Korean webtoons have captured the hearts of audiences worldwide, sparking a surge in their adaptation into Korean dramas. From gripping thrillers to heart-warming romances, the marriage between webtoons and K-dramas has given rise to a huge selection of must-watch shows.
Sit back and relax as we bring you 21 irresistible K-dramas that drew their origins from webtoons!
Doona!, adapted from the popular webtoon “The Girl Downstairs,” follows the life of Lee Doo-na (played by Bae Suzy), a former K-pop sensation who decides to step away from the limelight. As Doona struggles to adapt to a life outside of the K-pop industry, she crosses paths with her neighbour Lee Won-jun (played by Yang Se-jong), a college freshman who has no idea who Doona is.
This K-drama highlights the challenges faced by celebrities who are constantly subjected to public scrutiny. The romance between Doona and Won-jun is a welcome touch, making for plenty of heartfelt moments. Director Lee Jung-hyo’s casting of Bae Suzy was the perfect choice, as her personal experiences as a K-pop idol allowed her to breathe life into her character!
Watch Doona! on Netflix.
Adapted from the webtoon of the same name, Mask Girl follows Kim Mo-mi, an office worker how is insecure about her looks but desires to be in the spotlight. She is an online streamer by night, donning a mask to conceal her real face. As her popularity continues to skyrocket, Mo-mi is faced with a number of ill-fated events that take over her life.
A dramatic and hard-hitting drama, the storyline takes twists and turns which follows Mo-mi’s attempts to simply be loved. The casting includes stars Nana, Ahn Jae-hong and Yeom Hye-ran, creating an intense whirlwind of events.
Watch Mask Girl on Netflix.
Moving is a sensational new K-drama that rose to the top spot on Disney+ for the most-watched K-drama globally within just a week of release. Anchored by A-list stars Han Hyo-joo, Zo In-sung, and Ryu Seung-ryong, it delivers a gripping narrative, captivating audiences with its storytelling and high-octane drama.
Featuring a trio of gifted high schoolers, “Moving!” weaves a coming-of-age tale infused with superpowers, friendships, and teenage drama. As the story unfolds, viewers dive into intense action sequences and emotional character backstories, beautifully portrayed by the stellar cast.
Watch Moving on Disney+.
Based on the webtoon of the same name, “Sweet Home” follows the life of Cha Hyun-soo (played by Song Kang), who moves into a new apartment after a series of tragic events. Soon, terrifying monsters appear which trap the residents of the apartment building. This K-drama is a mix between the horror and thriller genres – picture a zombie apocalypse but with monsters.
The eagerly anticipated second season is scheduled to premiere on December 1! It promises even more thrills and mysteries as the survivors navigate new challenges in a world where human desires manifest into monstrous forms.
Watch Sweet Home on Netflix.
All of Us Are Dead
Remaining on Netflix’s Top 10 chart for almost 11 weeks following its release, All of Us Are Dead was an instant hit amongst the audience. Originally written by Joo Dong-geun, the story centers around a zombie outbreak at Hyosan High School. The students have to fight for their lives and figure out a way to escape, or risk being infected. Beyond the zombie-themed action, the story also touches on deeper topics like society’s failure to look out for the well-being of youth.
This webtoon-inspired K-drama is super binge-worthy with its gruesome visuals and thrilling plot that leaves viewers anxiously awaiting what happens next. Season 2 is in the works, with filming reported to start in 2024.
Watch All Of Us Are Dead on Netflix.
A Good Day To Be A Dog
Newly released in October this year, this K-drama is about the life of Han Hae-Na (played by Park Gyu-young), a high school teacher with an extraordinary secret. Due to an ancestral curse, her family transforms into dogs for six hours every night if she kisses someone. This leads to problems with Hae-Na’s love life, especially when she kisses Jin Seo-won (played by Cha Eun-woo), a fellow teacher at her school who has a fear of dogs.
A Good Day To Be A Dog has all the elements of a lighthearted rom-com. Park Gyu-young and Cha Eun-woo’s chemistry is delightful to watch, and the show maintains the essence of the webtoon with an engaging storyline, heartfelt moments and cuteness overload from the pups!
