Biting the Tiger
Updated: Oct 7, 2022
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐+
"Can a mythical being and a human fall in love?
Yunho, vocalist of a popular band, has had a secret crush on his friend Kyunghoon for years. That is, until Kyunghoon announces that he has fallen in love with another man. In despair, Yunho runs away and bumps into Hanwool, a mythical tiger grim reaper."
Biting the Tiger is a BL manhwa by Mindal Park. You can read it here on Lezhin, but note that only the first five episodes are free.
Consisting of two seasons, two side stories and a total of 73 episodes, this manhwa was a nice blend of subtle fantasy and healthy romance. I ended up rating this 4+ stars because I felt like it was between a 4 and 4.5 rating.
Now, let's get into the details.
First of all, this is fully coloured which is always a major bonus for me. I wasn't the biggest fan of the faded and chaotic images, even if it set the mood as all it did was hurt my eyes a bit. It did get better as I went on though, or I just got more used to it, and the art was well done enough to be visually appealing. I did find the design for the bad spirits to be a bit strange, as they looked more like moving tattoos and were kind of hard to make out.
On the more positive side, the combination of the normal and chibi style was well done though, and the author knew exactly where to place the more comedic panels. I also likes how the background changed from the usual white to black when the tone was more serious. The design for the characters were also great, so definitely no complaints there.
As for the writing, it was perfectly fine for the most part, but there were some weird translations. For example, when they would laugh it would say kukuk. I assume that it is supposed to be a translation of ㅋㅋㅋ (kukuku), which is what is used for laughing in Korean. It was just a bit odd to have to read it like that and I would have preferred to just to have the Korean letters.
I wasn't the biggest fan of how the story starts out. Our main character Yunho, after learning that his best friend and crush of 10 years, Kyunghoon, is in fact gay and likes Naroo, his new roommate, goes on a jealous streak. Haven't never been in a situation like that, I didn't have much sympathy for Yunho who was treated people he just met kind of rudely only because he thought they were taking Kyunghoon away from him.
In general as well, I don't really enjoy when a romance starts out with one of the characters currently in a relationship or is hung up on someone. Once Yunho got past that though, we were smooth sailing from there, and I enjoyed seeing Yunho and Hanwool's relationship develop. The romance moved a bit fast, but it made it a bit better that it wasn't insta-love as Yunho was only attracted to Hanwool's voice and looks at first before getting to know him better.
Another element I am used to is the fact that Yunho is the vocalist for a rock band. I usually don't stray towards stories based around idols (even though he technically isn't one), but those elements were a lot lighter than I was expecting. Having that in there though really made me want to hear what the band sounded like.
There wasn't much external conflict, it was mainly just Yunho and Namwool building things up in their heads and not communicating. While I did overall enjoy myself, I don't really know how to feel about this as, usually, I hate it when someone outside tried to interfere with the main couple, but I also hate it when characters don't communicate. I was kind of stuck in the middle here with no winning.
The only real external conflict was something that does happen in real life, sadly, but the conflict was resolved pretty well. I was about unsure as it got closer to the end as it looked like it was going in a direction I didn't like, but thankfully it didn't and everything was good in the end. Conflict in general stayed pretty steady before ramping up at the end.
As for the side stories, that is where all the spice is. You get pretty much no sex scenes in the main story, but that is more or less what the side stories are for. They are censored though, via lightsabers, so take from that what you will.
I don't really have many complaints about the characters as I rather liked all of them. Yunho was fine after he got over his strong bouts of jealousy, Namwool was a bit emotionally constipated but he and Yunho worked well together aside from some much needed communication. Even minor characters like the goblin flame, Hyero, were great. Will say though, longer pink haired Yunho looked way better in my opinion and I wish that was how he looked instead.
My only complaints really was that I wanted to see more of the side characters. I would have liked to see Naroo and Kyunghoon's relationship develop as they got together very suddenly without any explanation. I also would have liked to see more of the goblin flame in human form as well. Even minor characters like the Chief peaked my interest, and I would like to know more about their backstory.
If you are looking for a healthy romance, minus a lack of communication, with some fantasy elements, try this out. Some trigger warnings may apply though as this deals with PTSD, anxiety, and panic attacks.