My Dear Cold-Blooded King is a webtoon by Lifelight.
In a land not unlike ancient Japan, the fearsome Blood King Asukai rules. A mysterious figure of legend, it is said that he kills on the slightest pretext, and that he has never been defeated in battle. Yet nobody is even sure what he looks like, for he never descends from his golden palace.
But this is all over the head of Mei Kihara, a young physician doing her best to support her family and help her community. But when she intervenes to prevent the killing of a boy that turns out to be the king's brother, she finds herself summoned to the palace and betrothed to the Blood King, for reasons of political convenience... or is it?
Thus begins Mei's journey into a world of political intrigue, assassination plots, games of deceit, and bishōnen. Loads and loads of bishōnen.
Can be read here.
- Abdicate the Throne: Midway through the comic it becomes clear that Katsu and Ryusaki are planning to do a subtle version of this, with Ryusaki acting as Katsu's double until they eventually switch for good. It winds up happening in an unexpected manner.
- Above the Influence: When Hayashi drugs Mei with a inhibition-loosening drug (essentially turbo-alcohol), she all but strips herself bare before Katsu, who, despite the temptation, ends up doing nothing more than laying in bed next to her.
- Action Girl: While not a professional fighter, Mei is trained in martial arts and can swing this role at need.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Played with to almost ridiculous extremes when it comes to the main Love Triangle. Ryusaki becomes infatuated with Mei while she, outside of one brief scene, conveys no romantic interest in him until much, much later. Mei, meanwhile, takes an interest in the enigmatic Yuuta otherwise known as Katsu Asukai, but it's initially unclear whether he truly reciprocates outside some light teasing (he does). Played straight with the ambassador, Hayashi, and Kozuke, all of which Mei has no explicit affection for.
- Art Evolution: A little more subtle than many examples, but still in effect. Compare especially Mei in the first chapter to her flashback doing the same job in chapter 64.
- The Big Damn Kiss: Mei and Katsu finally share a mutual one at the end of Episode 60.
- Cast Full of Pretty Boys: We're not kidding here. If you want lots of male eye-candy, this is the series for you.
- Crossover: Characters from I Love Yoo sometimes appear in backgrounds, and in a bonus episode, Mei is seen talking to Lyra and Sera.
- Decadent Court: The king's court is dripping with intrigue, plots and murder attempts.
- Deconstruction: Of Harem Genre, in a way. Yes, Mei is surrounded by hot guys all interested in her, but the experience of being courted by all of them, along with the lengths they're willing to go to in order to get her, is incredibly taxing for her psyche.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Kozuke abducted Mei to get to the Blood King by knocking her out, and once she's brought to him, he declares her as his, and even paints tattoo designs on her body while shes knocked out. Not to mention her personality change after she arrives back at the palace and finds the design on her. Its practically dripping with rape metaphors.
- The Dreaded: The Blood King. The rumors of how terrible he supposedly is keep people on their toes. And while he is certainly terrifying when he's angry, he's the furthest thing from tyrannical, something Mei comes to understand when she learns his true identity.
- Kozuke. As the head of the Hebi Gang, he's the most powerful crime lord in the kingdom and the one responsible for all of the abductions of women that resemble Mei. Mei in particular comes to fear Kozuke after he physically violates her by drawing on her while she's drugged and threatens her younger brother.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Ambassador's name has never been revealed. In a non-canon omake comic, he claims that "Ambassador" is his actual name and that it's a common baby name.
- Hate Sink: It's evident early on that Prince Hayashi was never meant to be likable. He insults Mei on multiple occasions, drugs her in an attempt to initiate Date Rape between her and Ryusaki, and strong-arms his sister into marrying a man she no longer loves and may not have been in love with at all.
- Heroic Bastard: Ryusaki is of the "somewhat morally gray" variety, but nonetheless cares about the empire. If Ryu's implications about Katsu's mother are true, Katsu is a more straightforward variety.
- High-Class Call Girl: Ryusaki fell in love with one when he was younger. Shortly after he promised to marry her and take her away from her old life, he received a letter (apparently) from her breaking it off so she could marry someone else. He's been searching for her to get answers ever since. Turns out she became Kozuke's assassin.
- Hobbes Was Right: Zigzagged Trope. Ultimately violence and raw power are needed for a monarch to stay in power, but needless bloodshed creates more problems than it solves, and Kozuke/Yuuta is ultimately talked down instead of being slain- the bloodless option causing much less pain to all parties involved. Regardless, in the end being too peaceful or too violent will cause problems, which is why Katsu, who struggles between being extremely emotional and peaceful and being extremely violent and bloody, hates being king.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Mei's admirer presents her a gift to remember him by... a ship in a bottle. Cue "I see what you did there!" comments from readers.
- Love Triangle: Mei is caught between the elegant Katsu Asukai, and bad boy Ryusaki Hayate. Subverted when it's revealed that Ryusaki never actually cared about her as anything other than a pawn to further his own goals, and then double-subverted when he declares that he'd give up his life to protect her, along with a flashback that seems to support it.
- Love Letter Lunacy: Mei receives a series of cheesy love letters from a secret admirer. He turns out to be someone nobody expected.
- Mystical White Hair: Yuuta/Katsu. The first time Mei sees him, she thinks he's a ghost haunting the palace grounds, owning partly to his white garb and white hair.
- Rapunzel Hair: Everybody has long hair that falls to their waist. Even the men.
- Romantic False Lead: Being a story with a major Love Triangle, either Ryusaki or Katsu has to be one to Mei. In the end Katsu is the false lead.
- Scenery Porn: The backdrops are quite detailed and beautiful.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Downplayed with Katsu- he's protective of Mei and wants her kept far away from the violence and schemings of court because he's in love with her. Considering how real and vile the danger to her is, he has a very good point, except that Mei is unwilling to be kept safe on the sidelines and capable enough to be a valuable asset when she's put in the action. This is contrasted with Ryusaki, who also wants Mei safe but ultimately respects her decisions as a soldier and a warrior in her own right.
- Training from Hell: Deconstructed. Katsu's father beat him, forced him to torture his friend, and psychologically abused him in order to make him a strong ruler. In the end, he left Katsu with enough psychological scars that he couldn't rule effectively and he gave up his throne to his brother.
- Unsound Effect: *sheathe* makes an appearance in chapter 64.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: For all her claims to the contrary, Mei has a habit of seeing only the best in people, which unfortunately doesn't end well for her, as it was her helping Kozuke hide from the authorities that allowed him to rise to power and create his slave-peddling crime empire, directly leading to the current plot complications. To be fair to her, she was only twelve at the time.
- Wuxia: One of the series' primary roots, with some elegant duels and martial-arts fights. Mei herself is no push-over.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Mei tells Katsu that he is a good man, for all he's trying to paint himself as a tyrant.