WebToon Starter Pack – 2023 Edition

Happy 2023 fellow readers! It’s been almost 3 years since our first Webtoon feature here on thekmeal. Honestly, it’s high time to assemble a fresh WebToon Starter Pack – New year, new list! Admittedly, 3 years and thousands of chapters later, my own opinions have changed based on how certain series developed or concluded. A refresh is most definitely in order!

Whether you’re new to the world of Webtoons, or already a longterm reader, we have something for you below. I hope we can either inspire you to start reading, or help you find your next favourite series.

First time here? Give these a whirl…

Odd Girl Out by Morangji

After a successful winter break makeover, Nari is finally ready for her high school debut. But somehow, she ends up friends with the three prettiest girls in school! Follow Nari as she tries to navigate her brand new high school life surrounded by these precious friends.

Cleverly masking it’s incredible depth behind that simple synopsis, ‘Odd Girl Out’ is far from the fluffy comedy you might expect. An excellent high school slice of life drama that will tug at your heartstrings, with an absolute legend of a main character. The dynamics between the characters and their incredible growth will have you rooting for this gang in no time.

The Kiss Bet by Ingrid Ochoa

Sara Lin just started her senior year. She’s got great friends, a cool Dad (or so he thinks) and a whole lot ahead of her. The last thing she needs is to worry about having her first kiss. But that’s all about to change because her good pal Patrick just challenged her to a bet that will either lead to love, heartbreak or embarrassment…or maybe all three.

This series is too damn cute. Adorable cast, low but relatable stakes, ‘The Kiss Bet’ is simply truly fun to read. Because, let’s face it, sometimes we just need romance comedy fluff in our lives.

Purple Hyacinth by Ephemerys and Sophism

Her ability to detect lies has made her an outstanding officer of the law – despite being haunted by her inability to save the ones she loved from a gruesome fate many years ago. Now, Lauren uses her powerful gift to defend the defenseless at any cost – even if it means teaming up with a deadly assassin to fight evil in a world gone mad.

If a mystery drama is more your jam, this is the series for you. A fan favourite since launch, this series has everything – engrossing plot, beautiful art, haunting soundtrack, excellent pacing and a hot male lead a truly interesting cast of characters.

Cursed Princess Club by LambCat

Meet Gwendolyn – living proof that princesses don’t always have it all. See, although she lives in a castle and her father is the King, Gwendolyn isn’t like a movie princess, or even a fairly-tale princess. She’s got a big heart, but isn’t particularly attractive and doesn’t have a Disney-quality singing voice or cute animal sidekicks, unless you count the possums. But one night, she accidentally stumbles upon the twisted world of the Cursed Princess Club, and her life will never be the same. 

There’s a reason this is consistently one of the most popular titles on the Webtoon platform, and it’s clearly not the art. It’s the quality of the characters, the humour, and the incredible supportive friendships. It’s the fact that despite being a comedy at heart, it’s not afraid of taking the plot to some dark places, without making light of the heroes’ traumas. Come for the llama jokes, stay for the positive self-image training and overcoming pain.

Unholy Blood by Im Lina and Kim Jeonghyeon

When vampires destroy her chance to have the normal life she’s always wanted, Hayan is forced to draw on her darkest secret to rid the world of the merciless hunters that took it over 10 years ago. With the support of a rising star in the local police force, Hayan steps up to protect her loved ones, face her past, and get her revenge.

Hayan is the actual coolest Webtoon heroine, hands down. This action-packed Webtoon manages to do vampires in a way that still feels fresh, which is no mere feat. The side of romance is just the cherry on top.

You can read our full review of ‘Unholy Blood’ here. The series is now completed, so I can confidently say it’s consistently awesome from start to finish, take your time and binge away.

While far from a full list or must-reads, these beginner friendly picks aim to get you started. For more recommendations, keep reading below; and remember, you can always refer to our regular Webtoon feature!

2D is love, 2D is life – but have you read these?

