes to him and it's clear they are still together. Kyun and Manny's sister are friends and the webcomic officially ends with Jin's mother getting visitors (Jin and Kyun being the first ones) that cause her to smile.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Apparently, as twisted as Dongsoo is, killing his family seems to be where he draws the line. Claiming to Jin that the only times where he threatened to kill him, he was actually joking. As Chapter 91 shows, he couldn't bring himself to kill his wife, either. On one hand, he admits to himself he's not sure why he's letting either of them live, but on the other hand, you'd think he would have gone through with it by now. Additionally, the reason he went after Manny? It was because Manny had been bullying Jin and he even kills Manny because he threatened to hurt Jin for revenge.
  • Evil Is Petty: Why does Faye Kim kill? Because she doesn't think she's attractive and is jealous of women she finds more beautiful.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Dongsoo Seon, easily. He appears like a kindly business man, and definitely not a serial killer.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Jin has these often, of his father throwing him off a building as a child. Although it turns out it was his mother who did it.
  • Forced into Evil: From a young age, Jin was forced to help his father commit and cover up his crimes even though he knew it was wrong. Now, on pain of death, he can't stop.
  • Friendless Background: Even as a child, Jin didn't seem to have any friends, as most people found him creepy and unapproachable while being charmed by his charismatic father.
  • Glass Eye: Jin's left eye is a prosthetic since he lost the use of it when he was young. It's because his mother threw him off the hospital roof when he was younger.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Zigzagged with Jin and Manny. In episode 9, Manny invites Jin to hang out with him after school. All he does, though, is use him to hold the punching bag steady for him at the gym before threatening him to never mention to anyone at school that they hung out. Directly afterwards, however, he asks him if he wants to go out and meet girls with him, which Jin turns down. When Jin then works up his resolve and asks him if he'll help him get stronger, Manny returns to being The Bully and tells him the only reason he's still alive is because his father is a rival company's CEO. After that, however, Manny finds something intriguing about Jin and starts hanging around him and even coaching him in athletic training. This culminates in Manny, Jin, and Kyun going on a road trip together and then out to dinner. At the restaurant, when Jin leaves for the bathroom, Kyun confronts Manny about his motivation for hanging out with Jin, to which he responds by telling her that Jin has "a cute side to him" and that he's fun to be around. They then make a toast "to Jin's dorkiness" as his only friends. Unbeknownst to them, Jin has been listening in to the whole conversation, and their declarations of friendship move him to tears. Their relationship appeared to be something akin to friendship, as, when Jin later brags to Beau that he and Manny are friends and is beaten up by a rival gang as a result, Manny drops what he's doing immediately to come to his rescue. However, when Manny's own reputation is challenged by his other friends as a result of associating himself with Jin, he ultimately reverts back to his previous attitude towards him and denounces their friendship.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In episode 2, we see a silhouette rather than Jin actually attacking his tutor.
  • Humongous-Headed Hammer: Jin uses a mallet wrapped in cloth to attack his tutor in the prologue. It's kept hidden behind a painting in the bathroom.
  • Identical Stranger: Eerily discussed and averted when Dongsoo mentions that Kyun Yoon looks like his late wife; Jin notes to himself that they look absolutely nothing alike.
  • It's Personal: Jin's motive for defeating his father. Being an accomplice to murder since being a toddler will do that.
  • Keeping the Enemy Close: This is the principal reason Dongsoo keeps Jin around him, watching him closely all the while. He forces his son to assist him in his murders to discourage him from contacting the police (thereby incriminating himself as an accomplice) and prohibits him from exercising so he can never become strong enough to overpower him. This is revealed to be just paranoia on Jin's part.
  • Manipulative Bastard: This is Dongsoo Seon's MO.
  • Master Actor: Jin had to become this to bring girls for his dad, he even calls himself one.
    • As a psychopathic serial killer, his dad is one as well.
  • Missing Mom: What did happen to Jin's mom? She found out her husband was a killer and was involving Jin, and so she tried to escape with him. However, Dongsoo was able to find them, and in the midst of a mental breakdown, saw Jin as a demon, and threw him off a hospital roof. She was later put in a mental hospital.
  • Mood Whiplash: Although a thriller, this is capable of having funny or cute moments as well...right before something incredibly dark happens.
  • Mugging the Monster: Nice try threatening Jin's dad, Faye Kim.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We’re rarely shown what happens when Jin knocks the girls out, and we rarely see them killed, which just makes it creepier. The only onscreen murders are Manny’s and Mandeuk’s, and they are very disturbing.
  • Nightmare Face: Something of a trademark for Dongsoo. Jin makes them on occasion as well.
  • New Transfer Student: Kyun Yoon transfers into Jin's school, saves his life... and then promptly becomes Dongsoo's new target.
