It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put together that romance is the most popular genre of webtoon. As someone who thinks romance is boring, uninspired, and just very plain, it rocks me to my core to see my beloved non-romance webtoons barely get any attention when they are (in my opinion), better than most of the romance that webtoons have to offer. If you’re in the same boat as me and want more non-romance to read, I have five criminally underrated webtoons for you!
1. How to Become A Dragon
I’m honestly so sad that this webtoon isn’t promoted more because it’s a real hidden gem (I’ll probably say that about every webtoon on this list though, but it’s true!). The story follows a man named Young, who is known around his community as a very efficient tutor. The news spreads around to an imoogi (the original form of a dragon) named Bari, and he seeks out Young to prepare him for the Nakdong River Dragon Exam so he can become a full-fledged dragon. The art style is quite unique, and many of the panels are absolutely stunning, however, the writing is amazing. All the characters clearly have a lot of thought put into them with the fact that at a certain point you realize you care for every single one of them. All the dynamics are very fun to read (especially Young and Bari’s), and the character development from everyone is also wonderful to see. The plot throws twists and turns at you, while also not overshadowing the actual exam and the character relationships.
2. Little Matcha Girl
Are you a fan of ghosts? Necromancy? Demons? What about some horrifying imagery coupled with adorable and funny facial expressions? If you said yes to all of those things, then you’d probably enjoy Little Matcha Girl. This webtoon follows a sixteen-year-old girl named Matilda who’s the granddaughter of a mafia boss. Her entire family specializes in the art of necromancy, which in this world is illegal. Due to these facts, her life can get quite complicated. Speaking of the world though, I adore the atmosphere this webtoon is set in. Unlike other stories you aren’t bombarded with info dumps, and you’re shown how the world works for yourself, and when exposition does come up, it feels very natural. The setting also just has a very nice and warm feel to it, immediately pulling the reader in. I’ll also say that the art style in this webtoon is my personal favorite, and it’s all so aesthetically pleasing to look at. Matilda’s predicament is also extremely relatable, with her having so many opportunities yet still wanting to pursue her true passions. Not to mention the main plot is very intriguing, and I’m so excited to see where it goes.
3. City of Blank
Ah yes, my second favourite webtoon on this platform, and unfortunately, not that many people pay attention to it. City of Blank is set in a world where these humanoid creatures called Blanks steal peoples’ faces along with their lives, and nobody can touch them… Well except for our main character Rex, who’s on a mission to find his brother’s killer while also uncovering dark secrets along the way. This webtoon is in short, a masterpiece. The art, plot, characters, action, comedy, and emotional beats all come together perfectly. The art pops off the page and the action scenes are well-composed and exciting to read. The writing is phenomenal, with every character being fleshed out, with their own motivations and secrets waiting to be uncovered (even the bad guys!). Not to mention they are written realistically and all have prevalent flaws and strengths (even if you don’t like a character, you can’t exactly say they are written poorly in this webtoon). City of Blank is also hilarious, which is mostly because of how chaotic all the characters are and how they react to the situations they’re put in. It’s also one of the only stories I can think of that is completely devoid of romance (at least so far), or romantic side plots, and instead chooses to focus on found family and platonic relationships which is very refreshing. It’s also the perfect time to start reading City of Blank because season three has just started!
4. The Weight of Our Sky
The Weight of Our Sky is the only webtoon on this list that is completed, meaning it’s perfect to binge-read right now since it’s not even on daily pass. An adaptation of the novel of the same name, it’s a historical fiction that takes place in 1969. It is about a teenage girl named Melati who has OCD. She does everything she can to find her mother in the race riots in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The story is truly beautiful, delivering moments of tragedy and hope, while also being a representation of mental illness. Seeing how Melati overcomes her inner demons through the course of the story is also very satisfying, uplifting, and shows that recovery isn’t always linear and not impossible.
Are you looking for a good horror webtoon? Well try Stagtown! Stagtown is about a young woman named Frankie who has just returned to her childhood town, Stagtown. Strange things happen in Stagtown, and when one event leads to another, she finds herself trying to figure out what exactly is going on. The concept is pretty neat, and trying to piece together the lore is a lot of fun. Frankie is also a very smart horror protagonist, meaning the creator actually has to try and put her in actual scary situations instead of relying on her being dumb enough to walk right into the plot. Throughout the webtoon, you read Frankie’s thought process and experience what she’s feeling, which gives a great sense of panic. In chapter thirty-four we get to see a full on mental breakdown from Frankie, which hammers in the point that our protagonists are ordinary people who are caught up in something much greater than themselves. The art style also makes this comic really come to life and does wonders for the spookiness. While Stagtown isn’t one of those stories where you fear what’s happening can happen to you in real life, you’re more scared of what’s going to happen to the characters, which in my opinion is a much better alternative. It’s impossible to guess what’s coming next and if our characters will live another day…
I actually was going to write about ten recommendations instead of five. I realized I have so much more to say than I thought, and the deadline was coming up so I decided to shorten my list. However, I’ll probably write a part two to this article in the (hopefully) near future! Anyways, happy reading!