Carnby Kim’s work explores various themes of revenge and redemption; the latter is explored even for those who are da worst of the worst.
Kim’s first work, Pigpen, poses the question of whether or not a murderer (the MC with remarkably few survivor subtly skills) can be redeemed, but the answer is left up to readers to determine. This idea is followed up in Bastard, where Jin is an actual murderer albeit mostly because of his terrible, serial killer father. Ultimately, Jin too is redeemed in the sense of both forgiving his father and going to prison to atone for his own sins. Though this redemption doesn’t come without a little bit of outside help.
Sweet Home deals with redemption more loosely with Hyun going from a bullied, bitter trash-talker to a literal knight in not-so-shining amour who saves everyone, eventually laying down his life for his friends. His monstrous form resembles a knight because Hyun’s greatest desire was to protect those closest to him (and see Maria in The Sky lol).
Shotgun Boy is the perfect follow up to Sweet Home, focusing on the terribly bullied Gyuhwan. Being it’s prequel, it centers around a bunch of kids sent to a woodland retreat who are attacked by tentacle monsters (not that way, you heathen). Monsters that seemed to have escaped a government laboratory.
Gyuhwan is bullied relentlessly by HBIC Seongbin, who has negative zero redeemable traits and is actually unhinged even before his slow descent into a monsterhood. Almost, because Seongbin does show occasional shades of being not utterly awful, such as not sacrificing his ride-or-die. Alas, of all the monsters in Shotgun Boy, he proves to be the most troublesome.
Shotgun Boy is full of literal monsters out to kill the main characters. Why? In part, because humans treated them terribly via experiments and other torture for dubious reasons. In a way, it was the monstrosity of humanity that led to the monster’s current behavior and their desire to instill terror in humanity simply for the sake of it. This monstrosity exists in the form of Seongbin’s violence towards Gyuhwan and everyone who doesn’t do what he says, but also in the indifference of the teachers, and others, who are simply glad they aren’t on the receiving end of Seongbin’s bullying.
This is probably best illustrated in the form of Zero, the HBIC of monsters. Zero is out to eliminate what he sees as a disease of humanity, something that manifests in the story as a blackness over the human heart. Yet, it’s only after observing Gyuhwan, and the complexity of humanity, does he change his tune. Even going so far as to sacrifice himself in order to save the others.
Horror stories never end happily. However, Shotgun Boy does see the majority of our main characters live to see the apocalypse in which monsters slowly take over humans, feeding off their true desires, and turning them into the things they’ve always desired.
Desire can be monstrous, quite literally. However, the achievement of it can lead to a rebirth or metanoia of sorts in which a persons true nature, for better or worst, is revealed. In Shotgun Boy, Gyuhwan becomes the very thing he dreamed of at the start of the story – a kid with a shotgun; the one with all the power.
Initially, he desired to use this weapon to off Seongbin and all those that looked the other way during his bullying. But when he gets the very thing he wanted, he uses it to protect even those who harmed him from the monsters. When given the chance, Gyuhwan doesn’t immediately put a bullet through Seongbin’s skill but opts to fight him one-on-one. It’s this selfless attitude that ultimately helps Zero realize that humans aren’t all bad, all the time. Rather, they’re complex creatures with the potential for both good and bad.
I can’t Tumblr but AlliefromSEA commented eons ago about wanting ratings of the good guys in Weak Hero and I aim to please, especially because I’m shocked anyone reads my blog.
All opinions are my own and my opinions are garbage, but loosely my criteria for a good character is not sure because I’ve never thought about it but:
Their removal would affect the plot i.e. their role/dialogue/etc. being removed or relegated to another character would change the story
They undergo some change/character development, for better or for worse, as the story progresses
We see different sides of their personality – aka they are presented as complex individuals with some negative and positive traits
They’re not a Mary Sue/Marty Stu or an author self-insert character that exists to either fulfill an author’s weird fantasy, or preach the author’s personal views
They have personal goals of their own unrelated to other characters
They aren’t so OP that the villains aren’t a threat to their goals (unless it’s a central part of the plot i.e. One Punch Man) butnot so weak that they aren’t a challenge for the villains
Rowan Im (Im Juyang)
talks a big game, can sort of back it up with hands
the reason Teddy joins Gray’s harem
childhood friends with Eugene
class 1 squad
low key a one-trick pony
KO’s Helmet with above mentioned one-trick
Rowan is mildly sus when first introduced, both in the sense that he appears weak or like a bully. However, he turns out to be a true bro with a level of courage that far surpasses his actual fighting skills. His backing of Teddy when they finally decide to knock Phillip Kim off his sand throne allows them to live a peaceful existence in class and integrate himself into Ben’s bro club.
Rowan is lowkey helpful in fights because his hyper elbow, when it connects, does serious damage.
