Rating The Bad Boys of Weak Hero pt. 2

Part One.

My criteria for a good villain is based 100% on my personal, garbage opinions but basically:

  1. Their removal would affect the plot
  2. They undergo some change/character development, for better or for worse, as the story progresses
  3. We see different sides of their personality – aka they are presented as complex individuals, who have some good aspects, or we get enough back-story on them that we understand the motives behind their actions
  4. They have some sort of personal goal/motivation that goes beyond, “for the sake of being chaotic and evil.”
  5. They aren’t so OP that no one can defeat them except by random chance or luck
  6. They’re not so weak that they aren’t a challenge for the hero

*Spoilers, also I own nothing. Not even my own soul*

(Seong-je Geum) Wolf Keum

  • threw hands with Donald Na twice (impressive as Donald says when he fights someone, he beats them thoroughly so they don’t challenge him again)
  • was Donald’s fav
  • red blazer instills fear in the hearts of those who see it
  • has beef with Grape and it’s always on sight
  • 3 seconds, bam
  • doesn’t like pretty boys who cry when he fights them
  • is smarter than he initially seems (noticed Jared Sun’s face/realized Rowan wouldn’t have kept lying)
  • beat up Jared Sun
  • probably would’ve killed Jimmy, despite having recently gotten whooped by both Gray Yeon and Donald Na
  • seems to be a decent friend. After his skull was cracked, Red Hair is like “u good bro?!?” and looks genuinely concerned. They’re also seen vibing together.

After losing to the White Mamba, Wolf’s just like, “what a funny dude,” which is an odd reaction to getting knocked unconscious with a potted plant.

Wolf Keum seems to be teetering on the edge of leaving the Union. Given he’s one of the few characters who seemed somewhat humbled by their beating who seems to respect the strength of those who beat him instead of being petty about it, it’ll be interesting to see if he goes round 3 with Donald.

Wolf Keum’s Rating: 8.5/10

(Gong-sam) Sam Lee/Grape

  • Doesn’t like being called Sam, so he goes by Grape I guess because his hair is purple.
  • Grape seems like a decent friend given he’s lost multiple fights but is always seen vibing with the same folks.
  • He can throw hands.
  • He was mad jelly Gray Yeon did what he could only dream of doing, which was murder beat up Wolf Keum.

Grape’s notable for always looking woefully resigned cause with Wolf it’s always on sight, no matter the location, situation, doesn’t matter who else is around either. Wolf’s dislike of Grape is so palpable and notorious even Long Hair of the Mok-ha duo is like, “dude, why’d you beat him after he got trashed already lmao,” (and Long Hair is bat-crazy

In a way, Grape’s pitiful despite generally being a jerk because Wolf seems to be violently yandere for him and unless he moves to another country city or dies, it doesn’t seem like he’s gonna be able to escape him anytime soon.

Grape’s Rating: 7/10

(Hak-ho) Jake Ji

  • Jake is basically Ben with red hair.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Bad-Ass.
  • Likes manga, specifically One Piece
  • Has a solid group of ride or dies (Dean, Wings of Peace, Glasses Dude No. 2)
  • Got (narrowly) whooped by Ben Park and admitted he lost
  • Wasn’t really mad about losing to Ben
  • Protected trash Naksung from Zombie Ben
  • Really only joined the Union for the sake of his brother, Kenny
  • Watched Gray and Wolf clobber one another from atop a building
  • Has fabulous taste in hats

One thing I appreciate is how the author often draws Jake’s expressions – he goes from looking very lively, affable, and goofy one second, to looking like he’ll rip your eyeballs out the next (because he will). It’s enough to intimidate even Glasses Dude No. 3 (Kingsley). He loses some likeability for beating up Gerard Jin prior to fighting Ben Park, though this is likely because Jake would only fight seriously if one of his homies got clapped.

Jake is different from the other top dogs as Jimmy was pissed he lost to Ben and sought revenge, and Wolf is generally just a blood knight. But Jake doesn’t involve himself in needless fighting (even Eugene comments that he’s not like other girls dudez). His friends seem to genuinely like him, and they’re seen joking around and talking about things non-Union/fighting related.

Jake Ji ‘s Rating: 9.7/10

(Sehan) Forrest Lee

  • Fights Teddy and Alex and almost wins – the dude has hands
  • Took Myles Joo’s place as HBIC after he defected (or whatever).

He seems like a True Companion too as he’s mostly always seen vibing with the same crew.

Forrest Lee’s Rating: 4/10

(Seung-jin) Myles Joo

  • Hyped up for an entire season only to get brought down at the speed of light by Orichimaru the Mok-ha Duo.

