The hype was so strong at first but now we are still filled with question marks on top of our heads. The biggest question being asked by many is “What Happened?”
Girl’s Love Revolution
2016 and 2017 were quite some hyped up years for Yuri and GL fans alike as Lezhin Comics opened a door to a variety of GL series. Due to this huge volume of webtoon series, it wasn’t long until the webcomic platform got a lot of attention not only in Korea but also in an international scale. From What Does The Fox Say?, Pulse, The Love Doctor, Maison de Maid and Vengeance, Lezhin was taking the webtoon industry by storm and putting artists and writers on the pedestals of great recognition.
The White Dog in Red Background
To those who are not aware, Lezhin Comics (also known as Lezhin Entertainment) is a premium webtoon service that started in April 2013. It was founded by Hee-sun “Lezhin” Han and Jung-hyuk Kwon, the company’s CEO and CTO respectively. Their website www.lezhin.comis available in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. Although there are free chapters that users can browse in, further ones are required to be purchased via Lezhin coins in which you need to buy them with real money.
Aside from GL, the website is notable for other webtoons under Mature/Adult, Romance, Comedy, BL, and so on. It also served as a webnovel platform until they effectively closed down the service last year.
Lezhin was a powerhouse for webtoons catering not only original creations but also offering Japanese, Chinese, and Korean manga publications to be available for purchase on the site. Two popular examples are Saburouta’s Citrus and Ratana Satis’ Lily Love.
Everyday was Girl’s Love Day
The nice thing about Lezhin’s releases is the feeling that everyday was Girl’s Love day. There was a new chapter of a new series to look forward to. It was n Lezhin’s releases that got me to go home early before 8pm my time so that I can get to read the latest releases at 9pm. For a working person like me, I considered the releases as more of a stress reliever from the tiring day you had.
One of the most memorable days for me during this period was when the time Pulse chapters are released every Friday and then next day you get The Love Doctor chapters. There was never a dull weekend as you wait for these series. What Does The Fox Say’s releases were also highly anticipated as chapters were released every ten days of each month.
2017 was both good and bad for those who follow the Lezhin GL series because this was also the time when a majority of the series were ending— and sadly, a lot of them are either ended suddenly or ended with a not-so-satisfying-cliffhanging ending. Everyday Lily, My Girlfriend’s Ex-Boyfriend, Maison de Maid, White Angels Have No Wings, The Love Doctor, and Chain of Youth are just some of those examples. It has become a notable pattern that the story gets so good at the beginning, a bit dragging half-way then give us a slap-to-the-face ending chapter that let you stay in your seat thinking, “Wait, wut now?”
|BL Series Killing Stalking|
When The Platform Plays Safe
I am pretty sure that I’m not the only one who noticed this that it seems that Lezhin is now putting more favor into its BL genre than the others. Seldom do you see coin sales for your favorite GL webtoons now and it has come to the point that it has become overshadowed by its counterpart genre.
Ironically, it was What Does The Fox Say that got Lezhin into the radar of international yuri fans before it was taken over by popular BL works like Killing Stalking. The platform may have noticed that there are a lot of BL fans and decided to ride this hype rather than taking chances on their other genres.
Although there are still other series being promoted in their social media pages like their Romance and Mature genres, it has become too rare now to see GL works being promoted. It’s quite sad.
News about Lezhin’s unfair payment policy surfaced in Twitter since last year and it has escalated more when its creators and readers organized protests in front of its corporate office in Seoul. While Lezhin defends itself by giving their readers answers with questionable loopholes, it’s already evident that these constant issues of the company have caused some of the creators to jump ship and leave.
There have been stories that artists and writers dealing with mental health-related problems and so much stress due to the company’s strict polices when it comes to deadline and delays. This has not only affected some of Lezhin’s GL artists, it has also affected other artists from other genres like the creator of the popular webtoon series Reversi.
As much as I want to delve in deeper into Lezhin’s issues and the other GL series, it might be getting a bit too long. So to answer the question “Is it the End of Lezhin Comics’ “GL Renaissance”?”, I would have to say “It’s a yes, for now.”
I am honestly sad that as I’m writing this now, the yuri fandom is no longer feeling the hype of Lezhin GL webcomics everyday due to the lack of new content. Some have already moved on to other webtoon platforms for enjoyment. So far, the only series that is left in this golden GL era is The Third Party by Enjelicious, the first winner of Lezhin US’ Comic Contest.
Although there are new GL series that are stepping up like Blooming Sequence by Leeul, On A Leash by Aji (which is currently on indefinite hiatus), Moonlight Garden by Kang Unnie and Miss PM, and Elixir by Sungwon, I just miss those days that almost every day is something to look forward to. This hype may still take a while to build, what I’m very thankful for is that I was able to support these artists and witnessed this renaissance together with a lot of yuri fans who loved these series the same way as I do.
How about you? What your favorite Lezhin GL webtoon back then? Leave it in the comments! For now, it’s time to have a cup of coffee and just keep going.
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