‘Vagabond’: The best Korean dramas based on Mangas and Manhwas
K-dramas are a thing, but you don’t have to have a past as a weeb to know that manga and manhwa (Japanese and Korean comics respectively) have been big overseas for years. Whether you’re a fan of One Piece or Something About Us, there has been a strong following for these books for decades.
So if you’re a fan of manga and manhwa looking to get into Korean dramas, then good news! There’s a lot of excellent live-action adaptations of both to go and watch. Here are some of our favorites for the truly curious.
Boys Over Flowers
We’ve recommended Boys Over Flowers a million times, and will continue doing so. This 2009 series is a staple and insanely charming as well. The series follows a working-class girl who is offered a scholarship to attend a prestigious high school. While there, she attracts the attention of the F4, a group of handsome and wealthy boys who rule the school, when she stands up to their leader.
Boys Over Flowers is based on the manga by Yoko Kamio. It ran for 37 volumes from 1992 to 2008. Not only did it spawn the successful K-drama, but it also has an anime adaptation as well.
To the Beautiful You
A common trope in shojo manga is a young woman who, for whatever reason, pretends to be a boy and shenanigans ensue. Hana-Kimi was a manga series that followed Mizuki Ashiya, a girl posing as a boy at an all boy’s boarding school to get closer to her crush. Romance, shenanigans, and drama ensue as she tries to keep her secret and deal with her growing feelings for her crush-turned-roommates.
To the Beautiful You is the Korean drama version of the popular manga, which has had several live-action adaptations in other countries like Japan and Taiwan. So if you want to see a charming story, hilarious twists, and turns, then be sure to check it out time and again.
Also known as Daemul, this drama is based on the manhwa by Park In-kwon that follows an anchorwoman, Seo Hye-rim (Go Hyun-jung), who runs for and wins the South Korean presidency. The series follows her as she deals with the political pressures of presidency and threats of impeachment from political rivals.
It’s definitely a must series if you enjoy a good political drama, such as The West Wing and Madam Secretary. Plus always awesome to see women as President in fiction (though let’s work real hard to get them into office IRL).
Vagabond is here to save you from all the romantic fluff, if romantic fluff isn’t your thing. This addictive series follows stuntman Cha Dal-gun (Lee Seung-gi), whose nephew dies in a plane crash that kills 211 people. Desperate and determined to find the truth about his nephew’s death, Cha Dal-gun teams up with covert NIS (National Intelligence Service) operative, Go Hae-ri (Bae Suzy) to untangle the web.
So if this sounds like a series for you, full of twists and turns at every corner, then definitely check it out.