Webtoons grow in popularity every year, especially in Korea where the platform was first launched in 2004. Since then well over 20 webtoons have been adapted into various K-Dramas and animes. Many of these adaptations have had just as much success as they did in their webcomic form often bringing in a new crop of views and webtoon users. Here are 10 webtoons that have been or are going to be turned into television shows!
Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Dukes Mansion
In a tale of reincarnation and trying to avoid fate, Eunha Park is reincarnated into a fairy tale character in a novel named Raeliana McMillan. After dying in modern-day Seoul she realizes she is destined to die once again and sets out to avoid it. To do this she plays the part of the finance of Duke Noah Volstaire Wynknight, the man meant to kill her. She hopes she is able to change her fate before it is too late.
Originally a web novel by Milcha, Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Dukes Mansion was released as a webtoon in 2017. It was adapted into an anime in April of this year and as of now is still releasing episodes.
Tower of God
After living at the bottom of the tower their whole life, Rachel decides to make to the top to “see the stars.” A heartbroken Bam decides he has to follow her. The top of the tower is said to be the place where your wildest dreams can become a reality. While Rachel has dreams, Bam’s only dream is Rachel, sparking a very Orpheus and Eurydice-type story. The webtoon follows Bam’s adventure to make it to the top.
Starting in 2010 Tower of God continues to release episodes although it went on Hiatus last year due to author SIU’s health. The anime began in 2020 with a second season currently in production.
Written by Son Je-ho and illustrated by Lee Kwangsu, Noblesse tells the story of Cadis Etrama Di Raizel, or Rai, a wealthy nobleman who slept for 820 years and woke up in modern-day South Korea. As he adjusts to the new time he enrolls in high school, and makes friends and together they discover the truth behind Rai’s past.
Beginning in 2007 and ending in 2019 the webtoon has been adapted into aeni (Korean anime) in 2015 and an anime that aired in 2020. Noblesse was one of the first webtoons to get an English translation in 2014.
Lore Olympus is probably the webtoon you’ve heard of the most even if your knowledge is only surface-level. It is a retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone in a colorful webcomic format. Created by Rachel Smythe, the retelling is mostly done using modern elements as there are things like phones and cars. It explores themes of abuse and trauma. It also features appearances by many other well-known Greek mythology figures.
Beginning in 2018, Lore Olympus is the most popular comic on the webtoon platform as of May 2023, and it has received numerous awards. In 2019 it was announced that a television show was in the works. There have been few official updates since then with the most recent being a 2022 newsletter from Webtoon saying the show was still in development. I’m confident though that with its popularity a more official update is just around the corner.
All Of Us Are Dead
If you’ve been on Netflix at all in the last year you’ve probably heard of this one. After a zombie virus breaks out in a South Korean high school, the trapped students, at least those who make it that far, have to band together to stay alive. A classic zombie trope it turns this around by having its main characters be kids, giving it a kind of Lord of the Flies feel as well.
All of Us Are Dead published episodes between 2009 and 2011 and was written by Joo Dong-Geun. In 2020 it was announced that Netflix would host the K-Drama adaptation. The first season was released in January 2022 to a generally positive reception. The show was renewed for a second season in June of 2022.
Living in a society with very high standards of beauty, Lim Ju-Kyung is bullied by her peers and ignored by her family as they prefer her better-looking siblings. Fed up she learns how to reinvent her looks with makeup and finds her life change soon after. She eventually attracts the attention of two popular boys in her school. It is a story that at first can seem vain but you soon realize it is a critique of the reliance on physical appearance as Ju-Kyung learns to balance her self-esteem with the rest of her life.
Written and illustrated by Yaongyi, the K-Drama based on True Beauty was announced in 2019 and was released on Amazon Prime and Netflix in select locations.
Another apocalyptic one, Sweet Home follows a high school student who moves into an apartment building, called Green Home, after the tragic death of his family. When monsters begin appearing and other tenants start acting strange, Cha Hyun-soo and his neighbors must learn to survive and defend their homes.
Sweet Home was first released as a webtoon between 2017 and 2020. It was written by Kim Carnby and illustrated by Hwang Young-chan. The Netlfix K-Drama was released in 2020. It was renewed for a second season expected to premier this year as well as a third currently in development.
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim tells the story of Kim Mi-so, the secretary of the vice-chairman of Yumyung Group. After nearly a decade of working for Lee Young-Joon, Mi-so decides to resign. Young-Joon realizes he may be losing the most stable relationship he has and does everything he can to convince her to stay.
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim was originally a 2013 novel by Jung Kyung-Yoon and was later adapted into a webtoon in 2015. The K-Drama aired its 16-episode run between June and July 2018.
Amazing Rumor/The Uncanny Counter
The Uncanny Counter follows So Mun, a disabled high school student who becomes one of four Counters. The Counters are a team with supernatural abilities who hunt for and kill evil spirits that look to possess humans. All counters were once in a comma and when the fourth counter dies, So Mun awakens from his coma and begins having unique experiences. He eventually finds the other three counters and begins to find his place in this team and his journey.
Originally a webtoon called Amazing Rumor by Jang Yi, the K-Drama began releasing its 16-episode first season in November 2020. It was renewed for a second season on scheduled to begin airing episodes next month.
Extraordinary You/July Found by Chance
This one may break your brain a bit. When Eun Dan-oh, a high school girl, discovers that her whole world and reality are simply that of a comic book she sets out to change her fate and give herself a more interesting story. Engaged to a man who hates her and written to die soon, she eventually finds that going against the wishes of the writer could have dire consequences.
Based on a webtoon called July Found by Chance, the K-Drama began releasing its 32-episode run in October 2019. It was one of the most successful K-Dramas based on a webtoon and also featured well-known K-Pop idol Rowoon of SF9 as one of the male leads.
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