17 Best Korean Webtoons

Korean webtoons are a nice change of pace for fans of traditional anime and manga. Here are some of the best series to start with.

Fans of manga and comics who want another take on the medium might want to try dabbling into webtoons, or comics from Korean creators. Also known as manhwa, webtoons happen across various genres and feature unique stories that almost always feature themes and concepts that share a lot about Korean culture. However, with many options out there, it can be tricky to discover just which Korean webtoons are must-reads for newcomers.

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While Korean webtoons tend to be as diverse as Japanese manga, some webtoons do share stories and tales that just set themselves apart from their contemporaries. And certain webtoons are a cut among the rest when it comes to representing the best elements of this artistic medium.

Updated on July 8th, 2023, by Rhenn Taguiam: With hit webtoons such as Wedding Impossible, Duty After School, and Homework For The Heart slated for future releases as K-Drama adaptations, fans of webtoons may be on the lookout for sleeper hits that are must-reads before they get adapted into the big screen.

For those looking for more exciting webtoons, must-read stories for both newcomers and seasoned fans include a father-turned-warrior investigating a cult, a biker gang leader stuck in Hell, a reader who tries to save Earth from his webnovel that came to life, a riveting boxing story, and a story about looks that hits close to home.

17 Father, Unrivaled (2014)

Father Unrivaled

Also known as Peerless Dad in unofficial translations, Father, Unrivaled is a light take on the action-fantasy webtoon with its simple yet delightful premise. In Father, Unrivaled, eponymous dad Noh Gajang is a single dad of three that is willing to take even the most mundane of jobs if it meant coming home to his kids safely. Unfortunately, Noh is thrust in a dangerous warrior’s life when a cult starts stealing children from the village.

Had it not been for his prior martial arts training, Noh’s story in Father, Unrivaled would have ended prematurely. Despite his carefree and lazy nature, Noh isn’t a pushover. His training in the Trillion Blows Art make him a capable warrior to protect his family and the rest of the village. And when his adventures soon take him back to his days in the Murim or martial arts world, Father, Unrivaled begins a more action-packed route with quite the exciting fight scenes.

16 Hellper (2012)

Hellper

The world of webtoons have met its fair share of paranormal stories, but none as artistically wild as Hellper. Set in the afterlife, Hellper begins when Jang Gwangnam, leader of the Killberos gang, dies in a traffic accident. When he meets fellow ghost Sese, she says his possession of a Black Ticket means he goes straight to Hell. That is, unless he fights other ghosts and collects up to 1,000 Black Tickets that he can exchange for a White Ticket to either go to Heaven or get reincarnated.

This straightforward premise is more than enough for Jang to send readers of Hellper down the path to crazy shenanigans. The bombastic art is enough indication that Hellper has had moments that border the surreal, but these circumstances demonstrate just how crazy their depiction of the afterlife could get. Readers looking for an entertaining take on the afterlife with a more comedic pihlosophical take on the subject may appreciate Hellper.

15 Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint (2020)

Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint

Modern fiction isn’t complete without the occasional isekai story, with some remarkable “otherworld” tales showcasing unique worlds with equally-compelling protagonists. Such is the case of Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint, where this time around the realm of the webnovel “Three Ways To Survive A Ruined World” is transported into the real world. Unfortunately for reader Kim Dokja, being the sole reader of the story means he’s the only one equipped to help save the Earth from sudden destruction.

In the webtoon’s meta, “Ruined World” was a hit webnovel that lost its steam throughout its 13-year run, set in a universe governed by the Star Stream that forces protagonist Yoo Joonghyuk and other individuals to live countless timelines for their amusement. While Dokja knows how the original story ends, “Ruined World” combining with the real Earth isn’t part of the webnovel, leaving him with the opportunity to change the destiny of the webnovel’s ruined worlds. This race agaisnt time combined with the webtoon’s action segments make Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint quite the compelling read.

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14 The Boxer (2021)

The Boxer

Action manhwa has explored quite a number of different approaches to provide jaw-dropping fight scenes, with The Boxer providing quite a grounded take on the subject. This boxing-themed sports manhwa explores the life of Yu, a teenager turned numb out of the bullying and beating he’s experienced in his life. However, when legendary coach K sees Yu dodge punches effortlessly, a gut feeling tells him Yu should be his last student before he retires.

Having already raised five World Champions under his belt, K pushes Yu to pursue professional boxing. Although reluctant at first, Yu’s journey into boxing will let him meet various individuals that would not only temper his character but also help him get in touch with his emotions again. The webtoon is worth the read not just for its intense action scenes but the way the story also sets up dramatic sequences and crucial moments.

13 Lookism (2014)

Lookism

Readers of webtoons who want a more grounded take on a compelling manhwa story may want to explore Lookism, an ongoing series that takes a closer look on the harsh reality of attractiveness. In the story of Lookism, Park Hyung Seok is an unpopular high school student who gets frequently bullied and harassed for his obesity. After lashing out to his mother, Hyung Seok moves to Seoul and attends high school to start a new life. However, life quite literally gives him a fresh start when he wakes up in an attractive and handsome body.

