Drama

Ongoing Dominance of Webtoons in Kdramas

Hey! my beloved readers and fellow drama fanatics, I am back again with another interesting article that I have been urged to write for a very very long time now.  If you all are also a K-drama fanatic like me then you might have already guessed what this article is all about.

Without further ado let’s get to it! Yes, that’s right! this article is all about the dramas being adapted from well known webtoons. Webtoons are gaining a lot of recognition these days, with their amazing plots and visuals of the sketches and loveable characters. In coming days it won’t be wrong to say that webtoons and K-dramas will go on hand to hand, whether it may be webtoons being adapted into K-dramas or dramas getting their webtoon’s counterpart. As you may already know, the popularity of webtoons is taking over as they are adapted to dramas, giving us more reasons to swoon over the flawless characters as they are. So in this article I am gonna talk about some of early adaptations and proceed with the recent ones.

First ever adaptation of a webtoon into a K-drama happened a while back in 2007, namely The Great Catsby. Ever since then there have been many more adaptations that came along on television screens. This was the time when webtoons started to make their way to the television screens. After that, many more webtoons were adapted throughout the years, like The Girl Who Sees Scents, Orange Marmalade, Hyde, Jekyll, Me, Cheese in The Trap to name a few.

My first ever K-drama that was adapted from a webtoon was What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim. Now there are a ton of webtoons adaptations to choose from, we get bombarded with a new adaptation every now and then. Without me writing too much on the intro, lets just get into it. In this article, I am gonna name some of the most watched and liked webtoons throughout the years, and my personal favorites.

What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim

A 2018 Drama adaptation, originally based on a novel of the same name, but later on adapted to a webtoon, starring Park Seo Joon, Park Min Young  and Lee Tae Hwan. Park Min Young plays the role of the dedicated secretary Kim Mi-So, and Park Seo Joon her narcissistic boss and VP of a multi conglomerate company, Lee Young-joon. Lee Tae Hwan takes on the role of Lee Young Joon’s brother and well known author Lee Sung Yeon. The story revolves around an office setting and takes us on a turmoil of romance comedy. The comedic timing as well as the sweet romance moments are what make this drama a must watch. The chemistry of the leads are on point. The drama is not only a fluffy romcom but also has elements of mystery, and is full of comic scenes that would make you indulge into the drama further.

Park Seo Joon
as Lee Young Joon
Park Min Young
as Kim Mi Soo
Lee Tae Hwan
as Lee Sung Yeon

My ID Is Gangnam Beauty

Also a 2018 adaptation of a webtoon of the same name, starring Im Soo Hyang, Cha Eun Woo, Jo Woo Ri and Kwak Dong Yeon. The drama centers around Kang Mi Rae who gets a plastic surgery done to stop herself from being bullied, but then the plan backfires when her secret comes out, and she becomes the target of men comments as her schoolmates start ridiculing her as an artificial beauty. The drama depicts the superficial beauty standards of South Korea. It deals with bullying occurring due to your outer appearance of being ugly.

Im Soo Hyang
as Kang Mi Rae
Cha Eun Woo
as Do Kyung Seok
Jo Woo Ri
as Hyun Soo Ah
Kwak Dong Yeon
as Yeon Woo Young

Her Private Life

Revolves around Sung Doek Mi, who works at the museum as a chief curator and if not doing so, fangirls over an idol group member, Cha Shi. She struggles to keep her secret from getting out, as the owner of the museum hates fangirls because of her daughter. Then comes our hero Ryan Gold, an US return who acts as the director of the museum and gets entangled with the curator when a misunderstanding creates havoc at the museum.

The drama is lit with fun and romantic moments that we crave for in a drama. The chemistry of the leads are on point. We get to see how a die hard fan does for their beloved idol, which is very much realistic in nature.

Park Min Young
as Sung Doek Mi
Kim Jae Wook
as Ryan Gold
Ahn Bo Hyun
as Nam Eun Gi

Love Alarm

This drama created a wave on its release. The unique setting of the drama, where a mobile application tells you if someone loves or likes you within a radius in a certain vicinity, giving out signals, hence the title Love Alarm. The drama revolves around Kim Jo Jo who happens to be the love interest of two men who are childhood friends, and the hurdles they face because of the feelings they have for each other. The webtoon was as popular as the drama. The drama has two seasons under its belt.

