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Flow is a Korean Webtoon. Its English translation can be read here. The webtoon is now completed.

In an alternate reality where every person born is bound to a powerful mythological being or god, these gods can grant the humans bound to them special powers and a single wish. Those who have more powerful gods are required to get higher educations and often have a better chance at doing well in life, whereas the most hope for those with weaker gods is to make friends with stronger people. However, the world is relatively modernized, and abuse of one's powers is illegal.

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When a child spends a long time deciding on a wish, their god will disguise itself as an animal and follow them around, pestering them to do so. Irang has turned eighteen and has yet to make a wish, and his cat god won't leave him alone. However, as the cat is amongst the most boring and useless deities, he has trouble choosing a wish because there is so little to choose from. However, when tragedy strikes on his birthday, the cat god reveals that turning back time by one day with Irang's memory perfectly intact is within his power. Naturally, Irang accepts, but as as his god grants his wish, he warns Irang that he can never take the wish back and there is always a price to every wish.

Irang goes to sleep and wakes up to his birthday again, but things do not turn out the same way and an even greater tragedy occurs...

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Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Despite how powerful Tigers are, Harin's parents began to ignore her once she turned out to be one instead of a White Tiger.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Irang likes Yulbe, but Yulbe likes Ryun, and she's under the impression that Ryun likes Harin.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Unlike the other three celestial beast, the wielder of the Red Phoenix met a far dark fate as their birth brought disaster to the land, to the point that the family who gave birth to one are persecuted and killed. The child of the Phoenix only survived because his mother and uncle, Ju Yejun, escaped the city of the Red Phoenix so his sister and child wouldn't face the same fate as their predecessors had.
  • Ascended Fanboy: The rat wants to be a bodyguard to the Azure Dragon. He gets to acompany her as a bodyguard on a special mission later on.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Every wish comes with a cost of equal value.
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    • Irang wanted to turn back time by one day in order to avoid the accident that would cost him both his sight and his ability to walk. His best friend was killed in an accident that did not occur on the first day.
    • Harin wanted to be the favorite of the family again, so she wished to be the most loved child in her family. Her mother then miscarried.
    • Averted with the epilogue. The child chosen by the Phoenix used his only wish to bring back Irang to existence at the cost of the Phoenix not surfacing until the next child of the Phoenix is born and he'll be known as the child chosen by the Sparrow forever. The boy says he's fine with the price.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Everyone lives at the price of Irang's existence. Though he is brought back to existence thanks to the child of the phoebix, the ending left it ambiguous on whether the rest of the cast would remember about Irang and the future, or whether he still wields the white tiger or not.
  • Characterization Marches On: Every character that has a part to play in the plot gets characterized even more as the story goes on.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Rat Anima user helps Irang in exchange for forming a contract with him. He uses it to force Irang to abandon a boy who bullied him when Irang was trying to pull him to safety. The bully winds up severely injured.
    • The child that Irang helped early in the story, who has the sparrow as his god and was one of two children that Yulbi got along with. He is actually the child of the Phoenix and the boy used his wish to bring Irang back to existence in the finale.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The wielders of the Four Celestial Gods. It's an instant one-way ticket to luxury and influence, but they disguise themselves as weaker gods because nobody would ever make a wish with them if they knew they had one. The power and amazing wishes they can grant always come at a heavy price. The Azure Dragon can see into the future, for instance, but can barely walk. Irang's cost is that repeated time traveling will cause him to disappear from existence.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Interesting Meta example. The author has admitted that the webcomic is inspired by a series of dreams he had.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Irang has to go through hell to make sure everyone lives.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Harin is a horribly arrogant and insensitive Tiger-user, but she will use her powers to help people during disasters.
  • Fantastic Racism: More toned down than you would expect, but it doesn't stop a few Jerk Asses from abusing their power.
  • Fiery Redhead: Harin, a (normal, not White) tiger.
  • Foreshadowing: The Irang look alike at the beginning of the webtoon. He's Irang from the future who turn back time for one last time.
  • Freudian Excuse: The Rabbit user joined the Black Tortoise because she'd been bullied to the point of nearly killing herself because her god isn't very strong.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The demon that brings a typhoon on the day of Irang's birthday, after Irang has turned back time in order to live the day again. It eats Yulbe. Subverted later on when it is revealed that Eunjo caused it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Eujin (the rooster bully) cuts his own arm off rather than let the shadow keep attacking Irang, Yusung and Ryun
