“In the not-so-distant future, there is a rampant issue of student violence in schools. A recent survey of teachers reveals that 98.6% believe that teaching students has become significantly more difficult compared to the past, and 85.8% also express concerns about the increased danger associated with their job.”
To address this problem, the Ministry of Education and the National Assembly utilize the Teaching Rights Protection Act, which grants select teachers full autonomy and immunity to revamp schools according to their own judgment. Hwajin Na is a top agent of the program, willing to achieve results by any means necessary, even confronting defiant students directly.
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Yongtaek Chae’s “Get Schooled” has a straightforward structure. It features a bully or group of bullies who deserve criticism, with Hwajin Na stepping in to seek revenge on behalf of the victimized nerd. This pattern is repeated throughout the series. However, Yongtaek Chae keeps the series from becoming mundane by taking the themes of school reform to the extreme and exaggerating them. “Get Schooled” is a highly sensationalized and entertaining work.
Bullies are easy fodder, offering that instant cathartic release from seeing the tables turned once Hwajin Na enters a school and starts beating them into submission. At least, this is the case in the inaugural volume, which covers two schools and is similar in using brawn to beat the unruly youth into submission. Consequently, both segments hit those sweet notes of tearing down a character who believes they are beyond reproach. This makes the book a page-turner with nary a dull moment or pause in pace.
Yet, a delightful surprise stems from Yongtaek Chae’s clever humor, which lightens the otherwise harsh tone of the story. Little moments, like teachers praising a returned beating rod, provide comical elements to the series and contribute to the “cool” vibe portrayed by Hwajin Na, preventing the book from becoming overly gloomy in its execution.
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Garam Han has a keen eye for creating exciting action scenes and capturing the intensity of a school that has descended into violence. This will undoubtedly attract fans of action, and the book shines brightest during moments of chaos. Equally impressive is Han’s portrayal of Hwajin Na, a larger-than-life character who can switch between composed and chaotic with ease. The visual elements of this edition are spot on, and the collaboration between Yongtaek Chae and Garam Han is a perfect fit.
The potential downfall of the TV series “Get Schooled” is evident when one takes a step back from the violent and bullying storylines that are meant to evoke strong emotions and a sense of satisfaction when revenge is taken. However, this also puts the series in a moral grey area as it portrays violence and ruining someone’s life as a solution to bullying. When viewed objectively, the main character Hwajin Na is not much different from the bullies he fights against, using a loose moral code as an excuse for his violent actions. The book fails to delve deeper into this issue and only scratches the surface of wanting to maintain order.
This complicates the message against bullying as the extreme measures one has to take to “teach a lesson” only barely touches on the underlying problems. “Get Schooled” seems more like a desire for revenge rather than a genuine attempt to address the deeply ingrained issues within each story. Essentially, forcing someone into submission, even for the “greater good,” only reinforces the fact that humans have the ability to bully others into conforming, which goes against the anti-bullying mission of WebToon.
Ignoring the intricate details in favor of indulging in exaggerated violence and humor, Yongtaek Chae skillfully creates a series that may seem shallow on the surface. The story presents itself as a “meaningful revenge” tale, but lacks substance in the characters’ motivations. Whether readers prefer this surface-level story or a deeper examination of the societal norms that breed and praise bullying will determine their enjoyment of the book.
It’s tempting to become engrossed in the flashy surface of “Get Schooled,” and one can find plenty of enjoyment in the excitement, humor, and sensational plot. Many readers will be satisfied with simply experiencing this world, and the Webtoon’s previous popularity and success suggest an audience seeking this type of cathartic escapism. Refrain from over-analyzing or searching for plot holes; just sit back and enjoy watching Hwajin Na take down and mock the school bullies.