“Lookism” is an engaging show that features enjoyable characters and beautiful animation.
“Lookism” is an eight-episode show, animated by Studio Mir, released on Netflix on Dec. 8, 2022.
It adapts the story of the “Lookism” manhwa, a Korean webtoon, written and illustrated by Bak Tae-Jun. However, viewers do not need any knowledge of the webtoon to enjoy the show.
The term “lookism” refers to the discriminatory treatment of people depending on the current beauty standards.
True to its name, the world of “Lookism” favors looks and strength above all, which is why high school loser Park Hyung-Seok is an enigma.
Hyung-Seok, originally fat, short and ugly, inexplicably gains the power to switch into a second, more stud-like body. The catch is that the transformation has a 12-hour time limit, so Hyung-Seok is still relentlessly bullied at night, but is popular during the day.
This duality makes his struggles engaging and life-like.
Hyung-Seok shines as a character and more importantly as a protagonist because once he achieves success, he strives to help and protect others.
Another enjoyable character is Basco, a gym shark and teen delinquent who fights for justice. Unlike Hyung-Seok, Basco earned his strength naturally with grit and hard work, so he constantly encourages the bullied to become stronger to defend themselves.
Those values, and Basco’s teddy bear persona, evidenced by his shedding tears when others succeed, excite the viewer whenever he’s on screen.
Basco’s beliefs inspire Hyung-seok to not only protect others but encourage them to seek out their dreams, including Pyeon Deok-hwa, a student who dreams of being a rapper despite being bullied for his awkwardness and his appearance.
Deok-Hwa is always entertaining to watch because of his grit, determination and passion for music. All of these are displayed when, despite being rejected and mocked by a scout from the music industry, he continues to produce and rap songs.
Another stand-out feature is the show’s art. The character designs and the environment they inhabit have well-defined and detailed features, such as Hyung-seok’s house. His house is dusty, compact and cracked.
One example of a detailed design is night-time Hyung-seok’s puffed belly and the stains on his clothes, which make the character and the world he inhabits feel real.
The combination of the art style and animation allows the hand-to-hand combat to flow smoothly, making every punch dangerous and every impact powerful. The fight choreography is based on real combat styles, including boxing and martial arts, which creates and elevates a genuine sense of danger when characters unleash fatal techniques.
The producers and voice actors of “Lookism” also deserve enormous praise for their musical talent.
Several characters rap and sing musical hits, such as “Fly up,” throughout “Lookism.” Hyung-Seok uses his songs to express his pain, sorrow and happiness.
Each song will strike a chord in your heart if you have been following the story and deliver jaw-dropping entertainment even if you haven’t.
“Lookism” has a stunning world that encompasses great characters, both emotionally and design-wise, that will look into your heart and steal your soul.
— By Ishaan Sekhon