Miles dipped from the Union and doesn’t appear until season 2, but almost everyone knows about him. We don’t know the circumstances of why he left; we barely know what his face looks like, all we know is that he’s uber strong.

Sadly, he wasn’t strong enough to prevent himself from getting clobbered.

Myles Joo’s Rating: 6.3/10

Bryce Oh

Bryce Oh highlights a central theme in Weak Hero: when folks take off their glasses, they become evil.

Bryce Oh is initially a loner, taken in by Saint Stephen Ahn. They get along well enough at first but it’s all downhill once Bryce stops wearing his glasses.

Bryce’s issue was always that he is a worthless, spineless parasite had a severe inferiority complex and wanted acceptance – that’s why he never messed with Gray (because Gray excelled in school, his friendship came with benefits) and why he latched onto Oswald after buying him shoes (cause he was loaded). These traits might make him pitiable but he also desired power. This put him at odds with Stephen, who was content to be nice whether it benefitted him directly or nah. Eventually, those odds turned into resentment once his inferiority complex kicked in and when given an outlet for that resentment, he took it in the form of bullying.

Bryce Oh is one of those characters who, despite my tendency to be enamored by the worst (fictional) characters, is very difficult to sympathize with because there wasn’t much of a reason given for him betraying Stephen and he didn’t even seem a little sorry for, ya know, nearly killing someone who considered him a friend.

His actions inadvertently give birth to the White Mamba though.

Bryce Oh’s Rating: 6.5/10

Oswald Yang

Oswald Yang was trash from the start, so unlike Bryce who was at one point Saint Stephen’s friend, Oswald was a classic silver spoon using their privilege to bully others.

The disturbing thing is how realistic Oswald’s story is – the school does everything to cover bullying that resulted in someone becoming a vegetable because Father Yang is important and has money. It’s something we see in real life all the time – the law being used to protect the wealthy instead of enacting justice.


Oswald Yang’s Rating:

(Jeongwon Seon) Jared Sun

  • basically Phillip Kim lite
  • has 0 fighting abilities
  • lied about everything
  • is not loyal – stole money, framed Rowan resulting in him and Eugene getting a beatdown
  • is generally why Gray ended up in the hospital and Wolf not only got hit with a potted plant, but also inadvertently the reason he got beaten by Donald Na as that situation resulted in Wolf wanting to dip

Much like Phillip and Oswald, he’s born with a silver spoon and uses his privilege to belittle others. He also dug his own grave by being a titanic terror to Chicken Place Dude and his Son. At least those those like Jimmy, Wolf, Forrest, etc. risk their physical health by fighting to gain power, Jared was content sit on the sidelines while others got wrecked.

Jared Sun’s Rating: 3.7/10

(Baek-jin) Donald Na

  • looks like a vampire, which is fitting given he essentially sucks the will out of everyone he encounters via fear and fists.
  • seems to be an orphan.
  • has beaten the snot out of pretty much every top fighter in Weak Hero without breaking a sweat sans maybe Jake as he seemed to have joined “willingly”
  • is like what… 16? 17? And is working with other adults and basically running an empire lol
  • is super smart, having created an impossible math question
  • puts effort into styling his hair
  • has some sick tattoos and jewelry
  • good fashion sense
  • nice office with a good view
  • good with business – he’s making $$$ enough to pay like several different schools

In some ways he’s like Phillip Kim except Donald could for sure kill anyone who challenges him. Like Phillip, Donald’s power is very tenuous in the sense that Jake is only with the Union for Kenny, Wolf had to be beaten into staying, Myles already dipped, and while Jimmy is terrified of Donald, that’s not stopping him from looking for a way out either. All those schools aren’t following Donald so much as following their respective leaders who’ve mostly been beaten or coerced into following Donald. And Ben still won’t join despite having gotten whooped by Donald once. All in all, he’s sort of built his empire on sand.

Speaking of hair, it’s notable that since season 2 began, Donald’s mane is no longer nicely coiffed but usually down, giving him a more sober, unkempt appearance. Is this a sign he’s starting to crack?

Only time will tell.

Donald Na’s Rating: Ben Park’s Sledgehammer Fists KOing Forrest Lee/10

There are more, like Mok-ha, etc. but this it already long and no one’s gonna read it anyway.

Rating the Bad Boys of Weak Hero Pt. 1

Of Season 1.

Normally, I rate female characters. But that’d be like 2 people (Queen Lily and Julia).

There are, however, loads of bad boys.

