Have some time on your hands?
This post covers the best Korean webtoons you can enjoy from the comfort of your phone.
I’ve been reading webtoons on the reg since they were first created, and I’m tired of pretending I don’t^^
Here are the top Korean webtoons categorized by genre and platform.
Let’s check them out, spoiler free!
During midterms and finals in middle and high school, my friends and I always talked about how we wanted to just lie around, read comic books and eat snacks. Ahhh, living the dream.
Daum made things easier in 2003 when they invented the Korean webtoon concept and put the comics online.
Now, Korean webtoons are a multi-million dollar industry that’s replaced the comic book scene in South Korea. They’ve even gone global and are leading the K-drama takeover of Netflix.
What is a Webtoon?
There are two main platforms where you can read webtoons: Naver and Daum.
Naver and Daum are also the top 2 search engines in Korea.
You can either read them on their websites or download their webtoon apps. Both of them feature daily webtoons, which are updated on a weekly basis.
7 Naver Webtoons
Monday: 신의 탑 (Tower of God)
Since 2010, it’s been one of the top Monday webtoons on Naver.
What I really love about this webtoon is that it hasn’t had a 캐붕 (캐릭터 붕괴 or character collapse, when someone acts completely out of character).
There’s even an animated version now on Crunchyroll that’s produced through the joint effort of Korea, the U.S., and Japan that I recommend. (Obligatory: although the audio of anime is in Japanese, this Webtoon is from Korea.)
Tower of God has creativity and good character development. It’s fun to read and watch the animated version (English subtitles).
※Update: I lowered the score since the recent episodes haven’t been up to snuff. Too many characters, complicated game rules, plot line dragged, etc. I’m taking a break from it until SIU (webtoonist) figures some stuff out.
Tuesday: 여신강림 (True Beauty)
True Beauty is about the secret of a beautiful girl.
Its title literally means 여신 (goddess) 강림 (advent).
It quickly became one of the top webtoons on Tuesday since it was serialized in 2018.
You can see the Korean perspective on beauty in relation to both men and women.
The beginning of True Beauty started out as a 10 with pretty drawings and criticisms of Korean society obsessed with outer beauty. However, the story doesn’t develop much as time goes by.
※Update: I dropped the score since the storyline has been going round in circles for a while now. If you want to look at pretty drawings, I still recommend this webtoon. But Jugyeong, the main protagonist, isn’t growing as a person/character.
Wednesday: 전지적 독자 시점 (Omniscient Reader)
Omniscient Reader is about 독자 (reader) an ordinary man in every way, except that he’s the only person to read a certain novel.
One day, the world ended and a new world unfolded, just like in the novel he read.
As soon as it was turned from a web novel into a Wednesday webtoon, it quickly gained popularity.
Even with the flood of new webtoons, O.R. distinguishes itself with its unique concept. I also love the drawings and storyline.
Thursday: 더 복서 (The Boxer)
The Boxer is about the shocking talent of the main character, Yoo. It asks the question of whether having too much natural ability is a blessing or a curse with a serious tone.
As a relatively new webtoon that began in December 2019, it was highly praised by Korean readers.
You will get hooked on this webtoon instantly.
The Boxer will immediately bring you into the webtoon world. The focus is so intense that you’ll be left breathless.
※Update: The Boxer series already had a finale, with an epilogue currently ongoing. The webtoonist Jung Jihoon later added a lot of Christian symbols and music, but it’s not that preachy. Overall, the quality is good.
Friday: 1초 (1 Second)
1 Second is about a legendary firefighter with a 100% rescue record. It’s also about his special ability to predict the future.
The creators regularly conduct interviews and Q&As over the phone with real firefighters to capture realism. 1 Second aims to analyze humanism more than being a complete fantasy.
Since firefighters don’t get the benefits they deserve in Korea, many readers have started supporting them because of this webtoon.
1 Second is pretty amazing. I love its realism, but with hope for saving more people. Putting cultural differences aside, it’s still a heartwarming story.
※Update: I still enjoy 1 Second every Friday, it’s still great.
Saturday: 유미의 세포들 (Yumi’s Cells)
Yumi’s Cells is about what Yumi is thinking about right now. It’s the story of brain cells that are busy working in her head!
The main brain cell characters are: love cell, hunger cell, anxiety cell, naughty cell, etc.
Think Pixar’s Inside Out with romance. The creator’s drawings are quite cute, and you can get a glimpse of how dating works in Korea.
Yumi’s Cells is a complete series. It cleverly describes how the human thought process works in a cute way. But, the story of Babi is a bit far-fetched.
※Update: Yumi’s Cells turned into a K-drama and was a huge success. Even my friends who don’t read webtoons loved it. There will be a Season 2, which airs in June 2022!
❤NEW! Saturday: 초인의 시대 (The Era of Overman)
The Era of Overman had me up all night binge-reading! It’s now one of my favorite webtoons!
Monsters of unknown origin (이인종, which literally means alien species) appear on Earth, and so do the ‘overmen (초인, which is more like super humans)’ who can match them.
The overall story follows the typical hero vs. monster type. But thanks to the excellent drawings, dynamic action and cool story development, it rose to the top of Saturday Webtoons around episode 60.
Sunday: 싸움독학 (How to Fight)
How to Fight is about a weak and poor boy who stumbles upon a secret YouTube video that teaches him how to fight.