Watch A Good Day To Be A Dog on Viu.
Daily Dose of Sunshine
“Daily Dose of Sunshine,” based on the webtoon of the same name, centers around Jung Da-eun (Park Bo-young). She is a nurse transitioning to a challenging role in neuropsychiatry. Da-eun navigates unfamiliar territory with support from Chief Nurse Song Hyo-jin (Lee Jung-eun). Dr. Dong Go-yun (Yeon Woo-jin), specializing in proctology, discovers an unexpected connection with Da-eun, drawn by her genuine nature. As they grow closer, Da-eun learns that there is more to Woo-jin’s personality that lies beneath his cheerful demeanor.
This medical K-drama delves into the often-overlooked topic of mental health. It addresses depression, social stigma, and the need for better healthcare environments. The theme of romance is woven subtly intro the storyline, while the main focus is on showcasing the importance of empathy, understanding, and healing.
Watch Daily Dose of Sunshine on Netflix.
Itaewon Class follows Park Sae-ro-yi (played by Park Seo-joon), whose life takes a tumultuous turn after a tragic accident that killed his father. Seeking justice, he confronts Jang Geun-won (played by Ahn Bo-hyun), heir to the powerful Jangga Group, but this lands him in jail. Upon release, Sae-ro-yi opens DanBam restaurant in Itaewon, vowing to take revenge against Jangga Group.
The series drew much acclaim for its immersive storytelling, stellar performances, and captivating OST, notably V’s ‘Sweet Night.’ It features an impactful storyline inspired by the original webtoon which happens to include many business lessons and advice. Fans have lauded it for having good character development, especially Yi-seo’s transformation from a fierce personality to a more empathetic figure.
Watch Itaewon Class on Netflix.
Adapted from the webtoon written by Bae Jin-soo, ‘Money Game’ is a reality web series that ventures into the intense realm of a money-driven challenge. The show follows eight individuals who are forced to live in isolation with a chance to split a pot of money at the end of the contest. Whatever necessities they choose to buy including food and water have to be bought at 100 times the normal price, and will be deducted from the pot of money.
As the game unfolds, the ugly side of each contest reveals itself, engaging with each character’s complex personalities and their journeys throughout the game. Following the wild popularity of the show, Money Game was also made into a web series in the US, becoming the first Korean webtoon to do so.
Watch Money Game on Youtube.
“Business Proposal” follows Shin Ha-Ri (played by Kim Se-jeong), a company employee who finds herself in a tangled web of mistaken identities and unexpected romance. When her longtime crush reveals he has a girlfriend, Ha-Ri agrees to stand in for her friend Jin Young-seo on a blind date with CEO Kang Tae-Moo (played by Ahn Hyo-seop), intending to sabotage the date. However, things take an unexpected turn when Tae-Moo, determined to marry the woman from the date, proposes to Ha-Ri, thinking she’s Young-Seo.
One of the highlights of this K-drama was Se-Jeong’s brilliant portrayal of Ha-Ri! The series blends comedy and romance together, and the adorable chemistry between the leads makes it delightful to watch. With only 12 episodes, the show manages to weave a fast-paced yet engaging narrative, leaving viewers wanting more from this entertaining and heartwarming webtoon-based romantic comedy.
Watch Business Proposal on Netflix.
Kingdom is Netflix’s first original Korean series to debut, premiering in 2019. The story revolves around crown prince Lee Chang (played by Ju Ji-hoon), whose kingdom is in jeopardy due to a fast-spreading infectious epidemic. As he attempts to save his homeland, he also has to deal with dissidents who are attempting to overthrow the King’s rule.
This K-drama features a fast-paced narrative lined with unexpected plot turns that reveal the treachery of characters driven by the hunger for power. The show masterfully keeps the zombie and monarchical elements distinct until they converge towards a powerful climax. The cinematography features some stunning locations and aerial shots, which add depth to the storytelling.
Kingdom was adapted from a popular webtoon “The Kingdom of Gods,” penned by Kim Eun-hee and illustrated by Yang Kyung-il, released in 2014 on YLAB.
Watch Kingdom on Netflix.
