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WORK LIFE BALANCE (NEW WEBTOON FIRST IMPRESSIONS)

Created by: A1 (@A1Keep)

Publisher: TappyToon (@TappyToon)/ABJ Company


Work Life Balance by A1

WHAT IS IT?

Two men in the midst of a blossoming relationship must learn to balance the new experiences - both good and bad - that come alongside romance in this highly anticipated follow-up to the hit webtoon series On or Off.


WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

(Minor Spoilers)

Life could not be any better for Ahn Yiyoung! He’s got an amazing job, amazing co-workers, and an amazing ‘honey’ who cooks, cleans, and holds him close every night. The start-up company he created with his college friends is thriving and he’s dating the handsome director of the prestigious SJ Company, Kang Daehyung… well, “former” director, that is. After abruptly stepping down from his position, Daehyung is now unemployed and finds himself crashing at Yiyoung’s place (much to the excitement of an overly eager Yiyoung).

Though Yiyoung is over the moon about his “trophy boyfriend”, he realizes that balancing his work life and love life may not be as easy as he initially thought. It’s only a matter of time before Daehyung dons a suit once again and the dynamics of their relationship naturally shift as all things inevitably do. Still, after everything they’ve been through, they’re bound to make it out of this deeply in love and stronger than ever… right?

This highly anticipated follow-up to the massively successful webtoon On or Off continues the heartwarming and steamy story of Ahn Yiyoung and Kang Daehyung as they tackle the next steps in their developing romance.


WHAT WORKS?

  • Work Life Balance picks up almost immediately after On or Off concluded and does not lose any of the charm or momentum in-between stories. A1 continues the smooth flow of humor, sensuality, and office drama moments with exceptional timing and pacing, while fully leaning into the lovey-dovey honeymoon phase of our protagonists.

  • A1’s beautiful art style is in full force in this new webtoon series. The expressive faces and soft color palettes accent the sweet and sometimes silly story, creating a cozy and enjoyable read that highlights the joys of its slice-of-life aesthetics with illustrations that are tender, tantalizing, and touching all at once.

  • As always, the localization team handling the translation and editorial work for this webtoon knocked it out of the park. The mood and vibe of the original has carried over flawlessly, with well placed text that is appropriate for the size of the word bubbles, easily legible sound effects, and fun font/color choices to emphasize important moments. It’s a pleasant read throughout.

  • This series contains the same quippy, witty humor that we’ve come to expect from this series. It’s comedic in the right ways, with the right tone, and right timing to add to the sense of down-to-earth realism that makes a slice-of-life series so enjoyable. The realistic aspects of it will hook you and make you wish for your own office romance.

  • You can tell that A1 has had this series planned for a long while (especially with the abrupt ending of On or Off last year), and was excited to really delve into the every day moments between Yiyoung and Daehyung after the semi-turbulent beginning to their relationship. It's 100% apparent that A1 is having a lot of fun with it and it definitely shows in the writing and illustrations.

  • Yiyoung’s new arc is quite enjoyable and appropriate for the stage of life he’s in and the changes he must to adapt to. Suddenly finding himself needing to be more responsible and mindful of things like finances really shows through his internal monologue. You can see his struggles to grow up and become an “adult” worthy of Daehyung’s time and admiration, and it’s setting him up for a dynamic and emotional change in the story. It highlights his youthfulness and innocence in a way that makes him an endearing protagonist to root for.

  • A small but noticeable change is that Yiyoung’s colleagues have a bit more depth and design to their characters, they have more detailed faces and expressions compared to the previous installment, which gives me hope that they’ll be a more prominent part of this new series and not just vehicles for the plot as they were so often turned into previously.

  • More Steve! One of the supporting characters that was introduced toward the end of the final season of On or Off, Daehyung’s American co-worker and friend makes an incredible appearance in ep.5 that is hysterical and adds more depth to his character. He's a riot. Here’s hoping we see more Steve down the road.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK?

  • This series (and its predecessor) is 100% rated M for mature and is in no way recommended for young audiences - this series doesn't even have an "all ages" version, so that's saying something. It features lengthy scenes of a sexual nature and adults in highly adult situations, mild language, and the use of alcohol.

  • The series is on TappyToon under a completely different series page with nothing connecting it back to the original, which might pose a problem for some readers - especially newer ones who aren’t following A1 or TappyToon on social media - to know that it exists. It was not heavily advertised before launch, either.

  • The synopsis on TappyToon drops a MAJOR spoiler for the overall story that is in no way shown or even hinted at in the first chunk of released episodes. It ruins a bit of the fun waiting to see where the narrative is going so I highly recommend skipping it.

WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

Work Life Balance art and story by A1

On or Off garnered a massive following due to its charming cast, slow building romance, slice-of-life office romance elements, and steamy sex scenes. The fanbase grew with the recent print edition from TOKYOPOP, allowing both new readers and hardcore fans (like myself) the chance to enjoy this iconic story in a new medium. The series ended unexpectedly at ep.91, shortly after the third season debuted, and it left many fans wondering what came next. So, when A1 began dropping teasers, followed by an out of nowhere released date of April 30th for the follow-up series titled Work Life Balance, fans could not contain their excitement.

Work Life Balance art and story by A1

TappyToon released a whopping eight episodes in one sitting, and readers were greeted with a wonderful new storyline that’s as rich, funny, and sensual as the one we all know and love. It’s a beautiful series that comes highly recommended for fans of office romcoms, BL titles, and slice-of-life stories, and though Work Life Balance does require one to have read On or Off beforehand, it’s a worthy investment. Both the original webtoon format from TappyToon and the print manhwa edition from TOKYOPOP are enjoyable comfort reads with immense binge-worthy energy that you'll easily return to again and again.


(Having read both version multiple times, I highly recommend TappyToon's edition since the translation reads in a much sweeter, enjoyable manner, IMO. TOKYOPOP leaned into the "sexy" vibes a bit too much and it diminishes a lot of Yiyoung's innocence and charm. The TOKYOPOP edition is 100% uncensored, as well, so longtime readers of webtoons may be a bit taken aback by the lack of "lightsabers".)


Work Life Balance is already shaping up to be a wonderful new title to add to your regular webtoon line-up. It's charming, beautifully rendered, and an absolutely delight. Releasing on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month, you can look forward to a fun (and funny) new installments on the regular. A worthy successor to a beloved series, Work Life Balance is one you won’t want to miss.


HOW DO I READ IT?

The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.


All A1 characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright A1 or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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