20 K-Dramas You Didn't Know Were Based on Webtoons

Finished watching these K-dramas? Read up on their original webtoons next!
by Jam Nitura for Preview.ph   |  Apr 16, 2022
Image: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Kakao Webtoon, Business Proposal/SBS
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The production of movies and TV series as adapted from popular books or comics is a common practice in the entertainment world. It’s all the same even in South Korea which is well known globally for its thriving drama industry wherein the only difference, of course, is the source material. In case you didn’t know, SK often a develops a number of their TV series each year by taking from famous webcomics often published on websites made for the medium such as Naver Webtoon and Daum Webtoon

Curious as to how the live-action series differs from its original comic? Below we list down some of the popular webtoons adapted to TV in recent years. And yes, they're all available for streaming online too!

20 K-Dramas Based on Webtoons:

1. What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim (2018)

Watch on: Neflix,Viu

Misunderstandings ensue and new relationships take root when the loyal secretary of a company's narcissictic Vice Chairman unexpectedly decides to quit her job. What's Wrong With Secretary Kim originated from a novel of the same name by Jung Kyung Yoon before it was adapted into web comic in 2015. Three years later, South Korean broadcast company tvN picked up the story for a full-fledged TV series. 

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Starring: Park Seo JoonPark Min Young, Lee Tae Hwan 

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY KakaoPage, Whats Wrong With Secretary Kim/TVN

Check out the original webtoon here. 

2. Itaewon Class (2020)

Watch on: Netflix

Ex-con Park Saeroyi and his misfit group of employees work to turn their modest bar into the number one pub in Itaewon. Reaching their goal turns out to be an uphill battle as they deal with the ruthless CEO of Jangga Co., a.k.a. the man responsible for setting off a chain of events that landed Saeroyi in jail in the first place.

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Starring: Park Seo JoonKim Da MiKwon Nara, Ahn Bo Hyun

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Daum Webtoon, Itaewon Class/JTBC

Check out the original webtoon here. 

3. Rugal (2020)

Watch on: Netflix

The sci-fi action series follows Kang Gi-beom, a promising police detective whose wife is murdered by a terrorist group named ARGOS. When approached by a special organization dedicated to eradicating ARGOS, he agrees to a risky operation that soon turns him into a deadly human weapon. The original series was written and drawn up by an author credited online as Rel.mae.

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Starring: Choi Jin Hyuk, Park Sung Woong, Jo Dong Hyuk, Han Ji Wan

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Rugal/OCN

4. Backstreet Rookie (2020)

Watch on: iQIYI

Backstreet Rookie originated from the webtoon titled Convenience Store Saet-byul which was first published online in 2016. It tells the story of a 29-year-old convenience store manager named Choi Dae-hyun and his part-time worker Jung Saet-byul. The pair first met three years ago when Saet-byul was still a trouble-making highschooler. They cross paths once again and find themselves working together at Dae-hyun's family-owned convenience store.

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Starring: Ji Chang Wook, Kim Yoo Jung, Kim Min Kyu, Ahn Sol Bin 

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Toptoon.com, Backstreet Rookie/SBS

Check out the original webtoon here. 

5. Strangers from Hell (2019)

Watch on: Netflix, Viu

Also known as Hell is Other People, this webtoon-based Korean Drama trails an aspiring crime fiction writer whose move to a new apartment building is plagued by odd events and eerie neighbors. The aforementioned webtoon of the same name was originally published on Naver Webtoon as authored by Kim Yong Ki.

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Starring: Lee Dong Wook, Im Si Wan

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Naver Webtoon, Strangers From Hell/OCN

Check out the original webtoon here. 

6. Cheese in the Trap (2016)

Watch on: Netflix, Viu

Determined over-achiever Hong Seol resumes her college studies after a year-long break brought on by her poor financial background. Her return proves to be anything but peaceful when she gets involved with her deceptively kind senior Yoo Jung, an intelligent and wealthy company heir with deep-seated trust issues. Cheese in the Trap was also serialized on Naver Webtoon in 2010. Its popularity earned the webcomic a live-action adaptation while the series was still ongoing, hence the webtoon and the K-drama feature different endings.

