Although its starts out quite gloomy, I find myself very invested in the story Dreaming Freedom aka Free in Dreams. The characters are flawed and surrounded by darkness but I can’t help but root for them to have a happy ending.
Synopsis: When Jeongmin was in elementary school, she befriends Juhyeon, a toxic and narcissistic girl who develops an unhealthy possessiveness towards her. As Jeongmin begins to realize their problematic friendship, she chooses to distance herself from Juhyeon. Fast foward to several years and they meet again in high school where Juhyeon makes her former friend’s life miserable, turning the tables against her and accusing her of being a bully. As Jeongmin finds herself ostracized by her peers, she takes comfort in lucid dreaming where she can act out her suppressed feelings of injustice. She catches the eye of a mysterious stranger who vows to help her take revenge on those who have shunned her.
Everything about Dreaming Freedom/Free in Dreams is dark. From the beautiful art to the subject matter (suicide. abuse. narcissism, obsession), there is an underlying sense of desperation and tragedy brewing underneath the surface. It’s enough to turn off those who have weak sensibilities.
Still, there is a fascinating aspect behind the darkness that will make readers think. Dreaming Freedom/Free in Dreams tackles sensitive issues that young people go through and at times, it seems too much. But at the end of each chapter, the manhwa keeps readers curious to find out what will happen next.
I have read a lot of comments about how Jeongmin and Siyun were toxic. However, after learning their backstories, its difficult to really look at them harshly, especially given the amount of abuse they endured. Sure, there’s the argument that they are going overboard with the revenge, and Siyun’s violent tendencies should be held in check, but I must say that as far as yanderes go, Siyun is pretty mild, especially since he has dedicated himself to Jeongmin’s happiness. His methods may be unorthodox but his heart is in the right place.
There is also character development in the series. In the earlier chapters, Siyun was a loose canon who could not be controlled by anyone, but once he realized that Jeongmin was his person, he calmed down quite a lot and found a reason to be relatively happy again. Come on, when he confessed that before Jeongmin , he has never been hugged by anyone before, how can anyone hate him after that?
As for Jeongmin, Siyun’s unconditional love may seem suffocating at times but once she started to understand what drove him to the point of insanity, she also found peace in his presence. I also liked how she finally stood up for herself and confronted Juhyeon for making her life hell, in real life and not in her dreams. That empowering moment was one of the highlight of the series so far, for me.
Of course there’s the additional complication of Jaehyeok and Juhyeon who keep getting in the way of Siyun and Jeongmin’s relationship. I have a feeling that there will be more conflict coming to test the ML and the FL’s endurance and loyalty but I’m glad that they do not seem to be headed towards villain territory.
All in all, for the 50 plus chapters that I have read, I am rooting for Jeongmin and Siyun’s complex and flawed relationship. It is a thing of beauty to see them accept and embrace every aspect of each other without any conditions. They’ve seen each other at their worst and they have not turned their backs on the relationship so I have hopes that even if it ends in tragedy, they will find comfort and love in each other’s embrace. At the end of the day, one person is all you need to get through.