11 Awesome K-Dramas Based On Webtoons
Books, comics, and webtoons have always been a source of inspiration when it comes to shows. The ever-growing popularity of webtoons in South Korea saw may of them being given a K-drama make over. Here are 11 such awesome K-dramas which are based on webtoons and might star some of your favorite actors.
“There are times when you’re faced with things that you just can’t tolerate. You don’t need to be on anyone’s side but your own.” These empowering words by Park Sae Roy (Park Seo Joon) give an insight into the strength of his character. His life has gone horribly wrong, from his father’s tragic death to being wrongly expelled from school and even serving a jail term. The ones who have perpetrated these atrocities against him are the richest family in Seoul, who own the biggest chain of restaurants. With his future in shambles, Sae Roy is an underdog who dares to dream and never gives up on himself. Once out from prison, he opens his own restaurant called “Dan Bam,” a small endeavor that only gets bigger in time and becomes a force to be reckoned with. Sae Roy also takes people along with him, empowering them and instilling confidence in those who work with him. And Jo Yi Seo (Kim Da Mi), a feisty and spunky social media influencer and whiz, plays a large part in his success. Infatuated with him, she becomes an integral part of his world.
“Itaewon Class” is outstanding. The show addresses many issues from the rampant corruption in capitalist societies to the class divides and LGBTQIA+ issues as well as racism. The drama is all about second chances in life and how everyone has the right to start over. Stellar performances by Park Seo Joon, Kim Da Mi, and Ahn Bo Hyun make this one an unmissable watch. Gaho’s chart-topper track “Start Over” also became an anthem of sorts and a motivation to never give up against all odds.
Lim Ju Gyeong (Moon Ga Young) is a high school student who has been relentlessly bullied and mocked for her looks. When her family moves to another neighborhood, Ju Gyeong gets an opportunity to reinvent herself. She learns the art of makeup by watching videos online and transforms her looks and accentuates her features. Now in her new school, she is regarded as a “goddess” of sorts and rates high on the popularity quotient. She also finds herself in the middle of a heart-wrenching love triangle between the aloof Lee Su Ho (Cha Eun Woo) and “bad boy” Han Seo Jun (Hwang In Yeop), who are former friends but now sworn enemies.
“True Beauty” is a light-hearted, feel-good drama with a strong message on how the relationship with the self is first and foremost. The chemistry between the three actors is sparkling, and the classic second-lead syndrome will gnaw at your heart.
Start watching “True Beauty”:
“Once Upon A Small Town”
A handsome and reserved Seoul-based veterinarian, Han Ji Yool (Chu Young Woo) is tricked into an interim relocation to the countryside and starts his practice at his grandfather’s veterinarian clinic. You feel his plight. He does not belong here—he is a man who likes his space and can’t deal with the over-friendly and inquisitive town folk and neither has he ever treated livestock or large animals before. In comes the town’s favorite person: the dependable and super-efficient police officer Ahn Ja Young (Joy). Her overly helpful nature and smiling personality make her a favorite amongst the town folk. Ja Young’s congenial nature initially irks the self-contained Han Ji Yool, who even looks perplexed by her besotted gazes and knack to show up wherever he is. The famous K-drama trope of childhood connections comes into play, with Han Ji Yool who is yet to remember that Ja Young is his bestie from a long-forgotten summer. The third angle is Ja Young’s best friend Lee Sang Hyun (Baek Sung Chul), who has feelings for her, and his overprotective antennas are on overdrive with the arrival of Ji Yool.
The show is something akin to popping a “happy pill” as it transports you into an uncomplicated world of blue lakes, green paddy fields, and peach orchards. The tight-knit township that comprises of a motley crew of friendly yet curious neighbors and the many farm animals for company make it a perfect watch to destress.
Who would have thought that the office would be a dream setting to meet the love of your life? Lee Young Joon (Park Seo Joon), the handsome and a self-confessed narcissist, is the heir to a fortune. He has forever been dependent on his super efficient secretary Kim Mi So (Park Min Young). So when Mi So decides to call it a day and resign, it leaves Young Joon in a dilemma. Though in his characteristic way he acts as if it would not make a difference, he soon realizes the importance of Mi So and cajoles her to stay. It is only a matter of time before Young Joon finds himself attracted toward her and completely falls in love with Mi So. The favorite K-drama trope of childhood connections also makes its way into the narrative as it shows a passionate office romance unfold between the boss and his secretary.
“What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim” is a winner all the way. Funny, cheesy, and of course with steamy chemistry between Park Seo Joon and Park Min Young, all these things make this drama worth your while.
Start watching “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim”:
“A Business Proposal”
This drama hits the sweet spot as it brings in all the classic romance tropes possible in a delectable office romance. Shin Ha Ri (Kim Sejeong), a food researcher, helps her heiress bestie Young Seo (Seol In Ha) by stepping in as a blind date on her friend’s behalf. The date in question is Kang Tae Moo (Ahn Hyo Seop), the dapper CEO of Go Foods, who has no time for love and is not interested in dating, let alone getting married. But to bide time and ward off his drama-binging grandfather’s constant demands to get married, Tae Moo asks Ha Ri to enter into a contractual relationship. It’s not long before Tae Moo is smitten by Ha Ri, and by the time she reveals her truth, the man is hopelessly in love with her. But they are not the only ones who have a love story unfolding. Young Seo falls hard for Tae Moo’s best friend and chief right-hand man Cha Sung Hoon (Kim Min Kyu).
The steamy chemistry peppered with some swoon-worthy romantic moments as well as oodles of laughter and slices of misadventures make “A Business Proposal” the perfect binge-watch.