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Starring: Kim Go Eun, Park Hae Jin, Seo Kang Joon

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Naver Webtoon, Cheese in the Trap/TVN

Check out the original webtoon here. 

7. Extraordinary You (2019)

Watch on: Netflix, Viu

The series starts with Eun Dan-oh, a wealthy 17-year-old student with a debilitating heart disease. After catching wind of the odd gaps in her memory, she's soon told that she's actually a supporting character in a webtoon. Now aware of her circumstances and her inevitable secondary role in life, Dan Oh sets out to find true love all while scheming to bypass the author's plans for her. Funnily enough, the show's peculiar plot originated from a web comic titled July Found by Chance as first published on Daum Webtoon.

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Starring: Kim Hye Yoon, SF9's Rowoon, Lee Jae Wook

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Daum Webtoon, Extraordinary You/MBC

Check out the original webtoon here. 

8. The Tale of Nokdu (2019)

Watch on: Netflix, Viu

Jeon Nok-du, a brilliant swordsman, lives a peaceful life with his father and older brother on an island during the Joseon dynasty. The plot starts when their status quo is disturbed by a group of female assassins targeting his family for unknown reasons. In an attempt to uncover the group's motive, Nok-du chases after one of their assailants into a widowed village where he diguises himself as a woman. This historical drama is based on the 2014 webtoon by Hye Jin Yang.

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Starring: Jang Dong Yoon, Kim So Hyun, Kang Tae Oh

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Naver Webtoon, The Tale of Nokdu/KBS2

Check out the original webtoon here. 

9. Love Alarm (2019)

Watch on: Netflix

Three high school students try to navigate their relationships as they come of age in a world run by a phone app that tells you if someone in your vicinity harbors romantic feelings for you. The original webtoon of the same name by popular manhwa author Cheon Kye Young was first published on Daum webtoon in 2014.

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Starring: Kim So Hyun, Song Kang, Jung Ga Ram

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Daum Webtoon, Love Alarm/Netflix

Check out the original webtoon here. 

10. Mystic Pop-Up Bar (2020)

Watch on: Netflix

Featuring a fantastical premise based on a webtoon titled Twin Tops Bar, this JTBC drama follows the proprietors of a mysterious pojangmacha or an outdoor drinking establishment, that only opens at night. Together, a part-timer and his boss enter the dreams of customers that happen by their bar as they set out to solve their problems.

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Starring: Hwang Jung Eum, Yook Sung Jae 

&k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Daum Webtoon, Mystic Pop-Up Bar/JTBC

Check out the original webtoon here. 

11. Business Proposal (2022)

Watch on: Netflix

The only plan was to pose as her best friend on a blind date and scare the guy away. But when Shin Ha-ri discovers that the man she’s supposed to intimidate is her company’s CEO, their scheme gets turned on its head. Things only get worse when her boss proposes to her out of nowhere. Adapted from the original webtoon named The Office Blind Date, this hilarious office romance is definitely a must-watch and a must-read. 

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Starring: Kim Sejeong, Ahn Hyo Seop, Seol In Ah, Kim Min Kyu 

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Kakao Webtoon, Business Proposal/SBS

Check out the original webtoon here

12. All of Us Are Dead (2022)

Watch on: Netflix

From the original webtoon titled Now at Our School, this thriller drama tells the story of an ordinary high school which then becomes the ground zero for a deadly virus outbreak that turns the infected into zombies. Having lost their classmates to the virus, a group of students are forced to navigate their way through the undead-infested campus in order to come out alive.

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Starring: Park Solomon, Yoon Chan Young, Cho Yi Hyun, Park Ji Hoo

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Webtoon, All of Us Are Dead/Netflix

Check out the original webtoon here

13. Tomorrow (2022)

Watch on: Netflix

After getting involved in a dangerous accident that lands him into a coma, Choi Joong-woon is greeted by a group of grim reapers recruiting him to join their crisis response team in the underworld. Unemployed with nothing else better to do, he joins forces with the group as they save the lives of people with suicidal tendencies. 