My criteria for a good villain is based 100% on my personal opinions but basically:

  1. Their removal would affect the plot
  2. They undergo some change/character development, for better or for worse, as the story progresses
  3. We see different sides of their personality – aka they are presented as complex individuals, who have some good aspects, or we get enough back-story on them that we understand the motives behind their actions
  4. They have some sort of personal goal/motivation that goes beyond, “for the sake of being chaotic evil.”
  5. They aren’t so OP that no one can defeat them except by random chance or luck
  6. They’re not so weak that they aren’t a challenge for the hero

*Spoilers, also I own nothing. Not even my own soul*

(Hyo-man) Colton Choi

  • Awarded for being the first fool to get wrecked by the White Mamba.
  • Pimp slapped by Gray Yeon in the middle of class.

Colton Choi’s Rating: 3/10

(Haiba/ Hee-chol) Helmet/Harper Ha

  • Unfortunately wasn’t wearing a helmet when he got bricked in the face.
  • gets others to do his dirty work
  • switches sides when the literal second it suits him

In a way, Helmet is pitiable because he gets beat once, is bullied and effectively ostracized over his epic loss (it’s hinted his physical appearance plays into his treatment too). He tries to get the job done, but his pen PTSD is so strong a mere clicketh of a pen has him shooketh.

It’s hard to feel sorry for him though, because he’s still a bully.

Helmet’s Rating: 5.5/10

(Tae-oh) Teddy Jin

  • Got beat with a coke can
  • Was strangled with curtains in the middle of class
  • Found a stray cat, took care of it
  • Wears his hair in a fabulous pony-tail
  • Accepted his defeat, didn’t try to get revenge
  • Eventually became friends with Rowan (who apparently talks a lot)
  • Took over his class by challenging Phillip to a brawl on sight
  • Brought Gray coke at the hospital
  • Beat up that weird teacher and those kids who were throwing rocks at Sprite

When I re-read Weak Hero, I’d completely forgotten how much I initially despised Teddy.

Teddy was not only humbled by his curb-stomp but changed his ways too. Realizing his “friends” were fake probably helped him turn over a new leaf. Fortunately, he’s got a fresh home boy, Rowan aka Hyperelbow aka Sidney Guillotine, and he’s part of the Squad now.

Teddy Jin’s Rating: 9.5/10

(Jihoon) Jimmy Bae

  • Has red hair
  • Clearly puts effort into styling his hair
  • Has beaten up many people to get where is he
  • Lost to Ben once, had to be rescued by Donald Na
  • Uses those he bullies as footstools
  • Lost to Ben a second time, wasn’t rescued by Donald Na
  • Gets killed by Wolf Keum in a dream sequence after getting knocked unconscious fighting him

Jimmy is an arrogant jerk, pummeling people for no reason, smoking and generally being a delinquent. His sole good trait is seemingly being a good friend considering Jack is willing to risk his life by leaving the Union’s clutches with him.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Jimmy. He wants out of the Union, but even Jack is like, “yeah if we leave we might die, but at least it’ll be me and you dying together, bro,” which is a true bromance if there ever was one.

Jimmy Bae’s Rating: 7.4/10

(Jeongyeon) Jack Kang

  • Jimmy Bae’s bae homie.
  • can throw hands
  • always looks low-key annoyed with whatever is going on
  • is not interested in the ladies
  • is more level-headed than Jimmy, sensing something was amiss with the Myles Joo meeting and preventing them from probably getting killed
  • doesn’t seem interested in the Union (and the money/power it gives them) so much as sticking with Jimmy

For all Jimmy’s abundant faults, he has a friend who’s willing to stay with him wherever he goes. It says something about his character… sort of, since a lot of characters lose their friends/respect once they get wrecked even if they are strong. Fortunately, Jack is a real one.

Jack Kang’s Rating: 8/10

(Pil-young) Phillip Kim

  • Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty – won’t find that here.
  • Gets whooped by Gray
  • Gets scared into submission by Teddy
  • Puts effort into styling his hair

Phillip’s image is accurately described as a sandcastle that eventually crumbles. The dude cannot fight, yet becomes the HBIC by aligning himself with the strong and using his wealth/charisma to win allies.

Phillip Kim highlights a central theme in Weak Hero – a lust for power but how easily that power can crumble when it’s built off fear and fakery. Phillip was like, “a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

He’s hard to pity as he’s not loyal even towards his homeboys (such as setting up Jimmy v. Ben Park), and he’s not willing to risk anything personal to get what he wants (he literally can’t fight).

Phillip Kim’s Rating: 7.1/10

Part 2.

Positive Masculinity: Bros of Weak Hero

*Contains S1 Spoilers*

Minus all the incredible beat-downs, the positive relationships between the boys of Weak Hero is it’s high point. This positivity is seen most clearly via Gray, Ben, Eugene, Alex, Rowan, and Gerard; they’re a great example of men being traditionally masculine without the toxicity. By “masculine”, I’m talking in the stereotypical, cultural sense here as in possessing raw strength, being a provider/protector, being goal-oriented, and logical/stoic, sometimes being hot-headed and prone anger/impulsive behavior.

