10 South Korean Anime That You Should Check Out

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Wonderful Days poster
Wonderful Days

Anime, while not as old as movies, has been a source of entertainment since the dawn of the 20th century. Japan must be credited for its invention, and continues to be the hotspot for it. Due to its immense success, other countries started creating their own styles and told their respective stories. The united states have many prominent animation studios like Disney, Pixar, Illumination, DreamWorks, etc. Anime, like live-action, has stories for every generation and age group. It gave birth to merchandise such as clothes and action figures, and video games as well.

Japan is the head undoubtedly, but there are Taiwanese, Chinese, and Korean anime. They have their own fanbases around the globe and consist of some brilliant stories. In fact, you may already be familiar with some of the titles mentioned below. Thanks to anime streamers and production companies Crunchyroll, some of them got a lot of attention from audiences all around the world. Just like Japanese anime, Korean anime is adapted from manhwa, similar to manga. But unlike manga, manhwa includes full-color pages, with unique art styles.

So if you are looking to dip your toes in something new and exciting, here are a variety of picks.

The List of Shows

1. Wonderful Days (Sky Blue)

Wonderful Days is a sci-fi film, written and directed by Kim Moon-saeng. Despite being released in 2003, the movie is a visual treat and has used highly-detailed models. The characters are animated using a traditional method of CG. Vehicles were rendered, and characters were cel-animated.

The story takes place in a dystopian future where environmental pollution has broken-down civilization. A new city named Ecoban was built, sustaining on energy harvested from the DELOS System. This system uses pollution in a carbonite catalyzed reaction to generate power. The process of carbonite extraction is done by people living in the surrounding wasteland. The movie is a mixture of environmental destruction, class struggle, and romance.

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Wonderful Days still
Wonderful Days

2. Leafie, A Hen into the Wild

Otherwise known as Daisy, a Hen into the Wild, the movie is an animated drama about freedom. The main character is a hen named Leafie who used to live on a chicken farm with other egg-laying hens. Leafie’s dream is to become a mother. However, she is unable to incubate her own eggs, so she makes a plan to escape. She pretends to be dead and gets thrown out. She wanders and soon finds herself in the wild, and later comes in possession of a duck’s egg. With both the parents ducks dead, Leafie is left to raise the duckling. He imprints on her, and she accepts him as her son and names him Greenie. Even though the characters are birds and animals, the story is tragic, and themes of loss and survival are discussed.

Leafie, A Hen into the Wild poster
Leafie, A Hen into the Wild

3. Noblesse

Noblesse is a popular manhwa that was released as a webtoon in December 2007 and ran till January 2019. It was officially picked up as an anime by Crunchyroll in 2020, with animation from Production I.G.

Noblesse tells the story of a powerful noble named Cadis Etrama Di Raizel, commonly known as Rai. Rai had been in a deep slumber for 820 years and has no knowledge of mankind’s progress and scientific innovations. He wakes up one day in an abandoned building in South Korea and goes out to face the modern world. He decides to attend school and happens upon his loyal servant Frankenstein. With Frankenstein’s help, Rai meets new people and becomes their friend. However, a secret organization trying to uncover his past is on their trail.


Noblesse still

4. Ragnarok: The Animation

This hit anime is based on the MMORPG Ragnarok Online. Similar to the game, the story takes place in Rune-Midgard. The Dark Lord wants to invade Rune-Midgard and take possession of the seven magic crystals that helped the heroes lock him away. The led adventurer Roan and his team must get together to stop the Dark Lord’s invasion.

The series premiered in April 2004 and consists of 26 episodes.

Ragnarok: The Animation poster
Ragnarok: The Animation

5. BASToF Lemon

BASToF Lemon is a South Korean series that came out in 2001. The term “BASToF” stands for “Be A Stranger To Fear. The story takes place in a gaming city called Xenon in the year 2097. The players pilot biomech cyber robots, and fight each other. However, they realize that the events happening in the gaming world are linked to Xenon. Whenever destruction meant to happen in the game happens in real life as well, a powerful scent of lemon overcomes the gamers.