    • Irang turn back time for one final time to save his friends at the cost of his existence.
  • Hypocrite: Harin gets on Irang's case when she thinks that he conspired with the Rat to nearly kill a bully and uses the footage of their battle as proof. She was the one who forced them to fight in the first place.
  • Identical Stranger: Irang encounters someone completely identical to himself very early on in the story. He's not just any Identical Stranger. He's Irang from the future.
  • Irony: Harin, the girl with a Tiger god and who constantly looks down upon Irang for his weak cat is convinced that she's the one with a White Tiger hidden within. She is also the leader of the "cat" faction at her school. And then Irang's true power is revealed...
  • It's All My Fault: Irang blames himself for Yulbe's death, because his wish to turn back time changed her fate and she wound up dying when he was simply supposed to wind up severely injured and blind, but she would have been unhurt.
    • The principal, who blames the fact that the Rabbit wreaked so much havoc and wound up dying because of his inability to prevent the bullying of weaker students.
  • Jerkass: A bully who uses his Cerberus god to attack kids—yes, kids—with weaker gods.
    • Harin, who comes from a family that has produced many powerful gods and is incredibly insensitive about how difficult it is to have a weaker god and is vehemently opposed to someone like Irang getting into their school despite his weak god, is extremely stuck-up and snooty to people with weaker gods—even those strong enough to get into high school. She kicks somebody bullying another kid, but the second she realizes the target was a Rat, she decides she is going to force the Rat to fight Irang in the hopes of keeping him out of her school.
    • Eujin. The leader of the bullies, who disrespects his weaker parents.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Harin grows to be one with Character Development.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Irang saving the little brother instead of the older one actually makes a Stable Time Loop instead of setting things right.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Every outright malicious bully so far has gotten a proportionate level of comeuppance. Harin eventually learned humility and Took a Level in Kindness as the story progresses.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: His teachers deliberately keep the fact that his cat god was actually the White Tiger from Irang.
  • Nice Guy: Ryun, who makes friends with the lower tier Irang and Yulbe despite being a Dragon. He also defends them from more unscrupulous people with powerful gods.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: None of the uniforms are identical. It's more of a strict dress code, apparently.
  • Power at a Price: A theme with the wielders of the four celestial gods. The wielder of the blue dragon lost her ability to walk in exchange of her future sight, Irang caused an accident that shouldn't happen in the first time by time traveling and repeated wishes of time travel will make him cease to exist. This is, however, averted with the child of the Phoenix in the finale, who used his wish for a selfless cause, bringing Irang back to the world and is fine with being known as the child of the sparrow for the rest of his life.
  • Red Herring: Plays out more than once about the twist with the child chosen by the Black Turtle.
    • Hyun Muu is first thought to be the chosen one of the Black Turtle. But the end of Season Two shows that he's not and merely strikes a deal with the child while gaining some power to his aid.
    • The second time Irang turned back time to the incident eleven years ago before the story starts, he chose to save the little brother and thought sacrificing the older brother, who was the wielder of the black turtle then, would save everything. It turns out that no, it doesn't. The black turtle switched it's contract since the older brother is dying. That little brother, and the current wielder of the black turtle, is Eunjo.
  • The Reveal:
    • Irang is finally told about his true god in chapter 22, and why he was lead to believe that he had a mere cat.
    • The identity of the Black turtle's wielder is Eunjo.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Yulbe is eaten by a strange demon in chapter 5.
  • Stable Time Loop: In form of time travel and Irang meeting the little brother, his actions wound up creating the whole mess that started the story than to put a stop to it.
  • Time Travel: The power of the white tiger is the ability to have a semblance of control over time with it being said that the previous wielders has a wish related to time. Irang's is the power to travel back in time.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: One of the bullies even goes as far to reject his parents, who are pigeons. Also, the rat uses his contract with Irang, who had used his powers to defend him earlier, to force him to nearly kill one of his bullies. The rat later makes it very clear that he's perfectly fine with throwing Irang under the bus. Later subverted when he realizes his mistake and is about to admit it, but Irang's previous precautions make it so that he doesn't have to.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 36. Yulbe is alive and a prisoner of Hyun Muu (Turtle).
    • Another one a few chapters later: She's not alive, but her body is being possessed by demons controlled by Hyun Muu, along with other children killed by it. The principal dies trying to put most of them to rest.
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