Webtoons aren’t perfect but they make for great anime content.
Webtoons is an interesting place to find ideas. What I like most about webtoons is that they are absolutely free. This means that we get some good and we get some bad with it. For those who are aspiring to become artists, writers and editors it can be a place where you can upload your own ideas. This is a great thing. Uploading is easy, and there is no gatekeeping by Webtoons from what I have read from their site. This means we get a lot of content and that people are free to express themselves in ways that weren’t really possible before. With the advent of the internet you can self-promote and create your own niche. I am all for this. The upside is limitless, you can hone your craft and weave your own story.
For those who have reached a pinnacle on Webtoon getting an anime adaptation of your story has to be like a dream come true. This has brought more attention to Webtoon and Crunchyroll gets to continue its own streak of self-production. Personally I have started to spend some time on the site Webtoon out of curiosity for what else I could discover. Marketing success!
I want to state to be clear: I have enjoyed and liked both Tower of God and God of High School. Neither are perfect.
There are obvious downsides to Webtoon and their productions at this point in time. At this point from my experience with Tower of God and God of High School, I have noticed some flaws. My intention is not to say that webtoons are not worthy of enjoyment, but that there are differences in a professional production versus a crowd-sourced comics platform such as Webtoon. To be blunt there is a gap in terms of experience, knowledge and expertise that is lacking in Webtoon. This doesn’t mean that professional studios always create great things. Professional studios do create things that fail and flop. But a professional studio struggles less covering the bases, such as story pacing and having a good base for high quality animation. What I am advocating for and hoping for, but with no real way to provide practical input for Webtoon creators, is finding a way to close the gap. Right now there are growing pains that are obvious.
For instance with Tower of God the Webtoon clearly struggles with its animation. Thanks to its partnership with Crunchyroll, its anime adaptation got a big visual upgrade. That being said the anime adaptation does its best to stay true to the original. So the backgrounds stay about as bland and generic as they do in the Webtoon. Some character designs of the Webtoon are questionable and those questionable designs make it into the anime. The idea of being afraid of a fluff in the first season was a bit off putting. Not that a fluff couldn’t be a villain but it didn’t really strike me as anything to be worried or afraid of. It was more like wow that fluff was the bad guy the whole time and I am still not worried. While I can look past the flaws and enjoy the original concept that Tower of God is, it’s still obvious that this was created by an amateur. I am looking forward to the growth of that amateur that still captured my imagination and entertained my mind.
God of Highschool has a different problem. Its animation and character design are much better, making it a better looking anime from the get go. However God of High School has a big problem with it’s pacing. Things are either moving way too fast, which by the way I don’t mind, or it takes big moments where it slows down and focuses on things that seem random. It’s like someone is sometimes pushing the fast forward button and sometimes the slow button. Assuming that it finds a consistent pacing it has potential to be great. It’s still a fun ride and a fun watch. But the pacing has been jolting, breaking immersion and losing some potential entertainment value. I am still interested in watching the show and enjoying the ride, even if that ride is hitting the gas pedal and the brakes at seemingly random times. It is clearly an amateur creation but still well worth the watch and time spent.
The one clear weakness that Webtoon has, that professional studios are more insulated from, is the fact that you have to keep the audience engaged on a chapter to chapter basis. There can’t be an off chapter. If someone is new to your series and stumbles on a weak episode or filler they can move on to the next thing. I think this in part drives some of the off pacing and struggles that Webtoon produced content has. If people stop reading your Webtoon it dies. The internet is a fickle place.
It would have been nice to have run either of these stories through a professional studio and get more polish for both. That being said a professional studio is less likely to take up new ideas without careful consideration. Webtoons will take anyone’s ideas. This makes Webtoons a great medium for pushing through new concepts and ideas. Anyone’s idea can make it to the top in webtoons if it captures a large enough audience’s imagination. That being said I am glad that Webtoon exists as a platform. I can’t wait for it to mature and grow into something that can rival professional production studios.
Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts? I want to know!
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