The popularity of manhwa has been on an upward trajectory in recent years, and that’s one of the best things to happen. Long-time manga readers are now taking note of the incredible stories coming out of South Korea. And that’s the topic of today’s article, listing down the best manhwa for you to read if you are a beginner!
While manga comes in black-and-white format and may get a colored version later, manhwa generally come in full color. A few years ago, not many people were aware of manhwa (or webtoons), but it has started gaining popularity in Japan and worldwide, and there are a couple of reasons behind that.
One of the biggest reasons, in my opinion, is the insane success of titles like Solo Leveling, Tower of God, Noblesse, The God of High School, and others that grabbed the attention of otakus all over the world, and they embraced these titles wholeheartedly because they are just so awesome. Plus, some top manhwa titles have also started getting anime adaptations!
And these are not the only titles worth reading; there are literally a ton of best manhwa and Korean webtoons out there that will hook you immediately.
If you haven’t read any manhwa but are interested in starting it, I have compiled a list of some popular manhwa below, which would be a perfect starting point. But beware, once you start reading, you will keep reading more and more, and that’s exactly what I am after!
The Best Manhwa & Korean Webtoons in 2023
33. Weak Hero
Bullying is common nowadays and has cost many lives. It’s mostly common in schools and colleges where it has become a tradition. In one such school, tormenting and bullying the weakest have been a hobby of many. For a student who doesn’t know how to survive, the chances of survival are closer to zero.
In the moment of crisis arises a hero named Gray. At first glance, one can’t judge him, but he is OP and would blow one’s mind. This Weak Hero aims to end this cycle of daily bullying and teach these tyrants a lesson. If you like school manhwa, where the MC is OP, then mate, you can’t afford to miss this one. Besides, watching the bullies getting beaten up by a handsome hero is so much fun.
32. Who Made Me A Princess
Without a doubt, Who Made Me A Princess is an epic manhwa. Everything about this manhwa is the epitome of love, whether gorgeous heavenly characters, a father-daughter duo, or its fantastic plotline. The story revolves around a Korean girl who opened her eyes to the world of the fantasy novel she was reading.
So, to survive in this world, she tries her best to avoid the incidents resulting in her terrible death. However, she didn’t know things were different here. Her scary father turns out to be the best in the world.
In the world of this fantasy novel, our heroine meets many fun characters. With their help, she solves different problems. After a series of events, she becomes close to her father. However, things become serious when the antagonist enters and does dark magic on her father, Claude. Without spoiling the plot, I would say that this manhwa has got it all!
31. The Girl And The Geek
The Girl And The Geek is a pretty incredible love story that will touch your hearts because, for many, it would be relatable. Many of us dream of our lover as ideal as one could be, but destiny has something else in store for us. This is the cute story of Go Nanhee and the nerdiest Oh Deokhoo. The ideal girls are from the game world for the boy, while our heroine is head over heels for celebrities.
Their love story began when the girl was doing her cleaning job, and the boy’s precious things got lost. Now because it was her duty time, she had to work a lot to find that. But even if she finds it, how would the story flow? To know, let’s give this one a shot, as I hate giving spoilers.
30. What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim?
I am guessing you must have watched the drama with the same name. Whether you’ve watched it or not, I recommend reading its manhwa version. You got it right. This manhwa became so popular that it ended up being released as a TV drama. It’s the love story of a secretary and her boss. That sounds a bit typical, but trust me, it isn’t.
The fun is doubled when the handsome hero is arrogant outside but a goodie at heart. The interesting part of What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim begins when our secretary Kim decides to leave her job after working for 9 years. She was the best worker, and we can guess why. Of course, tolerating a demanding boss ain’t easy. When the heroine is about to leave, would the boss stop her?
Noblesse is not a popular anime; if you know this one, then be proud. This one also gained popularity from its webtoon, one of the most popular ones out there, and later got its anime adaptation. The plot focuses on the life of a handsome and overpowered Noble who was asleep for more than 800 years. After opening his eyes and waking to a different era, he took some time to learn things in the present world.
