While ENA’s Wednesday-Thursday drama “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” continues, great disappointment and criticism are pouring out on the highly-anticipated webtoon version.
Pointing out the weaknesses of “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” webtoon, the readers said that character’s charm was halved since Park Eun-bin’s acting performances that portray Woo Young-woo’s unique way, gestures, and eye movements delicately were omitted. In addition, the development, which is exactly the same as the original drama script, did not interest them.
“Extraordinary Attorney Woo” gained explosive responses as it ranked #1 on Netflix Korea after only two episodes, recorded the highest viewer rating in the history of ENA channel, and aroused various hot topics. Therefore, the production company AStory officially announced on July 5th that they would produce a webtoon version of “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”. The webtoon was expected to hold a great synergy with the drama.
The production company was right in their judgment. “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” continued to be on a roll as it even surpassed 15% viewer rating in the 9th episode and topped the popularity chart for TV Shows/ Dramas for 6 consecutive weeks. The main character actors Kang Tae-oh and Park Eun-bin stayed on the top of the hot topic chart for drama casts, while supporting actors, such as Kang Ki-young, Joo Jong-hyuk, and Ha Yoon-kyung, were also named in the list, proving the drama’s syndrome-level popularity.
Accordingly, the Naver webtoon “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, which was first released on July 27th, has topped the list of all popular Thursday webtoons with only 2 episodes. Its number of views also ranked #3, following “Love Revolution” and “Independence Diary”. “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” webtoon currently ranks No.1 among drama-genre webtoons. It attracted more than 10,000 comments for the first episode and over 5,000 comments for the second one. This result is possible thanks to the viewers’ keen interest and affection for the drama.
However, the star score of the webtoon is much lower compared to its ranks on charts. As of August 10th, most webtoons scored 9 points on average while “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” recorded only 7.67 points. In terms of star score, “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” is the webtoon with the second lowest star score among Thursday webtoons.
Disappointment toward the webtoon can be clearly noticed through the comment section. Netizens said, “This webtoon is definitely inferior to the drama since it couldn’t express the details dynamically”, “Woo Young-woo in this version is not an autistic person. She’s just like a cute female lead with the pure image that can be seen in all webtoons”, “I wonder if they were too rush in making the drama into a webtoon because of its popularity. Park Eun-bin’s details were not clearly portrayed”, “I know that they would use the same lines as the drama but I can’t believe that it is this boring”, etc.
The biggest problem pointed out by the readers is that Woo Young-woo’s facial expressions, vocalization, and way of speaking cannot be expressed using speech balloons and pictures alone. Therefore it is not clear in the webtoon whether the character Woo Young-woo has autism spectrum disorder or not. While reading “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, fans of the drama naturally imagine Park Eun-bin’s voice and read it, but those who did not watch the drama cannot help but understand the character only with the lines in the speech balloons. In response, the majority of readers said, “The webtoon seems to let us know how well Park Eun-bin acts”.
Jung Myung-seok played by Kang Ki-young is described as a warm and witty senior attorney in the drama. However, in the webtoon, he is simply portrayed as a character who only gets angry and has annoying expressions.
The development that flows in the same way as the original is also a problem. With new episodes being released once a week, you have to re-watch the content of one drama episode for two months. It is said that the 60-episode webtoon would present not only the story of the original drama but also stories that could not be seen in the drama, but many readers expressed regret, saying that it would have been nicer to tell new stories, such as Woo Young-woo’s days at law school.
SBS’s Monday-Tuesday drama “Our Beloved Summer”, starring Kim Da-mi and Choi Woo-sik, also released a webtoon version during the drama broadcasting but unlike “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, it received a high score of 9.98 points and compliments for focusing on telling stories of the male and female leads in their high school days in the format of a prequel.
It looks like we still have to wait and see whether “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”, which will continue its serialization for about a year after the end of the drama, will be able to overcome the harsh criticisms from the beginning and unveil new charms, or whether it will be remembered as a low-rated webtoon that ranked high thanks to the popularity of the original drama.