X — XXX BUDDY

Greetings! Who knew it’d be this easy to find a title for this letter. Today’s pick is a recently licensed manhwa that has some of my favorite tropes, is light-hearted (as of yet), pretty and heavens tell me the smut will be fine with a capital F. There’s no all-ages version for this so the title is for mature eyes only. Enjoy ~

Them
Also them

Title: XXX Buddy
Author & Artist: Lash & daki
Release Year: 2020
Status: Ongoing, 10 chapters. 
Licensed? (Y/N): Yes, on Tappytoon!

He’s beauty, he’s grace, and he hates putting himself on the line for sex. Seo Hyunsoo is working in City Casual, a men’s fashion magazine and he just transferred to the editorial department as the design team’s leader. After the introduction’s finished, a welcoming dinner awaits, and while Hyunsoo is not too enthusiastic to spend time with a lot of people, he needs to play along. Like your typical office environment, rumors about Hyunsoo’s transfer seem to have arrived before he even set foot in the department. And he’s not alone in this; Baek Youngchan, the head of the project team Hyunsoo has only heard of, has his fair share of tales being told. But none of it matters to Hyunsoo. He’s a simple man and only wants to complete whatever task he’s given. Faith, on the other hand, has other plans for him.

The two are already off to a rough start when Youngchan saves Hyunsoo from slipping on the stairs but gets a little too chummy for a first encounter, and he’s such a hyper person that even one look at him is enough to tire you out. All of these were things Hyunsoo can look past until he stumbles upon something that he wishes he could unhear at the toilet of the restaurant they went to for his welcoming party: Youngchan having sex with someone, possibly a colleague in one of the bathroom stalls! What’s more, he saves Hyunsoo from another accident and kiiiind of threatens him to let what he witnessed slide. Hyunsoo’s distaste for Youngchan snowballs from there.

XXX Buddy launched on April 7, and it was updated weekly like other webtoons but the release frequency was changed to biweekly. I’m not going to pretend like this news didn’t hurt me physically because I was invested already from the first couple of chapters. Fussy and straitlaced x bubbly and easygoing is a dynamic I revel in. More so if the pairing reverses these characteristics in bed. A huge plus if they don’t immediately change them, but do so after a bit of struggling over dominance. I guess I’m a bit particular about my tropes. The good news for me (and for you, given that our tastes align) my remarkably fine-tuned BL-dar tells me that this will be the dynamic we’ll get with Youngchan and Hyunsoo.

Their banter is written well and chemistry is so fun to read. I love how Hyunsoo has two modes for Youngchan: angry and angrier. In the earlier chapters where Hyunsoo keeps remembering what people from his previous department said about him, looks like he wasn’t very sociable, to begin with, and he lashed out at his colleagues at some point. Youngchan’s maxed in-your-face energy, his dedication to making the ‘You shall not pass!’ joke every morning after learning Hyunsoo is a LOTR fan or even his ‘Captain America chest’ that’s constantly invading Hyunsoo’s personal space; all of these rubs our routine-loving MC in the worst ways. I can’t wait to read how will these two play out! It was already hard to wait a whole week for a new chapter, and now I have to suffer more… *sobs*

One aspect that webtoons have in favor of is their length. Lots of commercial BL manga are planned out to be just one volume and get sequels depending on how well they do in the market. Meaning, the artist has only one volume to establish the characters, setting, and the pairing synergy and that hardly leaves space for secondary characters. You can even notice how some stories were meant to be one-shots but were expanded into a volume. This is sometimes the case for webtoons as well, however they have the length and time to properly develop additional pairings or side characters/settings. This is, fortunately, the case for XXX Buddy, getting to know our couple’s coworkers and the environment helped me to immerse myself in the story further. They are a lovely bunch and look like they are on their 5th can of energy drink just like Youngchan.

I recommend XXX Buddy to people who are looking for a cute series with pretty and chunky boys in it! There’s a certain type of fun you can get from watching one character popping veins and chewing down painkillers like they are mint candy while their stressor is just vibing on the side, with sparkles in his eyes. Also, there aren’t many chapters out so it would be easy to catch up!

In the first chapter, we see an album case of Red Garland in Hyunsoo’s flat, if you enjoy the genre you might want to have the album spinning in the background to accompany you while you read:

I haven’t done any research but there might be a connection between fussy bottoms and modern jazz.

What are your favorite tropes in BL? Do you like those tropes as they are or subverted? Or both? Let me know in the comments and take care ~

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