Manhwa Review | Bongchon Bride by Gaepi



There will be spoilers for the series Bongchon Bride.

Trigger Warning: There may be references to slavery, violence, torture, confinement, power imbalance (relationship between master and enslaved person), death, blood, murder, PTSD, poisoning, incest (not between the main couple), arranged marriage (not between the main couple), rape (not between the main couple), disability, child neglect, child abuse, assault, chronic illness, self-deprecation, suicidal ideation, excessive drinking, suicide, pregnancy, mentioned gambling, depression, mentioned sexual harassment, , bullying, animal cruelty, bandits, domestic abuse, mentioned execution, obsession, ableism, homomisia, and cheating (not between the main couple), as it appears in the manhwa.


Soongap is enslaved. The child of a concubine, when his mother died, he lost his place in the household, passed on to another master, and was raised by his grandmother. Alongside him, he had a childhood friend, and as they grew up, their friendship evolved into a romantic partnership, which allowed them to plan and hope for the future. They wanted to work and buy their freedom, then move away to have their own farm and home together. Unfortunately, before they ever get the chance, Soongap's lover, who has been chronically ill since childhood, ends up bedridden. No matter how hard Soongap tries to save him, he inevitably passes away.

Depressed and hopeless, Soongap just goes through the motions until he discovers his master's daughter having a secret love affair with another woman. Seeing himself in her, Soongap makes it a point to try and help them be together. Unfortunately, his efforts fail, and he is beaten nearly to death for his actions. Soongap is willing to simply fade away, only to wake up in an unfamiliar house. As it turns out, his master, a miser, sold him to a man who works his fields for fifty sacks of rice. The man is enormous and unkempt, with rumors that he is a murderer or a monster. Yet, he carefully nurses Soongap back to health, resembling a teddy bear more than a monster. His new master is Bongchun, and over time, being doted on and dubbed his ‘darling' to trick Bongchun's ailing mother into thinking Soongap is his bride, Soongap finds himself wanting to live for Bongchun.

Just as his life settles into a comfortable routine, a remnant from his past, back when his mother was still alive, comes to call. It's his younger half-brother, Pilgyeon. Pilgyeon has come to take back Soongap — not as an enslaved person, but as his lover. But Soongap never had any affection for his brother, and that hasn't changed. He has no intention of leaving his new master, and he'll do everything he can to protect his newfound happiness.


I adore this art style. It isn't heavily detailed or particularly gorgeous, but it's in its simplicity that it finds its beauty. If you love Jeong Seokchan‘s work, you will adore this (and I highly recommend you read Rain Again or A Thousand Cranes, if you haven't already). It's amazing, expressive, and intensely dynamic. Bongchun, in particular, really shows out in this art style. He often comes off as a sweet, shy teddy bear, then becomes a beast in bed, only to appear as a stoic warrior in a fight. He is always Bongchun, consistently so, but the art style can take his character and morph him into many roles and emotions without losing his personality. Similarly, Soongap, though less expressive overall, also morphs and changes in line with the narrative. His stoicism morphs into pure glee or, while in bed, into absolute ecstasy. For being so sketchy and simple, this art style is amazingly emotional. I can't express how much I love it, and I beg you to check it out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Cover art for Bongchon Bride on Lezhin Comics

As if the art style wasn't great enough, the story is equally as dynamic. It's very complex, intermingling the past with the present, often having the past develop alongside the present so we're piecemealed background for all of our characters. Unfortunately, it can be a bit confusing. There are moments when it's hard to tell whether we are in the past or the present, but I think that lends itself well to Soongap's mindset, which we follow for most of the story. He sees the world through the lens of his past, which is wrought with sorrow and betrayal. He is sullen and depressed, distrusting everyone, even those who are immensely kind to him. His depression is palpable, and understandably, his memories of the past might intermingle with what's happening to him in the present.

There are also pieces of information that aren't confirmed true or false. Pilgyeon, for example, seems to be Soongap's half-brother, but there are implications that his mother had another lover, so his paternity is questionable. Similarly, Pilgyeon giving medicine to Soongap to help his ailing lover, only for him to get sicker and sicker, suggests Pilgyeon might have been poisoning him, but that's not confirmed either. Just like Soongap cannot trust everyone, we can't either. The reader isn't given all the information, which might be frustrating to some, but I think it works for the realism of the narrative. Soongap doesn't have all the answers, and neither do we. I, personally, love it (just a side note: if you like unreliable narratives or unanswered questions, I recommend Escape into Oblivion).

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention all the varying plotlines and side characters. We have bandits who have their own plans and goals. There is the former master's daughter, who ends up in an arranged marriage but longs for her lover (this is GL, by the way, love). Bongchun's past comes back to haunt him in the form of a noble's son, who's permanently disabled due to Bongchun preventing him raping someone. There is the underlying goal of paying off Bongchun's debt for Soongap so they can escape together. There are multiple romances between the enslaved and the bandits. Then, of course, Pilgyeon and his scheming to get back Soongap. Under all of this, there's also political intrigue as the country prepares for an upheaval in government. All of these things happen simultaneously, giving the narrative the energy and pace it needs to keep a reader interested. All of this bolsters the , pulling Bongchun and Soongap apart and bringing them back together, strengthening their longing and want for each other. This isn't just a romance. It's so much more than that, and I love every second of it.


This might be one of my favorite manhwa of all time. It has romance, intense mourning, character development, a big strong man, merpeople side stories, GL representation, and so much more. I've read this once and reread it for the review, and I've read it an unspeakable number of times in between. Bongchun is the best, Soongap is a close second, and I just love them together. It's a perfect mix of darkness and fluff, which is beyond satisfying. If the content warnings aren't going to dissuade you, I implore you to give this one a go. It's at least in my top five, for sure.

Have you read Bongchon Bride? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!

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