It’s an exciting time for manhwa fans, with many physical editions of webtoons being translated into English officially for the first time. Yen Press is leading the charge with a plethora of series from across genres. For April, the imprint has brought What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, a webtoon by Gyeong Yun Jeong and illustrated by MyeongMi Kim, which also became a hit drama starring Park Seo-Joon and Park Min-Young.
The series centers on Secretary Mi-so Kim and her boss Vice-Chairman Young-jun Lee, who have professionally been at each other’s side for nine years. But while Vice-Chairman Lee is Korea’s most eligible bachelor and has gotten to live his life as he sees fit, Mi-so hasn’t even started living hers. When she abruptly quits, her unexpected declaration throws Young-jun for a loop, but he doesn’t exactly know why. With an inflated sense of self, Young-jun realizes that he has to do more than wave his money or title around to keep Mi-so at his side. Shifting his attitude from “Who could be better than me?” to something more thoughtful —at least to Young-jun, the Vice-Chairman sets out to prove that he’s the ultimate catch and do whatever he can to make him
The best part of What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is Secretary Kim herself. Mi-so is intelligent and steadfast. More importantly, she breaks through romance tropes that often leave women at a disadvantage. While Mi-so manages to capture some traditional elements of a female lead in a romance story, she has incredible control and identity that makes her stand out against other heroines. She values herself and her time, and she doesn’t sacrifice it. Instead, the narrative is about Young-jun learning about his emotions, why he’s actually bothered by Mi-so leaving his side, and doing what he can to keep her.
At first, his marriage proposal is a bid to control Mi-so with money and status. However, the story is about him giving up control and learning how to talk to Mi-so and meet her where she is. While Secretary Kim has spent the last nine years of her life giving to Young-jun and keeping him calm and in charge, this first volume shows that she values herself and it’s up to Young-jun to meet her, lest he loses her.
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim was already a story I was in love with, thanks to the live-action drama, but now, getting to read it in a physical copy has added so much more to my understanding of the characters. With more internal dialogue and balancing of thoughts in the story compared to the drama, it makes the story one that’s great to jump into, even if you already know it.
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim Volume 1 is a fantastic story that centers its female lead as the one with the power, despite her role as a secretary. She is the reason that Young-jun has the success that he does, and they both know it. Additionally, she knows what she wants and isn’t easily swayed. Kim Mi-so is lead with agency and power even when company titles would make the reader think differently.
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold both digitally and physically.
What's Wrong With Secretary Kim Volume 1
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim Volume 1 is a fantastic story that centers its female lead as the one with the power, despite her role as a secretary. She is the reason that Young-jun has the success that he does, and they both know it.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.