Se-Joon and Se-Wa are siblings with a dark, complex relationship. Se-Wa, a girl considered psychotic by others, is attached to her brother... a little too attached. In her eyes, there is only Se-Joon, and no one else. And what of Se-Joon's feelings?
A dark desire disturbs the sanctity of the heart. The color of it cannot be recognized and its quench cannot be satisfied. What it yearns for, it cannot have. The sole pleasure that fuels its beat drowns slowly in its own drum; and something far more devastating blooms from these buds of desire. Some may call it wrong. Some may even call it evil – but it’s disguise is far more illusory. The petals soaked with taboo, the stem etched with sin; the flower that arises from the crevices of this heart can be nothing but a flower of “evil”, or in more colloquial terms, of love.
This longing is not foreign to the fictional characters of this story nor are the reverberating effects of such experiences. What this narrative is able to capture, is the rawest form of this feeling, or “love” in all of its tarnish and flaws; without the idyllic socially-studded romanticizing, and without the morally constructed, hypocritical barriers that reductively portray love in mathematical terms and axioms.
Yet things are never that simple. And this is exactly what the manhwa “The Flowers of Evil” paints.
The manhwa opens up with a small anecdote that ends in rhetoric, asking : would you rather be loved by all or loved by one person? To “answer” this question, the narrative then traces the lives of two fraternal twins, Se-Wa and Se-Joon and their progressive descent into a world stained by forbiddance. A love story about incest? Yes. It is. Yet, it is so much more than that. It is an entire feeling, state that is explored solely through the psychological perspective of the main characters. Their kinship or familial bond is at the forefront and there is no shy retreat from that. It is thoroughly established, but because of the exceptional exploration of character motives, psyche, and their volatile states, the labels become superfluous. Love then isn’t painted as some fairy-tale element that boy x and girl y attain harmoniously. It is tainted. It is flawed. It is painful. It brings out the worst in people. It brings misery, jealousy, and suffering, but like a flower, always remains outwardly beautiful and Sook brings that out in all of its candor.
This dual candor can be seen through the beautiful but obsessive Se-Wa, whose continual attachment to her brother morphs into various forms of jealousy and acts of self-harm. And it isn’t just because she can. No. Sook carefully peels back the layers of each character in a suave mesh – implicitly and explicitly – showing us the “whys” and “hows”. There are soft nuances littered throughout the manhwa whether it be through Se-Joon’s “Dr-Jekyll/Mr-Hyde” duality or Se-Wa’s breaking insecurity. What is glaringly apparent is the fragility of it all. Both characters are akin to mirrors that break again, and again as their remaining shards are glued again, and again only to repeat the cycle.
Really, what I feel compelled to applaud Sook for, is being able to remove the rose-colored glasses, give a roundabout fuck-you to social constructs, and create an incredibly visceral and down-to-earth story that not only disturbs the soul, but moves it. In effect, what this manhwa then becomes, is a portrait reflecting a state of love, a kind of love that is outlawed in all realms. Yet Sook challenges to see things another way, and I couldn't help but fall down the rabbit hole with Se-Wa and Se-Joon as they struggled wholesomely, to love, to be loved, and most of all, be accepted.
The development of the ill-fated relationship, or rather the eventual breakdown of it is meticulously crafted. Even the more extreme actions rooted in borderline-psychotic absurdity feel completely natural and even, essential. No unnecessarily needed melodramatic shtick is employed; even though many of occurrences that stem from the relationship of Se-Wa and Se-Joon could often been seen as such. And really, nothing weld the piece better than the aesthetic presentation, which is only secondary to the stellar writing. This is creatively highlighted through the juxtaposition of objects synonymous with physical beauty such as roses that are framed at the edges of the panel(s) that in content and context, were comfortably seated in pain and suffering. The gothic atmosphere and design also illuminated the subtle points of the story and helped keep this running theme of ironical idyllic romance picking at our subconscious.
“The Flowers of Evil” is physically striking, contextually disturbing, and hopelessly real as it paints the hole that slowly swallows all expectations of traditional romances. This narrative is truly a fantastic work of fiction that steps beyond its own fictional realms and wanders around with the hidden conditions of love and it does so by answering a very simple question: loved by all or loved by one…and in the process what it re-tunes for us, is very simple:
There is a dark desire that disturbs the sanctity of the heart. It blossoms beautifully under the breaths and whispers of those who try to subdue it. It is conditional and takes more than it gives; and thus perhaps the answer to the original question posed is innately devalued in vain. This desire be equated to love? Yes. There are those who will not call it love, but sin as shown within the pages of the manhwa and the frames of our own life. There are those who will call it evil but who cares? Whether its evil or not, one thing is for sure: that it is love – in all of its non-binary, indefinable, inexplicable glory. And it is and will forever appear to be beautiful. read more
Flower of evil truly digs into the heart of the characters as a person and brings out what most people try to conceal. I was hesitant to read at first because of the drama, which is a red light for me, but seeing the high reviews made me want to try. It was simply too amazing.
