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Webcomic / Killing Stalking

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Sangwoo and Bum.

Killing Stalking (킬링 스토킹) is a Manhwa written by Koogi and published online in Korean, English, and Japanese by Lezhin Comics. It won the grand prize in the Second Lezhin World Comics Contest.

The story follows Yoon Bum, a young, mentally ill man with a difficult past. After becoming infatuated with Oh Sangwoo, a peer from his time in the military who saved him from a rape attempt, he decides to enter Sangwoo's home while he is out of his house. Yoon Bum finds a tied up, bruised woman in Sangwoo's basement and before he is able to free her, he is discovered by Sangwoo, who is revealed to be a serial killer. Sangwoo then breaks his ankles and despite Yoon Bum's previous love for him, Sangwoo puts Bum into a highly abusive and manipulative relationship until the very end.

Killing Stalking is now complete at 67 chapters, with a print release on the way. The comic updated weekly on the Lezhin Comics website. Chapters in Korean came on Thursdays and chapters in English arrived on Wednesdays.


This work contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Sangwoo's father was strict and beat his mother. The mother, as we later learn, was mentally unstable and tried to kill Sangwoo along with attempting to rape him once, although he quickly fought her off. And if we go by guardians, Yoon Bum's uncle was much worse. After Bum was given to his Uncle and Grandmother due to the death of his parents, the Uncle severely starved, beat and emotionally abused Bum every day for years (Even attempted to rip Bum's genitals off once) and eventually began to regularly rape him as well while his Grandmother emotionally abused him.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Three times with Bum, once with Bum's uncle and once with Sangwoo when hanging Bum.
  • All Abusers Are Male: It seems to be an ongoing trend in the series, since Bum's Uncle, the Guys who abused Bum in military, and Sangwoo are all Abusers. However, Sangwoo's unstable mother also abused him.
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  • Ambiguously Bi: Bum seems to be bisexual since he shows interest in both women and men, although this could be maybe even seen as Pansexuality as Gender doesn't matter to him and he fell in love with a female and later on a male because they were the first ones who showed somewhat of affection to Bum, who's never gotten any before. It is possible that the constant sexual abuse that was lashed out on Bum due to his uncle and the guys in the military changed his sexual orientation, as well as warped his perception of love and sexuality, however, it is not exactly clear. It's made repeatedly clear that Bum is willing to believe that he and Sangwoo can be a couple, even despite the abuse and torture that is inflicted on Bum due to Sangwoo. Because he's already been there, due to his uncle. He's been told by Sangwoo that it was his fault for being raped by his uncle, accused of enjoying it and having his pain and shame dismissed or laughed at. Sexuality is intrinsically linked with pain and suffering for him. Expressing that pain and suffering are associated with ridicule. In the mind of a person that confused and broken, it's uncertain if Bum could truly understand what it would even mean to identify as gay/bi/etc. Therefore, he's probably pansexual.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Bum often shifts the blame onto himself, mostly due to his self-esteem caused by his traumatic past and present experiences.
  • Ax-Crazy: Sangwoo. To say nothing of what he's done to other people, he's beaten Bum with a baseball bat, broken both of his ankles (the first by pushing him down the basement stairs, the other by smashing it with a hammer), made him choose between a knife or a meat hook and strung him up when he attempted to deflect Sangwoo with sex in fear of getting abused by him.
  • Batter Up!: Sangwoo uses a baseball bat to beat Bum when he finds him in the basement. Bum's Uncle has a wodden bat which he also uses to abuse Bum.
  • Bandage Babe: Bum is a male version, after Sangwoo breaks his legs and keeps him in his house.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Bum. After losing his parents, being abused by his uncle in every possible away and bullied in school, he began having a crush on a girl in high school because they could relate and were getting close to each other. When her home life got better and they couldn't relate anymore, she abandoned him. Later on, he fell for Sangwoo because he saved him from a rape attempt in the army. Unfortunately, Sangwoo didn't turn out to be the way Bum imagined.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In public, Sangwoo appears as a nice and popular guy. In reality, he'a a narcissistic Serial Killer who kidnaps, abuses, molests, and kills women.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Heavy on the bitter. Sangwoo is arrested, his murders come to light, and many are given hard earned closure with Seungbae going back on the force. However, Bum still feels extra guilty about everything, and despite it all still pines for Sangwoo. After he learns that Sangwoo was smothered by an elderly patient he hallucinates seeing Sangwoo and runs out into traffic where it is implied he is hit by a car, and even if he wasn't, it's pretty clear that Bum is even more traumatized and damaged from what he has endured and will probably never recover from it.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: The conflict of the series is between a weak-willed stalker who breaks into his crush's home, and said crush who kidnaps, tortures, rapes, and kills people in his off-time. The other characters that appear aren't exactly the picture of upstanding morality either, and some can be huge assholes while still on the side of the law.
