What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 3 Makes Secrets the Focus

What's Wrong With Secretary Kim 3 cover of Miso holding her lanyard with her ID up to her mouth.

Even though What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 3 is mostly romantic fun, it captures the triggered response to trauma.

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 3 maintains the childhood mystery that connects Miso Kim and her boss, Youngjun. On top of that drama, Youngjun’s brother, Sungyeon Lee, arrives, adding to the tension and mystery. It’s a romantic comedy series that touches on issues of childhood trauma. Thanks to Miso and Youngjun’s relationship, investing in the series and cheering them on is easy. But it needs to pace better as this volume drags in sections. Still, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 3 works overall as it continues teasing a haunting past that seems greater with each volume. 

With art by MyeongMi Kim and an original story by GyeongYun Jeong, the story continues with the tense, almost hostile interaction between Youngjun and Sungyeon. Although Sungyeon is older, there is a bitterness and childish rivalry between the two that both seem unwilling to release. The Yen Press manhwa covers Chapters 30 – 44, along with bonus illustrations and translation notes. Thanks to Sungyeon’s arrival, the past rears up more in this volume, allowing for theories about what happened when they were kids.

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 3 Captures Trauma

The series captures how trauma can create reactions that rear up out of nowhere. Youngjun’s response when he attempts to kiss Miso is uncontrollable. When the memory of the unknown creepy woman from childhood flashes through his mind, his response is instantaneous. Even though What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 3 is mostly romantic fun, it captures the triggered response to trauma. Youngjun is unaware of shoving the chair—with Miso in it—away until the deafening silence sets in. 

The Tonal Shifts From Dramatic to Comedic Work

What's Wrong with Secretary Kim 3 cover of Miso holding her lanyard with her ID up to her mouth.
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim 3 cover. Courtesy of Yen Press.

While sad in itself, the aftermath is hilarious on Miso’s end. On the one hand, readers feel awful for Youngjun. On the other, it’s impossible not to understand Miso’s reaction. After all, Youngjun asked to kiss her—a big plus that What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 3 demonstrates how sexy consent is—then while she waited, eyes closed, she winds up facing a wall. But Miso keeps it petty and hilarious. She tells Youngjun she wants her reward from the corporate competition—a professional matchmaking date. Before he can explain, Miso tells him she’s taking the day off, not to call, and hands him back her resignation. 

Macross Plus-Style Twist, Perhaps

Someone or multiple people are either confused or lying. However, the former seems more probable. Although Youngjun is not forthcoming about his childhood, Sungyeon details the past to Miso. It’s her shared history since she was present around the time of the kidnapping. But Sungyeon’s assertion that he was the victim, thanks to his brother, raises questions. 

It’s similar to the two main characters in Macross Plus. One of them could not what he did. So, he blocked it out and projected it onto his friend. As Youngjun and Sungyeon were both kids at the time, it’s tragic and understandable. It’s also sad for the parents and whichever of them is the actual victim. The reason is that if Youngjun is the victim, not only does he suffer from trauma, but he also has to endure Sungyeon’s anger and resentment for something he never did. 

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 3 includes comedic and romantic moments, but they take a backseat as the mystery of the three’s combined history moves to the forefront. There are moments of drag, but the series remains funny, thanks to the romance at its center. Additionally, the romantic aspect is no less compelling. While pacing remains a problem, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 3 maintains an engaging story and even tackles heavier scenes without feeling sensationalized. 

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