- Mangaka : GyeongYun Jeong (Story), MyeongMi Kim (Art)
- Publisher : Yen Press
- Genre : Comedy, Drama, Josei, Romance
- Published : April 2023
If you’re a fan of Korean romances, chances are you’ve already heard of What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? Starting out life as a novel titled “Why Secretary Kim”, written by Kyung-Yoon Jung, the story was then serialized as a Webtoon on KakaoPage as “What's Wrong with Secretary Kim?” before being translated into English on Tappytoon.
A Korean television adaptation in 2018 starring popular actors Park Seo-joon and Park Min-young rocketed the series to mainstream attention, taking home a sweep of television awards in Korea, and landing streaming deals on Hulu and Netflix overseas. Now, the Webtoon version has found itself officially adapted to print media by Yen Press!
With all that popularity behind it, we’re asking the question—is “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?” worthy of the hype? Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?, Volume 1!
In many ways, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? has a setup that feels safely familiar—a narcissistic, self-centered, arrogant vice-chairman; and his capable, whip-smart, beautiful secretary who’s the only one able to manage him. Yet, with that simple romantic setup, GyeongYun Jeong and MyeongMi Kim deliver a laugh-out-loud, non-stop ride of entertainment.
Youngjun Lee is the Vice Chairman of the Yuil Group, obsessed with himself and his own perfection. In truth, he’s become entirely reliant on Miso Kim, his secretary of nine years who knows his routine down to the minute. Ever-suffering, Kim has postponed important milestones in her life to keep Youngjun’s life running—but when Kim decides it’s time to resign, she throws Youngjun for a loop!
Now Youngjun is determined to answer the question, “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?”—and if that means making her fall in love with him, he’ll go to extraordinary lengths to keep his secretary close by!
As with all the recent physical manhwa from Yen Press, the editing is flawless, and you’d barely know that the original imagery came from a vertical-based layout. We only had access to the digital edition, but from prior experience with the physical prints, we know the art will pop really nicely on those glossy pages!
1. Triumphant Comedy
Comedy is subjective, of course, but we found ourselves laughing harder than ever with What's Wrong with Secretary Kim? The pacing and delivery of the jokes land every time, with many of the laughs coming from small side conversations or blink-and-you’ll-miss-it visual gags.
Youngjun’s inability to understand anything that doesn’t revolve around him sets up some great punchlines involving his business friends, and of course, Kim herself. Meanwhile, Kim faces a grilling from friends and family alike about Youngjun’s love life—along with the assumption the pair of them are dating.
Despite these tropes being common enough in romance stories, What's Wrong with Secretary Kim? uses those tropes effectively to land jokes at just the right moments.
2. Likable Jerks?!
If our opening section gave you pause, worry not—there’s no Christian Grey here. Despite Youngjun being a clear narcissist, he never reaches the level of “smug arrogance” that would turn you off. If anything, his self-obsession is a clear figment of his own imagination; his flat delivery and high expectations are the butt of the joke, rather than defining aspects of his character.
There’s clearly a romance brewing between Kim and Youngjun (and we see the potential for a fake-dating subplot, which will undoubtedly be amazing), but considering how diametrically opposed their personalities and goals are, it’ll be a wild ride—but deep down, we think Youngjun is a caring guy, and we’re hoping Kim can bring out the best in him, eventually!
As the first true rom-com manhwa to see a Yen Press physical release, What's Wrong with Secretary Kim? had to shoulder the weight of its own success and readers’ expectations. We’re happy to report that What's Wrong with Secretary Kim? is a marvelous rom-com, and a true must-read for any romance enthusiasts!
Are you going to pick up What's Wrong with Secretary Kim? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!