Rowan Im Rating: 7.2/10
Eugene Gale(Seo Juntae)
Glasses Dude No. 1
can’t fight like at all and in a story like this, it’s an issue
desk buddies with the white mamba
nerdy but not super book smart
he makes an effort to better himself by going to cram school
physically weak but not a coward. Eugene knows he can’t fight and usually doesn’t try, but he does attempt to defend Gray a few times
got into delinquents because of Jake Ji
shuttle patch king
knows how to make an awkward situation less awkward (by ordering pizza!)
good with lights
Eugene is basically us as the reader, enchanted with Gray, unable to fight, and bad at school but good at collecting gossip and finding out the tea. For most of the story, he’s the side-kick to everyone else until he gets a day in the limelight when investigating some shady buying up of real estate.
Eugene’s knowledge of delinquent gangs comes in handy, but it’s ultimately the fact he’s a kind-hearted dude that allows him to hang with the bros at the pool hall. He’s also Grey’s first true friend.
Eugene Rating: 8.5/10
Gerard Jin (Jin Gayool)
broccoli head and upset when others point that out
tarot card king
the mad hound
the quiet one
extremely tall – several characters point this out, especially if they’re about to fight him
talented singer and guitarist
has an actual job even though he’s a child (?)
use to be in a moderately successful band called Slam
dark and tragic past that resulted in his face being scarred
only fights with his shoes
always sleeping in class or in bushes
KO’d the chiller half of the Mokha Duo
the reason Ben Park fought Jake Ji seriously
Gerard’s reason for hiding his face is actually because he’s hot for never using his fists in a fight is because he promised his ex-bandmate, Hyeonjin, he wouldn’t after Hyeonjin pulled Gerard out of a fire and consequently, burned his own hands. Gerard stuck to that promise even at the cost of almost being murdered because he’s a real one.
Gerard Jin Rating: 9.8/10
Stephen Ahn(Ahn Suho)
SAINT Stephen Ahn
king of giant safety pins
actually a genius when he puts in effort, which is never
Gray’s first real friend – like literally his only reason for living and the light of his life (no homo tho)
the reason Gray doesn’t like roof tops (or friends for that matter)
Stephen Ahn Rating: Myles Joo’s 2 seconds of Screen Time/10
Alex Go (Go Hyeon-tak)
Ben’s best buddy since childhood
king of trash talking
hot-headed – he’s always ready to throw hands, even as a child
levels up in boxing – he trains to get stronger so that he doesn’t have to rely on Ben sledgehammer fist of might
had a moody moment on the beach
got beaten up by Jimmy Bae twice
sort of won against Jimmy’s bae Jack Kang but not really
ran with a bad crowd, ended up almost being murdered by Donald Na as a result of that
KO’d Orochimaru of the Mohka Duo
Alex doesn’t have main character energy, which is why he was/is frequently saved by Ben. That’s actually Alex’s issue – he’s a strong dude fighting actual monsters and he’s constantly comparing his strength to Ben, who is God-tier and doesn’t count. This brief insecurity causes him to get tangled up with some bad individuals in the past and he very nearly gets himself and Ben R.I.P.ed by Donald Na because of it (as it stands, Ben had to get physical therapy lmao). Fortunately, this incident teaches him the power of True Friendship and consequently, Alex becomes one of the more openly caring bros.
Alex Go Rating: 8.2/10
Ben Park (Park Humin) aka BIG BEN!
Gogo senses – can always sense when Alex is in danger or in a mood
easy going personality and generally goofy demeanor causes others to question his strength and status, which is a negative vibe for them
sledgehammer fist of might
several characters remark how Ben’s fist feels like getting hit by an actual stone wall or brick
he’s only 2nd to Donald Na in terms of strength
his punches are so loud others can hear them over a brawl
KO’d Jimmy Bae x2
KO’d Forrest Lee (x2)
KO’d Jake Ji
KO’d Juwon Lee
KO’d by Donald Na but rose from the dead
a true amigo. When he learns Gray doesn’t like roof tops, he finds a different spot to chill in
low key a therapist. He gets Gray to open up about his tragic past and accompanies Gray on a futile trip to search for said tragic past
his strength is 85% of the reason why Eunjang hasn’t been swallowed by the Union
Big Ben initially seems like your stereotypical loud-mouthed hot-head, but he’s actually quite chill and not interested in fighting unless his friends get hurt. Much of Ben’s story is is often pictured smiling even when presented with bad news, so it’s never good when he actually looks upset. And when Ben’s actually upset, nothing short of death will get him to stop fighting (see Donald Na/Jake Ji fights which activated zombie mode)
Ben’s stubborn friendliness helps melt Gray’s frosty attitude too and leads to the creation of the Eunjang gang. He’s a great example of positive masculinity showing that men can be stereotypically masculine and kick ass whilst remaining kind, empathetic, and upbeat.
