While drafting my 2020 reflection post, I was initially going to include a “What I Watched and Read” section in it. That section eventually became far longer than the others to the point that I’ve decided to make an entirely separate post.
I very rarely cry in a drama series or film, especially when they’re marketed as such. I know I may seem like the type of person to get emotional on the smallest details in a story – and I do. But there’s a huge difference between a slight sniffle because you are so proud of what your precious fictional child has achieved and legitimately ugly crying because Everything Fucking Hurts.
It is a tad bit more mouthful but I want to emphasize that this reading slump pertains specifically to novels or literary fiction. I haven’t really been in a reading slump, in its general term*, because I continue to read beautifully well-written and drawn webcomics, manga, or long-form articles during my free time. But between March 2019 and April 2020, I have read exactly one novel**.
I think that’s an appropriate use of “slump”, don’t you agree?
As I mentioned before, I spent my months-long slump (which is calling it lightly, to be honest) reading manga and Webtoon comics and watching anime. These are things I had to set aside for most of my university life to prioritize studies.
Now I get to re-indulge myself in all things animu and mango, and get back in touch with my inner otaku. Looking at all the various art styles also inspired me to get back into drawing.
And as you might have noticed, since um… March, I’m in a blog writing slump. I mean, I did have This One Draft™ I’ve been writing for weeks months. But it’s kiiinda heavy and maaaybe a tiny bit controversial.
So is this me deliberately postponing having to deal with said heavy draft?
Anyways, if you’re new to Webtoon or want to take a looksie, here are a few good ones I’ve been reading since I got into Webtoon comics this past year.
Premise: A modern retelling of the Rape of Persephone and other Greek mythology stories we all know and love. (Partly because our English/Literature class made us read ‘em and partly because of Rick Riordan sksksksks)
I was a bit hesitant to read this, to be honest. My experience with Greek mythology retellings and adaptations, other than Uncle Rick’s, is that they make it too dramatic, too action-packed and the characters too one-dimensional. (Yes, I’m talking about all the live action movies that came out between 2010 and 2015 *cough*)
Learning about the Olympians and the Greek heroes through an objective lens in school already gave me a disconnect with the stories and the characters. I don’t want that kind of feeling when I’m watching/reading it for entertainment as well.
But this comic—
Not only is it more relatable as it’s set in a contemporary setting, but the characters have more depth to them. It’s like the creator, Rachel Smythe, had a template to follow then added her own magical details into it. Ultimately, she made something incredibly unique and precious.
( And 80% of the series’ preciousness is Persephone, let’s be real here.)
And the art is sooo good too. Kinda like the Greek illustrations you see in ancient pots in museums? But in gorgeous technicolor.
Trigger warning, though: Since this is mostly based on The Rape of Persephone (and a modern retelling at that), this series has illustrated sexual abuse and actual rape in it. Also, toxic relationships.
Premise: Girl with a heightened sense of taste and smell realized her favorite restaurant’s dishes tastes differently which can only mean they changed staff. This leads to her mission of finding the chef whose cooking she’s loved for years.
Anything that has to do with food is an immediate yes for me. But I didn’t start Gourmet Hound the first time I saw it since it was on a hiatus. And if you’re a regular manga reader like myself, you know hiatuses (hiati?) are the devil especially when you’re following an ongoing series.
But then it returned to its regular posting, and I started reading it and—chokes.
To say that it’s all about food is both accurate and inaccurate.
The characters are so well-developed. No matter how small a role they may have, Leehama certainly put just as much thought into the side characters as she did with the mains. And that says a lot about her dedication on the series. Not only that, all the characters have food-related names. And I mean all the characters – even the very cute dog who has the most important role of them all. (If you’ve read the series or you’re at least twenty chapters in, you know what I’m talking about.)
Best of all, the cast is diverse. And I mean, it has a Filipino in the main cast. Do y’all know how much I SCREAMED when I realized Graham is Filipino???(Hint: I got scolded for being a disturbance to the neighbors. As usual.)
Premise: In a bakery where you can buy baked goodies like “love” and “confidence”, a certain witch-in-training with a certain unique power is a regular and she always buys the same thing: “romance.”
Another food-related series, although this one is relatively new. Crumbs is all sorts of soft and fluffy. Even the art style is soft and fluffy.
So far in the series, there isn’t a huge overall story arc revealed. Maybe because this is more character-oriented than plot-oriented. (But y’all won’t see me complainin’.) You can tell from the get-go that the characters have gone through some shit, though.
