Webtoons to K-Dramas

Lana Hwang, Accent Editor

True Beauty

About the WebToon and K-drama: “True Beauty,” Yaongi’s first work, is a romance WebToon with a 9.7/10 rating and over 5.7 million reads on the WebToon app. The WebToon continues to update every Wednesday. The K-drama by the same name stars Moon Ga Young as Lim Jugyeong, Cha Eun Woo as Lee Suho and Hwang Inyeop as Han Seojun. Episodes update on tvN every Wednesday and Thursday.

Similarities and differences: In both, the story follows Lim Jugyeong, a high schooler who, after being bullied for being ugly, transforms her face with makeup and has to hide this fact from her classmates. When Lee Suho finds out her secret, they grow closer, and eventually their relationship borders on being more than friends as Han Seojun, Suho’s friend, develops one-sided feelings from Jugyeong. When Suho’s father falls ill, Suho leaves Korea to take care of him, leaving Jugyeong. While the K-drama keeps the story mostly in the high school time period, the WebToon version uses the high school time period as a prologue for the main events that occur when the characters are in college. In the college time period of the drama, which only lasts 2 episodes, Seojun confesses to Jugyeong, but is rejected, and Suho returns to Korea and gets back together with Jugyeong. In the college time period of the WebToon, Jugyeong dates Seojun and pursues a career in makeup while Seojun trains to become an idol, but his popularity eventually breaks them up. The characters’ personalities as well as the overall events that occur during high school are the same in both, but each follow the typical trends of its genre: The WebToon has consistent conflicts that keep the story going in chapters through the comic, whereas the K-drama sticks to one main conflict with little side stories scattered throughout the drama. Another difference is that in the WebToon, Jugyeong ends up dating Seojun at one point, but most likely will not in the K-drama, much to the disappointment of avid Seojun supporters.


Personal opinion: Both the WebToon and the K-drama are pretty cliché, with predictable plot lines and character set-ups. Nonetheless I love Yaongi’s clean drawing style and the drama’s bright aesthetic. If I was forced to choose between the WebToon and the K-drama, after much thought, I would have to choose the K-drama. Though I prefer the Webtoon’s time setting in college, the K-drama’s focus on its many characters and their dynamics suits me more. In addition, the K-drama includes some hilarious references and scenes that make the viewer suffer from second-hand embarrassment, which is so funny to me for some reason. 


Sweet Home

About the WebToon and K-drama: “Sweet Home” by Carnby Kim and Youngchan Hwang is a thriller with 140 episodes, over 2.5 million reads and a rating of 9.85/10 on the WebToon app. The Netflix drama “Sweet Home” has a total of 10 episodes and stars Song Kang as Hyun Cha, Lee Do Hyun as Lee Eunhyuk and Lee Siyoung as Seo Yikyeong.

Similarities and differences: Both follow Cha and his apartment neighbors as the world is overrun by invincible monsters. However, in this apocalypse, people are infected not from each other but become a monster once they succumb to their desires. Cha, a suicidal teen, seems to be the only one who is able to fight his desires and uses this power to his advantage to benefit his neighbors, who are led by Eunhyuk, a calculating teenager who effectively manipulates others for what he believes is for the good of the group. The K-drama and the WebToon are nearly identical, with only a few changes, such as actions done by different characters and small alterations in minute events. The WebToon is far clearer in the monsters and their connection to their desires and focuses on encounters with the monsters, while the drama focuses more on the non-monsterized characters and their relationships with each other, as well as the government’s role in taking care of the outbreak. 


Personal opinion: I found the plot intriguing at first, and I was immediately drawn in by the WebToon for its novel concept and complex characters. The drama did not disappoint and is one of my favorite adaptations, since it aligns so closely with the WebToon. Personally, I prefer the drama, as the WebToon eventually began to feel like I was watching a video game with Hyun Cha completing new levels by battling different monsters every few episodes. The drama answered and expanded upon some of the questions, like the government and other people’s response, that I had while reading the WebToon, and did so in a satisfactory way. The drama’s plot also felt a bit more cohesive than the WebToon’s  as it gave more detail into each of the characters, and what each of them were personally experiencing.