There’s juz too much mysteries in Man surrounding Na-ri mum’s property and Na-ri’s family that I’m beginning to get a little boggled mind. Besides the property ownership tussle, we also have Na-ri dad’s mysterious past, Na-ri’s lying uncle and her deceased mum’s secrets. But the bulk of frustration while watching Man comes from trying to understand Nan-gil’s POV. In ep10, we (finally) learn his obsession in guarding over the property. Apparently, Na-ri’s mum felt guilty over her parents dumping the orphaned kids in a fire that broke out in the orphanage and wanted to donate the land to the surviving children (now adults). Particularly a child she was close with – and guess who? Yep, Secretary Kwon.
Ok…so Nan-gil has effectively locked himself in a promise which will compromise his happiness. I am quite sure that Na-ri’s mum would have told him to give up the land over her daughter’s (and her almost-foster son’s) future together. Unfortunately, Nan-gil being Nan-gil, is juz too pig headed to consider any other options. (sigh)
Not only is Nan-gil rather obstinate in his desire to play White Knight to Na-ri, her mum and the mother-daughter’s inheritance, he is also a closed character. While he may come across as the “strong, silent” type, I find him similar to a shadow. He is Na-ri’s “shadow” in the literal sense. From young, he has been trailing after her, protecting (and avenging for) her on the sly. And when he grows up, he continues to linger around her vicinity without her knowledge. Nan-gil’s gangster past also firmly places his occupation within the underbelly of Seoul. So much so that a part of the darkness which he has tried to leave behind continues to haunt him today in the form of blackouts whenever he is in Seoul.
In contrast, Na-ri is so easy to read to the point of transparency. She says whatever is on her mind, and she displays her likes and dislikes distinctly. Like how she tells Nan-gil she understands his need to protect her mum’s last wishes, and the reason why he is unable to annul the marriage to her mum. However, she is also very clear in expressing her frustration that because of the promise Nan-gil made, she is unable to take their relationship a step further (without crossing the line to incest).
But Na-ri’s openness in her interpersonal relationships is also somewhat her bane. Cos she ends up attracting annoyingly needy people like Yeo-joo. I don’t particularly dislike Yeo-joo. Even though she can be very clingy. As Man’s narrative develops, Yeo-joo comes across as the girl who does all sorts of (wrong) things in the hope that she can be in the “in” crowd and have people like her. In other words, someone with a low self-esteem and who wrongly assumes that having people dislike her is better than being ignored. Cos Na-ri treats others with trust and honesty, she is the only one who takes Yeo-joo’s side and sympathise with her.
Unfortunately, Na-ri’s positive response to Yeo-joo only fuels the latter’s insecurities and her childish desire to want Sunbae Na-ri to take even more notice of her. Thus the steal-your-boyfriend and gate-crash-your-bedroom tactics. Which end up to be a blessing (?) in disguise, cos Na-ri gets to meet the other halve of Man’s OTP, Nan-gil.