At the end of 2019, Tappytoon held an open call submission where readers can submit up to two reviews of any Tappytoon webtoon for a chance to win come cash or Tappytoon points. Winning submissions would also be used for marketing by Tappytoon (and according to Tappytoon, your name would be publicly displayed alongside your review submission).
Back in December, I got an email from Tappytoon notifying me that my submission got picked! My submission won me $300.
I eventually received my prize money and I almost lived happily ever after, if not for the small fact that I had no idea which of my submissions won the open call because I had submitted two. I did ask about it in my email reply to Tappytoon but never got an answer back…
So, instead of sharing just one review, I will be sharing two since I have no idea which one was actually selected by Tappytoon (although I do have an idea which one it likely was). My submissions were over the webtoons This Witch of Mine and My Master, the Wolf Queen. My reviews were largely evaluative and I really tried to steer clear of spoilers, but because I had to reference certain parts in the webtoons, my reviews ended up containing minor spoilers so be forewarned.
This Witch of Mine Review
The interest held in fantasy webtoons is at one of its highest peaks, what with the popularity in works of “isekai” (a Japanese term and subgenre used to describe story plots that involve the transportation or reincarnation of a character(s) from one world into another). But let’s not forget the many non-isekai fantasy webtoons out there. One such webtoon is the completed series This Witch of Mine. Although it does have an isekai element to it (i.e. reincarnation), I don’t read it as one. This webtoon centers on a young boy named Colin and a witch named Philippa. Through an incident, they end up traveling together and eventually falling in love.
Their love transcends worlds and time, whether like a curse, a blessing, or both. Colin continuously dies and reincarnates and Philippa, along with her familiar Lilly, faithfully awaits his return each time. This Witch of Mine is heartbreakingly beautiful and beautifully heartbreaking. It’s a tragic tale that utilizes slight allusions to classic fairytales. It’s a webtoon that you have to read carefully, either paying attention to the most minuteness of details in order to not miss important information that is part of the storyline, or read it at least twice to realize missed connections. A phrase from one chapter may have a second meaning that can only be understood seven chapters ahead and background scenes and characters may have more significance than that of a mere backdrop. Every little detail is seemingly carefully placed along with everything else to build a story on love.
However, This Witch of Mine is more than just the love story between Colin and Philippa. It is about love overall and falling in love. The webtoon dives into the theme of love almost philosophically, but most definitely intensely and emotionally, to unravel what the subject means for each character. There are multiple side stories in the webtoon that focuses on the side characters. The importance of each characters’ story continues to build the theme while also linking back to the main lovers of the webtoon. Each of the characters story is unknowingly to them intertwined with the others’ on a larger scale—much how Philippa and Colin’s love is in relation to the world and people they meet as Colin is reborn each time in different places, eras, and dimensions, but always to find and be found by Philippa.
Although the webtoon is largely focused on love, what comes paired with it is also a darker theme surrounding human vice. The plot contains issues that ooze of human hypocrisy and society corruption. Meaning is placed in easily overlooked details. For example, the representation of two immoral chimera soldiers as a pig and a wolf—animals that often hold negative connotations when used symbolically or metaphorically. Furthermore, the webtoon also deals with misogyny, which shouldn’t be a surprise since most of the characters are female and the setting seems largely to be a fictionalized medieval or early modern Europe. But misogyny is a longtime issue that is found in almost all cultures and is something most readers run across or often want to see confronted in fictional works. This Witch of Mine may be overwhelmingly pessimistic, but it simply holds a reflection of reality (though at times exaggerated) despite being fantasy fiction.
Haeyoon brilliantly weaves a poignant story on love and friendship and MAS brings it to visual life. It must be noted for readers who wants to read this webtoon: hearts will be melted, noses may run, and tears will be shed. This Witch of Mine is an unforgettable read.
My Master, the Wolf Queen Review
My Master, the Wolf Queen is a drama, romance, and fantasy webtoon with the story by Kim Suo and art by Richi. It centers on ex-prince Kang Joon, the male protagonist, and empress Rosalin Skadia II, the female protagonist. Underneath the storyline, Kim Suo does something that is often done in literature and other webtoons as well if examined closely. They plant in the webtoon a theme or issue. A common theme, and the major one that is found in My Master, the Wolf Queen, is the depiction or exploration of women’s roles.
Many webtoons have female protagonists that are nobles or eventually become royalty via marriage. Kim changes things up as they present to readers a female protagonist that is not just a person of royalty, but the ruler of a nation, right at the beginning of the comic. This seemingly shifts readers thoughts on power dynamic in gender roles in the webtoon. With such a powerful woman as empress (and protagonist), respect ought to be given right? Yet, in the webtoon misogyny does not disappear. Men, specifically rulers of other nations, still disregard Rosalin as first shown in episode 2 with the council meeting.
For different reasons, even readers find her character dislikable at moments. Those moments are when she forces Joon to pleasure her. In technical and simple terms, what occurs is rape. Some readers may find her character disgusting for abusing her power on him like so. But a major part of this webtoon is the reversal of roles found not just in other comics but in reality as well. My Master, the Wolf Queen is full of double standards that are purposely placed. Some may find the situation between Rosalin and Joon “fine” because “she is a woman.” If compared to episode 3 of webtoon Light and Shadow where Duke Eli rapes Edna, readers are more likely to voice their anger at Duke Eli than they are at Rosalin because he was a man. This is an example of a double standard played on by Kim in their webtoon. Rosalin may also be condemned for stealing the throne from her brother. But it should be noted that history has a lot of male rulers killing family members to obtain the crown position.
History has a habit of blaming women. A large part of this stems from the biblical story about Adam and Eve in which Eve is blamed, creating the historical perception that women are inherently bad. There is a habit of making powerful women evil in books, movies, etc. Notice how even many of Disney’s villains are evil queens. My Master, the Wolf Queen seemingly, or at least coincidently, relates with this idea. Rosalin is a feared empress with a role usually reserved for a male protagonist. Meanwhile, Joon gets the role usually handed to female protagonists. He is given stereotypical women characteristics. He cries a lot and blushes like a teenage girl from a shoujo manga. With his long hair, Joon is found by others to look very feminine. In episode 8, Rosalin tells Joon, “Shut up. For a man you talk way too much,” and this plays with the stereotype that women talk a lot.
Rosalin is in the position most male leads are in and Joon in the typical female lead position. This reversal in gender roles and use of double standards ultimately questions society’s perception of gender roles in real life, but the ones in webtoons as well. With only a few episodes out on Tappytoon, it will be worthwhile to see where My Master, the Wolf Queen will eventually lead to with Rosalin and Joon.
What did you all think? This Witch of Mine is an all-time favorite of mine and My Master, the Wolf Queen is also near the top of my webtoon list. Feel free to check This Witch of Mine here and My Master, the Wolf Queen here!
All images ⓒ Tappytoon