Teens Interact Via Virtual Soaps: The DONG-A ILBO


“Let’s break up. Let’s be honest. You are not attractive. A teenage girl named So-yeon, who is not used to being all dolled up, is dumped by her boyfriend, a follower of lookism. So-yeon is getting a makeover thanks to her friend. Then her ex-boyfriend begs her to get together.However, she is already dating another boy who loves her inner self no matter what she superficially looks like. “Don’t even think about texting me anymore,” So-yeon yells at her ex.

He is quoted from “Girls’ Change Is Not A Sin”, a virtual soap opera created on the Metaverse platform ZEPETO run by NAVER affiliate NAVER Z. Since its debut in 2018, ZEPETO has grown in popularity for its virtual characters with around 200 million users. The characters of ZEPETO appear in the drama “Girls’ Change Is Not A Sin” with background music and subtitles added by a video editing program to the video. The director of the drama is believed to be a teenager who uploaded it in September 2019. It has gone viral for the past year to record over 540,000 views. Although the plot is based on a simple story full of clichés, the drama has caught the attention of teenagers because it is about how stressed they are about their appearance.

ZEPETO-based dramas are becoming popular on YouTube. “How Punks Turn A New Leaf” describes delinquent students sharing friendship and consolation with one another, registering 510,000 views. “If I Like You” is a high school love story, gaining 160,000 views. Thousands of ZEPETO dramas are available on YouTube.

Gen MZ produces and enjoys the ZEPETO dramas, most of which tell the story of teenagers sharing friendship and love in the context of school life. The main characters reflect where the MZ Generation is interested or attracted – the bullies boys and the girls who don’t. 1 interest is to look attractive. Some dramas consist of a single 10-minute episode, while others have up to five. The MZers not only want to enjoy watching dramas, but also produce their own. They even share their know-how to produce dramas on Internet forums. Some young students do their part in a script, create characters and cooperate in the editing. It’s a kind of co-production work.

ZEPETO dramas are reminiscent of online novels that rose to popularity in the 2000s according to experts. Just as teens of the 2000s loved to read online novels about the lives of their peers rather than stories written by professional novelists with boring and serious themes, Generation MZ, who are familiar with video content, create and love them. ZEPETO dramas. Popular culture critic Jeong Deok-hyun said, “MZers are open-minded to content, albeit not sophisticated, that speaks to their interests,” adding that ZEPETO dramas serve as a playground for them. share their interests and stories as they are used to editing and enjoying video content.

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