The ones who know this legend fear him and are afraid to even point a finger at him. However, the story is no fun if there are no villains. If you love action, superhuman powers, and an overpowered MC, grab your popcorn and give this one a shot.
28. The Archmage Returns After 4000 Years
The Archmage Returns After 4000 Years is again a manhwa that is worth reading. It follows the story of an Archmage named Lucas Trowman. His life was not less than a hell where he had to live just like a prisoner. After being imprisoned for 4000 years in the dark abyss, he finally finds himself in the body of a high schooler. Sounds dramatic? Well, life is no fun without a bit of drama.
Lucas soon discovers that the high schooler, whose body he is in now, is the weakest guy who is literally untalented in magic. But that’s not exactly a problem for the archmage as he quickly gets to work on fixing that by training to become strong based on his experience.
27. Villains Are Destined To Die
Villains Are Destined To Die is literally one of the best manhwas at the moment. The story is about a Korean girl who found herself in the game she was playing. While playing the game, she could not win the favor of Callisto Regulus. He is the crown prince, feared by everyone. Since Penelope knew the game’s story, she tried her best to gain the favorability of all the possible lead characters.
But things become fascinating when she meets the deadly Callisto in person. To save herself from a terrible death at his hands, Penelope confesses her love for him. You and I know that she said that only to free herself, but things get complicated. If you are curious to learn more about this beautiful love story accompanied by action and magic, then you know what to do.
26. The Boxer
The Boxer is the story of a boy named Yu who has been a target of bullies for a long time. He has been through so much that now he doesn’t feel like living his life; for him, life doesn’t matter. However, things change when he meets a great boxer; as we can guess, he becomes his student.
Well, it’s not that he didn’t know how to fight. He was pretty talented but nervous about choosing to fight back. Things become entertaining when our boy decides to get into action.
25. Mage & Demon Queen
To describe this manhwa, Mage & Demon Queen, in just two words would be pretty easy as it is a romantic comedy. This GL manhwa features a girl who tries her best to win the queen’s heart. Malori is a wise mage who wishes to defeat the queen; however, her ways are quite different. Unlike others, she plans almost everything and vows to win the Demon Queen’s heart.
Others think the other way, where they become stronger than ever to fight against her. If you like comedy, fantasy, and a blend of almost everything, don’t miss this one.
What do you say about revenge stories? You will love reading this one if you crave such stories. GOSU is an action-packed and entertaining story of a boy who vows to avenge his teacher’s death. He is a martial artist who trains to be the best day and night.
Finally, after a lot of struggle, there comes a day when he finds himself closer to his goal. He starts looking for the killers and the bad guys, but the twist begins when he discovers that all of them are dead. Now, what would he do? I am sure you must be curious right now, so without wasting time, get ready to read it.
23. So I Married the Anti-Fan
So I Married the Anti-Fan is yet another crazy love story, but it’s even more intriguing this time. We are fans of Korean superstars. I mean, who would say no to such handsome boys? However, not everyone likes them, and one among them is our heroine Geunyeong. She vows to bring misfortune to the superstars who are loved globally.
Things become interesting when fans become eager to see the anti-fan and the celebrity’s heated arguments. To maintain his sweet image, Hoo Joon tries his best to be as sweet as possible. We all can guess it’s a love story, but is it possible for an anti-fan to fall in love with the one she hates? The webtoon gained immense popularity, and its fans got the best gift of their life with its K-Drama adaptation.
22. Teenage Mercenary
Being a mercenary sounds cool only when you want to be one. Life is not good when you are forced to do a certain task. The same happens with our hero Ijin. His life was no less than hell. He experienced a lot in his life right from his childhood. First, his parents died in a plane crash, and second, he was forced to be a mercenary.
After being a mercenary for years, he finally gets a chance to live his life freely, returns to his homeland, and is reunited with his grandfather and younger sister. However, life doesn’t come easy as he has to survive in college, which he finds very difficult. And his past as a mercenary is not exactly done with him either. So, make sure to read Teenage Mercenary, as there’s a reason why I included it in the best manhwa list of the year!
