I recently started watching ‘W’, a Korean drama that aired in 2016. It’s a good show and I highly recommend you watch it (on Viki for free), even if you don’t normally watch Korean dramas, but I’m not talking about it today. The comic in the show is actually in a specific format known as a ‘webtoon’, which kind of made me want to talk about them a bit.
Webtoons originated in South Korea in the early 2000s simply as an easier method of reading web comics. Instead of clicking an arrow to go to the next page, you just continue scrolling down until the end of the chapter. Just like TV shows, webtoons are usually released in a series of weekly ‘episodes’ split into ‘seasons’, which is kind of nice, since it allows the author to actually have a bit of a break without just stopping the story entirely. Artists on some sites also have the option to have soundtrack playing as the readers scroll, which, in my opinion, can greatly enhance the reading experience. Despite gaining more-or-less mainstream popularity in Asia, they only seem to have picked up in the west relatively recently with the advent of apps like Tapas (formerly Tapastic) and LINE Webtoon.
A mysterious group of heroes has appeared in the local neighbourhood to stop evil monsters, like a giant piece of chikuwabu, chopsticks and a TV remote/squid hybrid-thing (?), from spreading hate around the world with only the power of love and the advice and wisdom of a talking pink wombat. A typical setup for a magical girl anime.
Everyone’s heard of magical girl shows like Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, but the concept of a ‘magical boy’ anime was barely even a thing up until last year. Some mad genius (the director of Gintama) decided to make Binan High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, better known as ‘the magical boy anime’.
The entire show is just one giant joke. Literally. The anime in quite beautifully deconstructing the entire genre down to the same questions you probably asked while watching Sailor Moon. Why does no one recognise them while they’re transformed? How do they come up with cool attack names on the spot? Why are the monsters always attacking the same area?
Oh, and did I mention the plot? Never did I think an anime would make me cry over curry.
If you’re in the mood for a bromantic comedy that takes parody up to eleven, then look no further.
In a nutshell: ridiculously brilliant
Binan High Earth Defence Club LOVE! is currently available to watch for free on Crunchyroll and Funimation. If you have a spare moment, seriously watch it, you won’t regret it.
I’m looking forward to season 2 which starts airing in a week’s time…