Photo Credit: MAPPA, A-1 Pictures

Best Manhwa of 2023: Solo Leveling, Dreaming Freedom & More

Manhwa initially originated in South Korea but shares stark similarities with manga. However, that doesn’t imply that Manhwa doesn’t have its charm. With engaging narrative and immersive characters, it captivates audiences with its stellar visuals and constantly growing fanbase.

Manhwa has several genres similar to manga. This ranges from quick-paced action to heart-melting romance. As 2023 is ending, we have prepared a list of the best-handpicked series to read and enjoy the new year!

1. Solo Leveling

One of the most popular manhwa out there at the moment is Solo Leveling, based on Chugong’s novel of the same name that has gained a global audience. This Korean comic is also gaining massive fan following due to the much-anticipated anime adaptation scheduled for release in Winter 2024.

The plot centers around Sung Jinwoo, an E-ranked Hunter, the weakest among everyone. However, his fate changes on one eventful day in a mysterious dungeon. He comes across a System that selects him as its sole player and grants him the power to level up. Jinwoo sets out to become the strongest hunter in the world with these newfound abilities.

2. Dreaming Freedom

Photo Credit: 2L
Photo Credit: 2L

2L’s work, Dreaming Freedom, is an ongoing manhwa. The story can be considered a psychological thriller romance series that skillfully mixes traces of mystery, psychology, brutality, and dark romance into an enjoyable cocktail. However, readers can feel their hearts flutter with a surprising dash of cuteness every now and then in the series.

The author does a great job of maintaining an ideal balance among these elements. The series’ actual selling point is the male lead, Siyun Baek, has a fanbase of his own. Readers really like Siyun’s toxic obsession with Jeongmin Choi, the female lead.

3. The God of Highschool

The God of High School is one of the best Manhwa, written and illustrated by Yongje Park. It’s not a new series but a must-read since the anime adaptation garnered massive positive reviews from audiences and critics. The God of High School could be the one for those seeking an action-packed, entertaining read.

The series has everything necessary to make a well-liked plot: smooth narration, great action, well-developed characters, and quirky elements. The story follows the journey of Mori Jin, a 17-year-old martial artist from South Korea, who is invited to participate in a Martial Arts competition called The God of High School.

4. Trapped

Photo Credit: HAEMURI
Photo Credit: HAEMURI

Trapped by an artist named HAEMURI, it is the perfect choice for people looking for an intense suspense thriller. This story combines two of the most liked themes, dark romance and vampire. Readers might draw similarities to Dreaming Freedom as the story engages the readers with its manipulative characters and complex and dark narrative. The story pours equal significance to both male and female protagonists. 

The series bagged an impressive rating of 9.78 on Webtoon, making it a must-read. Since it is a psychological series, Trapped traces human behavior as well. The story follows Chae-a Han and Yunsu Park, who appear as angels at church but hide deep secrets.

5. Operation: True Love

Manhwa: Operation True Love
Photo Credit: Dledumb

Who doesn’t love high school romance? Operation: True Love is an ongoing high school romance manhwa, written by kkokkalee and illustrated by Dledumb. The series is trending at the moment and has an excellent rating of 9.79 with over 100 million views. The story features a love triangle, captivating readers with their immersive story and engaging characters.

The plot revolves around Su-ae Shim, who has been in a relationship with her indifferent boyfriend, Minu Kang. However, the story takes an exciting turn as Su-ae discovers Jellypop, a sentient flip phone with much to say about her love life.

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