Apr 12, 2019
Lookism (Manga) add (All reviews)
-Lupa- (All reviews)
I almost didn't read this because the (extremely short) synopsis of the story really turned me off. "Oh great, a story about how an unattractive and unpopular guy magically turns into a hot guy and gets all of the girls and his life is great - what a great message....NOT". I am glad that I gave into the high reviews and gave the story a shot, though, because my initial impression could not have been any more wrong.

Instead of a wish-fulfillment story about someone whose life sucked but suddenly gets better because of a change in appearance, this manhwa is a story that explores in great depth the prejudice that people subconsciously have based on the appearance of others, as well as many of the unhealthy and misguided aspects of modern Korean society. The change in Daniel's appearance becomes a tool for the author to expose how the way we treat people is often influenced by their appearance (and, it explores how having an overly perfect appearance can *also* lead others to form a poor impression of someone).

The characters are great. There is a large, well-developed cast of secondary characters to support Daniel (and honestly, I liked some of the secondary characters even more than the main characters). These characters frequently get story arcs of their own, which allows to author to show their background and explains what their motives as and why they act the way they do. I liked some of these side stories more than others, but overall I really appreciated how well developed the characters were because of that. I see that some reviewers do not think that Daniel develops as a character, but I have to disagree. It does take a long time (this is a very long manhwa, after all), but he does slowly begin to change, especially as he is encouraged by seeing other people like Duke and Crystal overcoming obstacles despite being in the same situation as he originally was.

I will definitely say that the author often set up situations for the characters that were not entirely realistic. I mean, honestly, how many bad-a** mofo's can you have in one high school? This manhwa makes it seem like Korea is full of hot young guys who all have superb fighting abilities. That being said, the set-ups that the author created in the plot did not bother me - to me this story is almost more like a parable or a fable used by the author to make a point and explore the darker side of Korean society rather than a story that is meant to be realistic or purely for enjoyment. In addition to the overall themes of bullying and "lookism" (prejudice based on appearance), the author also uses the subplots and characters to delve into the issues of gambling, addition, overuse of social media, etc. The author clearly has a point to make, and does a good job at making the readers reflect on what their own personal bias may be.

As far as the art goes, I wouldn't say that it is....attractive.....but it has a very distinct, well-drawn style. I don't read a whole lot of shounen manga so it is different than what I am used to, but I did like it, and I felt like it was well-suited to the subject matter. If you are trying to expose the dark underbelly of society, you don't want everything to look all shiny and perfect, do you?