Writer/Illustrator: Pluto (@PlutoDX)
Publisher: Publang and Kidari Studio (serialized by Bomtoon)
WHAT IS IT?
Dear Door is a supernatural crime-drama webtoon* about a demon king and a reluctant police officer as they attempt to unravel the mystery behind why the legions of hell are running loose on earth.
Think Lucifer with the demon-hunting vibes of Bleach or Yu Yu Hakusho.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
After the death of his fiancée, police officer Kyungjoon leads a simple life catching criminals and watering his plants. That all changes when the injured demon king Cain literally crashes into his life (straight through his balcony and into his beloved plants). Cain marks him as his “door” – a way for demons to travel back and forth between hell to rejuvenate mana – and, much to his dismay, Kyungjoon finds himself stuck with the immature and stubborn king for the long haul.
As a cult with strange markings starts traumatizing city, the two unlikely companions realize that their worlds are colliding at a rapid pace. Powerful, demonic forces aim to kill them both, friendships and loyalties are tested, and Satan’s armies are on the move. The lines between hell and earth begin to blur, so Kyungjoon must learn to tolerate Cain’s ridiculous personality and focus on uncovering the truth before it's too late. His fight with loneliness, however, may prove to be his biggest enemy as the persistent king aims to control both his heart and body in this action-packed, supernatural BL (boy’s love) webtoon.
Pluto has created a fun narrative that mixes the supernatural and "buddy cop"-style genres with excellence. The mixture of exaggerated comedy, intense seduction, and heavy action is balanced well. The plot unfolds slowly, nothing feels rushed, and every chapter is quite lengthy with near cliffhanger-like endings that will keep readers coming back for more.
Character development is given the spotlight in the story. Each of the main characters is written with care and their personal journeys never take a backseat to the chaos of the war and mystery of what’s happening in the background.
Both the human and demon cast are drawn with vivid expressions, great detail, and attention to anatomy. The demonic forces feel massive, which is complemented by their over-the-top personalities, and the human characters have a relatable realism to them. The cast is simply exceptional.
The color palette, character style, and environments are similar to much of Atlus’ game library, it’s very reminiscent of Catherine and the Persona franchise.
The characters themselves are one of the strongest focal points of the webtoon, their designs are unique and extra care is taken every time they appear in a panel to accentuate the colors and expressions.
Cain’s character design in particular is legitimately one of the coolest and most unique demon designs in recent memory; there is a powerful and elegant aesthetic to him. He feels monstrous in size and the classic “demonic goat” attributes play well into his commanding appearance.
The webtoon is loud, with strong, booming sound effects and movement that’s portrayed with intensity. The action jumps off of the screen with the fervor of big-budget anime.
The lettering is a strong part of the webtoon, both in the narrative and the sound effects. The font choices and placement do an incredible job of amplifying the story. At times there are long strands of text without any panels and they can be truly gripping.
The classic “supernatural forces invade the human world” narrative is a nostalgic one that many fans of early 2000s anime/manga will appreciate, it left me with that same sense of wonder that came alongside watching Yu Yu Hakusho for the first time all those years ago.
The webtoon is genuinely funny, with emotive expressions and well-timedof jokes, Dear Door has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments that only amplify and do not hinder the action or tension.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Suggested for mature audiences only. The "16+" version includes blood and graphic violence/gore, strong language, suggestive themes, non-consensual acts, and censored sex scenes (though most of the text remains unchanged, so it’s very obvious what’s happening). The M/18+ rated versions contain the full, uncensored panels.
Certain scenes involving the character Sid can be a bit hard to follow. He’s a demon who leans into the “mind game” kind of torture and, at times, it isn’t entirely clear what is meant to be portrayed as fact and what is meant to be hallucination. It can be easy to get lost.
Though long-time fans of BL manhwa** and webtoons will be familiar with the Stockholm syndrome/manipulation-heavy themes in the two main romances, it might be a bit intense for readers who are not familiar with the tropes. It is not suggested as a good introduction to the genre.
There are some grammatical issues, mostly extra or omitted letters, or omitted words in sentences, but this is most likely due to translation error.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Dear Door is a fast-paced webtoon that combines comedy, romance, supernatural antics, and high-energy action into a thrilling crime story. Fans of anime such as Yu Yu Hakusho, Bleach, and Jujutsu Kaisen will immediately be drawn into Kyungjoon and Cain’s world. The Persona-like art style feels modern and vivid; with sharp expressions and aesthetically pleasing environments and effects, this webtoon is a delight to look at.
A lengthy narrative filled with big battles, Sherlock-like deduction scenes, and fierce relationships, Dear Door is a perfect read for those who miss the early 2000s Shonen Jump nostalgia as well as fans of intense BL. The designs of the demons are eye-catching, the art is consistently done and detailed, and the character development is well-paced against the epic action and fight scenes.
With a successful ongoing run on TappyToon (it was one of their most heavily advertised on the home page this year) and the recent addition and push on Tapas, Dear Door is on the rise as a fan favorite for western audiences. The series has over a hundred currently published chapters in Korea, so readers can expect a lengthy run with plenty of antics and character development over the next few years as it continues to be translated and released on both platforms (on a weekly basis).
HOW DO I READ IT?
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**Webtoon - term for digital comics that originated in Korea, created specifically for scrolling on mobile devices
**Manhwa - traditional Korean print comics