1) Odd Girl Out
| This was the webtoon that got me into webtoons. It’s ongoing and was good enough to get a K-Drama adaptation made of it. Here’s the official summary:
| “After a successful winter break makeover, Nari is finally ready for her high school debut. But somehow, she ends up friends with the three prettiest girls in school! Follow Nari as she tries to navigate her brand new high school life surrounded by beauties.”
| To put it into my own words, Nari is a girl who wants a chance to shine at her new school after losing a lot of weight; however, it’s not her looks that shine through the most but her personality which attracts a lot of new friends but, “…why do they have to be so beautiful,” she laments. This series reads a lot like a shonen with a monster of the week approach but instead of fighting monsters our main character has to figure out how to stand up against bullies, deal with guys with utter motives, and repair damaged friendships. This slice-of-life romantic comedy really draws you in with its characters who are given plenty of run time to really develop.
2) Duty After School
| If Odd Girl Out was the first webtoon that got me into this unique digital comic format, then Duty After School was the first series that got me to pay for the privilege. Here’s the official summary:
| “What would you do if your school’s extracurricular activity was a mandatory military service amidst an actual war? A class of students is turned into a platoon of soldiers to fight against unknown slime-like objects.”
| A large cast of expressive characters, a muted color palette, a willingness to throw the audience plenty of curb balls, and the occasional bit of comedy, this series was a treat to read. Our main character, Chi Kim, is a male high school student in South Korea, a country where men are required to serve in the military sometime after thier 18th birthdays; however, things are a little different in Chi’s universe because one day his world is invaded by alien amoebas. Though not smart they are dangerous so the military conscripts the entire highschool population into the Student Reserve Forces, including the female students, to help deal with the problem. It is this unique set of circumstances that makes for most of the drama in our story as our characters complain about basic training, make clusmy mistakes in the field, and have still yet to confess to their highschool crushes. Also, the twist at the end…
3) See You in My 19th Life
| My friend had this to say about See You in My 19th Life, “It’s nice to see a series about a heterosexual couple that doesn’t end after the main characters start going out.” I agree. Here’s the offical summary:
| “Jieum Ban has an extraordinary ability: she can remember the memories of all her past lives. After her previous life is cut short by a tragic accident, she sets out to reconnect with the people of her past life in her current one. Will memories of her 18th life sabotage romance in her 19th? Or will love endure across different lives?”
| Luckily for this series there is a rewarding build up before it’s shtick of reincarnation plays out (although, some characters accept it a bit too easily in my opinion), and the story doesn’t end there, on the contrary it’s just getting warmed up. I love the regular and witty quips that the characters throw at one another, how likable the cast is, the pretty art, and the moments of thriller like tension that occasionally pop up. I won’t say that See You in My 19th Life is for everyone but it’s worth checking out.
4) 11 of Me
| Let’s start with the official summary: “To Gibeom’s surprise, the mechanical calculator he bought working at a junkyard turns out to be a time machine! With the time machine, he sets out to find and bring together his past selves. Currently, all 11 versions of Gibeom are living together peacefully, but unexpected problems materialize as Gibeom(s) interacts with people outside of his circle…”
| If you had a time machine what would you do? Stop all of the bad events of history, win the lottery, re-do yor’re past? These are the questions that our main character Gibeom ask himself when he happens across the aforementioned time machine and to his suprise the owner is cool with him just taking it. Confused at first Gibeom takes it as a challenge when the owner says, “Even if you travel through time, you’re probably not gonna change the world in any meaningful way. Cause… you’re insignificant.” Gibeom then decides to ‘clone’ himself by jumping back in time and grabbing 11 different copies of himself, thus the name. In Gibeom’s mind, he has to be the best version of himself. One clone studies, one clone does his mandatory military servie, one earns money online, etc. Would you always agree with yourself? This is ultimately the question that causes the biggest upset and insuing chaos of the series.
| I don’t know if this series does time travel right (the way that Hermione Granger did it in Harry Potter should be how things work, right) but the premise intrigued me so I avidly read through a third of the available chapters. As this is as far as I have gotten I’ll have to see how things work out, but if you want more go check it out for yourself.
| Official summary: “Gigantic oxygen-doped bees are attempting to dominate the human race by reversing the food chain. Lee is a mid-level manager at a large company who only has one thing on his mind: to save his family from the bug-apocalypse.”
| First things first, these insects are wasp not bees. That description has “bugged” me this whole time. With that out of the way what do I think of this series? It’s lengthy at 143 chapters, the art is plenty fine, and the real life horrors of the insect kingdom definitely gives the author plenty to work with, but I constantly found myself wondering off to other series. Perhaps the reason is that Hive reads like your typical zombie survival series: world goes to crap, the survivalists thrive, gangs form, yada-yada. The wasp egg infested humans are clearly modeled after zombies as well.
| However, if that’s your thing, there’s plenty on offer here. Given the unique abilities that nature has given insects such as flight, camouflage, parasitic reproduction our characters consantly have to come up with equally unique countermeasures to survive. It helps that our two main characters Lee and Seong make up a likeable cast. So if you’re a fan of the saturated zombie genre but want a change check out Hive.
6) My Boo
| Official summary: “When you have an invisible roommate.” A pretty undescriptive summary right? A bit missleading, too. So let me try to do this series a bit of justice by offering up my own summary of My Boo.
| Our main character’s name is Yuri So and ever since she was a child she could see ghoust. Once Yuri’s parents realized this fact they urged her to hide it from both people and the ghoust as it would become a burden to her. One day, still unsure about her parents advice Yuri reaches out to a ghoust, a girl about her own age, in an attempt to comfort her. At first this doesn’t seem to be an issue but as things progress, the relationship in very one sided after all, and the mother of the girl catches wind of Yuri’s ability, Yuri realizes that her ability is indeed a burden. From this point on, Yuri vows to ignore all of these burdensome beings to save herself the pain. That was the case until one day, after moving into her new house, she runs into a particular ghoust, Jun Ko, that she just can’t seem to ignore…
| Though there is a romantic slant to Yuri & Jun’s relationship, evident not only in the title but the tension between the characters, I believe that the real story revolves around Yuri’s development as a character. Yuri has spent her whole life avoiding ghoust and it has left her life a bit warped akind to someone who’s suffering from past abuse or tragedy. As she warms up to Jun, we get to see Yuri identify her issues and work past them, growing and developing as a character as she does. Surely that’s a better summary of My Boo.
7) In the Paint
| The art isn’t anything to write home about and sports series aren’t everyone’s cup of tea (they usually ain’t mine), but something about this series caught my attention. Here’s the official summary:
| “Eat, sleep, basketball. Lena knows nothing but sports. One day she meets a boy playing on her secret basketball court. Genre: Sports / Romance / Comedy.”
| If I had to guess, the fact that this is a series about girls’ basketball instead of guys’ basketball is probably what got my attention. After all, I’ve watched a lot of girls’ basketball in real life. So you’re personal enjoyment level may very. Although, the comedy aspect also played a key role. Hari, the goal sinker of the series, is now one of my new favorite characters. Her detached, cocky, and awkwardly humorous additude adds a lot to the series.
| Apart from that, “In the Paint” follows a lot of your typical sports series’ tropes. Our underdog protagonist joins the team, some romantic tension gets built up between her and some guy, and the team has to come together and cooperate if they want to beat a dominant team. Typical shonen/shojo stuff.
| At the time of this writing the author has taken a hiatus after finishing the first arc but plans on continuing onto a second one. If it sounds like your thing, give it a shot. Maybe you’ll get a much of a kick outta Hari as I did.