  • Boys' Love: A complete subversion of the genre. This webtoon showcases an abusive and toxic relationsip that is in no way loving. The author herself even went out of her way to say that the comic isn't supposed to be romanticized.
  • Break the Cutie: Averted. Bum is naive and somewhat chidlike and his life is full of traumatic experiences since the moment he was born. He lost his parents when he was even too young to even remember, his uncle starved, beaten and raped Bum regularly for years, he never had a single friend and was bullied in school, then he had to do military service despite being underweight and was bullied and sexually abused there. When he thought that Sangwoo was THE person who was kind to him, Bum's expectations were not met and Sangwoo turns out to be a Serial Killer, breaks Bum's ankles and puts Bum through hell. Yet, Bum never really loses his naivety and childlike personality throughout the story.
  • Broken Pedestal: Bum thought that Sangwoo was a kind guy, so kind that he went out of his way and saved him from a rape attempt in the army. Unfortunately for him, the real Sangwoo is a sociopathic Serial Killer.
  • Broken Tears: When Bum sees Sangwoo again after Sangwoo stopped someone's rape attempt on Bum in the army, he sees him with a girl. He goes back home, realizes that he's obsessed with Sangwoo, and breaks down crying. It becomes a pattern over the course of the series.
  • Cassandra Truth: In Chapter 16, Bum immediately starts telling anyone he comes into contact with that he had been kidnapped. Since he's at a college party and he's raving about his kidnapping without any rhyme or reason, the partygoers dismiss him as a rowdy drunk.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Bum couldn't sleep one night because of how hot it was, so he went into the kitchen and drank something as he suddenly hears noises (The Uncle moaning) and went to check where it came from. Much to his shock, it was the uncle masturbating who noticed Bum who then quickly ran back into his room, ending with the Uncle following him and giving a creepy laugh before going back.
  • Chase Fight: Constitutes the entirety of chapter 31.
  • Creepy Basement: A lot of events occur in Sangwoo's basement.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Bum, Sangwoo and Sangwoo's mom have dark circles around their eyes, while the more mentally stable characters don't (then again, the eyes of bum's uncle were never seen). During Season 3, Seungbae gets those as well.
  • Creepy Souvenir: When Bum opens Sangwoo's washing machine, it was full of the underwear of the women that Sangwoo killed. Due to it being potrayed as their severed body parts, Bum was freaked out.
  • Creepy Uncle: Bum's guardian is his uncle, who sexually abused him for years.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Bum is a complete reject in every sense of the word, seemingly since the beginning — presenting borderline personality disorder even as a teenager, likely due to the trauma of his parents dying when he was very young, he was initially raised by his grandparents with whom formed no emotional connection, and was then passed off to his uncle who physically, emotionally and sexually abused him and grandmother who emotionally abused him. The severe abuse, combined with his mental illness and intense shyness, singled him out both as a student and as a soldier during his army service, getting bullied in school and sexually abused in the army.
  • Daydream Surprise: Happens frequently, mostly to underscore characters' unstable mental states.
  • Deadly Game: The card game that Sangwoo forces Bum and the man he kidnapped from the bar to play, with the loser getting killed. This is just a trick, however, and he kills the man despite Bum "losing".
  • Death by Sex: Inverted. Seems to be Sangwoo's modus operandi, as it's implied he kills all the women he sleeps with.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Bum's motivation is to feel loved for once in his life and he becomes easily attached once shown affection.
  • Dream Melody: The song "Killing Me Softly" is featured frequently in the storyline, but its importance and association with Sangwoo have yet to be revealed.
