Let Dai 15
February 3, 2009
So here we have the last volume of the series.
It opens with some extremely brutal violence. Dai-Oxin and his gang decide to take their recent troubles out on Jaehee when they spot him out with Yooneun. Jaehee takes a savage knifing, and Dai shows up to insult Yooneun (by giving a really mean-spirited speech where he basically admits he’s jealous without actually saying so) and to beat the punks up and talk about why being a punk is scary because you just can’t quit. Yooi shows up later, and there’s a great scene between the two brothers which is quite wonderful in a very understated and emotional way (though Yooi still tells Dai he’s crazy for liking another guy, he’s probably the only person who hasn’t beaten the two up when he found out about them, and he pretty much tells him that they’re still brothers and all). The whole Yooi-loves-Yooneun-who-loves-Jaehee-who-loves-Dai-who-is-Yooi’s brother thing that’s been going on for most of the series is resolved right here.
Then there’s a beautiful, long scene where Jaehee and Dai live the perfect life. It even has a little tragedy mixed in, since Jaehee has to hide something from Dai. If this volume had actually ended with a particularly sad, bittersweet scene between the two boys on the beach, I would have been perfectly pleased since I could have imagined a number of my own outcomes.
But it keeps going. The second half of the volume separates Jaehee and Dai. For real this time. Dai doesn’t come back or get in touch or anything due to his family situation. A few years pass. There’s a really weird epilogue that I couldn’t figure out, and then the two most cryptic last pages in any manga I think I’ve read. But the outcome is pretty clear, and I have to say I was okay with the ending as it was, weirdness and all. There’s no classic shoujo ending or anything, but that’s okay since this isn’t a typical shoujo series. It’s very passionate, which is what this series does best, and it ends with the wonderful secondary characters discussing things. I think that’s fine.
But if you’re curious… here’s some spoilers. let me mark out the spoilers.
So… I understand why Dai keeps his identity hidden when he and Jaehee reunite. He doesn’t know if Jaehee feels the same way after all those years, and he’s really upset about it. It may also have something to do with the promise to his dad about never returning. And it just occurred to me that he may be ashamed of his former punkish self, and him saying “Dai is gone” may be a way of hinting that Jaehee will have to accept a changed man. But it seems like if you run into Jaehee in your cabin that he can only be coming to because he misses you desperately, you wouldn’t need the disguise. Plus, you know, it seems like you’d drop it after Jaehee guessed who you were and clearly felt the same way, too. And maybe he did drop it. The scene ends right after that part.
But then, it ends with Dai telling Jaehee about the note at the airport. It’s sort of implied that Jaehee runs out of the house (in the middle of a snowstorm) right after he hears about the note. But if Jaehee knows that it’s Dai, why did he run off when he’s finally got the real thing in front of him? He’s wearing the same clothes and everything, so it must’ve been the same day. The note scene was certainly good enough to wait all this time for, though. It was one of those things that got to me the first time I read the series.
And those last two pages! What the hell! The narrator is most likely Jaehee, but much older, and probably in America. He mentions going to a bar while older, then thinking back to hanging out with his friends at a bar when he was younger and them being very upset about Ozzy Osbourne leaving Black Sabbath. That made me mentally move the entire series to the 70s, and I wasn’t sure if it made a difference or not. Then I remembered that the characters used cellphones and dreamed of visiting Britney Spears, so I knew it was set in the present. Then… what about crying over Black Sabbath? Then he starts talking about Jerry Garcia or something. This entire first passage didn’t made much sense to me.
Then he sort of talks obliquely about his and Dai’s life together as adults and the average life they lead, and talked about how being young made everything far more important than it actually was and made them overlook the fact they had pretty good lives, which I think is an interesting final note for the series. Then he goes back to the beginning about how he’s in the bar by himself reflecting on all this, and says that the only friend he had at the bar was youth. Hmm.
So yes, fiddly ending. But it was a fantastic series, and it could have any ending it wanted considering how consistently good the rest of the series is. It is one of my favorites ever, period. The most romantic manga/manhwa money can buy. READ THIS SERIES, or at least do so if you have a high tolerance for violence and soliloquies.