Continued improvement on an already exceptional rom-com
“On a romantic evening date with the young, rich, and unbelievably handsome Taemu, Hari is the envy of all women…but little do they know—it’s all fake! She has been trapped into playing the part of his girlfriend to appease his meddlesome grandfather, all the while desperately trying to hide the fact that she is actually an employee at his company! How long can she keep up this nerve-wracking double life?” (Ize Press)
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The first volume of “A Business Proposal” has all the keynotes one would desire in a Korean rom-com: adorable characters, a sharp comedic wit, and an endearing love story of opposites. The second volume in the series not only keeps to these standards but excels in them as the manhwa starts to hit its stride both in story and visuals.
The inaugural release acted to introduce the characters along with the absurd premise to build a romance, and it landed with exceptional charm and wit. However, now that the players and premise have been established, Narak and the team behind the manhwa can play around, significantly emphasizing comedy. While the original release was aptly humorous, multiple uproarious moments and awkward interactions in the second volume exemplify the creative and playful wit of the team behind the project and the Korean rom-com format.
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Thankfully, the focus on humor does not compromise romance. The continued courtship of Taemu and Hari still captures these sweet moments, often presented through the characters’ reflections on their time spent with one another. Taemu’s cold exterior gradually dissipates as he realizes his feelings for Hari. Comparatively, Hari starts to realize how much the relationship has seeped into her personality and perceptions of other guys, which includes letting go of an old fling. Additionally, Mr. Cha and Jin’s budding romance is a welcome addition to the story, and the pair have a few highlights in the second volume that were only teased in the first.
The sentiment of improvement from the first volume extends to the visuals. Narak imbues a degree of absurdity into the first release, but the second consistently leans into the silly and expressive to further push the humor. There are still elements lacking in the visuals, such as pronounced backgrounds, and the work can, occasionally, feel slightly rushed. However, the tone and comedic beats of the book hit so smoothly that any shortcomings are easily overlooked. As someone who is generally critical of the digital heavy format of WebToons, this is one of the first instances where the thought did not even occur to me during my initial readthrough. Most importantly, Narak excels at creating expressive and memorable characters that work swimmingly in the format.
“A Business Proposal” exemplifies how K-dramas have won over a large audience in both TV and comics, as the format’s success is drawn from competent storytelling and an approachable quirkiness that South Korean creators seem to have down to a science. Ultimately, the project is an endearing and entertaining rom-com that is exciting to see play out and collect in the pristine print editions from Ize Press.
If you enjoyed this one, check out “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim,” also from Ize Press.