And so it came to pass… for the past ten days, WEBTOON has run a serialized animated promotional short of Leeane "Mongie" Krecic's popular webcomic series Let's Play – with the tenth and final episode going live this past Wednesday evening.
Let's Play is the story of Sam Young, a programmer at a tech company who dreams of becoming a game developer. When popular YouTube streamer Marshall Law trashes her game on his channel, his fans review-bomb her games career into oblivion. Then Marshall Law, by coincidence, moves into the apartment next door. Sam has to deal with both her life getting ruined and living next to the guy who ruined it. To make matters worse, he's completely clueless he even did that.
Well, not for long…
If you haven't watched it from the first short, check this out and get yourselves up-to-speed… we'll wait:
And here's the 10th episode if you haven't watch it already.
"Let's Play": Differences Between Webcomic and Promo Shorts
The shorts are a surprisingly faithful adaptation of the opening chapters of the webcomic, though I thought they lacked some of the raw emotion, humour and edge of the original. That's not surprising, since it's almost impossible to fully translate the comic's raw emotion, personality and edge to a slick anime. The animated version does a very good job of translation, but it has to be filtered through the many hands of artists and animators in a controlled process.
You can't squeeze everything from a comic into a series of 4-minute promos. Cuts have to be made. They introduce just enough characters and situations to keep the fans happy and introduce newcomers to the main situation and characters. You get Sam Young and Marshall Law, Sam's barista friends Dee and Link, who has a crush on her, Sam's coworker Ulmed and boss Charles. Yes, Charles, the aloof sexy Welshman that the show's fans voted as their favourite character on the show.
The promotional shorts are meant to be a taster for the webcomic. If you like the animated version, go and read the original webcomic where there's a lot more story, more characters and more complications. The comic is also more emotionally intense.
The final short ends very different from the comic and a bit abruptly. This makes it very similar to many full-fledged half-hour anime series that end before the manga series do. In Japan, anime series are often promotional tools to attract new readers to buy the manga so they can see the "true" ending of the story. The animators often don't even know how the manga would end yet and have to come up with one for the show. The original webcomic version of Let's Play currently has over 80 chapters and is very far from the end.
I've interviewed Mongie to talk about how she created the webcomic and will be running that soon – but until then? You can read Let's Play from the beginning at WEBTOON.