2020 was a challenging year for most, but one thing that seemed to soar in popularity was webtoons. These South Korean digital comics (more generally known as manhwa) are now being recreated as original anime series like God of High School on Crunchyroll and live-action dramas on Netflix, like Sweet Home.
If you’re interested in anime or comics, and curious to start reading webtoons, we have you covered. Here you’ll find where to read them, which webtoons stand out right now, and how to find the next series to binge.
Where to Find Webtoons
Different apps offer webtoon series, but the most popular place to read them is the app with a similar name: WEBTOON. Here you can read original stories or create and upload your own on the company’s subsite, Canvas. Some series have already been completed, while others are just starting. Different webtoons are updated on different days, depending on the author. It’s all free to read… though there are some small caveats.
There’s a desktop version that allows you to start reading series online, but you need to switch to the app if you want to read every chapter. Authors of webtoons can choose how many chapters you can read for free daily. If you just can’t wait another day to read more, WEBTOON offers in-app “coins” you can purchase that allow you to buy access to more content.
Prices for coins vary and, unfortunately, are not shareable. They’re linked to your account only. They also can’t be used across different devices. Also, there are no age restrictions for the app. Some authors will put a word of caution at the start of their series or chapters, but there is no way to restrict readers.If you allow your children to use WEBTOON, for instance, be aware they will be exposed to everything the creators put out.
What to Read (No Matter the Genre)
Webtoons have different genres, so there are plenty of options to check out. For the romance connoisseur, series like True Beauty, Midnight Poppy Land, or Lore Olympus will be right up your alley. Midnight Poppy Land is about a Mafia bodyguard falling in love with a book editor. True Beauty, which is also currently airing as a Korean drama, is about a comic book fanatic turned beauty guru torn between two inexplicably handsome men. Finally, Lore Olympus shows readers what happens when the Greek gods and goddesses think no one is watching…
Action series like Tower of God, Noblesse, or unOrdinary are for those more interested in reading about underdog lead characters battling antagonists to reach their goals. Think more shounen than shoujo, if you’re into manga. Tower of God follows Bam as he fights his way up the titular structure to achieve his dream. Will he survive or be betrayed? Noblesse follows Rai, an 800-year-old high school vampire that enjoys spending time with his human classmates and trying to protect them, as well as himself, from mysterious attackers. Both series have also been picked up by Crunchyroll and turned into anime. Last but not least, unOrdinary follows John, a more typical high schooler in a world where popular students have special abilities.
If things that go bump in the night suit you instead, genres like horror, thrillers, and supernatural suspense are what you want. As mentioned above, Sweet Home is currently on Netflix as a popular live-action Korean drama. Season one is already complete, but if you don’t want to wait until season two is released, the webtoon series is completed.
Sweet Home‘s writers also created a popular thriller, called Bastard, about a young man being groomed to be a serial killer.. Hive is another popular, recently completed, and slightly bizarre horror webtoon. The story follows a man named Lee. After gigantic bees take over his country, he fights to find and protect his family.
There’s even an informative genre of webtoon designed to help you get through your day-to-day life. For example, Cooking Comically blends comedy and recipes to teach you how to make everything from cookies, to chili, to pretzels. Whereas Staying Healthy Together is a collaborative series between WEBTOON staff and original series authors on how to stay healthy during the pandemic.
If choosing a webtoon by genre seems overwhelming, WEBTOON (the site) has a feature that allows you to find the most popular webtoons, regardless of genre. You can even find a series based on what’s popular according to different age groups.
No matter where you start, reading webtoons is just about guaranteed to be entertaining.. And we could all use some new, free entertainment right now. Hopefully, you’ll discover a new favorite way to pass your time during the pandemic! You can download the free app on the Apple App Store or Google Play.