Kim So Hyun
as Kim Jo Jo
Song Kang
as Hwang Sun Oh
Jung Ga Ram
as Lee Hye Yeong

Extraordinary You

The protagonist of this series is Eun Dan Oh, who one day realises that the world she lives in is only a comic book fantasy world, where everyone is just a character from the Secret comic. She appears as a supporting character in the comic and has the weakest plot and worst setup. She resolves to take control of her destiny because she doesn’t want to lead such a pitiful life, and she begins tampering with the stories. While doing so, she encounters an unnamed person, whom she names Haru, and begins to alter the direction of her life, but as the proverb says, everything has a cost.

Kim Hye Yoon
as Eun Dan Oh
Rowoon
as Haru
Lee Jae Wook
as Baek Kyung

Itaewon Class

Lead by Park Seo Joon and Kim Da Mi, this 2020 drama revolves around the Danbam, a bar restaurant run by Park Sae Ro Yi, who opens the said restaurant after he is released from jail for the crime of attempted murder on Jang Geun Won, who is the son of the person who was responsible for the death of Sae Ro Yi’s father. At first his restaurant doesn’t work well, but then he meets Jo Yi Seo who helps him with strategic development of the restaurant.

The drama was well received both among the netizens and the citizens of Korea. It was also remade into a Japanese version of the drama titled Roppongi Class.

Park Seo Joon
as Park Sae Ro Yi
Kim Da Mi
as Jo Yi Seo

True Beauty

If you are a drama fanatic then you may already know about this drama. It was the most hyped drama during its course run. The drama deals with beauty that people can see, that is the outer appearance of a person. Revolving around our female lead Lim Joo Kyung, who was bullied for being ugly due to pimples on her face. After being humiliated at her old school by her crush and his friends, she moves to a new school but this time she takes the help of cosmetic and make up to pimp herself up. By doing so, she becomes immediately popular at her new school and starts to live her life happily, but past catches up to her. Then comes our hero who knows Lim Joo Kyung in her real self but still loves her no matter what.

This drama gave me the hardest second lead syndrome after Boys Over Flowers. I literally heard my heart shatter at the second lead as the episodes progressed.

Cha Eun Woo
as Lee Su Ho
Moon Ga Young
as Lim Joo Kyung
Hwang In Hyeop
as  Han Seo Joon

The Uncanny Counter

Story about people who hunt monsters lurking around in the neighborhood, and call themselves counter. They hunt down evils that have escaped the afterlife to feed on the living. In disguise, they run a noodle shop named Eonni’s noodles. So Moon, a boy with disabled limb, becomes the new counter after one of the previous counter dies. The drama surrounds mystery as well as thrill adventures of the four counters working at the noodle shop as well as keeping the city safe from evildoers.

Cho Byeong Kyu
as So Moon
Kim Se Jeong
as Do Ha Na
Yoo Joon Sang
as Gang Mo Tack
Yeom Hye Ran
as Choo Mae Ok

Sweet Home

One of the most hyped original Netflix series throughout its run. The drama is based on a webtoon of the same name where the world is at the verge of destruction as a sudden sort of virus breaks out. When the evil thoughts of people, sentiments and emotions like rage and anger result in people turning into monsters. Our hero Cha Hyun Soo is a loner and stays alone in his apartment. When the world is in chaos, it seems that he is immune or rather can control the emotions and keep himself from becoming a monster. The story further revolves around the struggles of the apartment building as they are locked inside and try their best to keep themselves alive amid this tremor.

