Lookism Movie Review
Are you a fan of Webtoons? If you are, then you probably know that the animated series Lookism is based on a webtoon or Manhwa by Park Tae Joon. It was first released in 2014 and has aired for over 400 episodes, still ongoing today.
Due to its immense popularity, Lookism was adapted into a Netflix original animated series, premiering on December 8th, 2022, with a total of 8 episodes. But does the story stay true to the webtoon version? Let’s discover in the review below!
Release Year: 2022 Genres: Animation, Drama, Romance Director: Kwang Il Han Cast: Shim Kyu Hyuk, Han Shin, Hwang Chang Yung, Jeong Jae Hyun
The story revolves around Park Hyung Seok, a fat high school teenager who becomes a target of relentless bullying due to his appearance. His friends cross the line with their bullying, constantly insulting and physically harming him.
Hyung Seok lives in a small house in a slum area with his hardworking mother, who strives to support his education despite their difficult circumstances.
One day, during sports class, Hyung Seok is brutally bullied by his friends. His mother witnesses the incident and intervenes, shouting at the children who mistreated her son. Rumors spread among his schoolmates, labeling Hyung Seok as a “mama’s boy” for supposedly calling his mother to school.
Embarrassed by the rumors, Hyung Seok reacts by scolding his mother instead of defending her. This incident leads him to insist on being transferred to another school, disregarding the financial strain it would cause his mother. Hyung Seok yearns for a fresh start.
Eventually, his mother grants his request, and Hyung Seok transfers to Jaewon High School. However, a few days before his enrollment, he undergoes a strange experience—he wakes up in a completely different body. His new form is taller, more muscular, and remarkably handsome.
To his surprise, he also sees his old body still asleep. Hyung Seok realizes that he can switch bodies while asleep, with each body having its own functions.
Using his new body, Hyung Seok navigates his new school and makes new friends. People perceive him differently, with female students captivated by his good looks and male students treating him kindly. He no longer experiences direct bullying, but the torment now befalls other students labeled as “bad.”
One of his classmates, Pyeon Deok Hwa, is a fat student who loves singing and becomes a frequent target of bullying. Hyung Seok intervenes when Deok Hwa is bullied by older students, preventing the situation from escalating.
Despite his changed appearance, the old Hyung Seok still exists within him. He is determined to help friends facing misfortune, just as he once experienced.
What lies ahead for Hyung Seok? Can he combat the bullying at his new school? To find out, watch the series until the end!
Lookism Movie Review
Addressing the Serious Issue of Bullying
Bullying is a recurrent theme in Korean school-themed films and manhwa, and Lookism is no exception.
The series focuses on the main conflict of bullying, with Hyung Seok as the victim due to his weight. Consequently, scenes depicting bullying are prevalent throughout the series.
However, it must be acknowledged that the portrayed bullying scenes can be unrealistic and excessively cruel, making it challenging to relate to real-life experiences. The insults and beatings shown feel exaggerated and excessive.
Moreover, all the bullies are depicted as large, thuggish individuals, while those being bullied are consistently portrayed as overweight and visually impaired. These portrayals may have been acceptable in the past, but they feel out of touch with contemporary sensibilities.
Lack of Narrative Focus
Lookism, as a webtoon, gained popularity due to its unique premise—featuring a fat teenager who suddenly gains the ability to swap bodies with a tall, attractive counterpart.
This intriguing story concept holds the potential for an exciting anime adaptation. Unfortunately, the series seems to lack a clear direction in terms of storytelling.
Initially, the story builds anticipation as Hyung Seok discovers his body-swapping ability. Audiences naturally expect significant changes in Hyung Seok’s life and an exploration of the reasons behind this newfound power.
However, throughout the presented eight episodes, the puzzle remains unsolved. The storyline diverts focus from Hyung Seok and instead shifts attention to the people around him.
Perhaps Lookism is intended for further seasons to resolve the lingering storylines.
Excessive Introduction of New Characters
Aside from the unfocused narrative, the frequent introduction of new characters in each episode poses some confusion. Several characters receive extended screen time but have little relevance to the main character’s story.
The abundance of new characters without clear background stories can be overwhelming, ultimately making the series feel monotonous.
The anime adaptation of Lookism comprises only eight episodes, with an average duration of 25 minutes per episode. However, to be honest, the initial excitement wanes after the first episode. The subsequent episodes primarily depict Hyung Seok’s experiences of being bullied and defending others who face similar mistreatment.
If you seek a light-hearted show for casual entertainment or to accompany your lunch, Lookism can still suffice. Additionally, if you’re curious to see a webtoon realized as an anime series, Lookism might be an appealing choice. Have you watched it? Let us know your thoughts!