The story was made of originality with only one cliche; the brother sister love that was forbidden. Though the end may be surprising for most-as in every one. It was a huge twist I did not excpect in the least! It will all seem like a bunch of unnecessary details but then when your brain make the connection, it seems genius. It was sad, yes, but it was truly a work of art.
The art blew me away. The thing with manhwa is that the art is always very creative, no matter how you view it-it can be perceived as ugly or beautiful, but this art was completely different; it was simply mind blowing. The twins themselves were amazing, seeing all of it was quite an experience! I've never seen such lovely manhwa art in my life!
The characters were complex and deep, charming the reader's emotions into the story. They intrigued me, the individual personalities of each one and the secrets they hold. After reading the first chapter I thought I'd grasped the characters' personalities, but as the story progressed, I realized that I'd only skiimmed the surface of what lies beneath. The development is amazing, the way they're presented will wow you.
I hope I conveyed my feelings of enjoyment. If you've read my review honestly, please know what to do and read it. It was truly a manhwa like no other. Even I, who dislikes even the slight bit of drama loved it whole heartedly. If you decide not to read it, you are truly overlooking a fine jewel.read more
Even now traces of emotion loom in me from this tale and I have found it hard to read happy romance shoujo for the rest of the next day. A fantastic story that may change your life, if not you life then at least leave a feeling long after you have closed the book or shut down your browser.
I'm not really sure now why I gave this an overall 8 because as this story settles in my mind it gets better.
I found the story at some point to feel like something I have read or seen before, but caught myself thinking maybe not. To elaborate on the synopsis, Se- Joon and Se- Wa are fraternal twins, whose close relationship tests taboos and social ethics. With the introduction of an old school friend both of them start to go separate ways, at the dislike of the other.Many times I thought the plot was going one way and I had it all figured out all to be mistaken a few pages later. I don't want to say too much it is a journey to discover.
The art is breath taking, as well as both Se- wa and Se- Joon being beautiful, to the point of just looking at their faces wants to make you cry. A lot of other characters are good looking as well and some aren't. It portrays emotion well and helps carry the tenderness of the story.
This story will carry you away and you will get caught up, I thought I would read it over two nights but knew I just had to finish it and read it all in one. If you have read this far, then take a step outside of what may be your norm and I believe you will find a gem.
There are probably tons of people who've read this manga and surely all of them has a different interpretation of it's story and ending.
In my opinion, this manga is a conversation between our two main characters, Se-Wa and Se-Joon.
In the beggining, we hear the story of a man, who was loved by all, but could not love anyone, until he met this girl. Even though the girls loves him too, she cannot won't leave her husband for him, and thus he will be alone in despair and grief for the rest of his life.
The storyteller asks the main question of our story, which it builds upon:
"Would you choose to be loved by everyone else or would you choose to be loved by one person?"
For 26 chapters, we can see a life where he chooses one of the options. And at the end of the story, when you think everything has ended, we hear the conversation again, now with the characters, and we can get to know which choice he/she would make.
As for the story(9.5):
It is a full, round story even without these conversations at the beggining and the end.
Don't except too much laughter, it is truly a tragedy. A psychological, romantic tragedy. It has its own twists you can't even imagine. I had several ideas, one worse than the other, but I was totally surprised at the end, although looking back, everything seemed so obvious. The little movements, short sentences all led to this wonderful ending.
They are a "twist" too, in a way. You can't be sure what their personalities are, until you have read all of it. They're not shallow, but really mysterious, although you might think you know their way of doing things after reading the first two chaps. Don't be fooled :) The few supporting chars are great too without too much cliche.
Wonderful. That's all. Really. You can find the usual "manhwa marks" in it, but it's actually unique, and just gorgeous.
Overall, it was worth reading. I almost cried and laughed at the same time when it ended. And just because it was over and I couldn't read more. This mangaka is epic. You should defenitely try it out too, even if you are disgusted by incest. The focus is not on siblings loving each other, but two strange(insane because of love and other stuff...) characters, who love each other in a unique way and have their own, crazy ways of showing their emotions.