Yumi’s Cells is a K-drama centered around Yu-Mi, a single working woman navigating life after a breakup. Her journey through romance, work, and personal growth becomes a vibrant canvas as her brain’s cells, embodying various emotions like love, violence and rationality actively guide her through the ups and down in her life.
Kim Go-Eun’s portrayal of Yumi offers a relatable and nuanced performance, allowing viewers to connect deeply with her character. Just like in the webtoon, the animated cells provided an insight into Yumi’s own thoughts and feelings. Through the life of Yumi, the show explores the realities of dating and the complexities of relationships, making it a must-watch!
Watch Yumi’s Cells on Amazon Prime.
True Beauty is a K-drama adapted from the popular webtoon by Yaongyi. Lim Ju-kyung (played by Moon Ga-young) is a high schooler plagued by insecurities about her appearance. Her remarkable makeup skills transform her into a beauty, concealing her perceived flaws and skyrocketing her popularity overnight.
As Ju-kyung navigates the challenges of school life, she encounters Lee Su-ho (played by Cha Eun-woo), a wealthy classmate, and Han Seo-jun (played by Hwang In-youp), a talented student and former idol trainee. As the story unfolds, the trio become entangled in a love triangle that tests their friendships.
This K-drama drew praise for its remarkable depth and social commentary on bullying and self-esteem. It features a strong cast with resemblance to the webtoon characters, adding to its allure. It addresses real-life issues while delivering light-hearted and touching moments, making it a must-watch!
Watch True Beauty on Netflix .
Hellbound is a riveting K-drama directed by Yeon Sang-ho, adapted from his own webtoon of the same name. Set in South Korea from 2022 to 2027, angelic faces suddenly appear, delivering prophetic decrees that condemn individuals to Hell at precise future moments. Accompanying these decrees are monstrous beings, appearing to violently incinerate the condemned in a terrifying spectacle known as a demonstration.
Amidst this supernatural chaos, two powerful organizations—the New Truth Society and the Arrowhead group—manipulate societal fears to wield influence and control.
“Hellbound” blends together themes of judgment, societal manipulation, and personal anguish, blurring the lines between fate and free will. As characters grapple with their intertwined destinies, the narrative examines the disturbing impact of these prophecies and the power wielded by fear.
Watch Hellbound on Netflix.
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim
What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim spins a charming webtoon tale into an engaging K-drama, capturing the hearts of its audience with its delightful storyline and endearing characters.
Lee Young-joon (played by Park Seo-joon), a vice-chairman of a prominent corporation, faces a difficult decision when his talented secretary of nine years, Kim Mi-so (played by Park Min-young), decides to resign. Determined to keep her by his side, he orchestrates various plans to persuade her to stay. This romantic journey unfolds against the backdrop of Young-joon’s efforts and Mi-so’s quest to uncover a mysterious childhood trauma. As their bond strengthens, they find solace in each other’s past traumas while navigating the complexities of their evolving relationship.
With loads of humour and plenty of cheesy moments, this K-drama is a truly heart-warming watch perfect for those looking for a light-hearted romantic comedy.
Watch What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim on Disney+.
Touch Your Heart
In this K-drama, star actress Oh Jin-shim (played by Yoo In-na) deals with the aftermath of a scandal that has put her career on hiatus. In the meantime, she takes on the role of a secretary to lawyer Kwon Jung-rok (played by Lee Dong-wook). Eventually, love blossoms between the both of them.
Touch Your Heart is a classic feel-good K-drama which also gives a realistic portrayal of the entertainment industry’s challenges. The show beautifully depicts its characters’ transformations, particularly Jung-rok’s evolution from a reserved attorney to a caring and affectionate partner. Just like the webtoon it was based on, Touch Your Heart received high praise from its audience who fell in love with the storyline and the performance by the cast.
Watch Touch Your Heart on Netflix.
The Golden Spoon
Based on a popular Korean webtoon, The Golden Spoon is set in an elite high school where only the wealthiest students thrive. Lee Seung-cheon (Yook Sung-jae), hailing from a struggling family, discovers a magical golden spoon that allows him to switch bodies with his wealthy classmate Hwang Tae-yong (Lee Jong-won). As he gets accustomed to his new life, things start taking a turn as he has to deal with the implications of his newfound riches.
