A review of the first volume & first impressions
(NOTE: Love is an Illusion! is rated "M" for "Mature" so 18+ 🔞.)
Love is an Illusion! by Fargo is a mature-rated boys' love (BL) webtoon serialized on Lehzin, a Korean-based digital platform. To read each chapter of Lehzin's works, you would have to sign-up for an account and convert your bucks to virtual coins. However, thanks to Seven Seas Webtoons, you may not be limited to only reading your favorite comics digitally.
Launched in 2022, Seven Seas Webtoons is an imprint dedicated to bringing the most popular webtoons to print. The launch titles were Pulse, Killing Stalking, and Love is an Illusion!. All of these came from Lehzin. Next year, you can read A Stepmother’s Märchen, Who Made Me a Princess, and Amongst Us. All three of those originated from different digital platforms. From the original line-up, I was only interested in Love is an Illusion!, and looking ahead, I'm super excited to read Who Made Me a Princess in print next year.
Seven Seas isn't the only publisher printing webcomics. In fact, the company joins a growing trend of printing the most popular webcomics. Other companies include WEBTOON, Yen Press, Ablaze Publishing, and VIZ. I'm not well versed in mahua, manwha, and webcomics, but I'm excited to learn and explore these works thanks to publishers making them more visible and widely available outside of subscription-based or coin-based services.
Preamble aside, I love this first volume of Love is an Illusion!. Seven Seas describes the story:
Hye-sung spent his entire life believing he was an Alpha, the jackpot of the genetic lottery. But his world is flipped upside down when he finds out he isn’t a dominating Alpha, but a submissive Omega. His frustration is pushed to its limits when he constantly crosses paths with the handsome Dojin, a true Alpha. Dojin supposedly can’t stand Omegas, but his head-butting with Hye-sung results in explosive arguments and unexpected sex. Is this sizzling chemistry truly just their bodies reacting?
So, ripping the band-aid off, Love is an Illusion! is a spicy omegaverse BL story. For those unfamiliar with the romance subgenre, omegaverse stories feature a fantasy world with rules (and tropes) to justify men and women getting horny and pregnant based on bad wolf science. If you're still confused, don't worry. Most stories will explain what the rules are in the story and via an index, and Love is an Illusion! is not an exception as it explains the rules in the glossary before you hit the opening chapter, and it expands upon the concept in the story. However, Love is an Illusion! is not an easy introduction to the subgenre. It's like being thrown into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. For those who want a sweet "baby's first" introduction to omegaverse, I recommend reading the manga I've Become an Omega Today by Sachi Maiki.
Love is an Illusion! features the stuff people generally dislike when it comes to omegaverse. It has "knotting," pheromones, alpha/beta/omega second genders and the bad attitudes and prejudices that accompany them, non-consent/rape and dubious consent caused by uncontrollable heat cycles, and male pregnancy and birth. This all happens to our main couple Hye-sung (the bottom "su" instead of "uke") and Dojin (the top "gong" instead of "seme"). If you're really interested in the details of how omegaverse works because you can't handwave anything away, read Love is an Illusion!. No detail is left to the imagination.
Setting aside the omegaverse stuff, Love is an Illusion! is also an odd couple, "hate at first sight" cohabitation story. Hye-sung is a short and short-tempered 20-year-old. He's also a crybaby and flighty person, who lacks common sense. Hye-sung dropped out of high school for "bad grades" but is excellent at math, a fact he likes to keep to himself due to his checkered past. We get a few glimpses of his past in this volume. He grew up believing he was an alpha due to a medical test he took as a kid. Good thing too, as he grew up thinking omegas were subpar and adopted his father's troubling beliefs about them. Well, it turns out Hye-sung was wrong about being an alpha. He learns this when he runs into Dojin and experiences his first heat cycle while working at a swanky party as a waiter.
Dojin is Hye-sung's opposite. Whereas Hye-sung is an extroverted person with many friends, Dojin is a reserved guy with few friends. Whereas Hye-sung is broke and jokes about getting with a rich omega, Dojin is an elite and wealthy alpha who wants nothing to do with omegas. He is the second son and youngest child of the prestigious Park family, who owns a large corporation. Dojin is the "rebellious" son as he's refusing his family's wishes to settle down with an omega and join the family business. Instead, he strives to become a successful recording musician. Overall, Dojin is a calm, mature 25-year-old who's working towards his big break when he runs into Hye-sung one night as a guest at a swanky party.
When they met at the fancy party, Dojin recognized Hye-sung was an omega right away, which Hye-sung denies right up until he goes into heat. Dojin takes Hye-sung home to help him with his heat, and Hye-sung runs away the next morning, thinking he'll never see Dojin again...only to be proven wrong shortly afterward. The entire first volume is hyper-focused on Dojin and Hye-sung and their budding relationship. We see them go from hate/dislike to tolerating each other as Dojin finally offers the eternally broke Hye-sung a place to stay, a bedroom in his luxury 2-bedroom apartment. So, if you don't like Dojin and Hye-sung, you're not going to like Love is an Illusion!. Likewise, while the manwha has its dramatic moments, it is a romcom at heart.
Finally, let's talk about the actual book. If you've read Love is an Illusion! on Lehzin's website, you'll recognize the translation instantly. It's exactly the same. Per the inside flap, the translation is credited to "Lehzin Entertainment, America Localization Team." So, this book is literally printing everything you've seen from Lehzin on paper. Seven Seas promised this series will receive deluxe paperbacks, featuring the black-and-white comic with beautiful color inserts, and Seven Seas delivered. The book is essentially a large-trim omnibus at 5.875 x 8.25in. So, it's the size of Seven Seas' other webtoons and large-trim books. Each volume will feature an exclusive new cover. The first volume features Dojin and Hye-sung on the cover, and the second volume will feature Dojin by himself. Should the trend continue, we can expect Hye-sung on the third volume.
As of this review, Seven Seas shows three volumes. I do not know how many volumes there will be in total. The manwha is complete in 43 chapters but has 56 "extra" chapters, which brings the full total to 99 chapters. This first volume is 400 pages long with 19 chapters, and each chapter matches up with Lehzin, but instead of a vertical scroll format, it's in a comic book format. Important to note, this series reads from left to right. Also, this book features glowing dick, as seen on Lehzin. (It doesn't bother me personally, but fair warning, I guess.)
In summary, if you're looking for a spicy omegaverse BL, check out Love is Illusion!. Come for the omegaverse shenanigans, but stay for the character growth and budding relationship. The first volume pulled me in, and I can't wait to read more! Barring no delays, the second volume will be released in March 2023. If you have some coins to spare and/or wish to read ahead, you can check out Love is an Illusion! on Lehzin. Note that creating an account is free, and it's required to read this story. (Also, the first chapter is free to read!)
So, what do you think? Have you read this manwha? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @ThatMangaHunter.