*** This post contains SPOILERS! ***
Ever since I started reading Lookism, I have been HEAD OVER HEELS for one of the characters – none other than the mighty Vasco (a.k.a. Euntae Lee).
For those that don’t know, Lookism is a webtoon that I think is better translated as Superficialism. It features an unattractive guy, Hyung Suk, who magically wakes up one day in another crazy-handsome body. As he starts his new life swapping between the two bodies, he experiences the different ways society treats him based on his appearances. It’s seriously a good story and DEFINITELY worth reading, but I’ll save that for another post because I really want to talk about this irresistible hunk of a dude.
Do not let his appearance fool you (haha major theme of the webtoon) – although he looks scary, intimidating and might give off “bad-guy vibes”, he has the biggest heart. In fact, I personally think he’s the best character in this entire series so far…
You could probably think of Vasco as a “Robin Hood” type. Where most of the stronger characters use their strength to bully the weaker and unattractive students, Vasco will always come to their defense. He hates seeing people being mistreated and as one of the strongest characters in this series, he upholds a firm sense of justice. He also has his own little “gang” of fellow students who not only look up to him but are fiercely loyal to him – and for good reasons.
However, Vasco wasn’t always this strong. In fact, as you read on, you find out that Vasco had a pretty tough time in his younger years which would motivate him to start bulking up.
In middle school, refusing to give in to peer pressure, Vasco stands up against one of the bullies who urges Vasco’s best friend, Bum Jae, into smoking. This results in Vasco getting hit, and out of fear of either being hit himself, being similarly labeled an outcast or both, Bum Jae does not come to his defense. As their friendship begins to disintegrate, Bum Jae notices Vasco regularly coming back to class bleeding. Feeling guilty, Bum Jae tries to comfort Vasco, but he brushes everything off saying that nothing is wrong and that he is okay.
One day Bum Jae is walking home, when he sees Vasco sobbing alone in an alleyway. With mixed feelings, Bum Jae runs away.
When Vasco doesn’t come to school the next day, his bullies threaten Bum Jae saying that if Vasco doesn’t show up, they will target him instead. And so, he goes to visit Vasco and discovers that the bullies have been carving vulgar words and images on his body with a tattoo pen (this scene was honestly so heartbreaking ㅠ.ㅠ). Feeling the weight of betraying his best friend, Bum Jae goes the next day to beg the bullies to stop, but gets a beating himself. As the bullies move to continually mock and beat him, Vasco shows up to defend him stating that he is Bum Jae’s friend despite their taunts.
Honestly, I think this is one aspect that makes Vasco so admirable. Never once during this entire mess nor after does he mention Bum Jae’s faults or hold a grudge against him for his inaction during his own mistreatment. Instead when the tables are turned and Bum Jae is the one getting beaten, Vasco instantly comes to his side and sticks up for him. I think that speaks VOLUMES about Vasco’s loyalty to his friends. And the way they reconcile with each other after this whole ordeal is very inspiring as well.
Not to mention, Vasco is just freaking adorkable…
Not only is his phone background and Kakaotalk profile picture a golden retriever, HE ALSO THOUGHT HE COULD SCREENSHOT THE CRACKS ON HIS PHONE SCREEN TO SEND TO HIS FRIEND!!! If that isn’t stupid cute to you, I don’t know what will move your stone cold heart.
And he’s got a soft spot for dogs as seen when Hyung Suk gives him pictures of golden retriever puppies for his birthday.
Behind Vasco’s intimidating figure is a guy who is easily touched, values relationships, cries easily and loves chocolate milk. He’s also the first to call Hyung Suk a friend despite some misunderstandings when they first meet. I think Vasco is one of the key characters that taps into the whole “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” theme of this webtoon, because trust me when I was first introduced to him, I judged him pretty hard due to his appearance. But now he is my absolute favorite fictional character ever and I’m a die-hard fangirl at this point (I really really really wish he was real ㅠ.ㅠ). He’s a guy whose heart matches his physical strength and I think he sends a good message overall about where our priorities should lie.
Consider giving Lookism a read! If not, just walk away knowing that as cliche as it is, physical appearances mean nothing in giving insight to a person’s character, and we should definitely call it out when someone is being poorly treated for the way they look.