I’m not really good at putting a name on what it is that I’m doing. It’s easy to call it a ‘first impression’ when I’m barely into the story with 10-ish chapters or call it a review when the series is completed. So what it is when I’m 50+ chapters in but also feel like we’re still far away from the ending? Hello and welcome to my rambly opening. Today I’ll be talking about a series that doesn’t need an introduction and everybody, and their immediate families have already, probably, read it. Yes, that Semantic Error.
I got it as a request to review it for my Friday BL. That either means that there were people out there who wanted my opinion on it or just wanted an excuse to talk about it again with me, and whichever the reason was, I’m happy to provide. Nothing better than screaming about your favorite thing with others who feel the same!
Title: Semantic Error
Author & Artist: J. Soori & Angy
Status: Ongoing, 52 chapters.
Where to read: On Manta!
Do you ever ask yourself “Is there a limit to how much you can hate someone’s guts,”? It was supposed to be a group project, but the other three have abandoned Sangwoo, coming up with one excuse or another and he gladly took out their names off the project, handling everything by himself. That, of course, made him a target of their fury, especially of one Jang Jaeyeong.
Jaeyeong was abroad and all he needed to do was to graduate after passing this class and be on his way to grad school but as things are, he has to stick around for another semester. Now that he has time on his hands, Jaeyeong accepts to join a developer on a mobile game project and to one’s luck and another’s demise, the programmer is none other than Sangwoo. Did I mention that Jaeyeong has time on his hands? Because he has a LOT of it and makes it his top priority mission Sangwoo doesn’t even breathe comfortably, not for a second.
Semantic Error is adapted from a web novel and recently got itself an 8-episode long live-action drama, which you can watch here or here. As far as I know, the novel still hasn’t been licensed in English, but the drama has been on roll in terms of rankings and engagement on social media. I watched the drama, and while it’s not exactly a 1-on-1 adaptation, I think it was competently done.
Nowadays I find myself criticizing the series I watch/read in terms of their fast pace more often then I did before, production team not giving the events or characters room to breathe or time to develop more naturally. I can think of a reason or two as to why this is the case, but I also started to question how much of it’s a fair critique and how much of it is my … taste in fiction. You see, I love slow-burn, especially in romance. The kind of stories where the main couple takes 40 chapters to blush at the touch of their hands. I get where people who want progress early on come from, but to me, it’s the best kind of suffering to go through as the reader. And Semantic Error is a great example of slow-burn. Season 2 was just wrapped up and my man Sangwoo is still bringing up biology facts whenever he’s hit with an ‘urge’ to physically get close to his ‘homie’ Jaeyeong.
But let’s track back a little. Sangwoo is our binary guy. Not in terms of his gender, he’s literally made up of 0’s and 1’s, a walking algorithm. Nothing wrong with wanting to stay in your comfort zone or sticking to your strict routine! Jaeyoung, on the other hand, is a free-spirited artist that stays true to his feelings or the mood he’s in. Quickly, he figures out the daily schedule Sangwoo follows and becomes this persistent error that Sangwoo can’t debug no matter how hard he tries to. And that leads to them spending more time around the campus and getting to know each other.
I have to say, I really like Sangwoo. His non-standard sense of personal intimacy not only slows the tempo down but also makes way for whimsical and sweet clashes to happen. In the beginning, his linear and literal way of thinking is deemed robot-like, but real soon we see that he isn’t as stuck-up as people make him out to be, he just has a different way of processing what’s in front of him. The series never paint him out to be a laughing stock, doesn’t force him to immediately comply with norms, and he’s easily likable. I even think he may fall into the demi/ace spectrum. He understandably frustrates our neurotypical and ever-so-flexible Jaeyoung, but he tries his best to broaden Sangwoo’s horizon as the person he’s trying to woo came to learn from his mother that only a man and a woman can be in a romantic relationship, with the intention of getting married and the sole purpose of reproduction.
I was going to wrap the post up by saying that Semantic Error may not be suitable for people who like their romance to happen fast, but I’m sure they’ve already given it a shot and called it quits. Or maybe these two managed to work their magic on them and they’re still keeping up with the series. I can at least try to get you to watch the live-action if you still haven’t. It’s short, but what makes it stand out amongst other adaptations I’ve seen so far is that, even if you haven’t read the manhwa, you’ll definitely be able to understand what’s going on in the drama and be able to bond with the characters & story. Sadly, many times these adaptations feel like they’re targeted to fans of the said series only and have too many gaps a non-reader can’t fill in between.
Look at me, chatting away! No wonder I’m late. Whoever you were, thank you for sending in this request and giving me a chance to talk about this series because otherwise I don’t think I would, thinking everyone’s already familiar with it and I couldn’t find anything to say. Looks like I had a lot to say. Let me know what you’ve thought about this series or how did you like the drama if you’ve seen it and see you soon!
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