Seyun and Yoojin grew up together because their fathers were close friends, and even after Seyun and his family move some distance away their friendship endures. Now in high school, Seyun is doing his best to get Yoojin to notice him in a romantic way, but Yoojin seems oblivious until the day one of his friends tells him, in a case of mistaken identity, that Seyun is “a well-known manwhore” at his school. Yoojin finally releases his pent-up emotions in a violent sex act—which I’m happy to say is not treated as being okay—and he and Seyun eventually become a couple.
Drama ensues, but always grows out of the story and the strong characters. Even the sex scenes focus more on the characters than the act itself—several times the way the boys converse throughout reminds me of similar scenes I’ve seen in the works of est em. The art is also quite lovely—I didn’t learn until the penultimate chapter that Rakun is actually Yeri Na, creator of Do Whatever You Want—with a clean but expressive style. One particularly nice panel features Seyun embracing a ghostly image of Yoojin while thinking, “What do I have to do for you to look at me?”
What I like most U Don’t Know Me is that it moves beyond the moment of consummation into more real-life concerns about being in a gay relationship. Seyun frets a lot, for example, that he can never give Yoojin children, be someone Yoojin could introduce to his employers, or fulfill Yoojin’s mother’s dream of a beloved daughter-in-law. When Yoojin’s parents eventually discover the boys’ relationship, their kindness actually makes Seyun feel worse, like he’s betraying them by robbing Yoojin of his future. It seems awfully rare that a boys’ love title actually touches on these issues.
U Don’t Know Me is not your run-of-the-mill boys’ love story. The complexity of its plot, its characters, and their emotions combine to offer an engaging reading experience on par with some of the best titles in the genre.
Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.