Saturday Suggestion – Webtoon: Lost in Translation

I’ve mentioned Lost in Translation by Jjolee before back in one of my K-Confessions posts about a few of my favorite K-Pop and K-Drama Webtoons. Lost in Translation is a story about a K-Pop band called Mayhem with a heavy focus on Wyld, the band’s “Bad Boy.” Now that we’re partway into season 2, I thought it’d be a good time to share my thoughts on this Webtoon, Jjolee’s incredible expansion and immersion of Mayhem’s universe using social media and YouTube, and the amazing community that Jjolee has built around her original Webtoon.

Lost in Translation by Jjolee

Brief intro: Wyld AKA Ahn Jaewon is in over his head with Mayhem’s CEO when he’s coerced into taking on a “bad boy” persona in secret to keep social media, the news outlets, and fans talking about the K-Pop group, increasing their popularity and sales for the agency. He finds himself feeling alone in the group as the rumors and the CEO continue to bring him down, but Jaewon begins to take steps to get closer to his other band members, some who have reservations based on the tabloid stories around Jaewon’s “Wyld” persona. But Jaewon isn’t the only one in Mayhem with secrets and obstacles to overcome. Minsoo (Lee Minsoo), D.Min (Kang Dongho), and Daehyun (Daehyun Kim) each have their own secrets that slowly unravel as Lost in Translation follows Mayhem’s personal journey.

“The up-and-coming K-pop group Mayhem is steadily climbing the charts, but fame doesn’t come for free. Bad Boy front man of the group Wyld knows this all too well. Forced to take on a controversial persona behind his fellow members’ backs to help keep the momentum going, can Wyld keep sight of himself beneath all the lies and scandals? Or will he become his own false persona?” — Lost in Translation

Review: I stumbled upon Lost in Translation not long after I read BTS’s Webtoon, SAVE ME. I was immediately sucked in, and before I knew it, just like everyone else in the comment section, I, too, was a Mayniac (a fan of Mayhem, similar to BTS’ Army or Blackpink’s Blinks if you need a comparison). I quickly fell in love with Jaewon and his struggle to be himself while still trying to make sure Mayhem is successful for his band mates. I felt (and still) as if I was slowly peeling back these layers the deeper into the Webtoon I went. No longer was I just identifying with Jaewon, but also Dongho (D.min), too. I really love that we are getting to know the members as Jaewon does like it’s in real time.

The story writing is fresh and new for me; from the opening to the finale(s), I feel like I’m on my toes. I’ve definitely fast passed episodes when I knew I just couldn’t wait a week to see what was going to happen. Each character, no matter how small of a part it seems they may play, has depth and personality. From the scenes with the villainous CEO putting the pressure on Jaewon to continue his false persona, to Daehyun’s childhood friend Minyoung has seems to be struggling with the pressures of body image within the K-Pop industry, each side character comes with their own baggage, personality, and a story that readers are eager to uncover.

As an artist myself, I tend to love a story for its contents first and its art second. Lost in Translation hit me with both, and I can’t choose which I love more. Jjolee has a unique art style that is perfect for her Webtoon. I can’t say I have ever seen this style before, but I love it; I especially love how she draws inspiration from real life fashion for characters’ clothing, hair, and makeup. There is a beautiful Korean influence in her artwork that we love to see. Jjolee has taken her incredible art to another level that is so impressive as well. She has taken the time to make her original 2D characters move and sing in social media posts as well as glorious music videos (see YouTube video linked above). It’s really as if Mayhem is on Instagram asking you to guess what new hair color they’re getting when you see these animations.

It’s not just the story or the artwork that sets Lost in Translation apart though. The artist and writer Jjolee has created an immersive universe around Mayhem including an official Mayhem Instagram account that posts in time with episode releases. This account is meant to be from Mayhem’s (and most likely Mayhem’s agency) perspective with posts from members as well as group posts to talk to fans and release information on their comebacks. It is truly a labor of love for Jjolee to create additional art pieces for this Instagram account where Mayniacs can interact just like with real K-Pop groups and idols. There are also Twitter accounts for each member of Mayhem as well that Jjolee runs herself. You can find those links on Jjolee’s Twitter if you’d like to follow along outside of the Webtoon. There is even an interview with a K-Pop entertainment website with Mayhem which you can read here! I quickly learned that the social media aspect was really just the start of the immersive universe around Lost in Translation and the first steps into humanizing these fictional K-Pop idols.

As I said, Instagram and Twitter are just the tip of the iceberg here when it comes to the Mayhem universe. Mayhem also has its own music and music videos on YouTube with hand picked vocal artists by the creator herself including Jae Park from Day6, a popular K-Pop rock group. You can find Mayhem’s released music on YooLee Music’s YouTube Channel as well as song covers on the official Mayhem Instagram so be sure to check it out for yourself. I also linked the latest song from Mayhem’s comeback above via Webtoon’s YouTube channel: MAYHEM – Be The Change (Lost In Translation Special MV) Ft. Yoolee, eaJ, Sooyoon Kim, Eliit. After diving into the Mayhem universe, you may just find yourself stanning a 2D K-Pop group and becoming a Mayniac too!

If you love K-Pop (but realize that the industry can be toxic), if you love characters with history, if you love characters that grow, if you want to see yourself reflected in a character going through something you are going through or have gone through, Lost in Translation needs to be on your list right now. No time is better than now when you have the first season to binge, and the second season is just getting rolling. This one is a slow burn, but it’s so worth it to get to know the members of Mayhem and their supporting characters. You’ll come to realize that Lost in Translation is more than a comic; it is an entire world that beckons you in with familiar struggles, darkness, light, growth, and perseverance.

Bottom Line: Lost in Translation is not just an incredible story about a K-Pop group with beautiful art and characters; it’s also an entire universe that you will want submerge yourself in from the first episode and on.

Genre: Drama, Slice of Life

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