There will be spoilers for the manhwa series The Pain in My Neck.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to illness, blood, blood drinking, blood play, manipulation, and dubious consent, as it appears in the manhwa.
Kim Sumin has not been feeling well. He's sick constantly, to the point that he can barely leave his apartment, and has been forced to take a leave of absence from work to heal. He goes to the hospital and gets a battery of tests to solve the problem, only to be told there's nothing wrong with him. But his pain is very much real and debilitating. With no hope in sight, Sumin is unsure how to live a fulfilling life.
On his way back to his apartment, he catches sight of his neighbor, seemingly making out with another person in broad daylight. Sumin is initially grossed out until his neighbor looks his way, revealing they aren't kissing. Instead, his neighbor, Lee Luhan, is a vampire, and he is feeding. Sumin knows he should run away, but he's too stunned to do anything, and with his secret revealed, Luhan doesn't feel like he has to hold himself back anymore.
He can smell that Sumin is full of bad blood, which is causing his illness. All Luhan has to do is suck it out, and Sumin will be healed. Will Sumin be willing to give himself over to a vampire, or will he just bear with the pain?
I love Face Park. I'm reading some of their other titles, and their art style is so fun. I wouldn't say it's super gorgeous or anything, but it's so unique and so clean. It's just nice to look at. Their style is so expressive and full of emotion that it's a joy to read. If you've seen one thing from Face Park, you've seen them all, and this is no exception. I love it. I won't say this particular title is as perfectly executed as their later titles, but it is still great.
Unfortunately, story-wise, this isn't as successful. When Sumin catches Luhan drinking a stranger's blood, and Luhan admits to being a vampire, he also brings up that he has the ability to alter people's memories so he can keep his identity a secret. One would assume he would use this power on Sumin, right? Of course not. This is a romance manhwa. It's not meant to be logical. However, the reason he does not erase Sumin's memories is so bad. What is it, you may ask? It is essentially, “IDK, I just don't feel like it.” It's such a throwaway line. The concept of altering memories might as well have not been brought up, and I think the story would've been better for it.
The power to alter memories is also never brought up again, which, again, just felt so weird and random. If I had had it my way, I would have made it so Luhan had been feeding on Sumin in the past, erasing his memories each time but growing to love and care for Sumin without Sumin knowing. Maybe Sumin had been sick for a long time, and Luhan had quietly been healing him over time. But feeling like he's growing too close, he stops, only for Sumin to get so sick he can barely work. Luhan would then leverage this opportunity to make Sumin fall for him. This would make the throwaway “IDK” reason more sensible to avoid the real reason and provide a purpose for the memory-altering power. Unfortunately, this is all just my fanfic for this, as none of it happens. Sad.
I wouldn't say the story is awful, especially since there really isn't much of a story. The focus is definitely on the sex and smut, which, as a degenerate, I am here for. This is only four episodes long, excluding the prologue, so there's only so much room for story and smut, and smut certainly wins out here. I'm a huge fan of biting, and there is plenty of it here. Of course, there is lots of blood, so if that grosses you out, stay far, far away. But I had a really good time with it.
This is nice. This isn't a favorite, and Face Park has much stronger work that has been licensed, but this is a smutty morsel. The story is extremely lacking, but at four episodes long, there's only so much to fit in there. Where this really shines is in the sex, which a majority of this is comprised of. If you love vampires and sex, what more is there to enjoy?
Have you read The Pain in My Neck? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!