The central point in this drama is the complicated relationship between the two students Hong Seol (Kim Go Eun) and Yoo Jung (Park Hae Jin). Hong Seol works hard and hustles to maintain her grades and her keep in college. Yoo Jung, on the other hand, has wealth written all over his face but can also be strangely mysterious and overbearing. His cold personality and strained relationships with those around him have a lot to do with his past. And these aspects of his persona make Hong Seol fear and avoid him. But in his own brusque way, Yoo Jung starts caring and looking out for Hong Seol, and she gets to see glimpses of his personality which are not as dark as she imagined. There are also the Baek siblings, Baek In Ho (Seo Kang Joon) and the loud, gold-digging, over-the-top Baek In Ha (Lee Sung Kyung), who plant themselves into Hong Seol and Yoo Jung’s world.
“Cheese in the Trap” realistically encapsulates campus life. The tension and psychological mind games between the two characters had viewers riveted, so much so that there were several discussions over how the end panned out. Park Hae Jin is an underrated talent and is effortless in his portrayal of the complex Yoo Jung. He is also complemented by the versatile Kim Go Eun.
Start watching “Cheese in the Trap”:
Yumi (Kim Go Eun) once aspired to be a writer but is now an office worker whose life seems as mundane as her job. Yumi is shy and a cautious sort of a person who has also blocked love from her life after her previous relationship ended. But love comes knocking when she meets Woong (Ahn Bo Hyun), a video game creator, and the two develop a relationship and eventually fall in love. However, they go their separate ways as Woong wants to establish himself and struggles in maintaining his relationship with Yumi. But Yumi is not alone for long—her co-worker from the marketing team Yoo Babi (Jinyoung) had always made his interest known. Way more confident, Yumi willingly opens herself to new love and is also encouraged by Babi to pursue her passion of writing. But she also runs into Woong, now a successful CEO, who feels he could have a second chance with Yumi.
A cleverly executed drama, both seasons of “Yumi’s Cells” blend live action with 3D animation. The show narrated through the perspective of her cells, which control her many thoughts, actions, and emotions, strike a chord. Kim Go Eun is very relatable as Yumi and is a very natural actor. Ahn Bo Hyun and Jinyoung fit into their characters seamlessly, so much so that viewers found themselves divided between Team Woong and Team Babi.
Start watching “Yumi’s Cells”:
There are some actors who go to any lengths to fit into their roles. Superstar Yoon Seo (Yoo In Na) does exactly that when she starts working at a law firm to prepare for her next role which is that of a lawyer. However, she finds herself assigned as a secretary to Kwon Jung Rok (Lee Dong Wook), a workaholic and aloof attorney, who is the opposite of her vivacious and naive personality. Unlike the rest of his colleagues, Jung Rok is not taken in by Yoon Seo’s starry presence. On the contrary, he finds her vain and extremely exasperating in work matters. Not before long, Jung Rok realizes that Yoon Seo is a pure-hearted and honest person beyond her frivolous exterior. As a classic case of opposites attract, the couple has a few hurdles to cross before their happily ever after.
“Touch Your Heart” is a breezy and simple love story. The drama sheds light on the fickle nature of the glamorous industry and societal judgments, which go hand in hand. Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na’s onscreen compatibility is easy on the eyes, and the two actors complement each other.
Start watching “Touch Your Heart”:
After the demise of his parents, seven-year-old Seo Hae Bom (Ok Jin Uk) is compelled to move in with an adoptive family. They have a young son named Jo Tae Sung (Kang Hee), who is the same age as Hae Bom. The two end up in the same high school and end up spending time together. Tae Sung is sought after in school not only for his looks but also for his amiable personality. Hae Bom is in awe of Tae Sung and is also a bit self conscious since he feels lacking in many ways. The two are drawn toward each other and find themselves in the middle of an unexpected romance.
A sweet and tender boys love (BL) story, this drama saw a surge in popularity for its uncomplicated narrative and endearing performances by the actors.
Start watching “Cherry Blossoms After Winter”:
Dong Baek (Yoo Seung Ho) is a hard-working detective who possesses the unique ability to read people’s minds and in actuality revisit their memories. Dong Baek teams up with Han Sun Mi (Lee Se Young), a criminal profiler, after the city is rocked by a string of brutal serial killings. Both race against time to nab the killer, but as they delve deeper into the case, things get darker and convoluted. As shocking truths about their troubled pasts are revealed, this drama keeps you on tenterhooks.
A very cleverly written show with a plot-driven narrative, “Memorist” has a lot going for it, and the actors keep up the momentum while never once lagging or faltering.
Start watching “Memorist”:
A rigid yet rational computer science student, Chu Sang Woo (Jaechan) is assigned to a liberal arts group project, but when the other group members leave him to do all the work, he removes all their names. This makes him clash with one of his group members, popular design student Jang Jae Young (Park Seoham). Sang Woo’s actions have directly impacted Jae Young’s college credit, throwing a spanner in his dreams to study abroad. Though Jae Young plans to torment Sang Woo, a strange attraction develops between the two.
Another one in the BL genre, this pacy and cute drama was well received. And the classic “opposites attract” trope is highlighted by its engaging and charming characters.
Start watching “Semantic Error”:
Hey Soompiers, which one of these K-dramas is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Puja Talwar is a Soompi writer with a strong Yoo Tae Oh and Lee Junho bias. A long time K-drama fan, she loves devising alternate scenarios to the narratives. She has interviewed Lee Min Ho, Gong Yoo, Cha Eun Woo, and Ji Chang Wook to name a few. You can follow her on @puja_talwar7 on Instagram
Currently watching: “King the Land” and “See You in My 19th Life.”