Manhwa Review | Your Eyes, My Words by Morphish

About:


Warning:

There will be spoilers for the series Your Eyes, My Words.

Trigger Warning: There may be references to sexual assault, homomisia, break ups, violence, and manipulation, as it appears in the manhwa.

Synopsis:

Hwane has lived his whole life quietly, following what was expected of him. In , he was exceedingly studious and a thorough monitor for rule breakers. He never spoke out or shared much about himself, even to those he considered his closest friends. That is until he met Jinha. Jinha, a troublemaker and Hwane's underclassman did everything he could to evade Hwane, but Hwane, the ever-diligent monitor, did everything he could to catch him. One of Jinha's best methods was suddenly kissing Hwane, leaving him stunned just long enough for Jinha to get away.

This game of cat and mouse goes on for days. Hwane catches up to Jinha, only for Jinha to kiss him. Then, the day comes when Hwane corners Jinha in the stairwell. Jinha goes in to kiss him, and Hwane closes his eyes, only for the kiss to never come. When Hwane opens his eyes, he finds Jinha staring at him. It's then they both realize that they enjoy the kissing more than the chase, and so begins a ritual of meeting before class, kissing, and then going their separate ways. This went on and on all the way until Jinha found a girlfriend, and Hwane graduated.

It was a time of fleeting moments, but Hwane never forgot Jinha. No matter how many partners he had after, none of them could compare to his first tenuous . All of these memories and feelings come rushing back up to the surface as, while getting fitted for a custom suit, he runs into Jinha once again. They're both adults. They never really had a relationship. Yet, the moment they meet again, they are drawn to one another, both seeking to relive that youthful attraction from their pasts.

Review:

The art in this kind of gives me early Jeong Seokchan vibes (See: A Thousand Cranes and Rain Again), which is a huge compliment. Of course, it's not a perfect 1-for-1, but that sketchy, down-to-earth style is definitely there, and I'm a big fan. It isn't the most consistent style, but it's very expressive and soft, which I think really suits the introspective narrative. It isn't full color, but it isn't black and white either, having more of a sepia and single-color style most of the time, which also lends to that dreamy, ambiance. If I had to pick something I didn't like about the art, it would be the inconsistency in Jinha's height. I love it when the top is shorter than the bottom, which is actually emphasized in the story, with Hwane recalling how Jinha was always shorter than him when they were in school together, but there are moments when Jinha is almost the same height as Hwane. This could have some meaning, such as being a visual representation of them finally meeting each other on equal footing, but I still didn't like it.

Cover art for Your Eyes, My Words on Tapas

Something that did bother me, though, isn't necessarily the art style but is related to the visuals, was the use of text boxes during flashbacks. The purpose is to ensure you don't assume those words are coming from them during the flashback, but I often mistook those words for thoughts. I didn't realize they were being said out loud in the present day, which, as I'm sure you can imagine, caused some confusion on my end. This didn't matter a ton for such a short series, but there is a crucial narrative point where Hwane is lying about how he and Jinha met, all the while flashbacks of their past are going by. I didn't realize he was actually speaking over these flashbacks until Jinha confronted him about his lies, which initially came off as a random outburst. Then, it became clear that the square boxes were spoken out loud by the present-day person on top of the flashback. I think it would've been a better design choice to just stick with text bubbles and simply leverage the lack of a stem to indicate that no one in the panels themselves is talking.

We see most of the story from Hwane's perspective, so the title suggests that he is referring to Jinha's eyes and his words. However, as we discover through the story, it's Jinha who talks about how he thought the love and want in Hwane's eyes was enough for him, so he says he loves Hwane without expecting anything in return. It's Hwane's eyes and Jinha's words. This is a story about Hwane learning to express himself verbally, to make himself vulnerable, and to allow others in. For Jinha, it's realizing how important words are. He's perfectly willing to be the only one vocalizing his feelings until he realizes Hwane avoids expressing himself and could never fully be with Jinha. Furthermore, Hwane sees everything through the lens of their past. He hesitates to get close to anyone, fearing that he will be hurt, just like he was when Jinha suddenly got a girlfriend. Sharing feelings is dangerous and meaningless to Hwane until it means losing the present version of Jinha, who can openly love him like he always wanted. It's so powerful.

I must also mention how impressive it is that so much meaning, , character growth, and sex could be packed into such a short title. I'm not going to say it's perfect by any means, as I was left a bit wanting by the end, but it's not bad at all. If you don't think the storyline sounds like it needs all the many episodes to develop, let me tell you that there's also a plotline, and we see Hwane come to terms with other relationships he threw away due to his fear and insecurities. This series has a ton packed into it, and I feel like most of the plots and characters get the time they need to feel well-developed and complete. The one thing I think could've used more time was Jinha's ex, but that's just for my own curiosity. His role wasn't all that big, so he really didn't need much development. Overall, this is a concise and well-crafted narrative.

Results:

I really enjoyed this. It left me wanting more but in the best way. I'm so tempted to call it a favorite, but considering all the other titles I've read and dubbed favorites, I'm not sure this makes it onto that list. It's masterfully done with so much depth in such a small package. It's very reflective and internal, so there isn't much in the way of action. So, I'm sure for some people, this might be a “boring” read, but I adore internal conflict, which this is packed full of. The enemy for Hwane is himself, and seeing him overcome himself is everything. This is definitely worth a read, and I highly recommend it.

Have you read Your Eyes, My Words? 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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