Korean manhwas have a distinctive style separate from Japanese mangas. They are often fully colored and geared toward a digital format, which is why they are optimized for scroll reading. Manhwas also have their own distinctive story tropes and characters. Popular works like Solo Leveling and Tower of God belong to a ‘main characters becoming overpowered as they progress through game-like battles and levels’ trope.
Another such popular trope is the idea of characters becoming overpowered after they reincarnate into a new world or back to their past. Here's a look at some works that specifically feature a female protagonist becoming badass after they reincarnate.
Suddenly Became a Princess One Day: The Best Father/Daughter Relationship
When a woman finds herself reincarnated as Princess Athanasia in the romance novel named Lovely Princess, she only has one thought: survive to adulthood and escape the palace. This is because in the novel, Princess Athanasia was ignored and scorned by her father, the cold heartless emperor Claude -- who ultimately killed her.
Based on the light novel of the same name by Plutus, Suddenly Became a Princess One Day is one of the most highly rated manhwas on both the Korean site Ridibooks and the English app Tappytoon. Athanasia is an extremely smart yet funny character as she tries to avoid death flags by currying favor with Claude. Her ability to calmly analyze and deal with each situation makes her one of the most badass female characters.
The Princess Imprints a Traitor: Gaining the Power to Fight for One’s Rights
The seventh imperial princess, Evenrose once died by self-poisoning after the royal family was overturned by the rebellion of homunculus. But when she opens her eyes again eight years in the past, she recognizes an opportunity to save her family and decides to prove herself worthy of becoming a successor. To achieve this, she names Michael, the king of homunculus and the leader of the rebellion in her previous life, as her personal guard.
Evenrose is one of those characters who truly learns from their mistakes and experiences. She understands that taking a backseat to her family's actions because she doesn’t condone them will not result in actual change. Thus, when she is given the opportunity to redo things, she takes the opposite stance and begins to gain power and support with her cunning and benevolence in The Princess Imprints a Traitor.
The Duchess With an Empty Soul: Valuing Self-Worth Is Most Important
Ivona sacrificed everything for her fiance Gaspal, even her own life. Unfortunately, Gaspal is awful and had a hidden lover -- Ivona’s own cousin. Betrayed and angered by her own naivety, Ivona decides not to believe in love anymore. After finding herself back in the past, she enters a contractual marriage with Claude Agentine, the owner of the Royal Holy Sword. It’s quite satisfying to see Ivona’s confidence grow throughout The Duchess With an Empty Soul as she recognizes her own worth and learns to use her power for herself rather than others.
A Red Knight Does Not Blindly Follow Money
The Imperial Knight Judith used to do anything for money, throwing away both her guilt and morality. When she is betrayed and killed, she realizes money is useless in the face of death. A reincarnated Judith wakes up six years in the past as a new knight and decides not to pursue money blindly anymore by joining the Red Knights.
A Red Knight Does Not Blindly Follow Money stars a very well-rounded protagonist. Judith has her strengths but is not overpowered or without flaws born from the habits of her previous life and values. She tries to completely subvert her previous mindset and learns to treasure relationships instead of money.
A Stepmother's Märchen: Blurring the Lines Between Children and Siblings
Marchioness, Suri Pon Neuwanstein is ridiculed by noble society for becoming a widow so young with a husband much older than her. Despite this, she tries to raise her ‘children’ who aren’t blood-related and old enough to be called her siblings. But on the morning of the oldest child Jeremy's wedding, Suri dies in a tragic accident. She wakes up seven years later on the morning of her husband’s funeral and vows to end her suffering with her own strength.
A Stepmother's Märchen is an endearing story of familial bonds and building relationships. Suri becomes much stronger and more confident after reincarnation when she recognizes that accepting the ridicule and suffering was not beneficial to anyone. Therefore, she begins to make active efforts to improve her own situation and relationships.
The Viridescent Crown: It Takes Two to Run a Dukedom
In The Viridescent Crown, an ordinary college student finds herself in the novel she wrote at 15 years old, titled Eternal Love. She gets reincarnated back to seven years before the story began as the side character Ran Romea de Lazia, the daughter of the male lead, Yustaf’s stepmother. Ran tries to change the course of events so that Yustaf can meet the female protagonist peacefully and find happiness.
Ran is not an extremely overpowered or exceedingly smart character but is calm and logical. Through her knowledge of future events that will unfold, she is able to effectively plan for opportunities and avoid disasters.
There are many manhwas out there of various tropes and styles, but stories with badass female protagonists are always worth the read. They provide a refreshing take on the reincarnation trope and subvert traditional gender stereotypes that female characters are weak.