Under the Oak Tree is a Korean webtoon written by Kim Suji, illustrated by P and adapted by Namu.
It’s a flawless love story of the flawed.
Under the Oak Tree is the story of Riftan Calypse, a former mercenary turned captain of the Rembrandt Knights, and Maximillian Croix, the abused first daughter of the ruthless Duke of Croix. The pair get married by circumstance but the knight immediately ends up leaving her the day after their wedding night. Three years later, he returns an esteemed commander known throughout the kingdom for slaying the Red Dragon and has come to bring her home. Overcoming the struggles of their lives and along the difficulties, they end up falling in love as they slowly discover the truth about each other.
The main characters:
Maximilian Calypse is a pleasant surprise as a character. As mentioned in the premise, Maxi stutters. And if we base it on her dialogue, it’s moderate to severe stutter, this impediment results in her being ostracized by her only living parent.
She is both physically and mentally abused by her own Father, the one who is supposed be her shield against the discrimination of the world.
Her emotional scars were too deep and ingrained in her character after the Duke systematically stripped her of dignity and confidence that she would every find somebody who would love and cherish her. The fact that she stuttered and lacked the social skills to articulate her feelings made it more difficult for the kindhearted woman to say what is on her mind.
On the flipside, we have Riftan Calypse, who sees Maxi as much more than his wife of convenience. The problem was, even though Riftan was a handsome and powerful knight, he was pretty much an oaf when it came to women.
They’re pretty much opposite sides of the same coin and are both inexperienced in relationships. They both are insecure about other person’s feelings but both retain the same values in life.
Romance in the story:
Now both the characters have their flaws but the fact that they are too afraid to communicate is one of the main issues, but even a blind person can see they they’re the perfect match.
Sure, there are times it gets frustrating, but at the same time, its what gets readers hooked to the series. The rising tension and awkward moments between them is what makes the fan cheer and root for them and captivates the audience into dwelling deep into their journey even crushing the frustration of cliff-hangers we usually get in these manhwa and manga.
Because of their innocence, their love seems so pure it makes readers want to cry.
Now, just because its sweet doesn’t mean its not hot. This series has a lot of sizzling scenes between Riftan and Maxi that will make readers blush and swoon at the same time. The dialogue sometimes borders on cheesy but it still works because of the characters.
Riftan and Maxi look so perfect together and the way that Riftan is so protective of Maxi and want to give her the world is just too beautiful. Maxi is slowly trying to fit into her role as the Lady of Anatol but her fears often make her unsure of her position in Riftan’s life (no matter how he shows her how much she means to him).
The background World:
It’s very interesting how much details about the world the readers are already given. The currency, economics and even the setting of the world isn’t that new– a fantastical world inspired from European medieval age and feudalism.
The Phenomenal Art:
One of the amazing things about manhwa and manga compared to their Western contemporary is that when it comes to the art, more often than not, what you see is what you get. There are times when Western comic publishers do this thing where the cover art is not drawn by the creator of the series and the art style is different from what’s inside. It throws everyone off every time.
The lines and forms of the characters in this series look deceptively simple, but the artist is incredibly generous with their use of textures. It has five different textures in one panel.
The use of lighting is also spectacular and seeing as this is set in a fantasy world with dragons and mages, I bet this selective use of lighting would make scenes with magic even more epic.
This series is definitely a delight to read and I would like to end this with a caveat:
At the moment, Under the Oak Tree is a beautiful enjoyable read with so much potential. This is definitely not the last time you’ll hear anything great about this series from me or any sane enthusiast.