Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Number of Volumes: 84 chapters (on-going webcomic)
Available on Mangafox: Yes
What It’s About?
Jaerim, considered one of the ugliest boys in school, has just been accepted into the Student Council. He clashes with the Vice President of the Student Council, Yuri, who is one of the most handsome boys in school and who hates ugly people. From the word go they both hate each other, with Yuri bullying Jaerim endlessly. However, Jaerim never backs down either. By standing up for what is right and defending those who cannot stick up for themselves Yuri becomes aware of Jaerim. Jaerim still hates Yuri… or does he?
One of the biggest strengths of Never Understand (thus far, I haven’t quite completed the manga yet) is the realistic way the characters are portrayed. For example Yuri, our ‘seme’ (the one who takes a dominant role within a yaoi manga relationship) isn’t some overly good-looking, overly-brooding Mr Perfect. Our seme has his funny moments, complete with flaws and everything. He gets angry, he gets jealous and he gets embarrassed. He had a sense of realism that I have not found in many yaoi manga’s, especially for a seme. Jaerim, our ‘uke’ (the one who takes a submissive role in a yaoi manga relationship) also has a sense of realism to him as well and he is such a refreshing character. He isn’t some damsel in distress and he can look after himself.
Some of the main themes are bullying and psychology which runs throughout the narrative. Even though the plot can get a little bit silly at times, the themes of bullying and mental problems are taken seriously. The theme of hope also runs throughout the manga.
We also have plenty of side stories that give us a breather from our main couple, which I feel is sometimes needed in big manhwua projects such as this. I’ll be honest, I’ve only been introduced to one side couple which is the otaku and the bully. Their story progresses quite quickly but you instantly fall in love with them. However, their relationship has a major flaw…
One of Never Understand‘s main weaknesses (which is a major weakness that runs throughout most yaoi mangas) is the romanticisation of an abusive relationship. This may be triggering to some readers. The relationship between the otaku and the bully wouldn’t be considered romantic in the real world.
Personally, the beginning seems slightly slow and the art style differs from most yaoi manga’s you might read (I loved the artwork personally), however you do become accustomed to the style and plot progresses and thickens.
Give it a Chance/Leave it Be
Boasting 84 chapters and still ongoing, Never Understand is a manga you should save for a rainy day. The humour is fresh with great slice-of-life moments that will melt your heart. There is enough fluff and angst to keep every yaoi lover happy. The message of the manga is very clear; you can overcome hardships with the help of others. The system can be changed and anything is possible.You will feel for these characters like you’ve never felt before. It’s one of those manwha where you will become emotionally involved. None of the characters turn out how you think they will. Nobody is who they appear to be and that what makes this manwha refreshing.