Manhwa Review | Scandalous M by Kimdan



There will be spoilers for the series Scandalous M.

Content Warning: There may be references to war visuals, , gossiping, homomisia, manipulation, blackmail, extortion, use of guns in the context of a film, slut-shaming, excessive drinking, self-deprecation, body-shaming, violence, strangulation, nepotism, sextortion, break ups (not between main characters), porn filming, dubcon/noncon (not between main characters), child abandonment, PTSD, dieting, invasion of privacy, , classism, bullying, revenge porn, child neglect, blood, assault, and obsession, as it appears in the manhwa.


Chanbit is a superstar. He's a beloved actor at the top of his game. He exudes perfection, and everyone loves him because of that. What the world doesn't know that Chanbit's longtime friend and now-manager Baekyung knows is that Chanbit is gay, an insatiable sexual dynamo, and a masochist on top of that. Baekyung does his best to fulfill these desires so that Chanbit doesn't risk his public image, but Chanbit frequently seeks satisfaction elsewhere. But what Chanbit doesn't know is that Baekyung isn't just bothered by his sexual escapades because he's his manager. He hates it because Baekyung is hopelessly in love with Chanbit.

Chanbit can't fathom anyone loving him beyond the love his fans have for him because of a traumatic relationship he had in college. That relationship also awakened in him a need to be dominated, and he generally enjoys BDSM. As a result, he spends a lot of his off time hunting for partners to satisfy his needs. So, most of Chanbit and Baekyung's relationship is spent with Baekyung trying his best to protect and satisfy Chanbit while hiding his feelings, and Chanbit doing everything he can to keep a safe distance from love and , focusing entirely on sex. This tenuous relationship works until a new CEO is announced for Chanbit's agency.

The CEO is none other than Youngha Do, the man who abandoned and traumatized Chanbit in college. They've grown so much since then, so surely Youngha isn't interested in Chanbit anymore, right? Wrong. Youngha is back and fully intends to tie Chanbit to him through any means necessary — through violence, sex, and blackmail. Chanbit wants to protect his career, so he willingly goes along with everything Youngha wants, except for one thing: firing Baekyung. All the while, Baekyung tries his best to figure out what is going on with Chanbit, unaware that his charge is selling himself to the CEO to protect his career and Baekyung.


I know Chanbit is supposed to be the attractive actor, but he is probably the least attractive character for most of the series. This is primarily due to the very inconsistent art style. Baekyung is much more attractive and slightly more consistent, but overall, the art is just really rough. But that's not to say it's all bad. Thankfully, it does get better as we go along, but it can be a rough read for most of the series. It is sketchy, and characters, especially Chanbit, can look vastly different from panel to panel, but it does shine way later. Do I think the early art is worth reading through to see the later art? In some cases, yes. The uncensored sex is good early on with the poor art, but it is stunning towards the end. More than the art, I think the story is what will make it hard to say this is worth reading through to get to the better art at the end.

Cover art for Scandalous M on Tapas

While we're on the topic of the story, I like how it starts. Baekyung and Chanbit are in college for acting and are very much opposites attract. Baekyung is much more stoic and serious, while Chanbit is just a ball of light. We love that. Baekyung ends up falling for his classmate and then takes a backseat in acting to support Chanbit instead since Chanbit seems to have much more natural talent. There's tons of pining as Baekyung watches Chanbit do what he does best during the day, only to tumble with him in bed at night. I was all in at this point. I'm a big fan of hypersexual bottoms, trying to run away from romance through no-strings-attached sex. I especially like that Chanbit hits on and beds Chae, his hairstylist, only to befriend him. Chae plays a really nice role as a mutual friend for Chanbit and Baekyung, and I was hoping he would help get them together, but he doesn't, which leads me to what I dislike about this story.

I don't mind Youngha reappearing, as Chanbit did need closure to move forward and recognize that he is capable of being loved and loving in return. Still, his coming back as the CEO and forcing Chanbit to be his sex slave just felt like such a huge 180 from the initial story we were presented with. I don't mind dark storylines like that (I mean, The Warehouse is one of my favorite manhwa of all time), but where the ones I like and this title differ is in how the dark storyline is presented. This starts as a , mutual pining, hypersexual traumatized bottom story but twists into a sex slave narrative with a where one side is forced. It doesn't have a foundation for that, making the story feel abrupt and unbelievable. A story that does this better is You Get Me Going. It is more enemies-to-lovers with a coworker scenario, but it also has a traumatized bottom whose former lover returns and tries to get him back. The level from light to dark is much more balanced and, as such, much more believable. Again, I don't mind assholes returning to try and break up or separate our end game, nor do I hate the darker elements they bring to a more lighthearted story, but the level of darkness has to match what was set up from the start, and this just doesn't have that.

As much as I didn't like the main narrative, I did enjoy the side story after Chanbit and Baekyung got together. I wish this had been the main storyline, as I think it makes more sense, it isn't as dark, and focuses on Baekyung as the center point of the love triangle. I can appreciate Baekyung quitting acting to support Chanbit, but it didn't make much sense to me. Thankfully, our rival, Yung-hyuk, appears and agrees with me. He tries to break up Chanbit and Baekyung by pretending to be a desperate actor, playing off of Baekyung's kindness and off of Chanbit's insecurity. Unfortunately, the side story loses steam before it can shine. Once again, I really think this is the direction the story should have gone from the beginning, as it is just the right level of tension when compared to the sex slave narrative and is much more believable as a result. But then, within approximately 10 episodes, it ends with Yung-hyuk essentially just giving up after pining for years and years. It's very anticlimactic, and I'm even more disappointed that we don't see his nervous secretary, who's in love with him, finally jumping on Yung-hyuk at the end. There was so much potential in this side story that was lost because it was relegated to a side story in favor of the darker main story.


This is a hard miss. It has a ton of potential, with the much better art at the end and the more believable side story, but it just never finds the right tone. It goes from lighthearted, albeit smutty, to horribly dark and smutty, back to fluffy before going into the side story. Overall, it's just very abrupt and jarring. It was a tough read the first time and an even tougher reread for this review. I wouldn't recommend it.

Have you read Scandalous M? 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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