Where to Watch & Read Hellbound – Anime Film, K-Drama & Webtoon

Hellbound has quickly taken Netflix by storm, becoming as much of a hit on the platform as fellow Korean series Squid Game. However, unlike the latter, Hellbound actually has preceding source material that fans of the show will likely want to get into. Beginning as an animated short film, the title later became a webtoon series before finally hitting it big in live-action form on Netflix.

Although the different versions all have somewhat similar stories, there are also several differences between the variations of the Hellbound world. The two earliest versions can be seen as blueprints or proofs of concept for what the show would become, evolving further with each iteration. Here's a look at what the franchise is about and how to get into each version.

The Plot of Hellbound

Monster from Hellbound Netflix Series

The story of Hellbound (in all versions) is set in a near-future version of Korea, where a mysterious apparition begins appearing to warn people of their upcoming deaths and damnation. Usually accompanying this "angel" are monstrous beasts that kill these accursed people in grisly, violent and almost spectacle-like fashion.

Society as a whole begins to sink into despair concerning these incidents, with a religious cult forming to stoke the flames of fear. Meanwhile, a detective begins looking into the supernatural occurrences, while different characters are also focused on as they grapple with their own pre-destination.

Where to Read the Hellbound Webtoon

The Hellbound webtoon began in 2019, and it's in many ways a sort of blueprint for the later live-action series. The webtoon was created by Yeon Sang-Ho, who also directed the acclaimed Train to Busan, while Choi Gyu-Seok did the art. Being a webtoon series, it can of course be read on the Webtoon platform, although that soon won't be the only way to read it.

A collected manhwa version of The Hellbound is now being collected and translated, making it easier for fans of the Netflix series to enjoy the book source material. The first volume is planned for release in January 2022, with the second volume scheduled to come out in May. Pre-orders for these physical collections of the series can be placed on Amazon, as well Right Stuf Anime and the websites for Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million.

Where to Watch the Hellbound Animated Film

The franchise got its start in 2003 with the release of the short film The Hell (Two Kinds of Life). This two-part movie was the genesis of a much larger story, and it thus had some differences between what would come later. Its plot deals with two people with differing fates: one is destined for Heaven while one is being sentenced to hell. This contrasts with the pure damnation of the later works, as do the antagonists in the piece. The murderous monsters seen in The Hell are much less horrifying and inhuman-looking than in the webtoon and TV show, although they're still incredibly dangerous.

Sadly, the only way to watch the film is through an unofficial upload on YouTube. The film is certainly interesting to look at, as it showcases the drastic differences in appearance and production value between independent Korean animation and the still much more popular Japanese anime.

Where to Watch the Hellbound K-Drama

Hellbound on Netflix

Currently, the most mainstream version of the story is the Hellbound live-action adaptation. This Netflix production is directed by franchise creator Yeon Sang-Ho, and it thus feels even more like he's simply perfecting the story that he conceived around twenty years ago. It expands greatly upon the webtoon's plot while still being fairly accurate to it. The changes made to the story are mostly minor, such as how some of the victims die and other such elements. Beyond that, Hellbound is easily the best version of Sang-Ho's vision yet.

Since being released in mid-November 2021, it quickly became one of the biggest hits for Netflix, even surpassing the cultural phenomenon of Squid Game. As a Netflix series, the only way to watch it is by subscribing to the streaming platform, so those with Netflix accounts should finally binge it and see what the newest K-drama craze is all about.

Gojo Satoru in the short from Jujutsu Kaisen
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