11 K-Dramas That You May Not Have Known Were Based On Webtoons

For those of you who aren’t that familiar with webtoons, they are basically online comic books. One chapter is released weekly by the writer/illustrator and there are millions of readers who subscribe to these weekly updates. Some of the most famous K-dramas are based on webtoons/manhwa including “Princess Hours,” “Full House,” “Itaewon Class,” and more recently “The Uncanny Counter” and “True Beauty.” There really is no stopping this genre as it’s almost always bound to be a success! Here are 11 K-dramas that you may not have known were based on webtoons.

1. Lucky Romance

“Lucky Romance” is based on the webtoon written by Kim Dal Nim. It was released on February 15, 2014 and ran until November 22, 2014. The webtoon was adapted into a K-drama, which was written by Choi Yoon Kyo and the drama was released on May 25, 2016.

Starring Ryu Jun Yeol and Hwang Jung Eum, the story involves a woman named Bo Nui (Hwang Jung Eum) who works hard to help support her little sister’s hospital bills. She meets Soo Ho (Ryu Jun Yeol) who is a genius and owner of a game company. The two end up falling in love despite their differences.

You can watch “Lucky Romance” now:

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2. The Item

MBC’s “The Item” is based on the original webtoon written by Min Hyung and Kim Joon Seok. The webtoon was a success as a result of its fantasy and thriller genre. The first chapter of the webtoon was first published in March of 2017 and the drama was released on February 11, 2019. It starred Joo Ji Hoon and Jin Se Yoon.

The story is about a hot shot prosecutor named Kang Gon (Joo Ji Hoon) who risks his life to figure out the truth behind a particular item that exhibits superpowers. Joo Ji Hoon’s portrayal of the strong-willed, but warm-hearted Kang Gon is very memorable.

Watch “The Item”:

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3. Her Private Life

“Her Private Life” is a popular series starring Kim Jae Wook and Park Min Young. And although it was quite successful, many people were surprised to know that it was based off a novel written by Kim Sung Yeon in 2017. As a result of the novel’s success, it was later adapted into a webtoon in 2019 (written by Jun Hye Jin and illustrated by Kim Jin Hee).

With the combined success of the novel and webtoon, it was no surprise that this was adapted into a K-drama!

Start watching the drama:

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4. Extraordinary You

The K-drama “Extraordinary You” is about a world within a comic book where a supporting character by the name of Eun Dan Oh (Kim Hye Yoon) breaks through the fourth wall. She starts to realize her place in the comic book and desperately wants to change her fate.

This drama is based on the webtoon written by Moo Ryoo and was originally titled “July Found by Chance” (literal title). It was first published in January of 2018, and the K-drama aired on October 2, 2019.

Start binge-watching “Extraordinary You” :

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5. Dinner Mate

The healing drama “Dinner Mate” stars Song Seung Heon as a psychiatrist and Seo Ji Hye who works for a media company. The two meet by chance and decide to have regular dinners together, discussing anything that is going on in their lives.

This series is based on the webtoon written by Park Shi In, which is titled “Would You Like To Have Dinner Together?” The webtoon was released in 2013 and the drama was aired on May 25, 2020. It was a simple but refreshing concept that won readers over.

6. City Hunter

“City Hunter” garnered a lot of success in South Korea as it starred Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young. And although it’s not based on a webtoon, people may be surprised to know that the series is based on a very successful Japanese manga series. It was developed into an anime series, a Hong Kong film, video game, and eventually a Korean drama.

The K-drama premiered on May 25, 2011 and was so successful not only in Korea, but in Europe. It made Lee Min Ho a household name in Europe where he still continues to be well loved.

Start watching the series now:

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7. Mystic Pop-Up Bar

“Mystic Pop-Up Bar” stars Hwang Jung Eum, Yook Sung Jae, and Choi Won Young as three people trying to heal any sort of baggage in other people’s lives; this includes getting revenge on their behalf. The drama is based on the webtoon written by Bae Hye Soo which was published on June 1, 2016. The series doesn’t seem like it, but it’s got a bit of every element including action, love, revenge, fantasy – you name it! It’s really no wonder the webtoon (and drama) was a success.

8. Clean With Passion For Now

“Clean With Passion For Now” stars Kim Yoo Jung as Gil Oh Sol, a girl who doesn’t care much about cleanliness, and Yoon Kyun Sang, a wealthy CEO who suffers from mysophobia. The two clash in personalities, but are able to depend on each other which makes them fall in love.

The series is based on the webtoon written by Aengo. The drama and webtoon were both enjoyable in that it’s a slice of life story with a lot of comedic elements as well as romance. They did a great job of casting the two main leads and encapsulating the feel of the characters in the webtoon. Their charm and chemistry exuded on the small screen!

Catch the first episode of “Clean With Passion For Now”:

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9. Taxi Driver

“Taxi Driver” is one of the newer webtoon-based K-dramas on this list. It stars Lee Je Hoon as Kim Do Ki, a taxi driver whose job is to help oppressed people get revenge. The series is based on the webtoon written by Carlos and illustrated by Lee Jae Jin.

The series is jam packed with action and fight scenes, making it pretty exhilarating to watch. The webtoon also has a gritty and dark feel that makes it entertaining despite not being able to see the action in motion. This is obviously a testament to how talented the makers of it are.

Start watching “Taxi Driver”:

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10. Incomplete Life

“Incomplete Life” stars Im Si Wan, Lee Sung Min, and Kang Sora as ordinary office workers who are dealing with all the pangs and responsibilities of trying to maintain their job.

The webtoon was written by Yoon Tae Ho, and as a result of the humorous and relatable ways in which he was able to show this ordinary part of life, people were thrilled to hear that it would be made into a K-drama series. This drama took the nation by storm as it was able to depict the real life hardships and successes of common workplace people.

Start watching “Incomplete Life”:

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11. Navillera

“Navillera” is a healing drama starring Song Kang, Park In Hwan, and Na Moon Hee. It is about a 70-year-old retired mailman named Shim Deok Chul (Park In Hwan) who has always longed to be a ballerino. He meets Lee Chae Rok (Song Kang), an aspiring ballerino who is going through a lot of difficulties in life.

The webtoon is also titled “Navillera” and is written by Hun and illustrated by Ji Min. The webtoon was released on 2017 and was picked up fairly quickly to be made into a drama. It officially aired on Netflix on March 22, 2021 and has been receiving positive responses!

Hey Soompiers, which of these webtoon-based K-dramas is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG, but lately she has been seen obsessing over Hwang In Yeop. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!

Currently watching: “Unexpected Business,” “Vincenzo,” and “Taxi Driver
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden” and “True Beauty
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen

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