Photo Credits: tvN

[Review] True Beauty

My Webtoon journey started in 2019 with the webtoon ‘True Beauty’. Obviously, I was excited when I saw they were doing a K-drama adaptation and was even more delighted when I saw the cast. 

From drawings to a TV Production 

Based on the Webtoon written by Yaongyi, ‘True Beauty’ is a drama that mixes comedy, romance and coming of age genres.

It was produced by tvN, written by Lee Si-eun and directed by Kim Sang-hyeop.

Starring Moon Ga-young as Lim Ju-kyung and Cha Eun-woo as Lee Su-ho, ‘True Beauty’ tells the story of Ju-kyung, a girl that enjoys horror comics and rock, but unfortunately has been bullied for her appearance and rejected by many throughout her life.

Su-ho from his side is a rather introverted person and has had a difficult life despite being from a well-off family. He finds comfort in his two closest friends Han Seo-jun (Hwang In-yeop) and Jung Se-yeon (Kang Chan-hee). However, his life changes after Se-yeon passes away, and he and Seo-jun stop being friends. 

Ju-kyung and Su-ho meet by chance, when he rescues her believing that she was about to jump off a building. Ju-kyung who wasn’t wearing her glasses is unable to remember Suho’s face, however, he remembers her.

Life gets promising when Ju-kyung’s family moves to their previous home, and she transfers to a new school. She reinvents herself and is able to look like a different person with the help of her make-up skills. 

In her new school she starts anew, and is able to make friends and put her bad experiences in the past. Life gets complicated when she recognizes Su-ho who goes to the comic book store she goes to and has seen her without make-up. 

Su-ho ends up recognizing her from the rooftop incident and the comic book store, and after some issues, Su-ho and Ju-kyung end-up becoming close friends and liking each other. 

True Beauty

Besides meeting Su-ho and her new friends, Ju-kyung also becomes close friends with Han Seo-jun, the school’s bad boy who in reality has a good heart and is always up to help others. He develops a crush on her but doesn’t say anything.

Throughout the series, we see Ju-kyung trying to hide her bare-face self, and it gets her into the funniest situations. Eventually her friend Kang Su-jin (Park Yoo-na) sees her bare face.

Ju-kyung has to face her fears, bullies and believe in her self worth, all this with the help of Su-ho, her friends and family. 

In a nutshell

True Beauty’ is an easy watch, with loveable characters that are familiar and close to viewers. Ju-kyung’s family besides being raw and honest, are also heartwarming and are basically like any family with three kids.

Similar to them, Han Seo-jun’s sister and mother are supportive and super caring. I loved seeing his character swap from the resident bad boy to the caring son and older brother.

(Spoiler alert)

What made ‘True Beauty’ an easy watch was the familiarity of some of the rom-com cliches we love to hate. We get the never-ending love triangle, the clueless female lead, the second male lead syndrome, and even the stereotypical car accident.

(End of Spoiler)

Hwang In-yeop was my biggest surprise in the drama, he did an incredible job portraying Seo-jun, and I am glad this role put him in the spotlight he deserves.He is an amazing actor and I can’t wait to see more productions with him.

Chan Eun-woo from his side was super cute and adorable in this role, I was very surprised with his portrayal of Su-ho at an emotional level. He did a fantastic job bringing the emotions out, and it is something I haven’t seen a lot in his previous jobs.

Moon Ga-young is doing a great job at keeping her roles diverse and unique, it was refreshing seeing her in a more lighthearted role, and seeing her growth on screen.

Difference between Webtoon and Drama

The drama version of ‘True Beauty’ is loosely based on the Webtoon, some parts of the plot are similar but most of it is different.

At a character level, many of them keep the same core as in the webtoon, but some of them drastically change. That is the case with Kang Su-jin. In the Webtoon, this character is more secondary and more of a brief antagonist, whereas in the drama she is friends with Ju-kyung for most of it and has a more established storyline.

Ju-kyung has to face her bullies in the drama, whoever, in the Webtoon she completely loses contact after moving school.

(Spoiler Alert)

One of the changes I liked the most was towards the end of the drama (second half of the Webtoon), in the Webtoon version Seo-jun and Ju-kyung start dating after he kisses her while she is drunk. However, in the drama this doesn’t happen even though the scene is built up very similarly.

This change made a huge difference for Su-ho supporters (like me) and I was glad that Ju-kyung and Seo-jun stayed friends in the drama.

(end of Spoiler)

Final Thoughts

Even though this drama didn’t follow the same storyline as the Webtoon, I was delighted with how it went. They really captured the essence of the webtoon characters, and the storyline went as I expected since I started reading the Webtoon and I absolutely loved that.

True Beauty’ delivered everything I expected and had some fantastic and very lovable characters, the OST is great too, so make sure to check it out as well.

The drama is available on Viki, and if you want to check the Webtoon, there are one hundred plus episodes available in the Webtoon app. Check the trailer below.

Kathleen Herrera
K-Beauty enthusiast, Drama Lover, Melophile and Foodie, writing about her faves on a daily basis.