Bastard was one of my very first Webtoons; I’d just caught up to Dr. Frost and was struggling on what to read next. So, being myself, I checked out the thriller section…and man, what a ride this was. And now it’s been completed. 😢. Warning: This review will have spoilers. There’s no other way to put it; I can’t write a spoiler free review of this. The plot twist in episode three makes that impossible.
I will be reviewing my Webtoons based on five things: writing, characters, art, story, and world building.
Writing: 5/5: The writing for this story was superb. I’ve hardly read anything that put me on the edge of my seat as much as this did. Sometimes, it became so suspenseful I ended up skimming the chapter, just to see if anyone I liked died. The way the story unfolded and character’s motivations were revealed was perfect, and the timing was amazing as well…or awful, if we’re thinking about the characters’ misfortune.
Characters: 3.5/5: This would be a little higher up, as both the main character and antagonist are amazing. So what brings this down a little? The two main supporting characters, a.k.a, the love interest and ally characters. Kyun needed a little work as a love interest; while I liked her much more at the end of the story, it took me a while. I just didn’t buy that a girl who had gone through so much in life was still so naive and trusting. And Manny was someone I liked, then disliked. But I did like the character by the end of the story; his development was amazing. And Jin was a fantastic protagonist. He had so many layers; he was an anti-hero with a good heart, but a dark side. And Jin’s dad was one of the best antagonists I’ve seen in a long time.
Art: 3/5: The art was good, but not great. It was a little plain, using very little coloring. Okay, the art style to me was just okay, nothing special. But it was the things they did with it that made it good; the effects, the lighting, the coloring (or lack thereof until the epilogue), and the line work all added to the suspense of the story. But I feel like the composition or angling of panels could’ve taken it to another level.
Story: 4/5: This would’ve been a 5/5, except I feel as though it had an anticlimactic ending…and that it became less thriller, and more horror throughout. However, these are minor complaints when put into the big picture; the plot was unique, and the plot twists were genuine twists; I didn’t see them coming. They were like punches to the face. And while there may be similar stories out there, the journey and twists and turns make this one of the more unique stories out there. It becomes very addicting.
World Building: 4/5: I don’t have a lot to say about this, except that it seemed to capture life in this situation very well. The atmosphere was perfect and added to the suspense. And the differences in types of living were not sugar coated, yet not too overly dramatic.
- Intelligence: I feel as though there’s been a lack of intelligence in the mystery and thriller genre lately; they seem to use shock value, emotional manipulation, and plot twists to appear clever. And while Bastard does use some of these elements (not manipulation), overall, this is not about trying to give the readers heart attacks from all the shock value. The twists and turns and Jin’s desperation to be free from his dad was intelligently and emotionally portrayed.
- Emotional value: This story gets you so involved with the characters; Jin is an amazing, complex protagonist, and you genuinely care for him. His situation hurts. Jin’s dad is the villain you love to hate, and may become a problematic favorite; he’s one of the best antagonists I’ve ever seen. And I even found myself getting attached to Kyun and Manny despite their rocky starts, and even to the very minor characters, like Mandeuk and Kyun’s grandpa.
- The relationships: each relationship, positive and negative, were interesting and well written. Jin and his father were horrifying and twisted, yet interesting. Jin and Kyun prove to be steadfast and trust each other a lot. And Jin and Manny’s rocky friendship felt realistic within the story.
- Anticlimactic ending: the ending doesn’t sit right with me. Some of it I understand and like, but other parts…I dunno. I feel like it needed more foreshadowing, so we could see some of it happening. The epilogue was spot on, though!
- Rocky characters: Both Kyun and Manny had ups and downs throughout the story. At the beginning, they didn’t seem very realistic. In the middle, they did. At the end of the middle, my suspension of reality was tested again. But by the end, they were back to feeling fleshed out and real.
- The art: My mildest complaint is the art. I just feel like there were some parts that had more potential to the art, but it didn’t quite work. However, for the most part, it fit the story and atmosphere; I just wish it was a little less…plain at parts, and used more composition and angling.
Final grade: 4/5. I loved this thrill ride, and I found it at its best as a binge read. As it’s now completed, go binge it. Now! You won’t regret it.