21. Let’s Play
As we can guess by the name, Let’s Play is a story about a game lover who dreams of creating games. Finally, after a lot of struggles, this gorgeous girl becomes successful. Unpredictable is how you define life, and thus begins the fun.
A guy dislikes her game and gives it low reviews. Of course, reviews matter a lot for one’s career. The twists begin when she learns that the one who gave him a review is none other than her neighbor. Well, this is an overall romantic story.
SubZero is another romantic webtoon that follows the tale of a prince and princess. People like this story for multiple reasons: number one is its beautiful characters, and number 2, the main leads, weren’t on good terms.
They get married only to save their lands from the eternal war. It often happens when one is forced to marry someone they dislike. So the same goes for our protagonists. However, that makes their love story absolutely perfect. It is entertaining to watch these enemies fall in love with each other over the course of multiple chapters.
19. I Love Yoo
Best love stories are made when you don’t believe in love at first. The same goes for our cute Shin-Ae. She was living a mundane life, fed up with troubles and tragedies, till she met a guy. Let me correct that part; everything changed when she met two wealthy brothers.
You guys might have guessed by now that this is the suspense. Who will be her true hero? If you like romance accompanied by handsome male leads, you will love reading I Love Yoo!
This manhwa, titled Ordeal, is another revenge story of a man named Che. He wants to take revenge on the murderers of his masters, but he is living in a world of overpowered humans known as “Kimyos.” The story wasn’t very intriguing when Che never considered defeating his opponents.
We know a hero is not a hero if he gives up easily, right? Things become interesting when he learns that he might be the strongest Kimyo. Imagine what would occur if one is bestowed with the power of the sun. Now, try to comprehend the level of power our hero wields!
17. Safely Endangered
The reason why Safely Endangered is one of the best manhwa is that it’s hilarious; in fact, everything about this webtoon is comedic. So if you want to cheer yourself up and are okay with the cartoonish characters, then you can read this one. This one doesn’t have beautiful characters as the art is pretty unique, making it intriguing.
It is pretty silly, and you won’t find it logical at times. But still, for some, it is enjoyable to read. There is no big story in the webtoon. It’s just fun to read this comic, as it’s full of comedy. Besides, it has very short chapters/episodes.
16. True Beauty
How can we miss adding this to our list of the best manhwa in recent times? Do you want to put your time to good use? Then True Beauty should be your next read.
We all must have been through the criticism of people about one thing or another. You are undoubtedly lucky if you never got to experience it. However, everyone experiences it once or twice in their life. This manhwa features the story of a girl who was bullied for her looks, and almost everyone used to humiliate her.
One day she proposed to her crush, but he turned her down, and after some time, she transferred to another school. Before joining the school, she decided to do a makeover, and there you go. The makeover made her so beautiful that people couldn’t resist looking at her. In her new school, she meets two boys who end up falling for her, but what would happen when they learn about her true beauty?
15. Nano Machine
Nano Machine is the story of a guy named Cheon Yeo Woon, who lived a troublesome life until he met his descendant from the future. His life took a sharp turn when his descendant implanted a “Nano Machine” inside Cheon’s body.
Just imagine such advanced technology in an era where people didn’t know about it. Won’t that be life-changing or, in fact, a thing that can change history? With the help of the nano-machine, Cheon takes control of his life and starts climbing the ladder of the political structure of his sect, all the while becoming stronger than his enemies, who only want to see him fall. This manhwa has action, suspense, and an intriguing plot and is worth your time!
14. Disguised As A Male Secretary
This amazing manhwa follows a girl who begins as a secretary by disguising herself as a male. Everyone knows her as the man capable of dealing with the devil boss. She is working there for a reason. Things become interesting when she starts intriguing the vice president, aka her evil boss. It is a story that is full of comedy and drama.
It’s so fun to watch the hero showing interest in the so-called male secretary despite being straight. He himself wonders why he feels attracted to him. Grab your favorite meal to have fun if you like rom-com and slice of life as a combo because Disguised As A Male Secretary is definitely worth a read!