The highly talented cast, comprising veteran actors and rising stars, embarks on a thrilling challenge portraying multifaceted characters. This K-drama masterfully weaves suspense, tension, and romance, leaving viewers captivated until the compelling end. Its moral complexity, exceptional character development, and stellar performances make it a must-watch for fans of the mystery thriller genre.
Check out our full review of The Golden Spoon here.
Watch The Golden Spoon on Disney+!
Connect is inspired by Shin Dae-sung’s webtoon of the same name. The story revolves around Dong-soo (played by Jung Hae-in), a man with extraordinary regenerative abilities. After escaping from an illegal organ harvest, he realizes he is missing one eye – transplanted into a notorious serial killer, Jin-seob (played by Go Kyung-pyo). As Dong-soo grapples with haunting visions of Jin-seob’s murderous acts, he becomes embroiled in a murder investigation led by Officer Choi (Kim Roe-ha).
This dark thriller series boasts remarkable emotional depth, portraying Dong-soo as a relatable character navigating shame and vulnerability due to his unique abilities. His journey to break free from a damning fate and yearning for acceptance resonates with viewers. Director Takashi Miike’s vision elevates the show with visually striking scenes, including eerie corpse art sculptures and unsettling CGI effects, enhancing the narrative’s chilling ambiance.
Watch Connect on Disney+.
Memorist unravels the enthralling tale of Dong Baek (played by Yoo Seung-ho), a detective with a remarkable ability to delve into people’s memories. When a series of sinister murders occur, Dong Baek collaborates with the skilled criminal profiler Han Sun-mi (played by Lee Se-young) to stop the killer. They soon discover that their dark pasts have a connection to the string of murders.
This mystery thriller K-drama offers spine-chilling suspense and plenty of plot twists that keeps its audience guessing. Beyond the psychology of murder, it ties in elements of human sacrifice, spirits, and unexplained phenomena.
Watch Memorist on Viu.
Based on a webtoon of the same name, Vigilante brings to life the story of Kim Ji-yong (played by Nam Joo-hyuk), scarred by his mother’s tragic murder and the failure of the judicial system to enforce justice. Witnessing his mother’s assailant escape with a light sentence, Ji-yong takes matters into his own hands. By day, Ji-yong is a model student at the police university, but as the weekend arrives, he becomes a vigilante who enforces brutal justice on criminals who slip through the cracks.
Vigilante is a riveting psychological thriller that presents a dark narrative centered around the failings of justice.The show adeptly crafts a complex anti-hero, with Nam Joo-hyuk delivering a striking performance that ranges from romantic lead to action-driven character. Read our full article on Vigilante here.
Watch Vigilante on Disney+.
Extraordinary You is inspired by the webtoon ‘July Found by Chance’ that blurs the line between fiction and reality. Eun Dan-oh (Kim Hye-yoon), a high school student, stumbles upon the startling revelation that her existence is merely a character in a comic book titled ‘Secret,’ orchestrated by an all-knowing Writer. Dan-oh, labeled as an extra, is confronted with a heart-wrenching fate: an engagement to her crush who despises her, coupled with a looming heart condition destined to cut her life short.
Refusing to succumb to this scripted destiny, Dan-oh rebels against the Writer’s control, determined to rewrite her own narrative and find true love. Her path crosses with the enigmatic Student Number 13, whom she names Haru (played by Rowoon), sparking a forbidden romance. However, as their story unfolds, Dan-oh has to deal with the consequences of her tampering with fate.
This one-of-a-kind drama takes a jab at traditional romantic clichés while still embracing them, offering a delightful blend of satire and heartfelt storytelling. The exceptional cast breathes life into complex characters, from Dan-oh’s spirited rebellion against her predetermined fate to Haru’s subtle yet profound expressions of love.
Watch Extraordinary You on Viu.
K-Dramas Based On Webtoons
Which of these webtoon-based K-dramas will you be binging on next? While you’re here, be sure to check out our compilation of the best law dramas as well!