(MODERATE SPOILERS AHEAD!)
It Would Be Great If You Did Not Exist (in its native language, titled “네가 없었으면 좋겠어”) is a manhwa (Korean comic) by Carbonara. It hasn’t updated in about a year, but the main relationship arc has finished.
The main characters are Guk-Hwa, an aggressive woman, and Jang-Mi, a haughty woman. Both work in the fashion industry.
One of the things I dislike most in many yuri manga is how the relationships are teased, leaving the reader to wonder whether or not their romance will work out. Or worse, the entire plot consisting of that very question of whether it will or won’t. This device, I feel, is patently overused; it seems to have become a literary crutch used by yuri manga artists to create some semblance of drama. However, this manhwa (Korea’s equivalent of manga) that I’ve been reading recently shakes that up, and does so well, to my great delight.
I really appreciate how the story starts with telling you the girls are a couple, and then launches into the story of how they wound up that way. There’s no “will they, won’t they”, “is this going to be a tease?”, or anything of that nature. The danger of this is that the tension could be entirely removed if you know it’s going to be a happy ending, but in the case of this manhwa, the incredibly intense story line is that much better for already knowing that they’re going to end up together. It’s not a spoiler, it’s a feature!
How they meet each other is pretty neat too. Guk-Hwa has a cheating boyfriend — she finds this on his secret date with Jang-Mi. However, upon her catching the pair, the two girls fall in love at first sight, in spite of how they “should” be enemies over the guy. From that point, they then have to explore how much they actually like each other.
I really like how the girls’ personalities are both kind of alpha and hot-headed, and yet they both still do some of the more traditional “girly” things like paint their nails and making sure they look decent — it’s a nice break from the typical “butch-femme” dynamic. Though, it is my assessment that Jang-Mi is the more dominant personality in the relationship. While observing their interactions, and how they initially deal with their unrecognized feelings for each other with such hostile denial, I would sometimes say to myself, “Tsun-tsun!” But that starts to stop once they finally get together. The boyfriend is a loser with no job; he owes his girlfriend money, and he’s really just a no-life, useless kind of person. But these pale in comparison to the abusive jerk he becomes as the story progresses. It’s interesting seeing what he does, and how his friends treat him, and how everyone changes as time goes on. There’s another, secondary couple to watch as their relationship blooms, as well.
It Would Be Great If You Did Not Exist was my very first yuri story out of Korea, and while I wouldn’t have expected it, I think it’s kind of nice to be able to say that South Korea, despite its problems with LGBT acceptance, has a good story about lesbian characters. The story is unfinished as of yet, but since I know the girls are going to end up with a happy ending together, I don’t mind that it’s not complete. It helps so much to know that this isn’t some sort of tease or whatever and that they will indeed to get together and lock all four lips. Because this is getting translated from Korean, the release schedule for the English translation is staggered, but it’s worth the read nonetheless. If you can read Korean I’m sure you will have much less of a wait time. If you like yuri that breaks the mold, I really recommend giving it a try.
Edited by Indigo Alteria
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