  • No Social Skills: Jin, not having much social interaction with his peers (due to finding him creepy) has little clue on how to act around other kids his age, and has only a child's understanding on certain topics such as sex, even flat-out asking Kyun what porn was without realizing how it could have been interpreted as a perverse gesture. This works to his Dongsoo's advantage of keeping him under control.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: Distressingly averted in episode 6 when Jin goes up against his father. He still loses, but the fact that he managed to hold on for a little while cues his father in to the fact that he's gotten stronger.
  • Organ Theft: Dongsoo sells the organs of his victims, though it's far from his primary motive for killing them — that dubious honor falls to the hedonistic thrill of the act itself.
  • Playing Sick: Ironically, it's the parent forcing the child to attempt this when Dongsoo has Jin put a heating pad under his shirt to make it seem like he has a fever. The excuse that his son is sick allows him to bypass a random search by the police, who are looking for the culprit in a string of murders in the area, and they end up missing a bloodstain on the back of his car.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Jin's inability to be honest with his friends about Dongsoo have huge consequences. Kyun believes Dongsoo just has feelings for her and goes to confront him in person, oblivious to the danger, while Manny finds out that Jin was Dongsoo's in the worst way possible.
  • The Promise: Kyun promises to always be on Jin's side. And she is.
  • Properly Paranoid: In an early chapter, Jin's father helps an old lady cross the street and the woman's grandson is played up as being overly angry and suspicious. Of course, we the readers know that there is something very wrong with the man who helped his grandmother and that his comments about there being many kinds of weirdos out there were justified.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Jin pulls one for just a moment in episode 7 when Beau Park is being forced to apologize to him, which surprises and unnerves Manny Kim, who questions if Jin's really afraid of them. Jin later notes to himself that, while dangerous, the bullies don't have what it takes to truly scare him, as he's "living with a devil."
  • Raging Stiffie: In Chapter 23, after Jin's uncle and father return home from drinking, Jin's uncle checks on him to discover that he has a erection. When Jin wakes up, he finds he had a wet dream in his sleep. Dongsoo takes it as a sign that Jin is growing up, and is closer to becoming a threat to him.
  • Real Is Brown: The comic is primarily done in muted shades of brown and gray to convey the story's gritty, dismal mood.
  • The Runaway: In episode 32, Jin tells his father over the phone that he's running away from home.
  • Serial Killer: Dongsoo Seon, who has been serially murdering young women for years with the help of his son.
    • As it turns out, there's another serial killer working the same neighborhood who also targets women.
  • Shipper on Deck: Manny tries to help Jin when he starts to have a crush on Kyun.
  • Slasher Smile: Dongsoo gets these frequently alongside his Nightmare Faces.
  • Stepford Smiler: Jin, due to the double life he's forced to lead. He acknowledges that he's become a very convincing actor as a result.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!/Beneath Notice: Discussed in chapter 5 and played straight with Dongsoo. He looks like any ordinary businessman, and Jin notes that nobody suspects a father with a child with him to be a murderer.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Kyun keeps Jin from killing Faye Kim. And he never does kill his father.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Jin after utilising Manny Kim's training to take down Faye Kim.
  • Torture Cellar: There's one in the room next door where Jin is instructed to drag the unconscious victims before cleaning up the mess he made.
  • Trapped in Villainy: Jin is forced to assist in his father's murders or else be killed himself.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Jin's first memory is of lying in a hospital bed with horrific injuries and no idea how he ended up there.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Jin is reasonably attractive, and is very troubled.
  • Villainous Rescue: Surprisingly, Dongsoo did save Jin’s life as a child, after his mother, in the midst of a mental breakdown, threw him off a hospital building to keep him away from his father.
  • Wham Episode: Chapters 54 and 55 when Jin flips out and takes down Faye Kim, the other murderer and Chapter 83 when Dongsoo kills Manny and Mandeuk.
  • Wham Line: Ironically enough, this grim, gritty webtoon gives us a rare example that's Played for Laughs (at least until the implications of said line hit home): Episode 15 begins with a recap of the end of the previous chapter, where Jin, in a jealous rage, nearly sells out Kyun Yoon to his father. The scene then cuts to an extremely annoyed Dongsoo in his office, followed almost immediately after by Jin blurting out, "What the heck is porn?"
  • What Is This Feeling?: Seems to be Jin’s reaction to his growing feelings for Kyun.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Kyun's client at the noraebang joint, who hits her and drags her by the hair when she rejects his advances.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: As a child, Jin was forced to pretend he was lost in order to lure a woman to his father so that he could kill her.
  • You Monster!: Jin calls his father a demon more than he calls him his father. His caller I.D on his phone is even "Demon."

Alternative Title(s): Bastard