  • Drop the Hammer: Sangwoo uses a sledgehammer to break the ankles of his victims so they can't run away. He breaks one of Bum's ankles with it and later kills Bum's uncle with a hammer.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Sangwoo's Signature Scene of him swinging a bat brings back memories
  • Dysfunction Junction: Point in the general direction of any of the characters, and you will not see anyone as the picture of mental health. Even Seungbae, arguably one of the saner main characters, slowly starts slipping into madness.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Bum's pale skin, demure nature in public, and short, feminine stature make him appear to be feminine, especially when he has women's clothing on. At several points in the comic he had been mistaken for a woman. The panels of his feminine thighs, butt and curves doesn't help it exactly either - Dude looks like a lady. Sangwoo used Bum as Replacement of his Mother while his uncle already told Bum back when he was in primary school that Bum looks just like his deceased mother, who was the Ex of the Uncle. This also, unfortunately, resulted in him getting severely abused by his Uncle who fantasized about Bum's mother when raping him for the first time.
  • Empty Cop Threat: Seungbae seems to make a lot of these, particularly in Chapter 23 when he interrogates an underage guy at a gay bar for information on Seokhun. While he could legitimately arrest someone who had broken the law, arresting the guy at the gay bar would probably cause more trouble for Seungbae, being at a gay bar and all....
  • Evil Is Sexy: In-universe in the last chapter. The viewing public, while still appalled by Sangwoo's crimes, spent a good amount of time talking about how good looking he was, according to reporters.invoked
  • Evil Uncle: Bum's uncle abused him physically, sexually, and emotionally for years and starved him. He takes his anger over losing Bum's mother who left him for his brother, who is Bum's Father, on Bum out and told him right into his face that God "punished" them for that and that Bum is the result of their sins, making Bum cry. His cruelty is in fact so severe that he feels no remorse for any of his actions, even after physically abusing Bum to the point that he made him cry, he proceeds to rape him regularly on top of that. He even attempted to rip Bum's genitals off at one time. He also physically abused his own mother, Bum's Grandmother, sometimes, although to a way lesser degree. Even in the present, Bum's Uncle hasn't changed and the first thing he did when seeing Bum was to make fun of him, try to manipulate him, beat him up, and attempt to rape him.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Lotta killing, lotta stalking.
  • Fan Disservice: There are many examples:
    • The first chapter has a half-naked Bum masturbating over Sangwoo. This isn't shown to titillate, but to showcase his loneliness and obsession; plus, it happens in the middle of a flashback that explains how he became a Stalker with a Crush and includes an Attempted Rape situation that he was subjected to when in the army.
    • In the same chapter, Bum gets inside Sangwoo's house, then finds his basement... and an almost naked, Bound and Gagged, blindfolded and bruised young woman. When he wakes up after being beaten uncounscious by Sangwoo, he sees the poor woman's corpse. It gets even worse when Sangwoo gropes the corpse's bare breast.
    • The story has quite a few instances where Sangwoo is down to his skivvies, walking around in his underwear and showing off his chiseled physique. Most these scenes are accompanied by his victims being tortured in his Creepy Basement, him splattered with blood, or him psychologically scaring the crap out of Bum.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While it may fly over reader's heads, a closer look at Chapter 7 proves that Sangwoo never had plans and pretended to leave as a Loyalty Test; it was raining heavily, but he deliberately left his umbrella indoors. Unfortunately, Bum didn't pick up on this and thought that Sangwoo left, as Bum thinks that he's finally able to escape. Much to his shock, Sangwoo was waiting outside the door.
  • Fate Worse than Death: When Bum was found by Sangwoo who was revealed to be a Serial Killer, instead of being killed by him, he got his legs broken by first being shoven down the stairs which caused him to fall unconscious. When he woke up, he was naked and locked up, with the corpse of the woman who he tried to save besides him. Not only is that already terrifying enough, Bum then has to witness how Sangwoo breaks his other leg with a sledgehammer. It only gets worse from here on on, with Bum suffering from severe physical, mental and sexual abuse at the hands of Sangwoo as well as multiple attempted murders.
    • And the only reason why Bum wasn't killed at the beginning was because he looks feminine. All of the trauma that Bum had to go through because of Sangwoo could have been spared if Sangwoo just killed him at the beginning of the story.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: After breaking Bum's legs and contantly beating him, Sangwoo patches up his wounds once, probably leading to Lima Syndrome.
    • Turns out that that's not the case since Bum was only seen as a replacement of his mom since the beginning and Sangwoo still kept abusing as well as raping Bum throughout the story. We also get a flashback later on where it shows that Bum's Uncle did the same once, abusing Bum but then patching up his wounds he inflected on him. However, Bum remembered it after a panic attack so it's hard to tell whether these were true memories.