Exploring his rather peculiar situation, Hyung Seok realizes that he can switch between two bodies when one wakes the other. Much of the series revolves around Hyung Seok’s two alter egos, with attractive Daniel Park being an influencer and clothing model by day while the original Hyung Seok works at night. While Lookism makes for an entertaining read, the series tackles pressing issues such as discrimination against those considered unattractive – a harsh reality observed not just in South Korea but also worldwide.

12 Cheese In The Trap, by Soonkki

Cheese in the Trap

It’s not all the time that a slice-of-life genre webtoon can make it to the big leagues, especially due to its “normal” nature compared to other action-packed titles. However, Cheese In The Trap makes this work due to its rather compelling story, coupled with a ton of twists and turns that can make both romance and slice-of-life fans stay at the edge of their seats.

The story stars hardworking Seol, who finally returns to college after a short break. However, a sudden encounter has her embroiled with the matters of Yoo Jung, a college senior known as “Mr. Perfect.” Moreover, his reputation has put Seol in the crosshairs of numerous other individuals, resulting in a rather roller coaster-like journey that will change how she views life.

11 Days Of Hana, by Seokwoo

Days of Hana

Fans looking for a more somber take on webtoons may want to consider the emotional tale of Days Of Hana, which resembles a rather sad narrative video game. Haru and Hana are childhood friends in the story with a peculiar predicament. While Hana is a human, Haru is a young werewolf charged to protect her. And while werewolves are being more recognized in society, Hana and Haru’s developing relationship results in a whole host of problems that will test their relationship with each other.

Although some consider it a rather sad story, Days Of Hana does tackle more mature themes throughout its run. The discrimination that werewolves face in society is a rather intense subject that the author Seokwoo tackles quite well. This is interspersed with the various people Hana and Haru interact with, who often have stories to share as well.

10 Dice, by Hyunseok Yun

Dice

What if someone could change whatever they wanted in the world? This is essentially the plot of Dice, which revolves around the timid Dongtae and other individuals who got access to Dice, capable of granting various changes in one’s lives depending on the numbers rolled. And when more students from Dongtae’s school get wind of Dice, they start to become aggressive and violent to get other people’s Dice and use its abilities.

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Dongtae and his friends eventually embark on a quest to stop X, the creator of the Game Master of Dice, from forcing Dicers to do dangerous missions to use Dice. This take on the “forbidden item” story is unique, especially given how Dice aren’t just typical MacGuffins or video game twists in the story. Being able to “ground” the seemingly-otherworldly nature of the Dice with a plot that tests the societal implications of unchecked power is worth the read.

9 If AI Ruled The World, by Pogo and Hoopa

If AI Ruled the World

There are not a lot of sci-fi comics and manga that tackle the impact of AI on a more global level, and If AI Ruled The World does this in a rather intense fashion. In its world, humanity has unlocked the ability to use AI properly, to the point of relying heavily on AI for their various tasks. However, when their version of AI has gained sentience, a seemingly-inevitable conflict has put both sides at the crossroads.

Despite its rather short nature, If AI Ruled The World remains a must-read, especially for sci-fi fans. Its take on the implications of sentient AI in an AI-dependent society reveals a rather realistic yet horrifying alternate future for humanity. More importantly, its cast of characters, with their colorful backgrounds, breathed life into this world and especially added a “human” element to the AI that have begun interacting with them.

8 Trace (2007)

Trace

Despite its age, Trace remains an interesting webtoon to read for its take on the metahuman premise. When monsters called Troubles began attacking South Korea around a few decades ago, some humans were also granted supernatural abilities. Called Traces, these metahumans are mostly shunned by society because of their reputation for causing mischief. The story officially begins as Ghang Gwon, a Trace in secret, is forced to reveal his identity and would have to live a new life knowing the knowledge of his status as Trace would change him forever.

What perhaps makes Trace interesting compared to other metahuman stories is how it explores the many unique uses of metahuman abilities. The various Trace abilities and their triggers are also interesting, with Ghang Gwon having cryokinesis as a child, while his friend Tae Eun acquiring superhuman strength through a Trace transformation after fighting Troubles as a mere human.

7 Solo Leveling (2018)

Solo Leveling

Humans have to adapt to a harsh world where monsters are a constant threat to their survival, and thankfully the magical hunters of Solo Leveling have enough fighting prowess and magical abilities to defend humanity. Protagonist Sung Jinwoo is a weak E-Rank hunter who, after a near-death experience in a dungeon, meets a mysterious program called the System that chooses him as its Solo Player, allowing him to grow in strength. With this new power, Sung Jinwoo eventually becomes humanity’s greatest hunter.

Unlike other isekai series and virtual game settings, Solo Leveling is quite interesting in how it tries to blend the real world with a game setup. Seeing Sung Jinwoo just become an amazing warrior is a sight to behold. And unlike other protagonists with OP abilities, Solo Leveling doesn’t revel in Sung Jinwoo’s power, and rather puts it as a second priority given the story’s focus on the bigger picture – a conspiracy involving the true nature of their powers.

