Have you ever heard of manhwa? If you are an Asian comic book enthusiast or simply love good stories, get ready to embark on an incredible journey through the 11 best manhwas of all time!
As the title suggests, most of the works presented here have already won Japanese animations or had a Korean anime, or even a drama. If not, it is very likely that the work will win an anime adaptation or TV production in the future.
Manhwa is the name given to comics originating in South Korea, just as manga is for the Japanese and manhua for the Chinese. We recommend reading: What is manhwa, manhua and manga? What are your differences?
With their rich storylines, detailed illustrations and endearing characters, manhwas have won over fans around the world. Grab your favorite beverage, snuggle up and come experience these masterpieces that will change your life!
One of the things I like most about manhwa is that most of them are in color, unlike manga which are usually black and white or line drawings.
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Author and brief history: Solo Leveling is a work by Chu-Gong that started as a web novel and was adapted into a manhwa by Dubu (REDICE Studio) in 2018. Since then, it has won fans around the world with its fantasy action story.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: The story follows Sung Jin-Woo, South Korea's weakest hunter, who after a nearly fatal mission, awakens unique abilities that transform him into a "solo player". We follow his evolution, his challenges and epic battles as he becomes the most powerful hunter in the world. Solo Leveling captivates readers with its engaging narrative, well-developed characters, and breathtaking illustrations.
Impact and legacy: Solo Leveling has broken barriers, expanding the reach of manhwas to audiences of different cultures. Its popularity is so great that it has spawned a loyal and passionate fandom eager for an anime adaptation.
Tower of God
Author and brief history: Tower of God is a webtoon created by SIU (Slave In Utero) in 2010. With a complex and intriguing story, it has become a global phenomenon and a reference among manhwas.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: The plot follows the journey of Twenty-Fifth Baam, a young man who enters the mysterious Tower in search of his childhood friend, Rachel. Inside the Tower, he faces challenges, encounters allies and enemies, and uncovers dark secrets. Tower of God stands out for its rich and unpredictable narrative, charismatic characters and an extensive and mysterious universe that instigates readers' curiosity.
Impact and legacy: Tower of God's popularity is so great that it led to the production of an anime in 2020. In addition, the work inspired many artists to create their own stories, consolidating the genre.
The God of High School
Author and brief history: The God of High School is a manhwa written and illustrated by Yongje Park. Released in 2011, it quickly gained popularity due to its gripping plot and incredible action scenes.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: The story follows Jin Mori, a young man with exceptional martial arts skills who is invited to participate in a tournament called "The God of High School". Participants fight each other for the right to have a wish granted. Over the course of the tournament, Jin and his friends face increasingly powerful opponents and become involved in a plot involving divine powers and secret organizations. The dynamic action, charismatic characters and fantasy elements make this manhwa an exciting read.
Impact and legacy: The God of High School also received an anime adaptation in 2020, demonstrating its success and popularity. The manhwa helped shape the action-adventure genre in Korean comics and continues to be a staple for fans and artists alike.
Author and brief history: Noblesse is an action and supernatural manhwa created by Son Jeho (screenwriter) and Lee Kwangsu (illustrator), also known as “Jaryuu Dokuro”. The series started in 2007 and concluded in 2019, with a total of 544 chapters.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: Noblesse tells the story of Cadis Etrama Di Raizel, a noble vampire who awakens after 820 years of sleep. He reunites with his loyal servant Frankenstein and enrolls in a local school to learn about the modern world. The story features a blend of action, comedy and drama as Raizel protects his friends and faces powerful enemies, including other nobles and secret organizations. With its captivating narrative and well-developed characters, Noblesse has captured the hearts of manhwa fans.
Impact and legacy: Noblesse also had an anime adaptation in 2020 and received several spin-offs and prequels. The series is widely considered a mainstay of the supernatural genre and has influenced many manhwas that followed.
Author and brief history: Unordinary is a manhwa created by Uru-chan, an American artist and writer of Korean descent. The story began publication in 2016 and quickly became a hit, attracting readers from all over the world.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: Set in a world where almost everyone has superpowers, Unordinary follows the life of John, a seemingly powerless student who attends a school for people with special abilities. As the story unfolds, we discover that John hides a dark past and unimaginable power. The series addresses themes such as discrimination, injustice and friendship, providing an engaging and deep narrative. With its intriguing plot and complex characters, Unordinary is an exciting and thoughtful read.
Impact and legacy: Unordinary is one of the few manhwas that has achieved global success, being especially popular with Western readers. The series is known for its innovative and mature approach to relevant themes, inspiring other creators to address social issues in their works.
Author and brief history: Sweet Home is a horror-thriller manhwa created by Kim Carnby and illustrated by Hwang Young-chan. The story began publication in 2017 and quickly became popular for its gripping storyline and terrifying atmosphere.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: Sweet Home follows the story of Cha Hyun-soo, a reclusive student who moves into a new apartment after the death of his family. Shortly after their move, a mysterious apocalypse takes place, turning people into bloodthirsty monsters. Hyun-soo and the other residents of the building fight for survival while facing their own inner demons. With its intense storyline, memorable characters, and haunting artwork, Sweet Home offers readers a unique and terrifying experience.
