Lookism, Netflix’s newest Korean animation, tackles a very important and troubling topic in today’s society: bullying. Park Hyeong-seok, the show’s protagonist, is a high school student who is mocked due to his appearance. One day, as though by a miracle, Hyeongseok gets transformed-more like, divided-into two bodies, one handsome one, and the other the “ugly” one. He goes about his daily existence, keeping his estrangement from his classmates a secret.
[TRIGGER WARNING: Paragraphs after might trigger body dysmorphia and anxiety, if you’re uncomfortable with the topic, please proceed with caution, or don’t proceed at all.]
Park Hyeong-seok was a high school student. He… well, as much as he wanted to have friends, the toxic treatment of his environment towards people who weren’t conventionally attractive hindered him from interacting normally with his peers. He was constantly bullied for being fat and ugly and incapable to do anything. One time there was this scene at his old school when he was forced to make animal sounds so he wouldn’t get hurt.
For a 16-year-old, this was obviously too much, and too much was not tolerable. Because of his situation at school, even though they were poor and had nothing, he requested his mom to move cities, and though the request was granted, he probably had caught every bad luck in the world. On his first day in the big city, he bumps into a woman and it was the first time someone had ever apologized to him.
Finding new-found confidence, Hyeongseok tried to flirt with the woman, but his intentions were completely conveyed in the wrong way, and instead, he was seen as a pervert. Long story short, things went south, and instead of just one group bullying him, everyone online suddenly hopped on the hate train, and obviously, too much just became much much worse.
When he got back to his apartment, he lay down and slept all the tears off until there was nothing left to cry about. When he woke up, the ceiling of his apartment was suddenly lower and he felt like the sink was closer to the ground than his chest. Upon looking in the mirror, he saw a completely different person, a new body. And for the rest of the season, Park Hyeongseok began to live as two different people, each with a different walk of life.