Love and ‘Love’ in “Killing Stalking”: A Complex Portrayal

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Love and ‘Love’ in “Killing Stalking”: A Complex Portrayal

“Killing Stalking,” a South Korean manhwa written and illustrated by Koogi, is a controversial and provocative work that has sparked intense debate and analysis. At the heart of this psychological horror story are themes of obsession, manipulation, and a distorted interpretation of love. In this short essay, we’ll explore the complex and unsettling depiction of love and ‘love’ in “Killing Stalking,” examining how these themes contribute to the manhwa’s gripping narrative and psychological depth.

Distorted Love and Obsession

The relationship between the two main characters, Yoon Bum and Sangwoo, is the primary focus of “Killing Stalking.” Initially, Yoon Bum’s infatuation with Sangwoo appears to stem from a deep-seated sense of love and admiration. However, as the narrative unfolds, it becomes apparent that this infatuation is a dangerous obsession, rooted in Bum’s traumatic past and psychological issues. Bum’s idea of love is skewed; it is possessive, obsessive, and devoid of healthy boundaries or mutual respect.

Sangwoo, on the other hand, exhibits a twisted version of love characterized by manipulation, abuse, and control. His interactions with Yoon Bum, and other characters, demonstrate a lack of genuine affection or empathy. Instead, his actions are driven by a desire to control and dominate, which he masks as a form of love. Sangwoo’s behavior challenges the conventional understanding of love, presenting a dark and abusive distortion of the concept.

The Cycle of Abuse and Dependency

“Killing Stalking” delves into the cycle of abuse and dependency, showcasing how a warped sense of love can lead to destructive relationships. Yoon Bum, despite being a victim of Sangwoo’s manipulation and violence, finds himself emotionally and psychologically dependent on his captor. This dependency is often mistaken for love, but it is fueled by fear, trauma, and a desperate need for validation and affection.

The manhwa portrays this cycle with harrowing accuracy, highlighting the complexities and difficulties in breaking free from such toxic dynamics. The relationship between Yoon Bum and Sangwoo is a stark reminder of how abuse and control can be camouflaged as love, trapping individuals in harmful situations.

The Psychological Exploration of ‘Love’

Koogi’s “Killing Stalking” is not just a tale of horror and suspense; it is a profound psychological exploration of what happens when love is corrupted by trauma, mental illness, and abuse. The manhwa delves into the psyche of its characters, revealing the underlying factors that drive their perception and expression of love. It challenges readers to question the nature of love and the fine line between deep affection and dangerous obsession.


In conclusion, “Killing Stalking” offers a disturbing yet insightful examination of love and ‘love.’ It presents a narrative where love is intertwined with obsession, abuse, and psychological manipulation. This manhwa does not romanticize these themes but rather exposes the dark and destructive aspects of a corrupted form of love. Through its complex characters and gripping storyline, “Killing Stalking” encourages a deeper contemplation of the nature of love, the impact of trauma, and the dangers of mistaking obsession for affection. As a work of fiction, it serves as a powerful commentary on the darker facets of human relationships and the psychological underpinnings of love and dependency.

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