Ben Park Rating: 10/10
Gray Yeon(Yeon Sieun)
doesn’t like rooftops but gets over it
smart – solved The Question albeit in a different way than Donald Na, and he’s regularly shown studying and scoring high on tests
according to Wolf (whom he KO’d with a potted plant), he’s a pretty boy
actually multiple characters agree that Gray is hella fine, male and female alike
KO’d Colton Choi
KO’d Helmet, gave him pen PTSD
KO’d Teddy Jin, gave him coke PTSD
KO’d Phillip Kim, just gave him PTSD
Beating Wolf Keum earned him a top ten spot in the immovable shuttle patch ranking
KO’d Dean Kwon
KO’d TRASH Bryce Oh, Oscar Yang and his goon
generally fights dirty aka with bricks, pens, literally anything in sight
Jake Ji notices Gray is slowly becoming a blood knight but is in denial
Gray kept to his studies until meeting his sun and stars, Stephen Ahn who was bullied into a coma. This was the start of Gray’s villain origin arc. Fortunately the power of True Friendship turned him into a Hero instead of a bad guy.
He is the Weak Hero, or at least he was in season 1. In season 2, he’s actually not weak but I digress. His frigidity and aversion to humans is slowly melted by the power of fried chicken, and his combo of brains and physical strength allows him to analyze situations and figure out foolproof ways to crush his foes. That, or he just picks up a picture frame and bashes someone over the head with it.
Gray Yeon Rating: 10/10
There are probably some other “good” characters like that random glasses dude that regularly appears, but this is getting long lol. Also, apparently Weak Hero has become a drama so that’s exciting.
I’ve spent every spare second playing Horizon Forbidden West and I’m trying to get my A+ cert for my job but *see above*. All in all, -0/10 for productivity. Nevertheless, I found yet another way to be unproductive and finished All of Us Are Dead.
Since I haven’t uploaded anything in like 1000 years, I thought I’d blog about this.
All of Us Are Dead, by Joo Dong-geun (also known as Now At Our School), is a South Korean zombie apocalypse fiction taking place in a school. The story centers around a group of students at Hyosan High trying to survive as a zombie outbreak ravages their city faster than Red Bull pulled out of Russia. There are loads of characters who’s names I’m not gonna list, but I want to contrast Nayeon/Gwinam to Suhyeok/Namra because both duos want to survive. The former solely focus on their own self-preservation and desires, whilst the latter show incredible bravery and selflessness in trying to ensure their classmates survive too. (side note: it’s also a k-drama but I don’t really watch TV so can’t comment on the quality of that)
Notably, the government is semi-effective, rapidly quarantining Hyosan to prevent the infection from spreading and even dropping a sleep bomb on the zombies despite woketavists out-woking the wokest of us by insisting zombies have human rights. I found this level of competence from the government even more unbelievable than Mr. Lee, the science teacher, leaving zombie hamsters in the middle of his unlocked classroom. My dude’s sheer stupidity caused countless of deaths because he literally couldn’t keep those Hamsters home, or in glass cages with air pockets (albeit, apparently the k-drama does fix this incredible lapse of judgment).
Anyway, it’s these zombie Hamtaros who bite one his students, Hyeon-ju, setting off a chain reaction of sickness and sending the students of Hyosan scrambling to find ways to survive.
By comparing Gwinam and Nayeon to literally any other character in this story (including various zombies), but particularly to Namra and Suhyeok, we see all four want to survive but only one duo will do so by any means necessary. While initially the students hunker down and wait for help, once they realize they’ve been abandoned by adults (most of whom are relatively useless anyway) and are unlikely to be rescued by the government, they attempt to escape themselves.
Gwinam had negative fifty redeemable traits. He uses another student as a shield, and eventually eats her but only after assaulting a different female student. Didn’t help he was somehow immune to the zombie virus, so he’d also gotten a taste for human flesh. It’s giving every story needs an additional villain in an already terrible world to make things worst for the characters energy. In contrast, Suhyeok spends most of his time aiding others, even going back out into the wild to forage for food. It’s thanks to him (in part) that the surviving students make it to roof and are able to escape out into the woods and eventually to freedom.
Similar to Gwinam, Nayeon is so focused on not becoming a zombie, she loses her humanity without ever getting bitten. Her fear of death and selfishness frankly would have been forgivable because not everyone is a hero. However, Nayeon not only accuses her classmate, Gyeong-su, of getting bitten and turning into a zombie, she intentionally infects him just to prove a point resulting in his demise. Consequently, the students realize they can’t trust her and lock her away, dooming her to a slow and lonely death. In contrast, class president Namra goes out to find food for the others. After being bitten and realizing she’s also got a taste for flesh, she manages to control herself several times until eventually, after the group escapes out into the woods, she realizes the danger she poses to others and separates herself. It’s the ultimate sacrifice really and exemplifies the verse, “no greater love has one man than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
While all of the characters understandably want to live, Gwinam and Nayeon only care about themselves and as they say “[t]he attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death.” Namra and Suhyeok show immense bravery and selflessness in being unwilling to abandon their classmates and doing everything they can to ensure they survive. Consequently, they do end up surviving… so I guess all of them aren’t dead, which makes sense since the English translation appears to be whack.
Admittedly, the webtoon isn’t as thrilling and fast-paced as other monster survival tales (like Sweet Home/Shotgun Boy) and the art work is definitely an aesthetic not everyone will appreciate. But the story has a lot of heart. Like literally you will see lots of organs, hearts, and blood strewn everywhere because… zombies.