Reviews, Webtoon

A Business Proposal Review: Love at First Blind Date

Follow Hari as she finds herself entangled in lies, a fake identity, and an unexpected relationship with her new boss!

A Business Proposal Vol 1 cover
Image: Ize Press
By: Amy MouaMar 12, 2024, 9:30 AM

A Business Proposal Vol. 1

Review
Rating
10
Excellent
A Business Proposal Vol 1 cover

Writer: Haehwa

Artist: NARAK

Publisher: Ize Press, Yen Press

Release Date: May 23, 2023

Page Count: 320

Format: Tpb-comic

“A Business Proposal” is a worthwhile rom-com that spins an unexpected romance between an office worker and her boss. Full of swoon-worthy moments and comedic situations, readers will enjoy the charming tale and fall for the captivating cast as they breeze through this first volume.

The office romance is one of the most popular tropes in Korean manhwas. It usually involves the dynamic between a handsome CEO and an average girl falling madly in love with each other. But as common as the trope may be, “A Business Proposal” delivers it with incredible art, captivating storytelling, and engaging character development. The popular manhwa does right by the classic “contractual relationship” premise in so many refreshing ways. Continue down to read my thoughts on this fun and charming romance!

Overview

The story begins with Hari getting heartbroken by her long-time unrequited crush. To make matters worse, she learns her family’s business is struggling to pay back a massive loan. Needing a distraction from love and a solution for her family’s business, Hari agrees to a dubious deal with her best friend Yeongsuh for some money. Hari is asked to attend a blind date and put on a femme fatale act to scare off Yeongsuh’s potential marriage partner. Sounds easy, right? The problem is that the blind date is none other than Hari’s new boss, Taemu Kang. She quickly finds herself knee-deep in lies in an attempt to hide her real identity or risk getting fired for tricking the CEO. Not to mention that her boss still wants to marry her!

A Business Proposal Vol 1 - girl holding clutch bagImage: Ize Press

Review

With impeccable art to bring the story to life, this manhwa delivers one of the best romance plots published. Everything about the art is aesthetically pleasing, from the attractive characters and lively colors to the cute chibi illustrations during comedic moments. In a way, the clean and pretty art style reinforces how perfect Taemu Kang is, as he is portrayed as the classic rich and handsome CEO who only shows his soft side to the one he loves. While Taemu’s straightforwardness makes him easy to understand, he tends to come off as cold and overbearing. The man can’t be too perfect after all, or else he’d be boring and contribute nothing to the story. Can the cold man with a heart of gold type of character be overused? Yes. But do I still like Taemu for all his positives and flaws? Also, a yes. 

But as popular and eye-catching as Taemu’s character is, the real star of this manhwa is Hari. As your “average girl” in the story, Hari is expectedly polite and hard-working. But unlike most female leads with a similar background, Hari also has a bit of an edge. Instead of being a shining moral beacon, Hari is a girl who knows how to have fun and be cheeky. She’s the type to go out for drinks when feeling down and even joke and tease when she’s around friends. While Hari may be struggling financially, she isn’t one to be so naive or easily exploited by others, which are common mistakes in many other office relationship stories. It’s refreshing to see a character’s shortcomings not get romanticized for relatability’s sake. Instead, her playful characteristics are what make her feel more human and likable as she navigates her complicated life. 

A Business Proposal Vol 1 - good couple thinkingImage: Ize Press

Now, take the two lead characters and you’ll find a captivating mix of contrasts and similarities. Even though Hari’s meekness clashes with Taemu’s more dominating and straightforward personality, they are similar in how devoted they can be to the people they fall for. Because Hari has her hangups about her seven-year unrequited love, it makes Taemu’s infatuation with her since their first blind date all the more exciting to follow. Their unique dynamic makes them a timeless charming couple in the manhwa-verse of office romance stories, much like Youngjoon and Miso from the 2016 hit series “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim.”

The great character writing in the manhwa does not stop at just Hari and Taemu. Creator Haehwa excels at creating fun and likable side characters as well. Hari’s friend Yeongsuh and Taemu’s secretary Sunghoon are among my favorites. Even though they are not the story's main focus, their personalities still shine through and resonate with readers in captivating ways. For Yeongsuh, while her rich upbringing as a conglomerate’s daughter is a bit hard to relate to, her passionate goal of marrying for love is not. Then, for Sunghoon, he’s simply a walking green flag. It’s so easy to fall for the smart and kind puppy-eyed man. But the best part about them? The two also have a charming romance brewing between them. So “A Business Proposal” has not one, but two healthy ships that you can follow and support throughout the series.

A Business Proposal Vol 1 - lets get marriedImage: Ize Press

Final Thoughts

“A Business Proposal” is such a great rom-com manhwa that it’s no surprise it got more popular as a live adaptation in 2022. Even though the story takes place in modern Korea, there’s something incredibly unique and magical about its world. It doesn’t take long for it to pull you in with its comedy, charm, and pulse-pounding drama. I eat this stuff up because it’s entertaining and fulfills the fantasies of me and thousands of other like-minded readers who enjoy exciting romances. So, if you haven’t read this manhwa yet, what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Why You Should Read A Business Proposal

  • It’s an exciting and light-hearted romance.
  • The characters are well-written, likable, and fun to read.
  • The manhwa differs from the live adaptation, making them very unique experiences from each other.

TAGGED: Ize Press, Yen Press, Webtoon
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