I’ve recently gotten into the Korean webtoon “Lookism”. I’m rereading the story right now in fact.
I’d say it’s nothing short of supremely entertaining. However, it’s not a perfect story. It’s victim to getting too wrapped up in characters outside the of the central group and starting long arcs for plots that the author simply expects the readers to care about.
The long arcs are both a blessing and a curse. If they’re amusing, such as the arc where Jace becomes a detective, then they can brighten your week. However, if you’re someone who cares immensely about Danny (Daniel Park) and his close group of friends and instead are forced to read about the troublesome Hostel gang, it can become tedious.
Taejoon Park clearly plans to flesh out this story to its fullest. After all, this is probably his way of making a living and ending it too quickly wouldn’t be ideal.
To his credit, he’s done an incredibly good job of making characters you both love and hate. If we’re in this for the long haul, at least we’re on the ride with people we care about.
Also, I find myself questioning how any of the males in this webtoon are highschoolers. Gun is the only one I know who’s not in high school, but apparently Goo is Danny’s age?? He was a tall lad in middle school when he saved baby Vasco.
Also, the four gangs are all comprised of highschoolers, which means Olly Wang is a highschooler and frankly chief, that just don’t match.
Anyways, here’s my general opinion about each notable main character.
Daniel Park: He’s almost too good to be true. It’s amazing how being bullied almost his entire life hasn’t corrupted him. His determination to change who he was is admirable, if a bit on-the-nose at times. His physical capabilities tend to make him slightly overpowered, but at least it’s shown multiple times he can be defeated. Later on, during his part in the Hostel arc, he becomes a little out-of-character (he’s never been violent without being forced into the situation somehow), but aside from that, his innocence remains. He’s not naive, but his kindness is unimpeachable. But most importantly, my man loves his mom, and I think that’s one of my favorite aspects of him.
Jay: I’m confused about him. Why is he in the story? He acts like a deus ex machina, constantly coming into clutch in the background. All we know is that he’s the second son of a rich man, has been eschewed by his family for reasons we have yet to know, and he knows systema. The only motivations for his actions are Danny. What’s the point of his character other than acting as an ambiguous would-be-but-won’t-be love interest for Daniel? Knowing Taejoon Park, he’ll probably play an enormous part in the long game, but for now…I don’t get it. I do like him though. He makes the story more interesting.
Zack: He is such an OG. I really appreciate how even though he’s painted as an antagonist, it’s immediately made clear he’s not as bad as he initially seems. His absolute devotion to Mira is heartwarming and him actively striving to be a better person is the type of character development we need more of in manhwas. His fighting ability does come into play a lot, but he’s far from overpowered like Daniel. And to be honest, we need to see more of drunk Zack, because he’s hilarious.
Vasco: What a cinnamon roll. I like how you’re led to believe he’s the type of jump to conclusions when in fact, he’s just kinda dense. But that’s hardly a bad thing. Vasco is the type to see situations in black or white. You are either a good guy or a bad guy. And yeah, he’s funny, but he’s far too important to simply relegate to the role of comic relief. The way he perceives problems often shape the way the entire plot turns out. His friendship with Jace is amazing and I’m jealous. His history adds a depth to his character where you kinda have to respect him. He’s a tough cookie.
Zoe: I am conflicted. Taejoon’s art style in the beginning made her look like a hooker and not gonna lie, she had the personality of one too. However, after the incident with Gangnam Landlord, her personality appeal shifted so violently it was like whiplash. It was the first time someone liked the chubbier version of Daniel, but it was even more interesting because she still had a crush on taller Daniel. Her inner turmoil is amusing, but what makes her character stand out is the courage she has. She not only claims to like Daniel, but when she thinks he might be danger, she endures dating Logan so Daniel would be safe from him. I love her I love her I love her. Additionally, with the gradual art style change, she’s actually really really cute now!
Crystal: I don’t really like her. She thinks she’s more inclusive when she insists on being small-minded towards all attractive guys. I don’t know why Taejoon Park is taking so long to develop her character, but she’s very unlikable. She’s done some kind things, but even after going through that stalker issue with Danny, she still refuses to be friends with him. I also don’t appreciate her trying to dig up information about him having two bodies. Like, lady, mind your own business. Nosy characters are the worst.
Mira: In the beginning, it looked like she was constantly sucking on a sour lemon. I didn’t think she was interesting other than being Zack’s love interest, but boy was I wrong. This girl has gone through so much, it’s a wonder she’s not suffering from PTSD. Though she’s not as important as other characters, she still functions as a well-developed plot device. I don’t like calling her a plot device, but it is what it is. She hasn’t had her own personal arc, despite contributing to others’ so I hope she gets a bit more of a spotlight in the future.
Not Quite A Main Character
Vin: Are we supposed to like him or despise him? Because even though I’m tempted to like him, he just sucks so much. It’s not fair that having a mysterious back story, a decent hair cut, and a girl as a best friend can make a redeemable character. He’s supposed to be comic relief as well, but he’s kinda crusty. In the end, he only cares about himself (and Mary, probably) so I have yet to establish him as a character I have an actual connection to.
Logan: His transition from irredeemable bully to comic relief was weird. He was a stereotypical bad guy, but after the whole fiasco with him losing weight to gain Zoe’s attention, he was suddenly supposed to be a funny character. He’s kind of like a plot device for Danny, being the wall he has to overcome to truly become the person he wants to be. I don’t dislike Logan at this point, but that doesn’t erase all the crap he’s done in the past. Although I do find his crush on Zoe cute sometimes, he doesn’t deserve rights.
Mary: I need to learn more about her. I want to know why she puts up with Vin, what she used to look like, why she wants to become a singer, and how she likes her eggs in the morning.
Duke: He’s like Daniel’s main role model. He knows he’s at a disadvantage because of his appearance, but unlike Daniel, he’s always been determined to chase what he wants I myself find him inspirational and I wish he’d be a more common presence in the webtoon. I also wish he and Danny would start working out with Vasco so that the response hopefully won’t be so bad when he finally debuts.
Johan: His introduction in the Dog God arc didn’t do him any favors, because I have distinct memories of being absolutely terrified at 3 AM in the morning and scrolling past that arc as quickly as I could. But aside from that, I concur that Johan’s a selfish bum. Yeah, he just wants to fix his mom’s eyesight, but what happens after that? He’s constantly antagonizing everyone so who’s he going to side with afterward? I guess Danny would take him because Danny’s an angel, but his induction into Danny’s squad is long overdue.
Eli: I guess I care about this character?? He’s certainly interesting, but I don’t love that it took so long to show his relevance to the story. I feel like he’s overpowered too, but his trump card of being a single father is an attempt to humanize him. Does it work? Er….yes? Kind of? His daughter is adorable, but I just can’t bring myself to care. I’m guessing a lot of readers like him because he’s hot (which is fair), but I’m not a fan. I feel like the good guys in the series have no real purpose unless they’ve joined Danny’s squad.
Gun & Goo: They work for Crystal’s dad, taking in the most violent high schoolers and training them to become monsters. For what reason? Not sure. Goo sure is entertaining though. He hasn’t hurt anyone I’m attached to, so he’s good in my books for now. Gun is weird because we have no history on where he came from or where he learned his fighting style (and I fail to understand why he trains his mentees bare-butt naked), but he’s cool for now too. They act like narrators sometimes, so they must have some kind of insight the readers don’t.
DG: *canceled for not answering Danny’s questions about the four gangs.*