Morgana and Oz by Miyuli

What happens when a struggling witch meets an angsty vampire? Either love or war. Morgana belongs to a long line of witches, and Oz to the rival vampire clan. After a chance encounter… and maybe a few stray spells… these two need to find a way to work together, or risk all-out war between coven and clan.

Wholesome fantasy romance anyone? An extremely promising new series, currently preparing for its second season. The art is colourful and gorgeous, the main characters are absolutely adorable, and the way the plot has been developping so far is engrossing. You’ll fall in love with them in no time.

Seasons of Blossom by HONGDUCK and NEMONE

Oh, to be young and in love. Oh, to be wild and carefree. The springtime of life is intense, tumultuous, and at times, oh so confusing. Spring, summer, fall and winter — love blossoms in all seasons.

This webtoon is structured in distinct seasons, each focusing on a different main character and their storyline; hence the title. They are all connected to each other, and like relay, the focus moves on to a different character once each story reaches its conclusion. It’s a slice of life drama, but the tone seriously shifts from season to season. From the relatively lighthearted season 1, to the truly heartbreaking season 2, this Webtoon tells an incredibly rich and beautifully written interwoven tale of youth.

Annarasunamara by Ha Il Kwon

When she was little, Yun Ai dreamed of becoming a magician. But her reality leaves no space for frivolous dreams. She’s just a high school student who can’t even afford new stockings. After meeting a mysterious magician at a carnival who asks everyone if they believe in magic, her life begins to change.

Recently adapted into a musical drama (The Sound of Magic on Netflix), ‘Annarasunamara‘ is a shockingly overlooked series outside of South Korea. One of the true gems to be found on Webtoon, this short series touches upon some very real issues in a very surreal manner. The unique aesthetic of the art communicates as much with the visuals as it does with the narration. A classic, make sure to give this a read.

Ghost Teller by QTT

You think your ghost stories are scary? Gather around the fire, and listen to these terrifying human stories from the ghosts themselves.

Another Webtoon classic. The art is beautiful and the stories are guaranteed to chill you to the bone. Who needs ghosts stories when humans manage to be so unsettling and messed up all on their own?

For you horror and thriller fans out there, if for some reason you’ve not already read ‘Ghost Teller’, now’s the time. It’s completed and on daily pass.

Surviving Romance by Lee Yone

When Chaerin wakes up as the protagonist of a romance novel she was reading, she figures she just needs to wait around, focus on her love interest, and let her fairytale ending unfold. Tiny problem, there’s an unscripted zombie virus apocalypse going on and she’s gonna need all the help she can get to survive. And who is the Unknown Extra?

I couldn’t not include isekai, but this is top shelf stuff- fresh and unique plots only. A rare twist on the genre, ‘Surviving Romance‘ is the survival horror you needed in your reading list. Lee Yone’s art does an impeccable job of setting the mood, and Chaerin’s growth as a person and a main character is enough to keep you hooked.

Whale Star – The Gyeongseong Mermaid by Na Yoonhee

The year is 1926 and Joseon (present-day Korea), is under colonial Japanese rule. Su-a is a handmaiden who spends her days working and swimming in the sea. Her lady, and her work are in a very literal way her entire world.

Everything changes when she discovers a wounded independence fighter washed up on the shore. She nurses him back to health, only to lose her ability to speak in a botched murder attempt by his comrade. As she travels to the capital, Gyeongseong (present-day Seoul), to get revenge, she finds herself growing more and more intertwined with a strange, brave new world and the people within it.

Saved the best for last. A Korean period drama adaptation of ‘The Little Mermaid’, this series is literally a masterpiece. Do not expect actual mermaids though; the tale serves as a metaphor for Su-a’s own journey. You can read the full review here. It’s completed and available on daily pass. Everybody should read this.

And there you have it! Happy reading this year as well 🙂

Avid manga fan, language nerd, RPG-gamer and coffee addict, I accidentally wandered into K-pop fandom in 2009 and stuck around to share the love ^_^