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Starring: SF9’s Rowoon, Kim Hee Sun, Yoon Ji On, Lee Soo Hyuk

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Webtoon, Tomorrow/MBC

Check out the original webtoon here

14. Yumi’s Cells (2021)

Watch on: iQIYI

While suffering from a broken heart after a painful breakup, Kim Yumi’s love cells fall into a coma. All hope is not lost, however, when she meets Goo Woong, an emotionally detached game developer that somehow makes her love cells spark back to life. As they get closer, the two will find out whether their cells are enough to keep them in love.

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Starring: Kim Go Eun, Ahn Bo Hyun, Jinyoung

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Webtoon, Yumis Cells/TVN

Check out the original webtoon here  

15. D.P (2021)

Watch on: Netflix

Based on the Lezhin webtoon named D.P Dog’s Day, this military drama follows Ahn Joon-ho, a young man serving his mandatory military service. His assignment is to capture military deserters, but he soon discovers the painful experience every enlistee has to go through and the politics inside the Korean military. 

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Starring: Jung Hae In, Koo Kyo Hwan, Lee Jun Young

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Webtoon, DP/Netflix

16. Nevertheless (2021)

Watch on: Netflix

When a girl who wants romance but has a cynical view of love meets a shameless flirt who thinks the idea of being in a committed relationship is a waste of time, things are bound to get complicated. Nevertheless tells the story of a budding romance between two people who could not be more different from one another. But when their friendship blossoms into something more and feelings are thrown into the mix, they will soon realize that maybe love is not so hopeless for them after all. 

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Starring: Song Kang, Han So Hee, Chae Jong Hyeop, Lee Ho Jung, Yoon Seo Ah

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Webtoon, Nevertheless/Netflix

Check out the original webtoon here

17. Hellbound (2021)

Watch on: Netflix

Supernatural beings start to appear in Seoul, informing the people burdened with sin when they’re going to die, then condemning them to hell when the time comes. Because of all this chaos, a religious cult rises into power. However, a few people grow suspicious of the group and start investigating its involvement in this strange and dark phenomenon. 

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Starring: Yoo Ah In, Kim Hyun Joo, Kim Mi Soo

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Webtoon, Hellbound/Netflix

Check out the original webtoon here

18. My Roommate Is a Gumiho (2021)

Watch on: Netflix, iQIYI

Shin Woo-yeo has it all: he’s handsome, wealthy, and smart. Oh, and he’s also a 999-year-old gumiho, a nine-tailed fox from Korean mythology. In order to become human, he needs to collect human energy in a bead before he turns 1000 years old. His careful plan takes a dire turn when university student Lee Dam accidentally swallows his bead. It can only stay inside a human body for one year before it dissolves and kills the person who’s swallowed it. In order to save her life and get back his only chance at becoming human, Woo-yeo suggests they live together until they come up with a solution that can both save their lives.

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Starring: Jang Ki Yong, Lee Hye Ri, Kang Ha Na

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Webtoon, My Roommate Is a Gumiho/TVN

Check out the original webtoon here

19. The King’s Affection (2021)

Watch on: Netflix

A princess consort gives birth to twins, a boy and a girl, during a time when it is seen as a harbinger of misfortune. Wanting both of her children to survive, she makes the painful decision to send her daughter away, only for her to return to the palace as a maid years later. After her twin dies from a tragic accident, their mother convinces her to assume the identity of her late brother and soon lay her claim on the throne. 

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Starring: Rowoon, Park Eun Bin, Nam Yoon Su 

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Kakaopage, The Kings Affection/Netflix

Check out the original webtoon here

 20. Navillera (2021)

Watch on: Netflix

Navillera tells the heartwarming story of two aspiring ballet dancers faced with the harsh realities of life. Shim Deok-chool is a 70-year-old who’s always wanted to try ballet. As a young man, he had to push this dream aside in order to support his family. Now that he’s retired, he decides to give his life-long passion another go. Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Lee Chae-rok is a gifted ballet dancer, but with financial shortcomings weighing him down, he has to quit the activity altogether. As the two cross paths, they help each other rekindle their love for ballet and live the lives they’d always dreamt of.

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Starring: Song Kang, Park In Hwan

k-dramas based on webtoons
PHOTO BY Tapas, Navillera/Netflix

Check out the original webtoon here

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This story originally appeared on Preview.ph.

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* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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