Geek Culture

Lookism – Manhwa Review

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Manhwa, they’re called in the Korea, have had their share of popularity, but Lookism is one that has truly found a dedicated fan base. It is obvious from the get go why it does.

The manhwa explores something very relatable and all too familiar for many geeks out there.

The comic is about Park Hyung Suk who is overweight and not quite the looker. His story starts on a very dark note we see that his is abused and bullied at school daily.

The abuse it intense with him getting a foot to the face and told to do very dehumanizing things like pretend to be a Pikachu, and other attention grabbing antics that leave him feeling more and more alienated and increasing his self hatred.

But things take an interesting turn as he is found with two bodies.

And thus starts Lookism, which as it’s title implies, takes on the task of questioning societal issues such a bullying, the importance of looks, and finding what it means to become stronger in an individual way.

The comic revolves around Park so it had to make him an interesting character. It would have been easy for the creator to make a character who was just sympathetic and depressed but that’s typical of many comics that follow this story trajectory.

He however becomes a bit of a jerk when we see him talking with his mother. She’s the only one he feels strong around, he says, but this strength is not really strength in the sense of rising above his negative world. He yells at her, especially when eating because she added eggs to his ramen, which he claims makes him fat.

(This obviously is meant to be a bit absurd and give us a look into how his mind works.) He asks her if he can change schools but refuses to tell her the real reason he wants to leave. He’s triggered when she talks about friends because of course he doesn’t have any.

But he is not completely hateful as he does come off sympathetic again when he shows remorse for taking it too far with his mother and cries while apologizing. A think bubble let’s us know that he yearns to tell her more but he’s too conflicted to do so.

Lookism is fast paced and this may be a turn off for some but it uses its short space well. You feel like you get a sense of development, setting, and within one chapter, a good establishment of what’s to come.

Much like many webtoons, the work builds up toward the end when things really come to a head. But you’ll have to read to find out. 😉

Lookism’s theme is one of the biggest appeals to the comic. It has grabbed many people who feel like they too have been victims of bullying and the pressure that society puts on us to look a certain way.

This isn’t an innovative idea but you’re not coming to Lookism with that in mind. You’re coming to Lookism for a reminder of what it means to find true personal strength and to be reminded that none of us are perfect.