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Webtoon transitions to live action drama, delighting fans

‘True Beauty’, one of the most anticipated and well rounded series that was originally a drawn out Webtoon comic series created by user Yaongyi, or Kim Nayoung, has taken the attention of avid drama watchers all across the globe by storm.    

With the release of the 2021 Korean drama version of the story, famous cast members, and dynamic plotline, the producers definitely knew what they were doing when they bought rights to film this project.

Disclaimer; the Webtoon and drama have almost completely different storylines and feel (which is kind of irritating to me) because the producers wanted to change it up a bit so the viewers get a sense of a new story. (I would have preferred it to have been the same if I’m being honest, because my expected storyline did not end up happening). The story is generally revolved around high school senior, Lim Ju-kyung, who is really into horror manga and rock ‘n roll in secret. 

Ever since she was young, she never really had the best looks, and she had been bullied at her last school because of it. Finally Ju-kyung got tired of it and opted to transfer schools with her brother. However, she was scared that the same thing would repeat itself again at the new high school or her bullies would find her.

After much thought, she decides to do something about it. She learns how to do her makeup before her first semester as a transfer student to start fresh at a new school to hide her ‘hideous persona’. But the makeup’s miraculous effect only ever comes with a cost, and Ju-kyung ends up getting caught in a love triangle with the two heartthrobs of Saebom High, Lee Suho and Han Seojun. But just as you’d least expect it, a plot twist happens. Lee Suho figures out Ju-kyung’s bare face, but keeps it a secret for the sake of her reputation. 

I am going to pause there because I don’t want to give away too much, but this story is honestly very intriguing and easily draws viewers to come back to watch more, no matter how lost or frustrated they become. 

True Beauty has been one of my favorites since the Webtoon, and it makes me happy that they decided to make it into a drama.

However, earlier I mentioned that the storylines of the Webtoon and drama are slightly different, most likely due to the producers and directors purposely altering it for more public attention. 

I want to share some of the differences many fans, including myself, noticed between the two versions of the story. Disclaimer; these may have a bit of spoilers.

Starting off, in the drama, Seojun’s character is portrayed as a bad boy, a bully per say, and is overall given a more negative image. Suho and Seojun are quite physically violent towards each other, while in the Webtoon Seojun is significantly more passive, and Suho and Seojun’s quarrels are considerably less aggressive and never result in an actual fight. This change in hatred corresponding to the storyline was new to me, and while it was really fun to watch and react to, I thought it was over-the-top dramatic. 

But what else did I expect from the drama industry? Their whole brand is high-octane plotlines. Another difference in between the two stories is that Su-jin, a normal high school classmate of the three, changed drastically. Webtoon Su-jin is just an insecure high school girl who was envious of Ju-kyung’s looks. While in the drama Su-jin is a best friend of Ju-kyung, who is the childhood best friend of Suho, and has a huge crush on him.

She too found out about Ju-kyung’s actual face, and when Suho and Ju-kyung began to become close, Su-jin finds out the identity of Ju-kyung’s former bullies and traded them for pictures of old Ju-kyung, and posted them to Saebom high’s school board anonymously to expose her and demolish her reputation so she could steal Suho (didn’t really work out for her at all). 

This change came out of nowhere for fans, and personally I really didn’t expect her to take on such a big role in the drama because her character was so minor in the Webtoon. It was strange to see the producers challenge the scenario by amplifying the significance of Su-jin’s character to create more tension. The public never figured out about Ju-kyung’s face in Webtoon, either. That was astonishing to me because just how could she keep something so big a secret for nearly 4 years, and no one found out? 

Lastly, the most infuriating difference to me is that the relationships of the characters are completely switched around! In the Webtoon, Suho and Ju-kyung had only just met for the first time in the comic store, and they hadn’t known each other beforehand. Suho’s sister happened to be the woman Ju-kyung learned to do her makeup from, and Suho had definitely thought it was a familiar style. Seojun was Ju-kyung’s first love and they dated before Suho was in the question as an interest because Suho and Ju-kyung were only merely best friends. 

But the drama was completely disordered from the Webtoon! Suho and Ju-kyung apparently had been comic store childhood friends, but Ju-kyung did not remember. The person Ju-kyung learned makeup from was just a youtube makeup influencer whom she was a really big fan of, and Suho made Ju-kyung fall in love with him first because he knew her secret, and Seojun completely gave up on loving Ju-kyung to let Suho have her. 

It kind of annoyed me how the producers changed up the plot line so radically. My choice for sure would have been Seojun, but since he had been portrayed as evil, he never got a chance, in the first place.

Overall, my review on True Beauty’s drama was a 7 out of 10. It was pretty good, but things changed that I was really not expecting, and was overall just more dramatized for effect rather than a genuine story I could enjoy, especially since my favorite things about the plot were taken away in the drama. But I do recommend watching it if you’re into this kind of thing, and you don’t have a bias on how the story should go!

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Addison Perry, Staff Writer
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