Bloody Sweet, Volume One , collects an astounding number of installments of this Lee Narae webtoon.
Shin Naerim’s mother performs a valuable, if unconventional, public service: she is a moodang, a Korean shaman. Shin Naerim also provides a valuable public service: she is a meek victim whom her classmates can torment without any fear of repercussions.
Beautiful, rich Song Jina never personally attacks Shin. But she loathes Shin for once having been her friend. It’s embarrassing. So she becomes a skilled instigator, dropping poison into the ears of easily led classmates who can be trusted to lash out at Shin.
Shin finds friends online. When a school trip is canceled, she’s happy; more free time to spend with her online friends. She makes the mistake of being visibly happy. Jina doesn’t like this at all. She suggests a diversion. Classmates drag Shin into an abandoned house said to be haunted. Shin is terrified; her classmates are amused. Then Shin opens a sealed door and a body falls out. The other kids flee and Shin is left alone with what appears to be the corpse of a young and handsome man.
He’s not dead. He revives, tells Shin she smells nice, and ask if he can drink blood from a scrape on her leg. Shin is aghast: she has released a pervert! But he’s no pervert. Vlad is merely a vampire. He had been confined by a monk who was trying to cure him of vampirism.
Shin is too flustered to resist. Vlad doesn’t drain her; he’s a polite vampire. Indeed, he’s now bound to her, as her servant. Now only is he bound; he has good reason to help her. He senses that she is a witch (albeit an untrained witch) which means she can help him become a human again.
Vlad first feels only duty and self-interest, but soon takes a real interest in Shin. Shin and Vlad become friends. Vlad decides to protect Shin from her classmates. But can even a vampire prevail against schoolgirl bullies?
Among the many questions this web comic answers is “how long can a grown man hide in a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl’s closet before said schoolgirl’s mother notices?” The answer is “not very long.” However, since the mother is a moodang, adept in matters supernatural, she’s much more sensible about the situation than many parents might be in her place.
The monk Sam-mi has been frustrated by Vlad’s slow progress, but progress there has been. Vlad is much less murderous than he was centuries ago. True, he recently slaked his thirst with a chicken, which horrifies the vegetarian monk. However, those of us who eat chicken can sympathize.
Vlad is a kinder, gentler vampire. Don’t expect him to go all Carrie on Shin’s schoolmates. This isn’t that sort of web comic.
No, it’s the sort of horror comic that is frightening because so everyday, so plausible. Ceaseless bullying has worn away at Shin Naerim like water wearing down a rock. The adults at the school are heartbreakingly blind to the abuse. What is drinking a little blood to this?
Many webtoons go on and on and on … but that is not the case here. Volume one stands as a complete story on its own. There’s room for further developments, but readers can be assured there is satisfactory closure in this single volume.