13. Sweet Home
The story of Sweet Home revolves around a high schooler whose life is full of tragedies and troubles. His worst memory is when he lost his family in an accident. But the worse has yet to come; his life keeps getting worse. Now he has no place to live and has to survive alone in this harsh world where lack of money is just one of the problems.
The suspense and real thrill begin when he sees monsters roaming here and there. The world starts becoming a horrible place to live in. There was an outbreak where almost everyone was transforming into monsters. Things get real when our hero starts losing himself and begins changing into a monster too.
12. Wind Breaker
We always assume that toppers and nerds are boring, but that’s not always the case. Jay is a high schooler who always gets top scores, and his life revolves around studies only. However, this guy has a dream and loves biking.
Things become intriguing when one day, he gets offered by someone to win a race against a biker. Don’t you think that this would be a drastic change in his life? This webtoon, Wind Breaker, is full of adventures and fun. I bet it will be on your list of best manhwa as soon as you start reading it.
11. Lore Olympus
Lore Olympus is based on a romantic love story of the Gods. You will surely adore this one if reading romance novels are your thing. The art is pretty unique, and the characters are also not typical.
This is the story of gods and how they fall in love. Persephone is the goddess and the main lead whose mother was cautious and overprotective about her. Finally, by studying in college, she gets freedom, and her life changes completely afterward. She meets the protagonist at a party, and things become exciting and fiery between the two.
10. The Villainess Is A Marionette
The Villainess Is A Marionette is a phenomenal story of a girl who finds herself in the world of a novel she was reading. Things become serious when she discovers that she is now the villainess of the story. Knowing the terrible end of the Villainess, our MC tries her best to avoid the tragic fate of her life. There is politics, romance, drama, fantasy, captivating characters, and above all, remarkable art.
The best part is that living her life as a villainess isn’t a first for her. Yup, you got the isekai element here. She has already experienced a terrible death, but this time the girl vows to stop this cycle of terrible deaths. Would she be able to survive?
9. Adventures of God
The story is exactly as the name suggests. It follows the Adventures of God. It is a comedic story about God and how he deals with other angels, presenting heaven’s events hilariously. This funny God will portray a heaven for you that you never knew existed in a fantastic and earthly way.
If you like reading comedy stories with a touch of fantasy and modified fairy tales, you might enjoy reading them. Besides, this story presents the extraordinary life of God and deities.
8. The Beginning After The End
The Beginning After The End is considered one of the best manhwa currently making our screens glow. Getting a second chance to live that, too, while having the memories and experience of the past life is a blessing. The same happened with King Grey, who was given a second life when he was born as Arthur Leywin.
In this life, he vows not to repeat his past mistakes and implement the learning of the previous life, all the while making sure to enjoy this new life with the loving family he’s been blessed with. There is magic, action, suspense, and whatnot! I am sure you will thank me later for this masterpiece.
7. Tower of God
Tower of God is another remarkable story that got its anime adaptation. The story revolves around Bam and Rachel. Rachel decides to climb the tower on her own. However, climbing the tower ain’t easy as it has infinite dangers stopping a person from reaching the top.
Even then, our boy Bam decides to follow Rachel, as she’s the only person he knows and loves, and enters the Tower. Many mysteries unfold in the process, making the story of the manhwa spellbinding.
Eleceed is a unique story where the MC is not a typical guy. The art is fantastic, and the action is a double bonus. Jiwoo and Kayden are the main protagonists. Jiwoo is a young boy who can’t see anyone in trouble; therefore always lands right in time to save people by using his superpowers.
He loves cats, and one day he gets a fluffy cat in his home. Of course, he didn’t know that this cat was not ordinary; instead, it was a human who had transformed into a cat for specific reasons. And the cat was actually Kayden, one of the strongest characters in the series. The story’s got much more than you have signed up for, so spoilers will undoubtedly be a bad thing here.
5. Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint
We all dream of our favorite fantasy stories turning into reality; however, it is not good when the story is horror or brings destruction. The same is the case with Kim Dokja; he used to read the novel about surviving in the apocalypse.
