WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Lookism Episodes 370-372, by Taejun Park, available via WEBTOON.
Lookism is a WEBTOON series that has excelled at depicting uncanny character transformations, with Jiho Park undergoing some of the most striking changes. Jiho went from a cowardly and selfish, but generally well-meaning, guy to a terrifying presence that had the potential to shift Lookism's power balance. That's why some are quite shocked by his recent, and somewhat anti-climactic, demise. However, there may be a darker secret hiding behind his death.
The initial purpose of Jiho was to serve as a counterpoint to little Daniel, as they clearly share similarities, not only in terms of appearance but also in the way they are bullied. Although Jiho’s home life was much more well-off than Daniel's, he represented a potential path that Daniel could have taken had he not realized the error of his ways. If he only blamed others for his failings and ignored his mother’s sacrifices. In a way, Jiho is the perfect cautionary tale for Daniel.
Jiho’s prison transformation also occurred at the same time as Daniel’s abilities and main purpose began to emerge. The Juvenile Prison arc remains one of the most disturbing but profound arcs in Lookism. And until to this point, Jiho still seemed to be an appropriate rival to Daniel in many ways, and arguably a scarier villain than many other characters. This was because he didn’t start out as such, and he learned to be stronger not because he is physically strong or intelligent but because he was more ruthless than anyone. Jiho's dark development also served to offset Daniel’s more positive evolution.
But in the latest arc, we learned that Jiho didn’t really grow, at least not as meaningful as Daniel did. Sure, he did lie and cheat his way out of prison, but his selfishness and unwillingness to take responsibility—two of his fundamental weaknesses didn’t go away at all. These impulses fueled something even more dangerous and made him someone irredeemable. Unfortunately, his mental illness only exacerbated these problems and eventually lead him down the path of no return.
Hints of Jiho’s mental illness started in Chapter 185, at the end of the Juvenile Prison arc when Jiho hallucinated that he was talking to someone else in solitary. It was revealed at the end that he was simply saying goodbye to his old, weaker self. But at the time, this seemed like an artistic rendering of Jiho’s growth, rather than an actual mental illness.
These delusions only became clear when the three school bullies that Jiho beat up in Chapter 355 seemed to have no recollection of this event at all in Chapter 370. Additionally, the scene where Jiho went to see Jake in Chapter 355, replicated almost frame by frame in Chapter 370 (see image above), and one of Jake’s underlings, whom Jiho stabbed with a cigarette in Chapter 355, also didn't recognize Jiho at all in Chapter 370. He does have an eye patch though, which might be the source of Jiho’s delusion. These developments do make one wonder how much of Jiho’s supposed “growth” and “dominance” in prison was actually real, and how much of them were imagined.
Most importantly, Jiho’s death bears a suspicious resemblance to that of Olly Wang’s, and these are the two of the only major deaths so far in Lookism. Both fell from a tall building, and both seemed to have suffered some mental trauma before they fall to their death. The similarities are either extreme laziness or some careful connections planned by Lookism’s creator Taejun Pak, and he doesn’t seem to be the lazy type.
The very fact that the end of Jiho’s arc in Chapter 371 cuts immediately to Yoojin from Workers lamenting about the death of a friend suggests that he might be related to Jiho’s death, or at least knows Jiho. Readers know that Olly was taking some kind of mysterious drug to deal with his condition and that some kind of drug is related to the cult that Johan Seong’s mother joined. Since Jiho's mental illness was diagnosed in prison, he could also be taking drugs, and the only organization that is supplying drugs (that we know of) is Workers.
Olly Wang was a threat to Worker’s dominance because he was a smart businessman and was growing his influence, but Jiho’s death might be accidental. Nonetheless, it is not too difficult to make the connection between the two deaths, not only because of how similar they look, but also because Jiho’s untimely death seems a bit too inconsequential unless it is to set up for something bigger.