  • Friendless Background: Bum never had a single friend and was always considered a outsider in school. His bully, Yoon Jae, stated how Bum always cried back when they were in school.
  • GIS Syndrome: The background and set pieces are a mix of this and 2D Visuals, 3D Effects, with any large sets being heavily filtered photos and close items being obvious 3D models.
  • Hope Spot: The ending of Chapter 7. It doesn't end well for Bum.
  • Hypocrite: Sangwoo breaks Bum's legs, imprisons him, abuses him, tortures him, rapes him, but then has the gall to be insulted when Bum tries to defend himself to stop Sangwoo from drowning him in Chapter 8.
    • In Chapter 25/26, Sangwoo forces Bum to talk about his traumatic past with his uncle. When he did so, Sangwoo gives Bum the fault for what the uncle did to Bum, accuses him of having "consensual sex" with his uncle, and calls him disgusting, leading to Bum breaking down and attempting suicide. Later on, Sangwoo wants Bum to pity him and his circumstances, even though he never showed Bum any sympathy, abuses him and let Bum's Uncle beat and attempt to rape Bum.
  • Identical Stranger:
    • At the ski slopes, Sangwoo meets a stepmother who looks identical to his mother and ends up killing her and letting the stepson die.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Growing up with no parents, getting severely abused by his uncle and the guys in military and bullied everywhere, Bum's motivation is to be loved for once in his life.
  • It's All My Fault: Bum. Due to his upbringing and traumatic experiences, Bum suffers from low self esteem, blaming himself for things happening to him and self-harms.
    • The day after his uncle raped him, a traumatized Bum blamed himself and thinks that everything that happens to him is his fault.
    • When Sangwoo called him disgusting and accused him of having "consensual sex" with his uncle, Bum breaks down in tears and as Sangwoo is about to leave, Bum tells him that he should hit him if it makes him feel better since he's "disgusting" and then slits his wrist while crying, saying that Sangwoo wouldn't need someone like him.
    • Bum blaming himself is a common characteristic he has over the course of the story.
  • Jerkass: Sangwoo, Bum's Uncle, Yoon Jae, and the Sergeant from Bum's military time.
  • Karmic Death: Bum's uncle finally gets what's coming to him in Chapter 46. After severely abusing Yoon Bum for many years, and nearly raping him again when the two of them meet again, Sangwoo kills him via strangling with a plastic bag and fracturing his skull with hammer.
  • Karma Houdini: For Oh Sangwoo. Seungbae manages to successfully arrest him and put him into custody, but he gets released after pulling a Wounded Gazelle Gambit when he was beaten up by Seungbae. He and his crimes are brought to light and public opinion of him finally turns sour, but even there he gets to experience none of the karma he would deserve after his serial killings and severe abuse on Bum; his ultimate fate is being accidentally smothered to death by an old lady who thought she was quieting a babbling nuisance.
  • Kill It with Fire: Subverted at the end— Seungbae set Sangwoo's house on fire as a last resort to save his own life and it worked, managing to escape in time leaving Sangwoo in the burning house. As a result, Sangwoo was left with severe burns and hospitalized— however, his cause of death weren't those wounds, it was instead an old woman that suffocated him with a pillow.
  • Lima Syndrome: Sangwoo cares about Bum to some extent, although it's more than likely just because Bum is easily to manipulate and developed Stockholm Syndrome because of Sangwoo's abuse.
    • The Author later confirmed that Sangwoo always only saw Bum as replacement of his mother.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Even back in primary school, Bum's bully, Yoon Jae, asked if Bum is "retarded" JUST because Bum is shy and can't keep eye contact.
  • Manchild: Bum is 28-29 years old but doesn't really behave nor look like a adult. Having lost his parents as a kid and being verbally abused by his uncle including being starved, Bum's body is undeveloped and the lack of education alongside knowing only abuse causes Bum to have a low self esteem, besides his mental illnesses. He blushes easily, loves sweets, adores frogs and is rather naive.
  • Mess of Woe: For the most part of the comic, Bum doesn't care about his appearance or apartment due to his low self esteem and mental illnesses. It's also mostly because he didn't have the money to take care of himself while he was living in the apartment. While with Sangwoo, Bum was locked in the basement and abused, so he had never the chance to take care of his hygiene. Once he had the opportunity to take care of his hygiene, he did.
