Saturday, February 4, 2023

REVIEW: Love is an Illusion! (manhwa, vol. 1) story and art by Fargo, translated by Lezhin Entertainment, America Localization Team

Love is an Illusion! is a BL omegaverse comic. I bought my volume brand new.


This is an omegaverse series - a quick explanation, if you aren't familiar with that. Everyone in this world is an Alpha, Omega, or Beta. Betas are regular humans. Alphas produce pheromones that attract Omegas, Omegas produce pheromones that attract Alphas, and Omegas go through heat cycles that make them want to have sex with Alphas (in the world of this series, medication exists that can suppress these heat cycles). Alphas of either sex can get Omegas of either sex pregnant.

Hye-sung has spent his entire life thinking he was a recessive Alpha, but, while working as a waiter at a party, he meets Dojin, a dominant Alpha, enters his first heat cycle, and discovers that he's actually an Omega. Specifically, he's a recessive Omega, so he'll likely have difficulty finding medication that can suppress his heat cycle and it'll be harder for him to get pregnant.

Dojin is a singer in a popular band and comes from a wealthy family composed almost entirely of Alphas. Due to his family constantly pressuring him to pair up with an Omega, he hates Omegas and only has sex with Betas or other Alphas. Until he meets Hye-sung. For some reason, having sex with Hye-sung inspires him to write incredible songs. Too bad Hye-sung resents Dojin for making him realize he's an Omega.

Look at that cover. Don't they look like a sweet and loving couple? Ha ha. Banish that thought from your mind. Maybe they eventually turn into that, I don't know, but their relationship in this first volume is nothing but rape and resentment. 

From the way it was written, it didn't sound like Hye-sung's reaction was entirely normal, but his heat cycle basically overrode his brain and turned him into a mindless sex fanatic who really wanted Alpha Dojin to impregnate him. Their first sex scene starts with Dojin shoving his fingers up Hye-sung's butt in order to find his uterus and prove to him that he's an Omega. To be fair, he gave Hye-sung meds to suppress his heat cycle (they didn't work), but who shoves their fingers up some random stranger's butt?? Hye-sung is understandably upset when he comes back to his senses.

In a later scene, Hye-sung sleepwalks into Dojin's room (they're living together by this point, for reasons) and starts throwing himself at Dojin and begging for sex. This one ends up upsetting them both. In the next couple sex scenes, it looks kind of like Dojin is going through some sort of heat cycle of his own and ends up forcing himself on Hye-sung. The very last sex scene is particularly horrible, with Dojin doing the Alpha equivalent of giving him a date rape drug (purposely releasing his pheromones around Hye-sung).

They're a terrible couple who are terrible for each other. The main thing tying them together is the fact that Hye-sung seems to be Dojin's muse (find another source of inspiration!), and Hye-sung is a dumbass whose idiocy makes Dojin understandably worried. Hye-sung, there are no non-sketchy ways for you to make money fast, so stop falling for scams!

By the end of the volume, I was rooting more for Sooyoung and Hye-sung than I was for Hye-sung and Dojin. I'd probably have liked Dojin more if it hadn't been for his mind-controlled Alpha rapist moments.

I generally liked the artwork (except the horses, which were awful and thankfully rare). The sex is on-page, but penises are fuzzy white voids. Some pages are in color - in one odd instance, the artwork switches to color part-way through a page.

It'd be nice to know more about why Hye-sung has spent his entire life hiding that he's actually really good at math, and I am morbidly curious about Dojin's stiffly awkward family. But I don't know that I'm curious enough about any of that to put up with more heat cycle rapiness. I really wanted some of the warmth and sweetness of the cover art, and this volume gave me none of that.

Additional Comments:

There is a page at the start of the volume explaining Omegaverse basics. The page does not explain "knotting," which comes up later in the volume. I unfortunately already knew what that was due to prior furry fandom experience, but hadn't expected to encounter it here. WTF, Dojin?

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