Toxic masculinity has become quite the buzzword nowadays, describing everything from rape culture to dudes who like big, loud trucks. One way in which masculinity is indeed toxic is the expectation that men be The Stoic: emotionless, always chill unless they’re expressing anger (can you spell G r a y Y e o n?)

Typically in entertainment (whether it’s books, webtoons, manga, movies, or television), romantic love brings out the tender side of man. But that’s not the case with Weak Hero. Notably, there’s an absence of women (and romance) in general here (shout-out to silver-haired glasses girl tho). In Weak Hero all the relationships between the characters are platonic. Yet, in the absence of romance, the author of Weak Hero shows us the beauty of male friendships and how they can change men for the better.

1.  The bros use their strength to protect one another

No need for any damsels in distress, the boys of Weak Hero will cross the entire city on foot just to save one another. Interestingly, Ben ft. crew don’t really initiate many fights unless pushed and primarily throw hands to defend one another. In fact, Ben is so laid-back his reputation as the HBIC of Eunjang High is questioned more than once throughout the story.

Contrast Ben to Jimmy Bae, who picks fights with randos just because they’re wimps, or Wolf Keum who’ll throw hands because someone glanced his way for 3 seconds. Often, the strong use their strength to push around the weak. But not Ben ft. crew – they’re good guys who (mostly) only bust out those hands when their friends are in danger.

2. The bros aren’t afraid to get in their feelings

Gray gives one of his rare smiles around Ben (something that has everyone shooketh), and it’s to Ben that Gray opens up about his past after Ben repeatedly pursues a friendship with him.

Ben’s bffffffl Alex Go conceals his beat down by Jimmy simply because he doesn’t want Ben getting hurt, Gerard insists on fighting Jake Kim to prevent him from going after Ben (ironically, Jake targets Gerard knowing the only way to get Ben to fight for realz is if he curb stomps one of his amigos first).

In the absence of romance, it’s good, old-fashioned friendship that reveals the bros softer, more protective feelings. Furthermore, it isn’t to a woman that Gray opens up to manic pixie girl style, but to Ben. #bromance

3. The bros change others for the better

Teddy Jin is initially introduced as your typical bully until getting coked out whooped by Gray and unceremoniously kicked out of Phillip Kim’s squad. He soon finds a cat and bonds with Eugene over it, then he’s inadvertently roped into helping Gray’s crew in a fight, sealing his face-heel-turn.

Teddy’s an interesting case – it’s clear he and Chad were homies yet the moment Teddy lost, he’s ostracized. On the flip side, neither Gray nor any of the others hold the fact Teddy got clobbered against him, but allow him to integrate into the crew, fight alongside them, and even hang out casually.

4. The bros pursue one another

Gray isn’t really interested in friendships at the story’s beginning, but that doesn’t dissuade Ben or Eugene from reaching out to him, repeatedly inviting him to things, lending him a hand, etc. even after getting rejected several times.

When Gray finally accepts their invitation to Netflix and chill, the boys invite him to the rooftop. Except Gray doesn’t do rooftops; the boys never ask why, convince him to change his mind, or make fun of him. They simply find a different place to hang out.

5. The bros don’t knock one another for being weak

Phillip Kim gets curb stomped by Gray and loses all clout; predating that is Teddy Jin’s and Helmet’s smack-downs . Donald Na regularly pimp slaps those who don’t do what he wants (Wolf Keum). Jared Sun is garbage and deserved to get whooped. Also, screw Bryce Oh – he deserved death. Often, those who aren’t strong are kicked out of their respective groups, or punished, simply for being weak. But that’s not the case with Ben ft. crew.

Eugene isn’t very strong (though he does have fleeting moments of bravery), yet the others keep him in the crew and hang out with him, even when he’s not doling out shuttle patch information. Alex and Gerard get whooped a number of times by various individuals, yet they’re never in danger of losing relationships over it because their friendship isn’t based on what one can do for the other, but just good, old-fashioned camaraderie.

All in all, Weak Hero is a great example of positive masculinity and positive male friendships in general. Boys will be boys, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing – rather, the bros of Weak Hero show us how boys can be both strong and sensitive; protective and caring, without the influence of women, or romantic love in general. The bros are a great example of what masculinity can look like: a man who uses his strength to protect those in need even at the expense of himself.

As the Bible says, “a man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Fortunately, the bros of Weak Hero have found that brother in one another.

I also rated the Bad Boy of Weak Hero (if you’re extra bored)

References: SEOPASS/RAZEN Weak Hero. Line Webtoon/Naver, 2019. Digital.