One day, things start happening, according to the novel. Since our boy is well aware of the story’s many plots and knows the key points, he tries his best to save himself and all of humanity. If you like reading adventure stories, including thrill and dangers, Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint can be your favorite one from this list of best manhwa.
4. Solo Leveling
Now, who doesn’t know this masterpiece? You should update your to-read list if you are oblivious to this one. It became so popular that fans are excited about its anime, which will soon be released. Solo Leveling is an action fantasy story of a guy who started as a low-ranked hunter but became the strongest.
This manhwa presents a world where there is a battle between humans and monsters. Humans try their best to beat the monsters to save humanity. Among such heroes, Sung Jin-Woo is the weakest hunter.
We all know that true heroes never give up, so with each passing event, he surpassed everyone and became OP. There is action, fighting against the monsters, and unimaginable powers. The journey and character development of the MC are appreciated widely around the globe. It is pretty obvious that you shouldn’t miss this manhwa and start reading it right now!
The only reason it’s at the fourth spot and not the first is that I felt the final chapters were rushed. The ending was good and satisfying, but it felt like the story ended too quickly!
3. The Legend of The Northern Blade
If you like warriors, swordsmanship, and, most importantly, a revenge story, this manhwa is the one to read Moowon is the MC whose life is full of tragedies, and one among them is his father’s untimely death. His father, who had given his all to protect the mainland from evil forces, is betrayed by his comrades and dies after he is accused of joining hands with the enemy and betraying the people.
This event, in turn, made the life of our MC a living hell, as he was shunned from the world. But he was not someone to accept defeat that easily. He started learning the martial arts that his father left behind and began training to become as strong as his father was to bring back glory to the name of his sect.
So get ready to see some action, thrill, and much more because The Legend of the Northern Blade is one of the best manhwa you can read right now!
2. Murim Login
I read this manhwa last year and absolutely fell in love with it! Murim Login combines two of the best setups in one title – the dungeon-hunting setup of Solo Leveling and the VR-world/game setup that many of you isekai fans would be familiar with.
Jin Tae-Kyung is a low-ranking hunter who is somehow surviving and making ends meet in a world that’s filled with dungeons & Gates crawling with monsters. However, his life changes when he picks up a VR machine and ends up logging in. He ends up in a martial world, in a body of a person who is the absolute lowest of the low.
There’s also the fact that when he trains in the martial world, his strength increases in the real world too, and vice-versa. Soon, this low-ranking hunter becomes one of the strongest hunters in the real world, and he becomes a pretty powerful and well-known warrior in the martial world too!
If you love murim manhwa and manhwa featuring dungeons, gates, and monster-hunting, give Murim Login a try; you’ll absolutely love it.
People love reading manhwa, where the main character is bullied. Lookism is a must-read for you if you are one of them. The story revolves around a boy named Park Hyung Seok (aka Daniel Park), whose life wasn’t less than hell. He was the subject of daily bullying because of his looks. However, one day, his life completely changed after a scholarship transfer.
He found the ability to transform into a handsome hunk. To be clear, he was bestowed with another body. He could use only one body at a time while the other would typically be sleeping. This made his life change instantly, and this new ability to split into two made him learn the harsh realities of life. There’s drama, comedy, and a ton of action, so this title is worth it!
I would be frank here, Lookism used to be quite low on this list previously, but I ended up reading all the chapters released so far and loved it so much that it has become the best manhwa out there for me. Hence, it’s on the number one spot in 2023 and would likely stay here for the foreseeable future!
Which Of These Popular Korean Webtoons Have You Read?
Finally, the list of the best manhwa has come to an end. I had to limit it to a few, featuring only the best ones, or the entries would be more than a few hundred.
Nonetheless, I tried to enlist the best possible entries, including titles from all genres. You will get some crazy action, a pool of romance, a truckload of drama, and everything followed by fantasy. So, be generous and drop some comments about which is your favorite. I’ll be delighted to read your thoughts.
And if there are some popular webtoons or manhwa that you think deserve to be on this list, let us know about them too! We are always on the lookout for new manhwa recommendations!