Annarasumanara surprised me. It's surprisingly darker than most manga I've read. I think the art is interesting, although the weird way the mangaka draws the boy, Il-Dueng, is very distracting. The girls consider him handsome even though his neck is probably 10 inches long? Weird... Everyone else is drawn normally, so I wonder why he and his family are drawn that way? It probably has some metaphorical meaning that I don't get. I hope the story doesn't take a really ugly turn, because it could certainly go that way with both Ai and Il-Dueng's characters. The magician is pretty cool; I hope he helps Ai remember some of the joy she felt as a child. And I hope Il-Dueng doesn't turn out to be a giant douchebag, because I kinda thought he was nice until the whole thing with the test scores. :-/
I think there are two reasons for the drawing choice. One of them in practical/pragmatic.
In Shoujo tropes, he would be the romantic lead/interest/whatever - he’s #1 in class, he’s rich, he’s good at everything (sports) and he’s good looking.
It’s clear almost immediately that the way he *looks* on the page is not actually how anyone else, Ai included, sees him - but the visual drawing makes it absolutely clear that he is not The One. Drawing him this way is the biggest push against expected and common tropes - or rather, against a reader’s reaction to them.
The thing with the test scores still worked for me. Given what he believes she’s actually doing for money, it was a bitter compromise. He can’t just give her money; the money has to be given for something of equal value - and something she’ll believe, absolutely, he wants. Money for sex, no. Money for pride, yes. She was willing to take a lot of money because she believed that being #1 was the most important thing - to him. He was willing to give her a lot of money. I don’t think she would have accepted it under any other circumstance.