Webcomics are such a great distraction at a fairly small investment. They can certainly be time-sink, but they don’t necessarily break your bank depending on the site or app you use. I love using Webtoons to find some interesting stories to read when I’m trying to chill out after a long day at work or have some downtime between projects to read. I recently posted another review of a webcomic I got addicted to on Webtoons, SubZero, and for this next Webcomic Wednesday, I’d like to take us back to Webtoons to look at Midnight Poppy Land. I found this comic through the author, Lilydusk, who has multiple comics on the app. I was originally reading her other beautiful comic called Asura’s Bride, but when that one finally ended, I jumped over to this one. I love Lilydusk’s work, she has a great style with her art and the stories are almost always interesting. With Midnight Poppy Land, her comic just wound up hitting a lot of my favorite things: tough guys with hearts of gold, mafia plotlines, and feisty female protagonists.
Midnight Poppy Land follows a young book editor who gets caught up in the underground world of mafia conflicts after an accident leaves her in possession of a very particular notebook. She soon finds herself entangled with the lives of a young mafia lord and his very intimidating body guard who would like to prevent the notebook from falling into the wrong hands. But every step she takes leads her unknowingly deeper into the mafia underbelly and into the arms of the bodyguard with the piercing amber eyes.
I really love Lilydusk’s art and style. I always find her character designs and level of detail really beautiful. The male characters are especially handsome, and that’s no different here as in her other series. Most of the characters she draws are classically handsome and pretty, which I think is a huge draw for many of her fans. Getting to see tattooed, muscular men with piercing eyes and a cool demeanor can attract many fans to a series just on aesthetics alone. Our main man, Tora, is the quintessential mafia-esque lead with his Yakuza-like tattoos, build physique, and mysteriously fascinating eyes. Paired with our heroine’s girl-next-door look, it makes a fairly contrasted and interesting couple for fans to picture together and wonder how they are going to work out in the end.
One of the other great things about Lilydisk’s art is just how expressive her characters are. I love seeing how all of them react to every situation, the weird or very emotional expressions they have over the course of the comic. Tora especially has some great expressions when you consider the kind of contrast they make with his supposed tough-guy appearance and demeanor. I love seeing some of his reactions because they change him from his overall stoic nature to a more loose and easier to relate to character. A wide range of expressions leads to greater depth for a character as well, and this is absolutely needed for someone like Tora so that he doesn’t get relegated to the category of mafia grunt with no personality. Seeing how his expressions soften with Poppy leads to my favorite tough guy with a heart of gold character trope, and led me to fall in love with Tora too.
The story has quite a bit of depth to it as well. Poppy is a book editor for a small publishing company who just found out that her boyfriend has been cheating on her. In a fit of rage, she steals his scooter, but accidentally gets into a crash that leads her to find a journal with information related to important government officials and their dealings with the mafia. She isn’t aware of her findings for some time, but Tora eventually figures out that she has it and tries to get close to her without outright putting her in danger. Unfortunately, she winds up being dragged into the world of the mafia underground anyways, much to Tora’s dismay and his growing feelings for her. I love these kinds of stories that play with politics, violence, mafia ties, and romance all wrapped up into one package. The backdrop of violence and intrigue can make the growing romance between two characters a lot more interesting because there is a sense of danger to their relationship.
Tora and Poppy aren’t the kind of couple you’d expect to get together either, but after a while of getting to know them, I think we come to see how and why they work so well together. They are essentially foils for each other. Tora is your typical tough guy who faced a lot of abuse growing up in a mafia family and essentially became the bodyguard to the heir of the family and someone who does their dirty work for them. He’s strong, known to be violent, and generally stoic in personality. Poppy, on the other hand, is kind, considerate, and while she tends to avoid confrontation, does have a spine on her in the right circumstances. Tora comes to respect that, but also views her as someone he should protect because of the kindness she shows others and her unwitting involvement in the mafia’s drama. Tora makes her more brave, and Poppy levels out Tora’s more violent tendencies. I think they work really well together.
The first full season of this Webtoon is up on the app right now for free, and it has been great to see how the story has progressed over the 58 episodes that have come out so far. Lilydusk has certainly put a lot of work into this comic and the development of her characters and the story. I’d love to see how more of the side characters get developed in the next season. I think they deserve to have some stories of their own especially as they are getting drawn closer into this mafia drama without really knowing it. Seeing more of Tora’s backstory within the family and his relationship to the son/heir would also be really cool. We already got to see some of it with some flashbacks, but I think there’s potential for some more development here.
I highly encourage you to check out this Webtoon if any of this sounds interesting. If you have already checked it out, please let me know in the comments what you think!
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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