  • Mind Screw: Because the story is told from Bum's perspective and because Bum experiences hallucinations, it's not always clear if what we see is real or isn't. The reason for that is that people with BPD may, when under extreme stress, hear voices or have horrific hallucinations, like the body parts Bum has seen in Sangwoo's washing machine. Bum experiences those Mind Screw moments only when stressed, another few examples is a hallucination of Sangwoo killing him, a hallucination of his uncle chasing him, or believing that his uncle is still alive after Sangwoo killed his uncle in front of him and left Bum alone with the corpse for days.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Sangwoo gets many scenes that empasize his attractive body. Unfortunately, this can get very problematic.
  • Mistaken Age: Many characters constantly mistake Bum for being way younger than he actually is, or even his gender when he was forced by Sangwoo to wear women clothes. Bum is actually 4 years older than Sangwoo, much to the surprise of 2 females when Sangwoo told them that, as Bum looks so young.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Bum kills Jieun in Chapter 19, he only does so because Sangwoo planned it without Bum knowing about it, her triggering intense flashbacks of a female classmate who rejected him, Sangwoo having abused, tortured and manipulated Bum for a long time before that, and Bum completely disassociating from his surroundings, even drooling. Afterwards, he freaked out and felt remorse for Jieun's murder, having a nightmare about it, avoiding to eat any meat after that for some time, and also feeling bad when he met his old female classmate from his high school time again.
  • No Social Skills: Bum. Like, at all. Due to the lack of needed education from his parents who died when he was very young, being abused while growing up and never having had a single friend, Bum is socially awkward which sometimes brings out the worst, awkward moments in him, and it was shown in flashbacks that he didn't even know how to hold a spoon, at least in the right way.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Sangwoo raped Bum three times and blamed Bum at the first time. At the second time, he physically abused Bum before raping him without consent who told him to stop several times, even bled, and then had a climax at the end.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: The final chapter has Bum be visited by Jieun's mother, who grieves the loss of her daughter at his bedside and sees him as an completely innocent victim in the Sangwoo affair. She would have no way of knowing that Bum was actually an unwilling part of the reason her daughter died.
  • Older Than They Look: Bum's baby-faced looks, naive mentality, and love for frogs don't make it exactly easy for someone to tell that he's in his late twenties and not a middle or high school student. This is due to him being malnourished since childhood by his abusive uncle, causing him to be short in height and underweight.
  • Parental Neglect: Bum's Uncle. It's one of the reasons why he hates his brother, Bum's father, because their parents gave him the love and attention during their childhood while Bum's Uncle was apparently neglected.
  • Only Sane Man: Seungbae works in a department that's less than upstanding at times, and among the three main characters he's the closest thing to a picture of mental stability.
  • Pet the Dog: At the very least, Dad didn't actually want to hurt Sangwoo and protects him from his mother after she tries to strangle him.
  • Phoney Call: Played for drama. Officer Seungbae is investigating Serial Killer Sangwoo's house for evidence on the pretext of a noise complaint. When he can't find anything in his first check, he pretends to get a phone call from his chief as an excuse to stay and observe the place longer. Unfortunately, while the phone is on his ear it starts ringing aloud with a real call from the station, making the deception obvious.
  • Police Are Useless: Seriously, the cops in this story must be complete and utter idiots. When investigating the death of Chief Kwak as well as the death of Sangwoo's Father it should have been obvious that the suicides were staged. For example, if a hanging body must be cut down, the rope is cut above the knot to preserve any potential evidence in the knot. Instead, the police decided to loosen the knot corrupting any potential evidence. Furthermore, it appears that there was barely even an investigation into the death of Kwak as the next scene after his body is found is his funeral and cremation.
  • Pragmatic Pansexuality: Sangwoo is a Serial Killer who seduces his victims so that he can torture and kill them. Usually, the victims are female, but he also once also seduced a man from the bar, however, the only reason he did it was to bring him to his basement and kill him, with Sangwoo insulting him as a "fucking homo", showing his homophobia. He only had a "relationship" with Bum because he sees him as his mom and not for who he is. This is proven several times throughout the story, abuse and torture aside, even when Bum saved his ass at the police station (after sangwoo manipulated him and used jiuen to guilt trip him), Sangwoo still beat Bum up once they got home, blamed him for being beaten up by Seungbae and then raped Bum, being upset because the police now thinks that he's into dudes. Word of God reveals that Sangwoo is completely straight.
