Nov 30, 2020
With under 1000 ratings on MAL Hellper is a show that went under everyone's radar. It's a less popular webtoon comic with a slow translation, so this doesn't come as a surprise. But does it deserve more praise and popularity? It definitely does.
Hellper has a well-thought-out and complex plot. Our main character Jang Gwangnam wakes up one day in the Underworld after getting hit by a truck. It starts off very comedic, but the reader later finds out that almost every action has meaning and significance. The story follows 2 narratives, Gwangnam in the afterlife and his former crew - Killberos in the normal world.
have to say that in the first 60-70 chapters I enjoyed every single panel that was happening in the afterlife. Chapters that covered what Killberos is doing could feel a bit boring at times but it was all necessary for the plot. The story in this part of the comic is one of the best things I saw in all media. I laughed my ass off, I cried, I was hyped. It was a rollercoaster of emotions in the true sense of the word. I couldn't wait to read the next chapter.
You have to be wondering "You gave this comic an 8 overall, what do you need for it to be a 10?". Well, after chapters 60-70, some problems began to emerge. The comedy wasn't as brilliant as it was before. It was there but I can only remember having a few chuckles. Some moments in the story showed the previous shine, but they were getting scarcer.
There is a reason for all this. At this point in the story, too many grand fights have started. This may be interesting for some audiences, but for me personally, 80% of these fights were skimmable. And they just kept coming. Character interactions also got more shallow. There were some awesome moments, but it all got too slow for me. I think that these 188 chapters that we have available in English could have been trimmed down to 140-150 without any issues with the plot, just cut out a few pointless fights.
On a more positive note, the story of Hellper doesn't have any notable plotholes so far. It's all well thought through and keeps you satisfied.
There are many great and memorable characters in Hellper. Gwangnam and Sese are a perfect duo, some reapers were interesting. Many great characters also came in the later parts of the story.
If I have any issues in this portion, it's that there were too many background characters that I didn't really care for. Again characters worked perfectly until chapters 60-70. At that point, the author started introducing too many one-off villains or background characters that couldn't have enough screentime without suffocating the main characters.
All in all, there are some problems with Hellper's cast of characters, but it all gets overshadowed by the beauty that is shown more than a few times. Hellper really gives some inspiring and great life lessons through the lens of its main cast. It was captivating until... it was kind of replaced by all the fighting.
To put it simply the art is wacky and great. People and scenery could have some polishing, however, you won't find anything similar in fiction. It a really unique and detail-heavy style. Almost everything is done in black and white except a few details that come in color. And these details really poke at your eyes, and that's done for a specific reason.
Almost every color in Hellper has some meaning, but I won't dwell on this point as it goes into some spoiler category. Everything considered, I really liked Hellper's art. It's far from the best I have ever seen, but it's obvious that it was made with clear ideas and passion. There are even some quirky parts when the author tells you to scroll fast so you can feel the impact of the fights. Brilliant stuff.
When I put it all together, Hellper was definitively a unique experience. If you asked me after chapter 60, I would say that it's a true hidden gem and a masterpiece. However, after finishing season 1, I can't help but feel that the latter part of the story had something missing. If I could rate separately, pre-chapter 70 would get a 10. Everything after this point was a 7 for me.
Should you read it? It's definitely worth the read, it's just a shame that it couldn't keep up the mind-blowingly good stuff that was happening at the start. I hope that season 2 gets translated, as it's currently only available in Korean.
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