6 Sweet Home (2017)

Sweet Home

The popularity of the zombie apocalypse genre lately meant it took only a matter of time before a webtoon explored the concept, and Sweet Home helped illustrate some of the nuances not a lot of zombie media explore. In Sweet Home, the recluse Cha Hyun-soo has to fend for himself in his apartment after a zombie outbreak rages everywhere around him. Unfortunately, he’s got no choice but to leave the apartment and venture into the outside world.

Unlike other zombie media, the premise of Sweet Home is already interesting, particularly with the fact that Hyun-soo is immediately confronted with the reality of having to survive, look after himself, and discover his true nature in the process. This odd take on a coming-of-age story makes Sweet Home a must-have.

5 Hardcore Leveling Warrior (2016)

Hardcore Leveling Warrior

There’s a certain breed of players that just get too hardcore when it comes to playing their favorite MMO, and such is the case of Hardcore Leveling Warrior in, well, Hardcore Leveling Warrior. This webtoon explores the adventures of Hardcore Leveling Warrior as the infamous top player of the dream-based game Lucid Adventure. However, when an assassin defeats him and steals his stats and belongings, Hardcore Leveling Warrior is back at Level 1 and would have to recover his status. He also has to earn enough money to repay the various loan sharks he has debt to, courtesy of his crippling gambling addiction.

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Unlike other stories set in games, Hardcore Leveling Warrior is unique not just because of its dream-based premise. Rather, having a former-Number One infamous for dirty tactics as a protagonist certainly has HCLW always tread the line between antihero and reformed player.

4 Tower Of God (2010)

Tower of God manhwa characters

When a boy named Twenty-Fifth Bam finds his friend Rachel entering a mysterious Tower, he follows suit to catch up to her even if it means death. Oddly enough, the Tower in Tower Of God is a gigantic structure as wide as a continent with seemingly-infinite floors, each housing residents and different cultures that may not even be aware of the Tower’s existence.

Those lucky enough like Bam who can enter its impenetrable doors are called Irregulars, while those deemed Regulars are constantly tested to move up the Tower. It seems the goal of Regulars in the Tower is to reach its peak and ascend into a Ranker, for rewards yet to be revealed.

Despite its game-like premise, the Tower Of God is enough to intrigue with its weird world alone. The webtoon even has a unique magic system, called Shinsu, which Regulars and Irregulars could use to accomplish various effects. While the webtoon can get technical at times, those who could keep up can get themselves on a wild supernatural ride.

3 The God Of High School (2011)

The God of High School

Why study high school when one can be an entire god in all high schools in the universe? This was the rather wacky premise The God of High School began with, where protagonist Mori Jin is invited to “The God of High School” martial arts tournament to compete against the best schools in South Korea. As the fights continued, however, Mori Jin would end up with something called “Borrowed Power,” or abilities granted by supernatural entities.

Soon, Mori Jin and his new allies would find themselves fighting for Earth’s safety against two other realms, such as the Sage Realm that housed mythical creatures, and the Heavenly Realm that housed actual deities. While The God Of High School does have its own anime, reading the webtoon where it started and relishing the intended imagery of the authors makes The God Of High School all the more entertaining.

2 Noblesse (2007)

Noblesse

It’s not every day that the webtoon enthusiast would encounter a vampire story, and Noblesse takes the concept and turns it over its head. The story begins when a being known only as Cadis Etrama Di Raizel wakes up to a completely new world after an 820-year slumber. Thing is, various supernaturals constantly threaten the school and the town Rai woke up in, prompting him to force his hand at the last minute, revealing his nature as the most powerful vampire, a Noblesse.

Technically a twist on the Superman concept, Noblesse is a great thrill to read, especially when Rai has to elegantly reveal his powers to some unfortunate fellow who thought they could wreak havoc in town. And especially more so when a threat seems too much for Rai to handle. It doesn’t help that a larger conspiracy looms over as more and more supernaturals notice Rai’s presence, including clandestine intelligence organizations and even vampires themselves.

1 The Breaker (2007)

The Breaker

When Chunwoo Han applies as a teacher, he instantly becomes notorious for his charming yet womanizing nature. Beneath this persona, however, is the Nine Arts Dragon, a title granted by the secret martial arts society of Murim to perhaps the most powerful martial artist alive.

In The Breaker, Chunwoo befriends Shiwoon, a shy and bullied kid who becomes interested in learning martial arts. And when Chunwoo eventually takes Shiwoon under his wing, the young kid is thrust into the world of action, conspiracies, and underground martial arts.

Fans of martial arts should definitely give The Breaker a shot as it heavily grounds the shonen trope. Instead of flashy techniques and superhuman abilities, the martial arts in The Breaker remain sensible and fluid, making action sequences a delight to view.

Fuente: successacademy.edu.vn
Categorías: Anime

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