Impact and legacy: Sweet Home was adapted into a hit series by Netflix in 2020, proving the work's popularity and potential. The manhwa is a notable example of how the horror genre can be exploited in Korean comics, leaving a lasting mark on the industry.
Author and brief history: Bastard is a suspenseful psychological drama manhwa created by brothers Kim Carnby and Hwang Young-chan, the same team behind Sweet Home. Published between 2014 and 2016, Bastard quickly became popular for its gripping narrative and intriguing characters.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: The story follows Jin Seon, a high school student who lives with his father, a seemingly normal man who hides a disturbing secret: he is a serial killer. Jin is forced to help his father with his crimes, while struggling with his own conscience and trying to protect a new friend at school. With surprising twists and an intense narrative, Bastard keeps readers glued until the end.
Impact and legacy: Bastard is often cited as one of the best psychological drama and suspense manhwas. The work is known for its unique and dark approach, influencing future stories of the genre. In addition, the series attracted a huge number of fans and was adapted into a successful series by Netflix, cementing its position as one of the best manhwas of all time.
Author and brief history: Killing Stalking is a psychological thriller and horror manhwa created by Koogi. Published between 2016 and 2019, the story quickly caught readers' attention for its intense plot and disturbing characters.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: The story follows Yoon Bum, a lonely young man who is obsessed with Sangwoo, a college classmate. When he decides to break into Sangwoo's house, Bum discovers that his object of desire is, in fact, a sadistic serial killer. Trapped and abused, Bum finds himself spiraling into violence and obsession. Killing Stalking is a dark and disturbing read, with a plot that explores the limits of the human mind and the nature of love and hate.
Impact and legacy: Killing Stalking is known for its controversial plot and complex characters, and is often debated among manhwa fans. The series won several awards and helped expand the reach of the psychological thriller and horror genre in Korean comics, inspiring other artists to explore similar themes.
I Love Yoo
Author and brief history: I Love Yoo is a romance drama manhwa created by Quimchee. The story began publication in 2016 and quickly gained popularity among readers due to its gripping narrative and realistic characters.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: The story follows Shin Ae Yoo, a young woman who, after a series of unfortunate events, finds herself caught up in the lives of two wealthy and attractive brothers, Kousuke and Yeong-gi. While dealing with his own issues and insecurities, Shin Ae begins to learn more about love, friendship, and the complexities of human relationships. I Love Yoo stands out for its mature and realistic approach to the romance genre, featuring multidimensional characters and exploring themes of personal growth and self-acceptance.
Impact and legacy: I Love Yoo is considered one of the best romance and drama manhwas, gaining a huge number of fans around the world. The series continues to influence new artists and writers, showing how innovative and engaging the romance genre can be.
Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint
Author and brief history: Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint is an action fantasy manhwa, adapted from the webnovel of the same name, written by Sing-Shong and illustrated by Sleepy-C. The story began publication in 2020 and quickly gained popularity due to its original premise and endearing characters.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: The plot follows Kim Dokja, an obsessive reader of a webnovel called “Three Ways to Survive the Apocalypse”. When the real world begins to transform into an apocalyptic scenario similar to the one in history, Kim Dokja discovers that she possesses knowledge of future events and special abilities thanks to her obsessive reading. Now, he must use this knowledge to protect himself and his friends while facing incredible enemies and challenges. Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint stands out for its intelligent narrative, well-developed characters, and an engaging and exciting storyline.
Impact and legacy: Omniscient Reader's Viewpoint quickly became a hit, being praised for its originality and creativity. The series has been an inspiration to other authors and artists, showing how to combine elements from different genres and media to create innovative and interesting stories.
Dice – The Cube That Changes Everything
Author and brief history: Dice is a fantasy drama manhwa written and illustrated by Yun Hyunseok. The story began publication in 2013 and has won a loyal fan base for its intriguing premise and endearing characters.
Synopsis and why it's awesome: Dice follows the life of Dongtae, an unpopular and unattractive student who discovers a mysterious life-altering piece of information. Dice, when rolled, award points that can be used to improve skills or physical attributes. As more people discover the existence of the data, things start to spiral out of control, leading to a series of dramatic and dangerous events. Dice addresses issues such as bullying, self-image and ethics, providing an engaging and reflective plot.
Impact and legacy: Dice is known for his creative and unique approach to fantasy storytelling, combining elements from games and reality. The series attracted a diverse audience and continues to be a staple for manhwas that explore social themes and moral issues.
With these recommendations, we hope you have an amazing experience exploring the world of manhwas. Each work features a unique and captivating narrative, unforgettable characters and an enduring legacy. Whether you're an avid reader or new to manhwa, these titles are guaranteed to be an exciting and engaging read.