In recent years, webtoons have become a popular modern take on digital comics, captivating millions of readers worldwide. One such standout is the historical romance webtoon “That Which Flows By, “which has garnered tremendous praise since its debut for its rich storytelling, compelling characters, and breathtaking artwork. In this article, I provide a analytical overview of this phenomenal webtoon, examining its origins, plot summary, character analysis, critical reception, and accessibility. Through this analysis, I aim to showcase why “That Which Flows By” deserves recognition as an impactful cultural work that utilizes the webtoon format to its full potential.
Before analyzing the webtoon itself, it is helpful to understand the appeal of webtoons and their distinguishing features as a medium.
What are Webtoons?
Webtoons are digital comics explicitly designed for online reading on websites and apps. Originating in South Korea in the early 2000s, webtoons have the following defining characteristics:
- Vertical scrollable format optimized for smartphones and web browsing
- Vibrant full-color illustrations and visuals
- Innovative use of web-based features like sound, animation, camera movements
- A broad range of genres and topics catering to diverse audiences
- Easy accessibility via free publishing platforms
With these attributes, webtoons have expanded beyond South Korea to gain international popularity. Top webtoon platforms like LINE Webtoon and Tapas now host numerous titles in English, Spanish, and other languages.
Appeal of Webtoons
What makes webtoons so engaging for modern readers? Here are some of their significant draws:
- Visually enticing artwork: The beautiful illustrations pull readers into immersive fictional worlds.
- Bite-sized reading: The scrollable vertical format allows easy reading in short bursts.
- Cliffhangers: Many webtoons utilize cliffhangers at episode endings to build anticipation for the next update.
- Interactive features: Animations, music, and sounds create a multifaceted experience.
- Diverse content: Webtoons span every genre imaginable, catering to eclectic reader tastes.
- Accessibility: The free, web-based model makes webtoons highly accessible to broad audiences globally.
With these attractions, it is easy to see why webtoons have taken the digital comic scene by storm.
Plot Summary of “That Which Flows By”
Set in Korea’s Joseon dynasty during the Imjin War in the late 16th century, “That Which Flows By” incorporates historical fiction, military fiction, and romance elements to weave an enthralling tale.
Setting and Context
The webtoon’s backdrop is the Imjin War (1592-1598), which saw Korean forces defending against Japanese invaders. During this chaotic period, Korean society was marked by deep suspicion towards outsiders, especially Jurchen minorities from Manchuria, who were blamed as Japan’s allies.
Story and Characters
The narrative revolves around three central figures:
- Dani: A kind-hearted Jurchen girl who disguises herself as Joseon to evade persecution. She ends up serving tea to the notorious General Gyeol Seo.
- Gyeol Seo: A ruthless Joseon general known for hunting down Jurchen people. However, his interactions with Dani reveal his hidden depths.
- Hyeon: A cheerful Joseon soldier who befriends Dani and gets drawn into the tensions surrounding her secret identity.
As Dani continues her deception, her relationship with Gyeol Seo shifts from hate to understanding. However, with war looming, their delicate bonds face impending chaos.
Beneath the romantic drama, the webtoon delves into resonant themes surrounding identity, humanity, and moral complexity in times of war. It prompts audiences to challenge stereotypes and reconsider notions of duty versus conscience.
The engaging character writing of “That Which Flows By” elevates it from just another historical tale to a nuanced human drama.
As the protagonist, Dani’s courage and compassion shine through. Some key traits include:
- Resilient: Thrives despite the immense risk and pressure of her situation.
- Empathetic: Uses her role to help fellow displaced Jurchens discreetly.
- Curious: Her vibrant spirit shows in her endless questions about Joseon society.
- Moral complexity: Deception challenges her ethics as she pursues survival.
Initially presented as a ruthless antagonist, Gyeol Seo undergoes significant growth:
- Hardened soldier: Emotionally repressed and focused on duty above all else.
- Inner turmoil: His softening towards Dani causes him to reflect on his violent past.
- Honor: Bound by duty yet increasingly questions his actions.
- Evolving perspective: Spending time with Dani makes him reevaluate his prejudices.
As comic relief, Hyeon lightens the ominous mood:
- Affable: His outgoing, humorous nature forges bonds with Dani.
- Loyal: Dedicated to his fellow soldiers and committed to his principles.
- Moral anchor: Among the deception, he represents moral clarity.
- Tested allegiances: Torn between reporting Dani and protecting his new friend.
Since its 2021 debut, “That Which Flows By” has earned widespread critical acclaim and a passionate fan base.
Professional critics praise the webtoon for the following:
- Captivating storytelling
- Breathtaking visual aesthetics
- Nuanced, dimensional characters
- Thematic depth exploring human nature
- Gripping drama and plot twists
High User Ratings
On major webtoon platforms, it has stellar ratings:
|9.69/10 (178,000+ votes)
|8.67/10 (1,000+ votes)
The webtoon has earned various awards and recognitions:
- WEBTOON Canvas Awards 2021 – Best Storytelling
- Seoul International Webtoon Festival 2021 – Best Historical Drama
- MyAnimeList Webtoon Awards 2022 – Best Art
Analysis from Critics
Professional critics have praised it for:
- Nuanced social commentary about war, prejudice, and morality
- Highlighting the human costs of conflict
- A masterful balance of drama, action, romance, and humor
- Immersive animations and artwork
Both casual readers and critics agree that “That Which Flows By” represents an impactful literary work in the burgeoning webtoon medium.
Accessing and Supporting “That Which Flows By”
For those intrigued to start reading this captivating webtoon, here are helpful tips:
Where to Read It
As a WEBTOON original, it is freely available to read on:
- WEBTOON: On the web and in apps for iOS and Android
- MyAnimeList: Available on the web and apps
New episodes are released weekly on WEBTOON.
How to Support It
If you enjoy this webtoon, consider supporting it via:
- Subscribing on platforms like WEBTOON to access bonus content
- Leaving reviews and ratings to boost engagement
- Commenting on episodes to encourage the creators
- Spreading the word on social media
- Contributing financially through platforms like Patreon
Your support empowers the talented creators behind this fantastic story to keep crafting captivating content.
In conclusion, “That Which Flows By” deserves praise as a shining example of impactful and innovative storytelling in the webtoon format. Its rich worldbuilding, resonant themes, captivating art, and engaging characters create an unforgettable reading experience. As a historical tale that echoes timeless relevance, this webtoon proves that creativity and human truths can transcend any genre or medium. By supporting the creators, we encourage future boundary-pushing works that redefine our notions of what comics and visual storytelling can achieve. In an age of throwaway digital content, “That Which Flows By” stands out as meaningful art that lingers in the mind and heart long after the final scroll.