The differences between Netflix’s adaptation of Mask Girl and its original webtoon have become a hot topic of discussion.
Mask Girl is based on the Naver webtoon that captivated many viewers with its vivid exploration of the societal issue of lookism. The seven-part Netflix adaptation diverges from the original in terms of characters and the overall storyline. The time settings vary between the two works. While the story of the original webtoon unfolds in 2015, the adaptation series takes place in 2009. Reflecting this timeframe, Park Gi Hoon (played by Choi Daniel) is depicted using Cyworld instead of Facebook in the show.
The relationship dynamics between Joo Oh Nam (Ahn Jae Hong) and Kim Mo Mi (Lee Han Byul) have also been drastically changed. In the original version, Joo Oh Nam takes it to a pretty nasty level by bombarding the office with the maliciously edited pictures of the masked cam-girl Mo Mi after seeing her nude stream. But in the show adaptation, things go down differently – he only sends Mo Mi some images from that stream, and it’s all through email. And then, there’s this whole new scene where Joo Oh Nam expresses feelings for her. He straight up confesses, “I’ve never felt this way before.”
The first murder of Mo Mi is also different in the two works. In the webtoon, she takes on the responsibility for Handsome Monk’s death by striking him in the head with a weapon. Following the murder, she takes an active role in arranging a cover-up for her crime. On the other hand, the drama adaptation describes Handsome Monk’s collapse as an unintended mistake. Even though he regains consciousness later, it’s Joo Oh Nam who ultimately ends his life on Mo Mi’s behalf.
The relationship between Kim Chun Ae (Han Jae Yi) and Kim Mo Mi (Nana) is also different from the original work. In the original version, Kim Mo Mi and Kim Chun Ae’s faces become exactly the same after their plastic surgery. As Kim Mo Mi begins to imitate Kim Chun Ae’s actions, a conflict between the two arises, and she later orchestrates Kyung Ja’s involvement in her murder. However, in the drama adaptation, they are close friends who can’t live without each other.
The ending is also very different from the original webtoon. In the original work, Ye Chun (Kim Min Seo), a friend, struggles on her own to rescue the kidnapped Mi Mo (Shin Ye Seo). However, in the drama, both Mo Mi (Go Hyun Jung) and Ye Chun, along with Yeong Hee (Moon Sook), go to Kim Kyung Ja’s (Yum Hye Ran) house to confront her. Additionally, unlike the original ending where Mo Mi successfully escapes, Kim Kyung Ja shots and kills Mo Mi in the drama adaptation. Similarly, in the original work, Kim Kyung Ja also grapples with guilt and eventually commits suicide before she can kill Mo Mi. In the drama, however, a policeman shots her shortly after her murder of Mo Mi.