Song Kang
 as Cha Hyun Soo

Lee Jin Wook 
as Pyun Sang Wook /
Wook Pyeon
Lee Do Hyun 
as Lee Eun Hyuk / Hyuk Lee

Park Gyu Young 
as Yoon Ji Su
Go Min Si 
as Lee Eun Yu / Eun Lee
Lee Si Young 
as Seo Yi Kyung 

Taxi Driver

A suspenseful series about a person who aids victims of wrongdoings in making amends. Kim Do-gi, a graduate of the military academy, works for a business that provides clients who have been wronged with a revenge call service and aids them in righting the wrongs. His method may not be the best, but following the incident involving his father, he lost all interest in assisting individuals who have been victimized. He does it because he was unable to get revenge on those who killed his mother.

Lee Je Hoon
as Kim Do Gi
Esom
as Kang Hana
Kim Eui Sung
as Jang Sung Chul
Pyo Ye Jin
 as Ahn Go Eun

My Roommate Is a Gumiho

Plot revolves around  Shin Woo Yeo, a 999 nine-tailed fox, a gumiho, working as a professor.  He wanted to become fully human and to do so, he collected energies from humans in a bead. He was close to his goal when by accident Lee Dam ends up swallowing the bead. As the story entails, when a human ends up swallowing the bead of a fox, he/she can live longer only for a year after the incident. So as to keep her from dying as well as for his goal of becoming a human, he explains everything to her and convinces her to live with him until he finds a solution for both of their problems.

Jang Ki Yong
as Shin Woo Yeo
Lee Hye Ri
as Lee Dam
Bae In Hyuk
as Gye Sun Woo
Kang Han Na
 as Yang Hye Sun
Kim Do Wan
as Do Jae Jin

Yumi’s Cells

Based on the webtoon of the same name, revolves around Kim Yumi as she faces hurdles in her day to day life, both professional and personal. The drama is produced in season format. Till date there are two seasons of the drama. The drama is a first of its kind in the Korean television as it uses both live action and animation to depict the story. The story stays true to its webtoon counterpart (Those familiar with the webtoon may already know what I am implying in this sentence. So, lets not spoil it for others).

First season takes place years after a heartbreak in Yumi’s life. She has moved on, now she has a crush on one of her junior at her workplace, which turns out to be an unrequited love. With her junior she agrees to go on a blind date with one of her junior’s acquittances. At first reluctant, she agrees to go. That’s when she meets Goo Woong. At first she is not interested to progress with him, but then she gives in and they start a steady relationship. The cells inside Yumi are happy as it has been long since Yumi dated someone. The story progresses as their relationship progresses deeper.
The drama was well received both internationally and nationally. The graphics of the animations, CGI are really cute and endearing.
Season two starts where season one left us. After breaking up with Woong, Yumi is reluctant to start a new relationship and gets busy in her office works. During this time she meets Yoo Babi who works at the finance department at the company she works in. Small talks lead to longer bonding and finally to a romantic path. They start an office romance keeping it secret from the coworkers.
The cute, sweet moments are endearing. The chemistry of the leads are swoon worthy. Watching them in a lovey dovey state makes you want to have a romantic affair of your own, wishing for the same to happen to you too.

Kim Go Eun
as Kim Yumi
Ahn Bo Hyun
as Goo Woong
Park Jin Young
as Yoo Babi

A Business Proposal

Most hyped drama series of 2022, revolves around our heroine Shin Ha Ri, who agrees to go to a blind date in place of her best friend Jin Young Seo, whose parents set it for future prospect of marriage. That’s how she meets Kang Tae Moo, our hero. She tries every possible way she could come up with so that he hates her and would reject her, but it backfires as he is dead set on marrying her. Misunderstanding leads to a romance blooming between them.

Kim Se Jeong
as Shin Ha Ri
Ahn Hyo Seop
as Kang Tae Moo
Kim Min Gue
as Cha Sung Hoon

Seol In Ah
as Jin Young Seo

Notable Mentions

The Tale of Nokdu

 Cheese in the Trap

Imitation

Hellbound

D.P.

Mystic Pop-Up Bar

Backstreet Rookie

All of Us Are Dead


Sources and credits: all the sources’ links are attached to their respective pictures.
Edited by: SumiTheCat (1st editor)
kdrama
adaptation
korean
webtoon
article
pagesto screen
tv-adaptation

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