That Which Flows By (Korean Comic) Complete Review

That Which Flows By (Korean Comic) Complete Review

That Which Flows By is a popular Webtoon digital comic published by Softcorn. It remained one of the most read South-Korean Comic on Webtoon in 2022 and 2023. It is a historical and fictional comic about a female character Dani, a girl whose main job is to serve tea for General Gyeol Seo, but with time they both establish an affectionate relationship. Their personalities are little different because of their pasts: Dani is a kind-hearted and humble girl who works as a tea server, a job that requires a lot of meekness and humbleness; on the other hand Gyeol Seo is a former war veteran and former general of Joseon army.

Joseon-Era Korea Timeline 

The comic follows the timeline of Joseon-era of Korea and explores the social environment of that time. Joseon was the final hereditary empire of Korea. This era was more than 500 years long. It was started by Yi Seong-gye all the way back in July 1392 and later it was taken over by the Modern Korean Empire in October 1897. The Josean era was mainly like a pyramid: at the top were the Yangban, like rich nobles and officials. Middle class people like merchants and scholars were in the middle, and the majority of people were farmers and laborers at the bottom. Slaves were of the lowest social category people at that time and our main character Dani belonged to that group. 

Our protagonist, Dani, a young woman bound by the chains of slavery, finds herself unexpectedly tangled in the lives of the opulent Yangban class. As the story begins, shadows of political intrigue threaten to disrupt the fragile balance of power, while an unconventional romance blossoms between Dani and Gyeol Seo, a haunted general burdened by duty.

Dani’s Personality Traits in The Comic

Resourcefulness and Resilience: Given Dani’s position as a Jurchen girl navigating prejudice and potentially hiding her identity, she’s likely developed remarkable resourcefulness and resilience.

Keen observation and quick thinking: Able to assess situations, adapt to challenges, and find solutions on the fly.

Physical prowess and stamina: Possesses the strength and endurance to handle demanding tasks like tea serving or even escaping difficult situations.

Emotional intelligence and empathy: Reads people well, understands their motivations, and builds rapport despite social barriers.

Traditional Jurchen knowledge: Mastery of herbal remedies, crafting techniques, or even spiritual practices passed down through her heritage.

Exceptional skill in tea preparation: An unmatched understanding of different tea blends, their properties, and their potential uses beyond mere refreshment.

Intuitive perception or empathy: An ability to sense emotions, intentions, or even hidden truths, adding a subtle layer of power to her interactions.

Gyeol Seo’s Past Trauma and Personality Traits

Gyeol Seo, the broken and traumatized army general in “That Which Flows By,” carries the deep-hidden scars of his past as a war veteran. This deeply rooted trauma and history affects his personality, actions, and position within the Joseon society, making him a enigmatic character. 

He is haunted by his painful and blood-lusted past memories. Nightmares, flashbacks, and physical twitches constantly pull Gyeol back to the horrors of war, disrupting his peace and sleep. 

In the story, it is shown that the act of drinking strong tea is a painful reminder of a tragic event or loss he experienced during his military service.

Here are some major things i notices about Gyeol Seo in That Which Flows By:

Isolation and withdrawal: Gyeol mostly prefers solitude in the comic, and he is also discarded by the society due to his war-worn-out body. 

Guilt and self-blame: Gyeol struggles with crippling guilt over decisions made or comrades lost during the war, believing himself responsible for their suffering.

Loss of faith and cynicism: The brutality of war has shattered Gyeol’s trust and optimism, leaving him jaded and cynical towards the world and its promises.

Fear and hypervigilance: Constantly anticipating danger and betrayal, Gyeol finds it difficult to relax or let down his guard, even within the supposed safety of the palace.

Exploring Gyeol Seo’s past trauma adds depth and complexity to his character, making him more than just a stoic general. His struggle to move forward becomes a powerful theme within the story, resonating with anyone who has faced loss or emotional scars. He is a powerful and excellently-written character in the whole comic. While I loved the slave girl character the most, there is nothing about Gyeol that I didn’t like.

Brewing a Forbidden Romance Between Gyeol and Dani

Dani and Gyeol’s affectionate relationship isn’t just shy smiles and hushed words. It’s a rebellion burning slowly against unfair social rules, showing how love can change everything. Dani’s warmth and empathy penetrates Gyeol’s long-built emotional walls, offering him peace and a chance to heal. He finds strength in her shadow and reconnects with his own humanity.

Let’s first see how Gyeol and Dani met and started attracting each other. After years of military service and border defense, he finally gets retired and is ordered to return to his hometown in Hanyang, where he meets Dani, a tea server.

While trekking from his army camp to his hometown, he visits a tea shop, which is the very first shop people see when they visit Hanyang. In that tea shop, he meets Daniola, aka Dani. Gyeol and Dani engage in a really good conversation, as Gyeol has just returned from the war zone after a long time. Their bond grows stronger each time they meet in the tea shop. Gyeol finds ultimate comfort from his horrifying war memories and guilt whenever he sits with Dani. This builds an unbreakable bond between them. I simply loved the story and their pure and holy romance, which is far cleaner and holier than the lust we see nowadays.

Yes, their romance was built on genuine connection and mutual understanding, surpassing the growing lust prevalent in today’s society. 

My Review: Final Viewpoint on the Masterpiece

‘That Which Flows By’ resonates deeply with me. I can feel Dani’s strength and Gyeol’s journey towards healing mirror the struggles and triumphs we face in our own lives. The characters and their connection realizes to me that love can grow in the most unexpected places, challenging us to break down the customs and social barriers. If you’re looking for a story that will stay with you long, ‘That Which Flows By’ is a must-read.”

That Which Flows By’ offers more than just a normal love story; it’s a reminder of the deep impact of trauma and the power of love. Dani and Gyeol’s romance breaks social barriers, urging us to question rigid customs and society’s narrow mindset.