Webtoons have become a global modern-day manga. Initially launched in South Korea in 2005 to save the manhwa industry, which is the Korean equivalent of Japanese manga, Line Webtoon, a webtoon platform launched by Naver Corporation, has amassed more than 10 million users as of 2018.
With so many webtoons out there to recommend, I’ve listed three webtoons that are truly hidden gems. They feature strong female leads with whom geek gals can relate to.
The Stories of Those Around Me by Omyo whisks you away into the lives of three best friends as they navigate through young adult life in their mid-twenties. Mira is a successful career woman looking for love. She immediately develops a crush on a guy in the subway. Will she ever see him again? Jung-a lives with her boyfriend of five years, who has unsuccessfully attempted to publish a novel. How will their relationship develop despite the lack of growth in their life together? Summer lives with her mom, who pressures her every day to find a “real job.” She finds escape through blogging at home about the plushies she creates, and likes to spend time with her best friends and amazing boyfriend. She decides to take up a part-time job at a café near her house. What better way to go through the ups and downs of life than with the support of strong women?
As a twenty-something year old woman who is also navigating through the “real world” as a full-fledged adult, this Korean webtoon truly resonated with me. As I read through every chapter, I could relate to the personality traits of each female lead and the everyday scenarios each goes through. As we experience changes in our relationships, conflicts, and victories in our own lives, what’s most important is whom we share these moments with. These are the people who will help us get through the day with every meal we share, with every life experience we tell each other. The stories of those around us transcend from the fictional world into our realities as we read moments that resonate with our memories.
Helios Femina is the creation of Youtube pioneer, Michelle Phan. Her story tells the tale of Rhea as she discovers her Zerunian past and the powers that lie within her. The story is set in a futuristic dystopian world, think Sailor Moon meets The Hunger Games. Phan herself is a real-life strong female lead. She grew up in a single-family home, and as a first-generation immigrant she worked hard to provide for her family after her YouTube career took off. Because I was familiar with her life story, I immediately noticed how she drew inspiration from her favorite childhood shows and the people closest to her, such as her long-time boyfriend Dom and her mother. The main character, Rhea, has a strong resemblance to Phan’s persona. The artwork truly showcases how her artistic talents reach far beyond her makeup talent. Dive into her imagination and revel in the whimsical world she has created.
Love Doesn’t Talk by Ann(杏) took me by surprise, as I quickly realized how the story unfolds without dialogue. The entire story was gracefully expressed through the artwork alone. I had to interpret the characters’ gestures and expressions to figure out what was going on in the story, which was a refreshing change of pace in the normal dialogue-filled world. Granted, there were a few pictures that showcased the characters’ text messages to each other (which I quickly translated on Google from Indonesian to English). The webtoon centers around Yuzuki as she goes through every day high school life and meets two handsome classmates who take an interest in her. The artwork is cute and did I already mention handsome? The story itself is quite simple and not uncommon, but the new take of how the story is expressed is truly unique.
Which webtoons are you currently reading? Let us know!
Featured image credit: Omyo