I did find Introverted’s narrative all over the place, and felt it would have work better if there was more focus. I understand the main drive behind Introverted’s storyline is to show the development of Hwan-ki, why and how he manages to overcome his “introversion” and adapt to having an extraverted girlfriend. But…it all got kinda lost with loads of background noises that had to do with the corporate tussle, and the conflict between Woo-il/ Yi-soo/ Hwan-ki/ Ji-hye and Ro-woon.
However, what Introverted did well was to stick with its central motif of “Silent Monster”.
Literally, the Silent Monster can refer to Hwan-ki and the earlier references to him as a reclusive “psychopathic” hermit. It later becomes the name of his new PR company, which is also quite apt. Hwan-ki’s preferred kind of corporate branding is not loud and flashy, he uses a more subtle approach instead. Like a “silent monster”, Hwan-ki’s corporate branding works by creating a positive image in the subconscious so that the targeted consumer will think of his client whenever they see/hear about a product. Like the association of the adorable, furry panda with Rose Airline, whose CEO is anything but fuzzy and cute.
However, I also think the Silent Monster in Introverted refers to Ji-hye’s suicide, and how it taints the interaction between the characters. Everyone kinda tip-toes around the topic of Ji-hye’s death, referring to it obliquely as the “incident-that-happened-3-years-ago”, or “that-incident”. No one is inclined to find out the Why on Ji-hye’s death – even her own father shushes his family members and tells them to “keep their heads down”. That is until Ro-woon decides to barge into Brain and tries to play Sherlock. Thanks to her insistence in discovering the truth and un-silencing the monster that has become associated with her sister’s death, the other characters can finally have a chance for closure and growth.
Ji-hye’s suicide may be the catalyst for the silenced monsters to surface, but the root cause of the monsters’ existence lies with Chairman Eun and his wife. The couple’s utter selfishness bred those monsters into their children (biological and fostered). Woo-il’s confident mannerism is mostly a stage act, thanks to his foster parents’ constant reminders that he is “lucky” to be picked by them, and he needs to “return their favour”. Eventually, Woo-il begins to live with a constant need to be in other people’s good books and harbours a fear of having his not-so-pleasant side exposed. However, this insecurity wears him down gradually. Thus, although he is initially thankful to Hwan-ki for shouldering the blame over Ji-hye’s death, over time, he begins to resent Hwan-ki, perceiving his friend for holding on to the secret to use it as a form of blackmail over him. (and sidenote: Introverted does a shitty job in addressing Woo-il’s date rape of Ji-hye)
It is possible that Yi-soo sees in Woo-il a kindred hurt spirit, cos her predicament is similar to Woo-il’s. She has to keep up the image of being the Sunshine Girl in the household, even though she has the scariest secret – that of self-mutilation. What started as an innocuous means to stop her dad from scolding her oppa becomes a permanent defense mechanism against all stressful situations. She cuts herself whenever she feels upset over her parents’ insensitivity towards Woo-il, she slits her wrist when she has no idea how to make Ji-hye (her assumed contender for Woo-il’s affection) back off. Of cos, the day when she finally stops all the self-hurt is when the Truth over Ji-hye’s death comes up and she drops all pretenses of being “perfect and happy”.
Ironically, while Hwan-ki bore the brunt of his parents’ aggression and disdain, he doesn’t have a monster growing in him. Outwardly, he appears to be scary and off-putting, inwardly, he is all warmth and fuzziness. So while Woo-il and Yi-soo need to extract their monstrosity out from themselves, Hwan-ki merely needs to shed his jacket – which has come to represent the monster shell which he hides himself in.