I was recently sent volumes one through five of Pig Bride, a Korean manwha featuring a story with a vaguely Beauty and the Beast type riff. I had been following the fan-translation, so it was nice to get the book in a dead-tree format. It’s a romantic comedy/fantasy with a few surprising twists and turns that otherwise follows the standard “…and then this happened over and over again because no one remembers that this is the same thing that happened the last time” that is common to some romance manga/manwha.
Our Hero is Si-Joon Lee who got lost in the woods when he was eight years old, and gets even more lost after vandalizing a shrine. He meets two little girls, the first of whom is carries a sword and another little girl who ears a pig-face mask. The girl with the pig faced mask sees him, she runs away. When he follows her, he comes to a house with a scary woman who tells him a story about a prince who had to marry a celestial being who had been cursed to look ugly, tells him that he is the descendant of the prince and that the little girl is the descendant of the celestial being. Then she tricks him into marrying the little girl.
We fast forward to when Our Hero is sixteen and at an exclusive boarding school, where he is considered to be The Schools Most Eligible Bachelor. He is the son of a senator, he’s rich, handsome and has all the qualities a girl apparently finds attractive, and the Most Popular Girl in the School is apparently gunning for him. (Of course the girl, Doe-Doe Eun is secretly a bully who terrorizes the other girls, but Si-Joon is blithely unaware of her machinations and thinks she’s sweet, gentle and kind.)
He has a nightmare about the incident in the woods which becomes a reality when a strange girl dressed in very old fashioned clothing and wearing a pig mask shows up in his room wanting to consummate their marriage. This is Mu-Yeon Park who has come with her sister Mu-Hwa to protect him from some unknown danger (she says). Our Hero however believes that the danger is known and it is Mu-Yeon, who immediately turns his life upside down.
While Si-Joon is generally hostile toward Mu-Yeon, Si-Joon’s roommate Ji-Oh Yun makes friends with her and her sister Mu-Hwa. (He tries to help her and explains things about the modern world that Mu-Yeon has no experience with since she grew up in a very isolated place and had no contact until now with the outside world.) Mu-Yeon also manages to win over Si-Joon’s parents with the aid of a Buddhist monk who confirms the story that Mu-Yeon really is the descendant of “The Park Bride” and that Si-Joon really does have to marry her or risk having something terrible happen to him. Si-Joon is trapped into having to live with the very nice but really disturbing Mu-Yeon, and things become much worse when Doe-Doe makes a surprise visit to his home.
Volume one ends on that cliffhanger.