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Beyond Physical Attraction: Thoughts on UnTouchable

(Via Line Webtoon)

UnTouchable (언터처블)

(Webtoon 2014-2017)

By Massstar

Warning: Spoilers!

UnTouchable is a South Korean webtoon by Massstar. Vampires evolved from their former glory days of sucking human blood to survive. In today’s age, all a vampire needs to do is receive skin to skin contact to satisfy their hunger and gain energy.

Sia Lee is a modern-day vampire and a famous supermodel who falls in love with her next door neighbor, Jiho. Sia becomes obsessed with Jiho and yearns to touch his skin, but she learns that he’s a complete germaphobe. As a result, Sia makes it her mission to cure Jiho’s mysophobia in order for her to get closer to him.

Although this webtoon could be categorized in the romance genre, there is also a psychological element to the plot. Both protagonists have a dark past that they are both trying to ignore. For Jiho, we learned that his mysophobia is caused by his estranged relationship with his mother. As for Sia, her parents’ overprotectiveness towards her is due to the fact that Sia is more powerful than normal vampires. When touching the skin of a person, Sia absorbs more than she should which causes the person to go into a life-threatening coma. There was a time in Sia’s childhood where such an incident occurred and it resulted in Sia locking up those traumatizing memories in her mind. Massstar explores childhood trauma and how it affects one’s adulthood. Rather than continuing to run away from trauma, it seems that Massstar encourages the confrontation of trauma and the accepting of one’s past in order to move forward in life. Hence as to why Sia’s older sister, a psychiatrist, plays a vital role in the personal development of both, Sia and Jiho.

Another theme that I enjoyed in this series is physical intimacy vs. emotional intimacy. In the beginning, Sia and Jiho have opposing views on how a romantic relationship should progress. Sia is more focus on physical attraction and skinship, partly due to her vampire instincts. Yet for Jiho, he likes taking things nice and slow and believes that a relationship develops through emotional understanding. It seems that Massstar is trying to answer the question of which type of intimacy is more important in a relationship, physical or emotional?  Although the characters are in opposition, I think Massstar is suggesting that there needs to be a balance between the two. A healthy romantic relationship must have physical attraction and emotional depth. However, Massstar doesn’t convey which type of intimacy initially sparks love—it depends on the person. For both, Sia and Jiho, falling in love with each other happened at different occurrences. Sia fell in love due to Jiho’s physical appearance while Jiho fell in love with Sia’s caring side for him.

If you read Orange Marmalade or are into vampire romances, you should read UnTouchable. You can find the series on Line Webtoon.


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