Our interview with the founders of the premier digital-first comics and web novel platform, Tappytoon!
It is hard to imagine, but before Anime/Manga became the global phenomenon it is today, it was consumed by downloading from the dark corners of the internet with amateur translations, no quality control, and no support for the original creators. Now, thanks to companies like Tappytoon, high-quality direct translations with assets directly from the source are available with proper credit, and support, given to the creators. It is a golden age for Manga/Manhwa fans, and according to Tappytoon founders Sun Bang and Ernest Woo, things are only going to get better.
Learn how they created a platform to bring quality translated Manga/Manhwa to the masses after being inspired by their own fandom, why KDramas are so popular, and also what they have in store for fans in our interview.
Interview with Tappytoon Founders Sun Bang and Ernest Woo
The Illuminerdi: What manhwa/manga/comic made it obvious that there was a need for professional and authorized translation and distribution?
Sun Bang, Co-Founder & CEO: Before we launched in 2016, we saw there were pockets of interest in the ‘underground’ and fan communities, exchanging manhwa and webtoons with fan-made translations. The quality and presentation weren’t the best, yet they were quite popular. More importantly, none of this came back to the original artists and creators. We focused on quality over quantity in our translations and number of titles, and built Tappytoon to be approachable and easy to use, so that fans can really support the original stories they love without distractions or delays.
The Illuminerdi: In the press release, IP production is planned to increase by an average of 30% annually. Is that strictly in comics, or will that include other mediums like video?
Sun: That increase is expected in the number of Tappytoon’s new and original comics, webtoons, and webnovels for the near future, ‘reading’ is what we know best. As much as we love to see such projects expand to other mediums like dramas or animations, for now we believe it’s best to partner up with other companies and productions to make those types of adaptations. Then again, they do all connect and things evolve quickly in this field. My answer may change a year or two from now!
The Illuminerdi: With Solo Leveling manhwa concluded, can fans expect to experience the series in other mediums?
Ernest Woo, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer: It’s no secret there are major projects like the anime adaptation and videogame releasing later this year. On January 27th, the all-new “Epilogue” special episodes of the comic are being released on Tappytoon, bringing new closure and wrinkles to the world of Sung Jinwoo. We can’t speak for what the original creators have planned, but certainly with all the fans and stories Solo Leveling has built up over the years, I think it’s not over ’til it’s over.
The Illuminerdi: Korean entertainment does well in general, however drama/and romance content seems to reach an entirely new level. What is it about Korean romantic storytelling that resonates so widely across cultures and generations?
Ernest: I think the many years of popular K-dramas have evolved into a form of entertainment that sets it apart from typical US shows or media. Korean romantic storytelling has different dynamics and pacing about what is overt and what is hidden in a relationship, how things play out, but it’s still universal that many other cultures can recognize and relate.
Sun: From the perspective of a woman, more recent Korean shows have been introducing situations that disrupt the stereotypical depictions of the past. This also shows in Tappytoon’s most popular romance and drama titles, they feature strong, smart, proactive, leading women. They fight for love, challenge the status-quo, command over men, lead armies, save kingdoms, take control of their narratives, literally changing their pre-written destinies. This is important because female viewers are the other half of the globe that is changing the media and entertainment industry.
The Illuminerdi: For those new to Tappytoon, which titles would you recommend for new readers?
Ernest: The Skeleton Soldier Failed to Defend the Dungeon is another of our top action fantasy titles I recommend for fans of the genre, full of great fights, smart twists, and characters that you wanna root for.
The Illuminerdi: For the romance genre specifically, which stories on Tappytoon do you recommend for new readers to the romance genre?
Sun: The Broken Ring is one of our most popular romance titles, and we have both the novel and webtoon version available on Tappytoon, which will be fun for readers to compare how the story becomes visualized.
The Illuminerdi: What are the advantages and unique features Tappytoon has over its competitors?
Sun: Again, because we try to focus on quality over quantity, I think many readers agree that when we choose titles to release, they’re top-notch stuff that they will love. Our many teams take extra care to present these selections in the best and most professional way possible.
Tappytoon’s Upcoming Plans
The Illuminerdi: What can fans look forward to from Tappytoon in the near future?
Ernest: In 2022 we set up a joint venture with Redice (makers of Solo Leveling and BTS webtoon 7Fates: Chakho), and this year in 2023 the first projects from that will be coming out — but I can’t get into specifics at the moment. We also continue to flesh out new features for our app service so our readers can really get immersed in the experience.
Sun: Tappytoon Studios has also begun last year to create our own all-new originals like Aristité was Blessed with a Curse, The Mistress Runs Away. More Studio originals are coming this year. We’re also exploring publishing some titles as physical books with publishers in the US, France, Germany, and Japan.
Tappytoon has big things coming in 2023. While they might not be venturing too much deeper into mediums outside of their “reading” specialty yet, they improving their processes, investing in new talent and bringing more content direct from artists to fans on a massive scale. Plus, they have the entire catalog of content on their site already loaded and ready to be consumed. Be sure to head over to their website to find your new favorite web series.