Overall, it’s a story about finding your worth and following your heart. And it’s just so so cute uwu-ma-heart.
Premise: Under the sea, a Beacon of prophecies and a prince of a crumbling kingdom meets. The Beacon is the guiding light that will supposedly bring a prosperous future to all. The prince is tasked to kill said Beacon for his own people’s future.
This series is so gay and so soft, I’m cRYING.
The prince, Siren, is precious and must be protected. (Like seriously, he must be protected.) And the Beacon is the cutest, shiniest sea creature ever, Tamatoa would weep green (shiny) tears of envy.
At time of writing, I’m wary of the heavy drama of the recent updates. But I like to believe that this is just one arc among many many more arcs. And I just hope they’d be together by the end of this. Goddammit, Siren’s mom.
Premise: A tourist gets interrupted on her date and shopping when everyone around her, including her pathetic now-ex-boyfriend, turned into zombies. Having no choice but to protect herself, she wields an axe and meets a zombie on the way. A zombie who can, somehow, communicate with her.
The humor in this series is god-tier. It’s also another series with food heavily integrated into its story. (Yes, most of the comics I’m reading are food-related. And no, the food in this particular series are not human brains.)
The canon OTP is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. This is a pair that’s arguably legendary by now. Like, you’d place them alongside SSS-rank canon OTPs like Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase. At least I would.
(Final edit notes: I’m pretty sure there have been some serious development in the past couple months’ updates but, in preparing for the holidays, I haven’t caught up to them yet hehe. But you can start reading it here.)
My Deepest Secret
Premise: A sweet girl with a tragic past + a very handsome, very kind and very caring boyfriend. One of them is clueless. Both are keeping a secret from each other.
I’m not really into stories with yandere characters in them. I mean, the closest one I could think of is that one character in Tsurezure Children and that was mainly for comedic purposes.
The yandere here is definitely not for comedic purposes.
This is a thriller series and you get that feeling just from the first chapter itself. But, surprisingly, it’s also super soft and fluffy??? Which is why I’m reevaluating my morality a bit every time I’m reading an update.
Trigger warning: there are chapters that hint at past instances of domestic violence and abuse, and some chapters can get bloody.
Premise: Proving that love needs no words, this is a story about a girl who met a guy who works at a café, serving beautifully made lattes… and who turns out to be her schoolmate.
While the story is not the first of its kind, I absolutely enjoy reading Choco Latte. So far, it has every single trope you’ll find in a shoujo manga.
Girl meets boy
Adorably protective father
Lowkey mischievous little brother
Potential love rival (although female MC does not yet realize she likes male MC – but we KNOW she does)
LOTS OF MISUNDERSTANDINGS
It’s fun. Even the art style is reminiscent of late 2000s to early 2010s shoujo manga art styles so it’s super cute.
What makes Choco Latte different, though, is that there is no dialogue at all. The most they use words is when two characters are texting each other. I think this adds to how adorable the story is. And if you love reading shoujo manga such as myself, you don’t need them dialogue at all. Either way, I love it!
Premise: A beloved princess of the Pastel Kingdom is the living proof that not all princesses have it all. She stumbles across the Cursed Princess Club and her life will never be the same.
Another series with god-tier humor.
I love everything about this series. I love the small details on each character, like how the prettiest child of the Pastel King is his son – and his daughtersare okay with that fact.
This story plays around with the idea, “Do not judge a book by its cover” oh-so-often. And I promise you, you’d be surprise at what you think you know about the characters here. To me, that’s what makes it so FUN to read. You never know what to expect!
Premise: Middle school girl embarks on a magical scavenger hunt when she starts finding a mysterious trail of letters all over her new school.
This is the series that started it all.
Well… technically, I started reading Webtoon comics because of Shen Comix and Cheese in the Trap (which was not to my taste so I never bothered to finish it.) But this is the series that first got me hooked.
If I may describe this series, it’s like a story with an Owl City vibe. All whimsical and wholesome but not afraid to talk about dark, important things we go through life.
There are only ten chapters. Ten delicious, emotions-filled chapters but it ended satisfyingly and cleanly. The art is super super beautiful and the characters are all my children. Even the old witch who lives in the school’s greenhouse.
I’ve read more series, albeit more sporadically, but MS Word is telling me I’ve almost hit 1.5k words so I’m leaving it at that. Tell me, though: have you read any Webtoon comics? What are some of your faves? I’m always open for new recs!