Lookism, the hit Korean Webtoon series, finally gets animated. Streaming giant Netflix released its first official teaser and trailer on September 25, 2022, and October 26, 2022, simultaneously. The expected premiere is last November 4. However, the series’ airing was postponed, due to the recent Halloween incident in Itaewon on October 31.
Lookism revolves around the protagonist, Daniel Park, an average high school student, bullied mainly for his looks. Daniel’s desperation to live a normal life brought him to an unexpected event that left him baffled. His life took a major turn when he woke up one night in a completely different body.
Theme and Plot
Note: Possible spoilers ahead.
I and the main character shared the same confusion when I started the series. Acquiring two bodies and being able to use them interchangeably is beyond human comprehension. Noticeably, even though it drew normalcy by focusing the story on a high school student, it still didn’t fail to add an air of superficiality. This kind of concept made Lookism garner the attention of avid manhwa readers.
Lookism’s plot is also worth analyzing aside from its main theme. The series didn’t showcase the glamorized concept we have about high school life. The author Taejoon Park, stressed this point throughout the series by shedding light on issues in our society.
One of the tackled issues is bullying. In the story, Daniel is a victim of bullying just because he is unattractive. This made him Logan Lee (a character in the series as well) and his group’s ideal “pet” or subordinate. The initial chapters are quite difficult to continue because of how graphic it was. To put it lightly, he was subjected to all sorts of violence and humiliation. Regardless of how horrid bullying is it’s still rampant and happens within school grounds. This is a reality that possibly most of us are going through.
Beauty over Personality
Also, the issue of how society values physical beauty. The chapters that brought me to Daniel’s alter struck me. He left his previous town and his mom to start a new leaf with his new school, new home, and maybe a new life. He utilized his body in an alternating manner, discovering his new body is awake if his old one is asleep and vice-versa. Daniel or “Danny” is his original self at night, and “Daniel” is his other body for the whole day. Surprisingly, Daniel received accolades and admiration from others thanks to his new body. He utilized his other body not just to conceal his secret but to also feel what it’s like living in an attractive and ideal persona.
This scene reflects how society treats and weighs our worth in accordance with our physical attributes. There are “pretty privileges” that vouch for others what is beneficial. Otherwise, if one is on the short end of the stick.
Money over Safety
Beauty is one thing, but social standing is another. Daniel didn’t come from a well-off family. With only his mom to rely on, meeting daily needs is a challenge. He experienced being looked down on by others because he is impoverished. Even with his new body, people can’t help but still mock him and his mom. This pushed him to do everything, even if its cost is his safety, just to earn some money.
There is some point that we will go miles just like Daniel, for the sake of money. We value materialism more than anything. Just like outward beauty, we use social standing as a scale of respect and dignity.
Additionally, well-written characters are another reason why Lookism is worth reading. Secondary characters such as Zack, Vasco, Jay, Jace, Duke, Jiho, Mira, Zoe, and others have personalities that made them remarkable. Their intimidating display is balanced by their sweet, playful, and quirky side. I can refer to these characters as “comfort characters” both for the protagonist and readers. Despite being next to the protagonist, I never felt that they existed just as fillers in the story.
So, why should you read/watch Lookism?
Overall, reading Lookism is an experience for me. As someone who is just a newbie to reading manhwa, it met my expectations. This kind of work of fiction is something anyone can relate to. From how it depicted the bitter-sweet life of a student, friendships through hardships, and achieving goals in life. It captured the candidness of life as well as the cruel nature of humans.
Lookism made me feel different emotions. I find myself smiling while reading, feeling thrilled, shocked, and welling up the next. Feeling these types of emotions proves that it is crafted to be immersive and relatable.
Surprisingly, I was more moved by the serious and emotional scenes more than the fight scenes. With how well these translate real-life situations, one can reflect and have a better view and understanding of our surroundings. From our prejudices, biases, and judgments of others. At some point, I also felt the need to start fresh just like Daniel, to have a brave and strong heart as Duke, and protect and care for those who are important to me, like Zack, Vasco, Jace, and Jay do.
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Here is the trailer for its upcoming Netflix adaptation:
"An apprentice who again slowly regains her drive to write, thanks to someone who gave her the push to do so. Topics about society, culture, and lifestyle is her cup of tea. It is a no brainer if she enjoys watching or reading anything that falls into the three. If she can no longer handle the exhaustion and stress from writing, a cup of coffee with a side of sweets and anime is her comfort. An apprentice who draws inspiration, either in what she read, watched, listened, or seen. She always empties herself, thinking that she's a blank slate who needs to learn how to fill her canvas."