After learning martial arts, he starts his own YouTube channel where he fights bullies.
It captures the reality of what high school students go through in Korea. Except that no one studies hard and lots of pretty girls like the main character for some reason.
How to Fight is worth a look. As the number of school life comics increased too much, I lost interest. But its story and drawings are still good.
※Update: I raised the score. I’m glad I restarted reading How to Fight! Recently, this webtoon became immersive with super intense BGM (background music) that’s pretty intense when you’re lying in bed about to sleep. I’m both thrilled and sad that the end is nigh.
Some of these webtoons won’t be available in your country. Access every Korean app with VPN here!
7 Daum Webtoons
Monday: 사귄 건 아닌데 (We Were Not Dating)
We Were Not Dating is about a girl who runs into her first love again after 9 years when she’s 29.
This webtoon is not only a love story, but also shows her lonely lifestyle in Seoul away from home, with the many regrets from her early 20s.
It’s very realistic, but has the fantasy element of randomly finding your first love again in a big cold city.
Good good (굳굳)
We Were Not Dating is fun to read. The characters are cute and realistic. It can be frustrating at times, but so far so good.
※Update: Spoiler Alert! We Were Not Dating had a very happy ending.
Tuesday: 아비무쌍 (Peerless Dad)
Genre: Martial Arts/Oriental Fantasy
Peerless Dad is about an unrivaled father who will do anything to protect his children.
Its charming and funny aspect is that the father doesn’t know how strong he is even though he has no equal.
The webtoon was based on a novel and is hilarious.
Peerless Dad is pretty fun to read. Its drawing style feels a bit old to me, but it may bring nostalgia to some. I love its solid story line.
Wednesday: 콜로세움 (Colosseum)
Colosseum is about a seemingly normal man with a dark secret who fights against overwhelming power.
It’s about a “judgment show” that’s held at the club “Colosseum” for vicious criminals who were released after receiving short sentences; who haven’t been caught for a long time; or who have avoided punishment by hiring expensive lawyers.
But nobody knows how the Colosseum finds these sinners and has that much power to execute them.
The storyline is pretty solid so far, and I hope they make a movie out of it someday.
Colosseum is awesome and feels like a movie. The main character doesn’t feel frustrating like 고구마.
Thursday: 샬롯에게는 다섯 명의 제자가 있다 (Charlotte Has Five Disciples)
Charlotte Has Five Disciples is about the Archmage, Charlotte, who saved the world.
One day, she gets tired of everything and decides to die at the age of 121. She mysteriously returns from the dead as a young girl and tries to live a new life, but finds out that her 5 disciples are all acting strange.
I love this webtoon for its beautiful illustrations and character development.
Charlotte Has Five Disciples is totally worth your time. On top of its beautiful drawings, all the characters are attractive. I’m curious to see mysteries being solved.
Friday: 퀴퀴한 일기 (Musty Diary)
Genre: Everyday Life
Musty Diary is super light. It shows the creator’s daily life through a cute character who’s sometimes naughty or funny.
You can take a peek at the lives of Korean women in their 30s and their friendships.
Even though I’ve never met the creator and her friends, I feel like I know them. The series is great for getting validation and makes you feel like you’re not alone.
Musty Diary is perfect for Korean women in their mid-20s to 40s. However, it may be a bit hard to empathize if you’re not in that age group.
※Update: I raised the score as I’m still enjoying this webtoon. It really feels like you know a group of funny and nice unnie!
Saturday: 여의주 (Dragon Pearl)
Dragon Pearl is about a woman who gave up on getting a job and instead challenges herself to become a politician.
If you’re curious about the political scene in Korea, this webtoon might be perfect for you.
I like how it captures reality, while adding a little bit of fantasy to make it a feel-good story.
Dragon Pearl is good if you’re interested in Korean politics. The scenes are pretty intense and can immerse you in the story.
Sunday: 대마법사의 딸 (The Archmage’s Daughter)
The Archmage’s Daughter is about a little girl who was left with mean foster parents, then meets her real dad.
Her father is the Archmage who adores her so much that he’ll do anything.
This cute webtoon makes me feel good after reading it.
If you love magic or fantasy, check it out!
The Archmage’s Daughter is a feel-good webtoon. The characters (other than the mean ones) adore the main character, putting smile on my face.
❤Complete: 나 혼자만 레벨업 (Solo Leveling)
It isn’t fair to judge a webtoon until it’s complete (even though I’ve done it multiple times in this post). So I’m totally comfortable saying Solo Leveling is one of the best ever, since it’s finished.
Solo Leveling is my “인생웹툰” (insaeng webtoon, which literally means “life webtoon” or favorite webtoon of my lifetime).
It’s an underdog story for the ages that stays good till the end.
This webtoon is about Hunters with magical powers being the last line of defense against monsters who are trying to invade humanity. It centers on Sung Jinwoo, the weakest of all the Hunters, and his struggles.
If you’re thinking “this sounds familiar”, you’d be right. But, it’s the storytelling and artwork that really distinguish this must-read webtoon.
As of now, there’s no English version. But, I’m sure you can *ahem* figure that out on the web.
Solo Leveling is the perfect example of a webtoon that’s good to the last drop. A must for any webtoon fan!
Did we miss anything?
Korean webtoons are becoming popular around the world. They’re great for learning Korean too!
Let us know your favorite webtoon in the comments.
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