The Best of “Today’s Webtoon”

Today’s Webtoon has such a quiet but memorable run. It was overshadowed by more hyped-up dramas, but I strongly think it’s much better in execution than its peers. Just like how webtoon producers work behind the scenes to ensure that their artists and illustrations are in pristine condition upon publication, the drama gave us a solid story from beginning to end. So let me channel our inner On Ma-eum (Kim Se-jeong) and look back on what I loved about Today’s Webtoon!

Teamwork makes the dream work

From the starting point until the finish line, Today’s Webtoon was a solid story about a team’s journey from rock bottom to bouncing back stronger. I was not familiar with its original material, but I believe the drama gave justice to an engaging and fun plot! Major props to the entire Neon webtoon team for giving us a glimpse of the daily struggles of producing quality content for consumers like myself. It’s literal blood, sweat, and tears for the people behind every episode! Of course, the featured webtoon artists also made the entire drama more interesting. There was a healthy pace of character focus, which made it easier to follow and did not seem all over the place. 

If I were to choose my favorite cartoonist, I’ll pick Ma-eum’s babies – Na Gang-nam (Im Chul-soo) and Sin Dae-lyug (Kim Do-hoon)! I got attached to their backstories and rooted for them with all my heart when they were struggling. They may be lucky to be handled by Ma-eum because of her tenacity during stressful situations, but to be honest, Ma-eum is also lucky to have such diverse personalities as her first assignments during her rookie days in Neon. It is baptism with fire, but with a high return!

You know when there’s always one employee who upsets co-workers and doesn’t give a damn about camaraderie? It’s Kwon Young-bae PD (Yang Hyun-min) for the Neon webtoon team. He leaves for work on the dot. He’s not as attached to his artists compared to other producers and has no mercy when it comes to deadlines. Kwon PD always pushes his artists on the edge to deliver results within the required schedule, and when it comes to quality, he doesn’t care if you have to redo every single scene if it means more audience will be reached. I thought he would be the bad egg, but I’m relieved that misunderstandings between him and the rookies were resolved immediately in the drama. One of my favorite scenes would have to be when the Chief Editor Jang Man-chul (Park Ho-san) thanked him for being the “bad” one so the team could focus on their dream projects. Kwon PD carried the entire team on his back in terms of sales, which is an admirable fete given the team’s painful history.

마음 is the heart of the team, literally

Our heroine Ma-eumi embodies her name, a girl full of sincerity and compassion for others. She started as someone who was lost and struggling to find her way back into society. For 15 years, Ma-eum focused on judo – a childhood dream she shared with her dad. But when her slump started to take over her life, she changed her fate. I can’t say Ma-eum did not dwell on her past scars during her athlete days because it’s always there at the back of her mind, but at least she was able to make use of this pain into something even greater. She turned to webtoons – a past-time she loves and entered its world through perseverance.

Since Day 1, Ma-eum’s dedication to her team and the artists was highlighted throughout the series. Ma-eum puts her faith in her artists more than anyone. Even when the artists themselves don’t believe in their abilities anymore. She became their guiding light, their partner, and their cheerleader. 

Ma-eum, despite her love for webtoons, also owes her professional growth to her entire team, especially Seok Ji-hyeong. At first, I was getting anxious about Ji-hyeong’s secret stares at her. I didn’t want them to be linked romantically. Their relationship as a mentor-rookie was too precious. Some lines shouldn’t be crossed when telling coming-of-age stories. Ji-hyeong and Ma-eum’s relationship is an example of it. Ji-hyeong is Ma-eum’s rock, a source of strength and guidance when she encounters a roadblock. Ji-hyeong’s a really good mentor, and his reliable experience helped Ma-eum navigate this new complicated world of webtoons smoothly.

Being ordinary is special, too.

The drama had solid storytelling that it did not need romance for it to shine through. Even the hinted love line between rookies Ma-eum and Goo Jun-yeong (Nam Yoon-su) was not really highlighted. Jun-yeong was the one who was head over heels for her, but it’s executed very differently. Love was explored only towards the end of the series, but not as flashy as most romance series. I liked that they stayed true to their premise while also showing raw emotions that average people who start to like someone normally feel. Even Jun-yeong’s confession was done in flashback – without a concrete answer from his love interest.

Speaking of Jun-yeong, he had the best character development in this drama. I wrote in my First Impression that he must be loaded because he lives in such a huge villa, but man, I was happy to be proven wrong! He was carrying such a heavy burden, and coincidentally it’s the webtoon team’s most concealed scar as well. His back story was the drama’s major twist, and the Jun-yeong scenes were easily one of my favorites this year. The way they resolved Jun-yeong’s wounds and made him into a better person was one of the strengths of this drama.

Another highlight was when Webtoon Witch (lol) aka Nu-ri (Yoon Seo-a) reminded us of the saying that there is beauty in simplicity. A story doesn’t need to be too exquisite or complicated for it to stand out. Being simple could be extraordinary, too. And this is the mantra of Today’s Webtoon – a slice-of-life drama about producers and artists who create quality webtoons for their readers.

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