Twenty-four dead bodies were found at Inwang Mountain of Seoul on lunar on Sunday, severely damaged. Jeha is the only survivor of the disaster. The investigator asks Jeha, who was rushed to the hospital for injury treatment about the disaster, but he doesn’t remember anything at all. Similar killings take place elsewhere- bodies found with large claw marks, blood stains with licked marks, skin ripped apart with sharp teeth. What has happened?
7FATES: CHAKHO, of which prologue and first story was released on Saturday, is an urban fantasy genre webtoon/web novel set in a city of the near future. The characters of the story are the seven members of BTS who set out to catch tigers that attack people. The story was inspired by the “Chakhogapsa,” the Beom (or tiger) hunters of the Joseon Dynasty. Hybe of BTS collaborated with Naver Webtoons for production of the story.
As of Monday, CHAKHO was ranked 32nd out of 72 competitive Saturday webtoon series, relatively lower compared to the attention it received for its Youtube ad, which exceeded 50 million views. The story received 7.7 points out of a scale of 10, which was relatively lower than the average points for Saturday webtoons of 8.9. The web novel version received 7.3 points out of 10 points.
Viewers point out that the concept of the story, taking inspiration from history, and the plot and drawings were carefully thought-out and designed. Some say that the launch of CHAKHO in 10 different languages at the same time could be an opportunity to promote Korean webtoons across the world. The story was received well on English, Spanish, and French platforms at 9.9 points. “The level of expectation among Korean audience for webtoons is quite high. We get positive feedback on the quality of the drawings,” said a Webtoon staff at Naver.
Others point out that the story of the webtoon does not quite fit with BTS. There are some criticisms within BTS fan club Army that BTS is taken advantage of commercially. Some say that the story/drawings itself are of high standards and do not necessarily require BTS premium to receive good ratings. “Army is wary of HYBE’s next steps and eager to give feedback. If they comment of over-commercialization, these comments should be reflected in contents development going forward,” said culture critic Chung Deok-hyeon.
HYBE also released webtoon/web novel “The Star Seekers” and “Dark Moon: The Blood Altar” on Sunday and Monday in collaboration with group Tomorrow by Together and ENHYPHEN. It seeks to expand its business into the contents business by leveraging fandom and intellectual property. “The attempt to expand fandom by targeting webtoon and web novel audience of BTS fans. It is a new tryout which should be applauded, instead of measured by immediate response,” said Lee Yoong-hee, professor of web novel design at Chungang College of Cultural Industries.