The Top 15 K-Dramas Adapted from Manhwa

Manhwa to K-Drama: The Top 15 K-Dramas Adapted from Manhwa for 2023

K-Dramas Adapted from Manhwa

Defining Manhwa

Manhwa, a term originating from Korea, refers to a genre of Asian comics and print cartoons. Unlike its Japanese counterpart, manga, manhwa is read from left to right, aligning with the Western reading style. This form of storytelling has evolved over the years, incorporating various themes and styles, making it a rich and diverse medium for storytelling.

Top 15 Manhwa to K-Drama Adaptation

1. Rugal

Rugal poster

This adaptation focuses on a police officer who seeks revenge after being targeted by a criminal organization. He joins a group of bio-engineered soldiers to fight against the crime syndicate.

2. Backstreet Rookie

Backstreet Rookie

This series tells the story of a convenience store manager and a former troublemaker who starts working at his store. It explores their quirky and romantic adventures.

3. Itaewon Class

itaewon class

This drama follows the story of an ex-convict who opens a bar-restaurant in Itaewon and strives to compete against a major food company. It’s a tale of perseverance, romance, and ambition.

4. My ID Is Gangnam Beauty!

My ID Is Gangnam Beauty

This series addresses the issues of beauty standards and identity. It revolves around a young woman who undergoes plastic surgery to avoid ridicule but faces new challenges in college.

5. Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver

Adapted from a webtoon, this series stars Lee Je Hoon as Kim Do Ki, a taxi driver who helps oppressed people get revenge.

6. Hell Is Other People (Strangers From Hell)

Hell Is Other People Strangers From Hell

This thriller focuses on a young man’s chilling experiences in a strange apartment building.

7. The Uncanny Counter

The Uncanny Counter

Based on a webtoon, this drama revolves around a group of demon hunters known as ‘Counters’ who come to Earth under the guise of being employees at a noodle restaurant in order to capture evil spirits.

8. All Of Us Are Dead

All of Us Are Dead

This series is a zombie apocalypse drama set in a high school, where students are trapped and must fight for survival.

9. Hellbound


A unique story where supernatural beings appear out of nowhere to condemn people to hell, creating chaos and a cult following.

10. Extraordinary You

Extraordinary You

In this romantic fantasy, a high school girl discovers she is a character in a manhwa and strives to change her predetermined fate by altering the story’s plot and finding her true love.

11. Orange Marmalade

Orange Marmalade

Set in a world where vampires and humans coexist, this drama focuses on the challenges and romance between a vampire student and a popular human classmate.

12. A Business Proposal

A Business Proposal

This romantic comedy involves a woman who goes on a blind date in place of her friend only to find out that her date is her company’s CEO.

13. What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?

Whats Wrong with Secretary Kim

This romantic series follows the story of a narcissistic vice president of a large corporation and his highly capable secretary. It explores their evolving relationship when she decides to resign from her position.

14. Sweet Home

Sweet Home

This horror-thriller series is about a reclusive high school student who moves into a new apartment after a family tragedy, only to face a series of bizarre and frightening circumstances.

15. Cheese in the Trap

Cheese in the Trap

This drama focuses on the life of a hardworking college student and her complicated relationship with a seemingly perfect senior who harbors a dark side.

Notable Manhwa to K-Drama Adaptations

Overview of the K-Drama Industry

The K-Drama industry, known for its Korean television dramas, has gained international acclaim and a massive following, especially in Asia. These dramas are characterized by their unique blend of emotional storytelling, appealing fashion, and cultural richness. The industry has seen a significant rise in popularity due to the “Korean Wave” and is known for its diverse genres, including romance, historical, action, and more. The production of K-Dramas often involves a single director and screenwriter, ensuring a unique style and consistency in storytelling.

Listing and Discussing Key Adaptations

Key adaptations include “Boys Over Flowers,” which became a massive hit in Korea and internationally, and “The Bride of Habaek,” which showcased the fantasy elements prevalent in many manhwas.

