Fate of BTS-inspired webtoon, webnovel appears unknown after mixed reviews

K-pop powerhouse HYBE launched the webtoon and web novel “7Fates: Chakho,” which features characters inspired by members of boy band BTS, on Naver Webtoon. [HYBE]

"7Fates: Chakho," the webtoon and web novel based on boy band BTS, was released on Saturday but is receiving mixed reviews.

Naver Webtoon released the webtoon and web novel versions of “7Fates: Chakho” on Jan. 15 in collaboration with the boy band’s agency HYBE.

Inspired by the chakho-gapsa, or tiger hunters, of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), "7Fates: Chakho" is an urban fantasy web novel set in the near future featuring protagonists inspired by BTS members.

The prologue and first episode told the story of a character named Je-ha living in the “fallen city of Sinsi." Although the characters were inspired by BTS members, none of the characters are named after them.

The first episode earned an average rating of 7.74 out of 10 as of Sunday evening. Considering most webtoons uploaded on Saturdays have average ratings above 9, "7Fates: Chakho" is seeing rather lukewarm reviews.

On the other hand, the rating on Naver Webtoon’s global platform for international fans was 9.92, much higher than the domestic feedback.

Fans comment that they find the subject matter inspired by Korean legends refreshing and approve of the illustration style, but that the story itself so far has little to do with BTS.

“What does this have to do with BTS?” reads a comment under the webtoon. “This has no connection to BTS at all. I don’t know what they intended making this,” reads another. Many commented that "7Fates: Chakho" would have been an entertaining story on its own without being associated with BTS.

Some fans pointed out that as HYBE expands its business to include a wider variety of content, it is overusing its artists for marketing.

Last year, HYBE announced it will expand its intellectual property (IP) beyond music by adding original stories such as webtoons and web novels. While many anticipate that “7Fates: Chakho” will set an example of K-pop artists and webtoons collaborating to create new content, some express concerns that it may lead the artists’ name to be overused in unrelated fields.