Webtoons are digital comics coming from Korea typically read through smartphones and other devices while some have novel versions as well. Naver, Kakao Page, or Daum have always been popular sites for Koreans to read webtoons but over the past few years, companies such as LINE WEBTOON, Tappytoons, and Tapas have been built for global readers.
The market for Korean webtoons has grown to reach millions and has become a rival for Japanese manga. A recent trend has been “isegye” (이세계) themed webtoons that focus on being “reborn” or thrown into parallel worlds. Isegye roots from “isekai” in Japanese and can include multiple genres of romance, action, or mystery. There are hundreds of isegye comics, and here are a few that are trending and well-rated!
- Empress of Another World by Lee Young Yuu and Lim Seo-rim
Empress of Another World starts off with the main character, high school student Sa Bina, getting into an accident in the subway and being transported into the Crentia Kingdom. On her arrival, the duke adopts her to be married as a concubine for an old emperor. However, the emperor gets killed and Sabina must face challenges for the throne. This has 82 episodes and 47 special episodes, and is published by D&C Media.
- Adonis by Hye-dori
This action-themed webtoon is about two estranged lovers named Ianna and Arhad. They are strong-willed individuals who have many similarities but are enemies. Ianna fights for her king against Arhad, who hopes to become emperor, and dies in battle against him. Her last dying wish to be his “sword” comes true with her reincarnation that goes back to when she was little. With a second chance at life, will she be able to make the right changes and be able to protect Arhad in this new timeline?
Kakao Page published Adonis and currently 116 episodes are out. According to the official English translator, Adonis has been read by at least 2 million viewers, being highly-rated for its beautiful artwork and intense storyline.
- Doctor Elise: The Royal Lady with a Lamp by Yuin, Mini
Unlike most webtoons, the main character is someone who carries the memory of her past life, and is a young professor specializing in medicine. Dr. Song has many regrets of her past life because, as a queen, she was a tyrant and caused the death of her whole family. When Dr. Song gets into a plane crash, she awakens to the time before she was queen.
With the memories of being a tyrant queen and a doctor in the modern world, Elise gets another chance to fix relationships and help the kingdom for the sins committed in her first life. Her focus is now to help people by becoming the first female surgeon, but at the same time, the king hopes to make her queen again. Doctor Elise started in 2016 and is published by CL Productions.
- Who Made Me a Princess by Plutus, Spoon
Who Made Me a Princess starts off with a baby realizing that she is a character in a novel called Lovely Princess. This baby is Princess Athanasia, who will be killed at eighteen by her father Claude de Alger Obelia, and with “Lovely Princess focusing on Princess Jennette. With this knowledge, all Athanasia wants to do is avoid the cold-blooded killer and find a way to escape when she is older. When Athanasia gets noticed by the emperor, she has no choice but to resort to cuteness for survival! This webtoon also includes elements of magic as well as romance, and has been supported by CL Productions since 2017.
- What It Takes to be a Villainess by HÆON, Min(REDICE STUDIO), Yuns
Hwayoung is a twenty-three-year-old who seems to have the best boyfriend. When her boyfriend cheats by going out with her best friend, now “villain,” Hwayoung is in despair and ends up drowning by accident. Upon waking up, she finds out that her new body is Satiana, a duke's only daughter who was head-over-heels for the crown prince that was more interested in another girl named Irene.
Even though Satiana wishes to avoid the prince and run away from the throne, she has no choice as a candidate to become empress. If she doesn’t try her best now, her whole family is at risk, and to make matters worse, the prince seems to hold a grudge against her! What It Takes to be a Villainess has seventy-four episodes, and is based on a popular novel of the same name.
As the demand for webtoons grows, there are more Korean webtoons being officially translated for readers. Webtoons can cost some money or time with ads, but reading through licensed sites is beneficial for creators to make more content.
As websites aim to promote the artists and writers, most webtoons that provide official English translations offer free chapters in the beginning. After the first few episodes, they will ask readers to use points that can be bought or earned through ads.
Isegye webtoon is a current trend that can involve different genres and be for all kinds of readers. Besides parallel worlds or being “reborn,'' there are also standard webtoons, such as slice of life or comedy.
Have any of the webtoons on this list caught your eye? There are tons of different webtoons to check out as well on Tappytoons and Tapas or other websites listed as well!
Cover Image: What It Takes to be a Villainess
Written by Monica Park