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The game’s creator wants to get to the bottom of this mystery, and hence assembles a “Dream Team.” The team consists of the top three gamers in Xenon, who are rebellious, arrogant, and can’t stand each other. They are forced to team up and take care of this worldly threat.

BASToF Lemon poster
BASToF Lemon

6. The Fake

The Fake is an animated South Korean film written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho. It premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, followed by numerous other film festivals. The movie won Best Animation awards at the Sitges Film Festival and Gijón International Film Festival. It was declared 2013’s Best Korean Independent Film by the Association of Korean Independent Film & Video.

The story is about a con man named Choi Gyeong-seok posing as a church elder trying to dupe the citizens of a rural village. He gives them false ideas of hope and heaven, and everyone hangs on to his words. That is, until a skeptical outcast named Kim Min-chul uncovers Choi’s history of crimes, and becomes a resistance force. But Min-chul himself is a gambler, drinker, and a low-life thug. How will he prove that Choi is corrupt?

The Fake poster
The Fake

7. Jang Geum’s Dream

Jang Geum’s Dream is an animated spin-off of the hit Korean drama Dae Jang Geum. It aired on MBC from 2003 to 2004, and was successful just like its predecessor. The story centers on Jang Geum, and her arrival to the Royal Kitchen as an apprentice court lady. Unlike the live action series, the plot is lighter, with bits of comedy. And of course, there is no murder or corruption.

The first season has Jang Geum with a goal to make people smile with her cooking. However, it changes to cooking just to win and impress the eaters, and this lands her into trouble. The story is a journey of self discovery.

still from Jang Geum's Dream
Jang Geum’s Dream

8. The God of High School

The God of High School is a Crunchyroll Original anime based on the manhwa by Yongje Park. The series was first published in Naver Webtoon in April 2011, and quickly became one of the biggest manhwas to exist. The main character is Mori Jin, a 17-year-old martial artist from Seoul. His street brawls capture the eyes of a mysterious organization and he is invited to join a martial arts tournament. The tournament’s name is the titular “The God of High School.”

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Mori finds out that there are others like him from different schools. Three finalists are to be selected as representatives for the World Tournament, The winner also gets his or her wish granted by the organization, no matter how big their wish is. Mori joins Karate expert Daewi Han and epeeist master Mira Yoo, and have fights against numerous opponents. But they soon realize hidden secrets within themselves, and become part of something bigger.

The God of High School poster
The God of High School

9. Jib/The House

You can find some similarities between Spirited Away and Joo-Young Ban’s The House. The lead character is Ga-young, a young lady who shifts to an old town and looks for new apartments. In the process, she comes across a spirit named Zipsin, the spirit of a house that is set to be demolished. Zipsin takes her on an adventure that shows corruption, and the changing Korean economy. They see how poor residents are treated in Korea by depicting them as spirits in the movie. It pulls no punches in showing how harsh the situation is.

Still from The House
The House

10. Tower of God

Tower of God is another massive webtoon that got picked up by Crunchyroll. The series is one of the biggest in South Korea and has its own merchandise and mobile game. The story is written by lee Jong-hui, and originally came out in 2010.

It centers around a boy named Twenty-Fifth Bam. Bam had spent most of his life trapped beneath a big and mysterious Tower, with only his friend Rachel for company. One day, Rachel goes into the Tower, leaving him alone. Bam is devastated and decides to follow behind her, even if it means certain death. Soon, he comes across Rachel and other allies, and makes it their mission to get to the top.

Tower of God poster
Tower of God

Also read: 10 Characters Who Are Similar To Kaguya Shinomiya From ‘Kaguya-sama: Love Is War’

By Rakesh Pillai

Hi, I'm Rakesh. I'm a huge anime fan with an active interest in content writing and editing. So here is me creating something out of the things I enjoy.

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