  • Rape as Backstory:
    • Bum was raped by his uncle for years and was sexually abused in the military.
    • Even Sangwoo isn't exempt from this, as his mother raped him once, although he fought her off and was about to kill her.
  • Rape as Drama: Sangwoo raped Bum three times.
  • Resentful Guardian: Bum was given to his Uncle and Grandmother after his parents died. Bum's Uncle hated Bum because he's the child of his Ex, who left him for his brother, Bum's father, so he severely abused him. Bum's Grandmother was rather neutral, but told Bum to go like a dog once when he ignored her shortly after the Uncle abused him. She also told Bum that his Uncle wouldn't come one night, so he should sleep in his uncle's room, which resulted in the uncle coming home, stripping Bum off his clothes, violently abusing him with a cane and then raping him.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Zig-zagged. Halfway through Chapter 8, Sangwoo lets Bum choose what tools he'll be tortured with. Out of desperation, Bum suggests they do something else, but Sangwoo rebuffs his advances and instead directs his attention to a noose he personally created for Bum. Several panels later, Sangwoo carries out the throat-slitting he originally promised, but Bum doesn't die and only suffers from a split-open chin.
    • During the ski trip, he makes a young stepmother who got hurt in a ski accident with her stepson choose between saving herself or saving the boy. Surprising Sangwoo, the stepmother chooses the boy, but only does so on the condition that Sangwoo kills her instead. He seemingly honors her promise, but it's hinted that he lets the boy die anyway since Sangwoo left them out in the cold. An ambulance near the scene appears the next morning, hinting that both died.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Yoon Jae bullied Bum when they were in primary and middle school and still does so after they meet over a decade later.
  • Screaming Woman: When Bum enters the basement and finds a bruised up woman who just screams after all the abuse Sangwoo has subjected her to.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Seungbae thinks that Sangwoo is this. He's right.
  • Self-Harm: Bum self harms because of his loneliness and as a form of dealing with the severe trauma of his uncle's abuse, grandmother's abuse and the guys in the military abusing him. He then slit his wrists in Chapter 26 after Sangwoo forced him to talk about his traumatic past, accused him for having "consensual" sex with his uncle and calling him disgusting, making Bum break down in tears and shortly after attempt suicide.
  • Serial Killer: Sangwoo killed unknown numbers of women, sometimes men, for years after abusing/torturing them. In the present, he killed one of his female victims Bum found in the basement, then one off-screen when Bum was sleeping, then the gay man he picked from the bar, then he intentionally caused Jieun's death, then a mother and her child and then Officer Park, the Father Figure of Seungbae.
  • Serial Rapist: Sangwoo raped Bum 3 times. Bum's Uncle raped Bum for years. The Guys in the military sexually abused Bum seemingly often.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The last couple of chapters have Bum try to contact Sangwoo in the hospital to talk with him one last time. At the end of his journey, even risking his credibility, losing his leftover pocket change, and being misdirected to the wrong hospital rooms, he finally comes face to face with Sangwoo's ashes. He actually died the day Bum lost his money and had to turn back; had he just went to the ATM, Bum might have made it in time.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Bum, toward Sangwoo, and a female classmate during his high school time. This is mostly fueled due to the fact that Bum suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and easily gets attached once shown affection since he never got any from anyone. This would make Bum either bisexual or pansexual.
  • Stepford Smiler: Sangwoo is widely beloved by his peers, appears to be charming and polite to authority figures, and is the object of Bum's obsession; naturally, this does well to mask how Ax-Crazy he really is.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Despite Bum actually loving Sangwoo at first, the moment he realized who Sangwoo actually was, he tried to escape several times, even trying to get help but with nobody believing him, and was basically forced to stay with him, with Sangwoo lashing out severe abuse on Bum and making him his unwilling replacement of his mother. Despite Sangwoo being severely abusive to Bum, Bum still feels empathy and sympathy towards Sangwoo when he acts "kinder" for once. Bum always tried to see the good in Sangwoo, and often thought of ways to change him, but finally realized once and for all at the end that his "love" would never come to be.
    • The last chapters showcased how severe the Stockholm Syndrome has gotten. Bum (finally) realized in the hospital that Sangwoo never loved him after Sangwoo tried to stab him to death, and despite the fact that the trauma Bum had because of Sangwoo was so severe that he forgot how Sangwoo looks like, Bum still wanted to see him.