Impact of These Adaptations on Viewership

These adaptations have significantly impacted viewership, attracting fans of the original manhwa and new viewers, thereby expanding the audience base for K-Dramas.

The Rise of Manhwa Adaptations in K-Dramas

Historical Context and Recent Trends

The integration of manhwa into K-Dramas is a relatively recent trend, reflecting the growing popularity and international reach of both mediums. This fusion has led to the creation of visually rich and narratively complex television series, resonating with a global audience.

Popular Examples of Adaptations

Some notable manhwa adaptations into K-Dramas include “Full House,” “Goong,” and “Orange Marmalade.” These shows have successfully translated the unique elements of manhwa into the television format, capturing the essence of the original works while reaching a broader audience.

Why Manhwa Appeals to K-Drama Producers

Manhwa appeals to K-Drama producers due to its rich and diverse genres, offering a plethora of stories and themes to explore. The visual appeal and unique storytelling styles of manhwa provide a fresh and creative source of content for K-Dramas, differentiating them from other forms of television series.

Challenges in Adapting Manhwa to K-Drama

Maintaining Original Essence

One of the primary challenges in adapting manhwa to K-Drama is maintaining the original essence and spirit of the source material. This involves faithfully translating the visual style and narrative tone of the manhwa into a different medium.

Audience Expectations and Reactions

Adaptations must also navigate audience expectations, balancing the desires of manhwa fans with the broader K-Drama audience. This often requires careful creative decisions to ensure a successful adaptation.

Success Factors of Manhwa-Based K-Dramas

What Makes Some Adaptations More Successful Than Others

The success of manhwa-based K-Dramas often hinges on how well the adaptation captures the original’s unique elements while presenting a compelling and accessible story for television audiences.

Analysis of Popular Manhwa Adaptations

Analyzing popular adaptations reveals common factors such as strong character development, faithful representation of the manhwa’s world, and a well-structured narrative that resonates with both manhwa fans and new viewers.

Future of Manhwa Adaptations

Upcoming Adaptations to Watch Out For

The future looks bright for manhwa adaptations, with several exciting projects in the pipeline. These upcoming adaptations are expected to continue the trend of bringing unique and compelling stories from manhwa to the small screen.

Predictions for Trends in Manhwa-Based K-Dramas

Predictions for future trends include a continued emphasis on diverse genres, innovative storytelling, and the exploration of new themes that resonate with contemporary audiences.


Summarizing the Impact of Manhwa on the K-Drama Industry

The integration of manhwa into K-Dramas has had a profound impact on the industry, introducing new storytelling possibilities and expanding the audience base. This trend has enriched the cultural landscape of Korean television and has contributed to the global popularity of K-Dramas.

Final Thoughts on the Future of This Trend

The future of manhwa adaptations in K-Dramas looks promising, with potential for continued growth and innovation. This trend is likely to further solidify the global influence of Korean cultural exports and bring new dimensions to the world of television drama.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Manhwa?

Manhwa refers to Korean comics and print cartoons, known for their diverse themes and storytelling styles.

How are Manhwa and Manga Different?

While both are forms of Asian comics, manhwa is typically read from left to right, and often reflects Korean cultural themes, differing from the Japanese manga.

Why are Manhwa Adaptations Popular in K-Dramas?

Manhwa adaptations offer rich and diverse storylines, visual appeal, and unique storytelling styles, making them attractive to K-Drama producers.

What are Some Challenges in Adapting Manhwa to K-Drama?

Challenges include maintaining the original essence of the manhwa, meeting audience expectations, and effectively translating the visual style to television.

What Makes a Manhwa Adaptation Successful?

Successful adaptations often feature strong character development, faithful world-building, and a narrative that appeals to both manhwa fans and broader audiences.

What is the Future of Manhwa Adaptations in K-Dramas?

The future is likely to see continued innovation, with adaptations exploring diverse genres and themes, further enriching the K-Drama industry.

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