Home Bleak Dystopian Manhwa: Exploring Bleak Futures and Oppressive Societies

Dystopian Manhwa: Exploring Bleak Futures and Oppressive Societies

Dystopian Manhwa: Exploring Bleak Futures and Oppressive Societies

Manhwa, a Korean form of comics, has been gaining global attention. But what is it about dystopian manhwa stories that really capture an audience? Dystopian manwha often examine oppressive societies and bleak futures, allowing readers to experience a different reality through the works of talented authors.

Themes of Oppression

Through stories telling tales of oppressive societies, dystopian manhwa often introduces moral and ethical lessons to the reader. While they offer escapism and entertainment, they also often explore topics like authoritarianism and corruption, trying to teach readers about the consequences or dangers of certain ideas, practices and governments. Popular dystopias in manhwa include:

  • The Kingdom of Kerioth – a cruel and oppressive kingdom run by tyrants with no mercy shown to its citizens.
  • The Kingdom of Gooze – a kingdom ruled by an oppressive government that is constantly in a state of conflict and chaos.
  • The Labyrinth of Cogent – a city shaped by a mysterious power and ruled by an elusive figure.

Dystopian Manhwa in the Modern World

Dystopian manhwa have become increasingly popular, with many authors creating stories that reflect a particular real-life dystopia. Sometimes stories are used to portray real-life issues, like gender inequality or racial discrimination, while others may use elements of science fiction and fantasy to draw awareness to more environmental issues.

The stories can often act as parables to our current society, and as a way of exploring alternative futures and outcomes. By reading about these dystopian societies, readers are able to think critically about their own societies and reflect on what may happen if certain policies, ideas or practices are followed.


Manhwa is a powerful medium for storytelling, used to explore various dystopian societies and imaginative futures. Whether they are used to promote cultural awareness or as parables to our current world, there is no doubt that dystopian manhwa stories have much to offer readers.

What are some examples of dystopian manhwa?

1. The Abandoned Empress (외면된 황비) by An Hee Jung

2. My Solo Exchange Diary (나 혼자 교환일기) by Sang Bang

3. X-Gene (엑스제네) by Hyun Hyun Kim

4. Fisheye: Pandemonium (피슈아이: 팬더모니움) by Hyung Min Lee

5. Tower of God (신의 탑) by SIU

6. Unordinary (비평론) by Uru-chan

7. The Great Merchant Kim Manduk (김만두 큰상인) by Tae-ho Kwak

8. Saphie: The One Eyed Cat (두눈에는 고양이 사피) by Kyung-sook Park

9. Kingdom of the Gods (신들의 왕국) by In-soo Ra

10. Arang (아랑) by Mun Su Park

What are some popular dystopian manhwa?

1. Chimera (2020)

2. GetITON (2018)

3. X-Eden (2018)

4. Man of Many Faces (2010)

5. The Boxer (2010)

6. The Gamer (2012)

7. Refund High School (2018)

8. God of Bath (2019)

9. Dungeon Reset (2019)

10. Royals Academy (2019)

What is the distinction between dystopian and post-apocalyptic manhwa?

The main difference between dystopian and post-apocalyptic manhwa is the setting of the story. Dystopian manhwas focus on a world in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through the oppressive domination of government, authority, or some other kind of controlling force. Post-apocalyptic manhwas, on the other hand, deal with a setting of destruction following some large-scale disaster. Essentially, dystopian manhwas focus on oppressive elements present in the present, whereas post-apocalyptic manhwas focus on a destroyed world in the wake of a catastrophic event or disaster.

What are common themes in dystopian and post-apocalyptic manhwa?

1. Survival: Staying alive in a harsh, dangerous and often hostile world is one of the most common themes in dystopia and post-apocalyptic manhwa. Many stories feature characters struggling to fight for the basic necessities for survival in a dead world, rescuing survivors, and sometimes even looking for luxuries.

2. Strength and Resilience: Many stories also revolve around characters powering through difficulties to overcome the challenges presented to them in a post-apocalyptic world. This could involve travelling large distances, avoiding dangerous creatures or oppressive regimes, or finding strength and courage within themselves.

3. Hope: Despite all of this, many of the stories explore the idea of hope in a seemingly hopeless world. Characters might strive to maintain a piece of the past or plant a seed of hope in a desperate world. Both dystopia and post-apocalyptic manhwa tend to explore stories of people finding hope in their darkest days.

4. The Aftermath: Many stories explore the aftermath of post-apocalyptic events and the consequences the have caused. This could include stories about the rebuilding of the world, creating a new society, and dealing with the emotional trauma of such a devastating event. This can also overlap with themes of rebuilding hope, discovering what remains of the world and adapting to a new one.

What is the difference between dystopian and post-apocalyptic manhwa?

Dystopian manhwa typically feature a world in which society has broken down or been transformed through a combination of technological advancements and human choices. These stories typically explore elements of a dark, oppressive society, often focused on survival of characters in a new landscape of peril and opportunity. Post-apocalyptic manhwa, on the other hand, feature a post-apocalyptic world where the effects of some apocalyptic event have already taken place and the story typically explores the world after this event. These stories typically explore how characters cope with the new environment and how they attempt to rebuild and survive in the face of hopelessness and danger.

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