The idea of an author creating a multiverse isn’t novel anymore, but I haven’t really seen it be applied to something like webtoons. Sure, spinoffs are a thing but a shared universe where two separate stories created by the same artist are occurring? I think the only example I have seen of that is Sweet Home and its prequel, Shotgun Boy. This is why now fans of another popular webtoon are taking a closer look. Could Lookism and How To Fight be connected in some way?
Expanding a story’s universe is a fun concept in theory. If an artist’s webtoon does well enough to warrant further world-building, starting a new story in the same continuity is a great way to capitalize on it without having to create an entirely new setting. It also helps keeps fans interested enough to come back for the new story in hopes of picking up on a connection between previous works.
Lookism is one of the most popular webtoons in Korea right now. With its heavy themes critiquing the shallow culture of society rewarding ‘conventional’ beauty while being prejudiced against anyone who doesn’t fit those standards, it’s a bold plotline for sure. So, when creator Park Tae-Joon revealed he was coming out with a new webtoon, fans expected the same robust style of writing.
What they didn’t expect was for the new webtoon, Viral Hit, to share the same world as Lookism, down to having recurrent characters that appeared in both stories. But that’s what makes searching for universe expansion clues so fun! It’s what creates the gritty yet expansive setting that the artist intended. But are the two truly connected? Let’s break the references down and see if that’s true.
Lookism: Beauty Is (Literally) Skin Deep!
When you look at the premise for both stories, it’s really interesting to see how they play off the author and the society they reside in. For Lookism, the plot is right there in the title – it’s biased against the physical appearance of people, something no one can help change if it doesn’t suit a certain standard. (https://halcyonliving.co.uk/) (Ambien)
And the main protagonist, Park Hyung-Seok, definitely doesn’t suit those standards. A fat high schooler who has been bullied his whole life, he is bitter and jaded. After begging for a transfer, he moves to Seoul to start school there, only to discover his body now switches to one that is muscular and handsome.
As he switches between the two bodies, he becomes two different people. Hyung-Seok is the ugly, underconfident teenager during the night, whereas Daniel Kim is the bright and handsome new kid everyone wants to befriend. He starts to see just how differently people around him treat the two, with the blind prejudice he faces as Hyung-Seok versus the kindness and love he is given freely as Daniel. Like Daniel, he even gets new opportunities like becoming a trainee and a part-time model.
How To Fight/Viral Hit: Survival Of The Fittest?
Again, it’s interesting how the artist plays around with influencer culture for the plot lines of his story. With Lookism, it was the unattainable beauty standards portrayed to us through social media. With How To Fight (or Viral Hit, as it’s known through some translations), it’s a commentary on streaming culture and how it perpetuates stereotypes that don’t exist.
Yoo Hoo-Bin is not the first guy you’d envision to be leading a channel on self-defense and fighting techniques. But he is now everyone’s favorite fighting coach, as scrawny as he looks. He takes on guys twice his weight class and ends up winning, raking in all that streamer revenue with his jaw-dropping brawls. But the secret to his might? An odd NewTube channel headed by a guy in a chicken head mask.
References To The Shared Universe:
There are a lot of easter eggs hidden around both comics that show they happen in the same timeline. An early one in How To Fight was when Hoo-Bin started searching about how to get better at fighting, the first results showed some stuff related to Daniel, Johan Yeong, and Zack.
For example, when a streamer event is happening in How To Fight, there is a kiosk that shows off entertainment recruitment going on by the same agency that has employed Daniel Kim in Lookism. And then in Lookism, when Daniel attends a streaming convention, you can spot Hoo-Bin and his crew in the background.
Another reference is the shared characters that appear in both stories. The most prominent one is Manager Kim, but there was also definite proof that the characters have interacted with each other when Jason Yoon talks about going up against someone in a match, and it’s revealed to be Tae-Hun from How To Fight.
So, is it safe to assume that Lookism and How To Fight are connected? Considering there are already rumors of a possible collab and the fact that they share the same creator, I’d say it’s a pretty solid yes!