Itaewon Class 1 Is a Remarkable Set Up for Revenge

Itaewon Class 1 cover of Saeroyi and a girl standing back to back.

Even with the time jumps, Itaewon Class 1 does a magnificent job of highlighting Saeroyi’s focus on revenge.

Itaewon Class 1 captivates readers at the outset with an intriguing conversation before transporting them back in time to show how a group of misfits came together to work at a restaurant. The pacing grips readers, highlighting pivotal moments in Saeroyi’s youth that shaped his current course. An underdog story with tons of heart, Itaewon Class 1 sets up the series with spicy action, chilling revenge, and sweet romance. 

Created by Kwang Jin, translated by Kakao Entertainment, and lettered by Madeline Jose, it opens with a blonde-haired girl who, like Naruto‘s Shikamaru, views life as a chore. It’s difficult to fault her in the Yen Press comic. After all, everyone has heard that they must work hard, especially if they are not already wealthy. When she mentions her boss told her to die if life’s such a pain, the tale transitions to her boss, Saeroyi, as a teen.

Itaewon Class 1 Effortlessly Establishes Emotional Connections 

The emotional rollercoaster is a whirlwind. However, it moves through each tragedy to the next with ease. It’s during difficult times that someone’s mettle shines through. After Saeroyi and his father move to a small town, Saeroyi winds up expelled on his first day. All because he stood up to a bully—a bully who is his father’s boss’ son. When the boss arrives, he offers Saeroyi a choice: fall to his knees and beg forgiveness or face expulsion. What’s crucial is Saeroyi’s father’s response. He stands by his son, knowing it’ll cost him his twenty-year job. 

Itaewon Class 1 cover of Saeroyi and a girl standing back to back.
Itaewon Class 1 cover. Courtesy of Yen Press.

Right away, Itaewon Class 1 establishes a strength of character in Saeroyi and a resoluteness in his father. It also shows who the central antagonists are in the bully Geunwon and his scumbag father raising him to be that way. While the hero dilemma could arise later, Saeroyi appears as an underdog. With everything stacked against him, cheering for his success is obvious. So, the first volume creates a relatable, caring relationship that readers care about. 

It Shows Determination For Payback

Even with the time jumps, Itaewon Class 1 does a magnificent job of highlighting Saeroyi’s focus on revenge. After all, aside from his school expulsion because of that wealthy family, Saeroyi also loses his father. While it is an accident, the fact that Geunwon is responsible, yet someone else takes the fall leads Saeroyi down a destructive path. His plot spans almost a decade, which I love. 

Often, when someone has a goal, they lack the grit to keep their eye on the prize. However, aside from how heartbreaking Saeroyi’s story is and the almost fated circumstances that lead to his plans for payback, he does not waver. After achieving the goals and money he wants, he prepares to open the restaurant in Itaewon. 

Itaewon Class 1 sets up the face-off between Saeroyi, Geunwon, and his father. It nails the emotions that make readers not only care for Saeroyi and wish for his victory but also desire to see the downfall of the despicable antagonists. It also builds anticipation as the inside artwork shows the other characters readers have not met yet. So, Itaewon Class 1 builds anticipation for what’s to come with the restaurant, food, and cold payback. 

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