  • The Bully: Yoon Jae and Min Jieun. Yoon Jae bullied Bum in his school days due to his shyness and asked once if Bum "is retarded". Even as an Adult, he looks down on Bum and out openly asked him how things would go with his Uncle and stated how Bum was always crying in school. Min Jieun is KIND of a bitch and arrogant. While Sangwoo was gone for a little while and left his friends with Bum, she and another girl made fun of Bum and also didn't care that he had to use crutches (Because Sangwoo broke his legs) and wanted him to go hime alone while Sangwoo stays with them.
  • The Runaway: The day after Bum's uncle raped Bum for the first time, Bum began accidentally self harming and ran away from home. He then returned, with his wrist full of blood and apologized for runnning away before going back to his room.
    • He eventually ran away from his uncle to escape his abuse, lived in an apartment, and then was forced to do military service. However, it was implied in the beginning that he still lived with his uncle and was abused by him before Sangwoo kidnapped him.
  • The Sociopath: Sangwoo feels no remorse for any of his crimes and lacks empathy. He breaks the ankles of his victims to prevent them to escape then beats and tortures them for an unknown amount of time until he finally kills them. He is pretty much only out for himself, freaked out once over Bum using self-defense when he attempted to drown Bum and didn't feel empathy when he forced Bum to talk about his traumatic past, even accusing him of having "consensual" sex with his uncle and calling Bum disgusting who breaks down in tears and slit his wrists shortly after. Also highly sadistic as he enjoys abusing, torturing, raping, and killing people. Don't let the trauma bonding during the story fool you. He abused, tortured and raped Bum. His "kindness" towards Bum sometimes is just him manipulating/grooming Bum while also coping with what happened between him and his mother. Sangwoo began beating Bum black and blue again even though Bun comforted Sangwoo after Sangwoo just tried to strangle him to death, and he was ready to kill Bum right then and there when Bum refused to comply with killing Detective Seungbae.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Bum. His life is in a constant state of falling to pieces. He lost both of his parents when he was young. He got bullied on the regular, physically, sexually and emotionally abused by his uncle, emotionally abused by his grandmother, sexually abused in military, kidnapped by the guy he was stalking and then also got sexually, physically and mentally abused by him. By the time he makes it out the other end, he's even more damaged than when he started out.
  • Troubled Abuser: Sangwoo and Bum's Uncle.
  • Undignified Death: Sangwoo gets no karma, no flashy climatic battle, and no closure; when he does die, it's a complete accident, and done by an unrelated old woman who tried to shut him up by putting a pillow over his head, never even realizing she killed him.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The 3 Main Characters are all pretty unreliable narrators, seeming to struggle with reality when stressed.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Seungbae's partner Officer Park, who tells Sangwoo that "his cousin" (in reality, Bum) has dropped by his house.
  • When He Smiles: Bum hardly ever smiles, understandably so due to his traumatic life, but when he does, he looks like an innocent, happy child, especially at the end of Chapter 37.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Officer Seungbae in Chapter 13, who thinks he can outmaneuver and outsmart Sangwoo, but only avoids a grisly fate by sheer luck.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Bum was physically abused since he's little by his Uncle and always full of bruises.
    • The ski trip features Sangwoo choosing between killing a little boy or killing the boy's mother. While he doesn't actually kill him, Sangwoo does still put snow over the kids eyes and leaves the kid out to die in the cold.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Most of Sangwoo's victims are female and he pulled Jieun by her hair when she tried to escape. When Bum entered Sangwoo's house when he was gone, he found one of his victims in the basement, a bruised female, which he then tried to help. Unfortunately, Sangwoo suddenly appears behind Bum with a bat. When Bum woke up, Sangwoo shit-talks the female which he killed while Bum was unconscious, and saw her nothing more than a toy.
  • Wrench Whack: Sangwoo throws one at Jieun to prevent her from escaping.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: When Bum entered Sangwoo's house when he was gone, he found one of his victims in the basement, a bruised woman, who he then tried to help. Unfortunately, Sangwoo suddenly appears behind Bum with a bat; when Bum woke up, he finds Sangwoo mocking the woman's corpse, revealing that he killed her while Bum was out cold and that he saw her as nothing more than a toy.


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