Hey everyone! This is the first post in one of our new segments – Boy’s Love Break. Since Killing Stalking is categorized as Yaoi; I decided to make this our first segment. I’d like to state that first and foremost – just because the above says “Boy’s Love” does NOT mean I support the relationship in Killing Stalking or any relationship with Intimate Partner Violence. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please seek help. Without further adieu – my feelings on Killing Stalking.
Killing Stalking follows the tale of unimpressive, scrawny Yoon Bum and his object of affection – Sangwoo, who happens to be the school’s most popular boy. Yoon Bum quickly discovers that beneath Sangwoo’s charm is a horror that he cannot escape – Sangwoo is a serial killer.
Truthfully, it comes as a shock to me that there are those who are romanticizing Killing Stalking. These are the same types of people who say it isn’t okay to romanticize Harley & Joker or that you’re a pedophile if you “age up” an underage character for the sake of art or writing. So why is Killing Stalking different? Because it focuses on a homosexual relationship, perhaps?
We must first address that yaoi, especially in Japan, is less a depiction of actual homosexual relationships and revolves more around fetishization that targets a female audience. This is something I can admit as both a yaoi fan and a member of the queer community. And yet, fetishizing a homosexual relationship doesn’t appear to be the objective of this Korean Manwha at all. In fact, the comic presents itself in the form of a beautifully drawn comic, in color, that is quite graphic and horrifying. In a nutshell – this comic presents depictions of rape, molestation, intimate partner violence, and murder; it is not a read for the faint of heart.
As someone who has grown up on horror and thriller movies, Killing Stalking is very reminiscent of horror movies. There are times that the graphic depictions and unhealthy relationship in the comic were almost too much for me and I’m not one that frightens easily. Moreso, it was just unsettling reading this comic and knowing that there are those who romanticize the relationship between the two main characters. Clearly, as the comic progresses, these characters are falling into a strange and unhealthy infatuation with one another in the form of Oedipal themes as well as Stockholm Syndrome on the part of Yoon Bum. Sangwoo sees Bum in a similar was as the mother that it is implied he murdered. Not only this, he becomes dependent on Bum’s effort to smile for him, show him affection, etc. Often, in his confused state, it flashes to images of his mother. Was Sungwoo perhaps in some way infatuated with the mother that tried to protect him from his father’s abuse? We cannot be sure at this time.
What is most peculiar is the state of mind of Yoon Bum, Sangwoo’s stalker. Certainly his “love at first sight” upon being saved in the military by Sangwoo is one thing but he goes above and beyond. Of course, at the beginning of the series we see the words “Borderline Personality Disorder” in reference to Bum, and yet he exhibits very little of the signs of BPD throughout the story. Self-harm in patients with BPD often presents itself in the form of frequent sessions of cutting or damaging one’s skin or even banging one’s head. Whil Bum has appeared to have cut himself once, his tendencies to self harm are rarely present and never present themselves at times of stress. Despite the fact that abuse is often a factor in the development of borderline personality disorder- Bum exhibits very few of the other signs of BPD aside from self-loathing, depression, and isolation – which are also signs of unipolar depression. In fact, Bum presents little to no emotional volatility, zero outbursts of anger, and his mood is fairly stable in the sense of it not shifting (Comer, 2014, pp. 489-491).
As someone passionate about psychology, I found this depiction of BPD to be not only flat but almost insulting to those with BPD. Is Yoon Bum’s stalkerish tendencies a symptom of his BPD? This is unlikely. In fact, it is more easy to believe that he has dependency issues of his own and needs an escape from his abusive uncle. In fact, it is for this reason and his previous image of grandeur revolving around Sangwoo that he appears to develop Stockholm Syndrome, which only makes this series more unsettling in its own right.
Killing Stalking is twisted, graphic, and overall intriguing. It is certainly a series I will follow until completion.
Comer, R. J. (2014). Abnormal Psychology (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.