4 Iconic Animations to Learn Korean with Cartoons
Are you looking to add a little color and magic to your Korean studies?
Look no further than Korean cartoons!
They’re not just entertaining—they’re also packed with essential Korean vocabulary, expressions and conversations that’ll do wonders for your language skills.
It’s an awesome way to learn Korean language and culture without even realizing you’re learning.
- Why Learn Korean with Cartoons?
- Where to Watch Korean Cartoons
- 4 Iconic Animations to Learn Korean with Cartoons
Why Learn Korean with Cartoons?
- They’re fun. Let’s be honest: who wouldn’t want to learn Korean with cartoons? They’re incredibly cute and endearing and have the perfect combination of vibrant colors, friendly characters, dynamic storylines and Korean flavor.
- They’re quintessentially Korean. As in many regions, cartoons are a key component of Korean culture and many Koreans grow up watching and enjoying them. Cartoons often serve as a shared reference point for Korean people, so watching them will give you some common ground with native speakers.
However, cartoons aren’t just for children. In fact, they’re so prevalent in Korean society that some adults, too, enjoy and watch them regularly. Cartoons for adults can be wildly diverse. The characters are surprisingly well-developed and they typically cover more mature, sometimes satirical content than cartoons for children.
- They’re ideal for a regular study routine. Cartoon episodes are generally short, making them easy to add to a regular study plan. If you missed parts of the story, you can re-watch and review without spending tons of extra time.
- They’re packed with useful vocabulary. The wide variety of cartoons means that any learner, from beginner to advanced, can find a show that’s right for him or her. As you’ll see below, you can use Korean cartoons to explore everything from cooking terminology to technology vocabulary to everyday conversational skills.
Where to Watch Korean Cartoons
The popular free streaming site features an extensive selection of Korean cartoons. The key is to know what to look for!
Your best bet is to type the name of the cartoon you’re looking for in Hangul in the YouTube search bar. (We’ll recommend some specific cartoons later in this post, but you can keep exploring with comprehensive lists of series here and here).
What’s terrific about YouTube is how accessible it is, especially for beginners and low-intermediate learners. The site is entirely in English, requires no registration and allows you to stream an unlimited variety of videos, one after the other. You can also “like” videos or add them to personalized playlists, which over time will allow the platform to suggest similar cartoons and shows you might enjoy.
YouTube might be an awesome platform for viewing Korean animations, but there are a few caveats o working with it. For one thing, you never know what language level you’re getting yourself into with a video, so it may take a while to find content that’s right for where you are in your learning journey. For another, subtitles are notoriously inaccurate, often using AI to generate them.
FluentU is a language program that addresses these issues. The program gathers authentic Korean videos, including animated shorts and snippets of full-length animations (as well as Kdrama clips, music videos, commercials and much more).
Subtitles on FluentU are vetted by language experts and, as such, guaranteed to be accurate. You can also organize the videos by difficulty level, so you always know what to expect.
Every video comes with interactive captions in English and Korean, so you can keep up with what you’re watching. Full transcripts (with audio pronunciations of each word) and a key word list are also available for each video.
If you come across any new words, you can save them to personalized flashcards which will show you grammar info, example sentences and other videos that use the words. Quizzes are also available to practice what you’re learning using audio, video, text, images, typing and even speaking.
You’ll love how extensive and diverse the selection of Korean cartoons is on Daum. There are thousands of animated videos to choose from, and they’re all entirely free as well. Like YouTube, you also have the option to search for specific titles by typing your favorite cartoon name into the search bar.
Keep in mind, however, that this site is designed for Korean natives, so be prepared to also go through some intense reading practice!
Daum tvPot is also a place to find Japanese animations dubbed or subtitled in Korean. This can be a very productive exercise if you’re also learning Japanese, but can easily become a matter of anthropological study if you already know a lot about Japanese mangas; comparing how both countries approach and produce illustrated content can be a powerful eye opener to the similarities and differences between Korean and Japanese cultures.
4 Iconic Animations to Learn Korean with Cartoons
출동슈퍼윙스 (“Super Wings”)
This futuristic animated series from South Korean entertainment giant Educational Broadcasting System (EBS) follows the adventures of a red jet plane named Jett. This very special and friendly robot is on a mission to deliver various packages to children around the world.
Throughout the episodes, Jett travels to places including Venice, Scotland, Rio de Janeiro and Morocco. To prepare himself, he needs to learn the ways of each country he’s visiting, including some useful expressions and cultural facts. He can ask for assistance from his fellow airplane friends, the Super Wings, if things go awry.
This is a great show to learn directions and how to give commands in Korean, along with plenty of object names and action verbs.
YouTube offers a good selection of “Super Wings” episodes.
If you’re an animal lover looking for a cartoon that’ll transport you to a world marked by fantasy, innocence and whimsy, “Canimals” will become your absolute favorite cartoon! It was developed by VOOZ, which is also behind “Pucca,” another popular Korean animation that became a hit outside the Land of the Morning Calm.
The series is about a group of friendly, ethereal little creatures shaped like a can (hence the name “Canimals”). Each has its own distinct personality, but all are equally curious. Ato, the hero, is a happy-go-lucky Beagle.
Oz, his friend, is a mischievous cat with a strong sense of adventure. Mimi is a bossy little dog. Together and with all of their friends, they learn about the world and express their observations through their different points of view.
This is a perfect series to learn how to share your opinions. You’ll also acquire the vocabulary of a large range of emotions along with plenty of descriptive adjectives!
You’ll enjoy this YouTube playlist.
This exciting cartoon was created by Young Toys, a Korean toy manufacturer. If you’re passionate about cars and wish to know more about the latest Korean automobiles, this show will make your day. Some of the cars featured in this cartoon are actual recreations of Kia cars!
This series follows the adventures of Tobots, transforming cars that were brought to life after their creator was kidnapped. Together with humans, they must protect their city from crime and violence. While primarily targeted to young children, this action-packed cartoon is excellent to learn the vocabulary of cars, robotics and security.
Head over to Young Toys’ YouTube channel to watch “Tobot” episodes.
뽀롱뽀롱 뽀로로 (“Pororo the Little Penguin”)
If you don’t know about “Pororo the Little Penguin,” you’re in for a treat. Developed by Iconix Entertainment, the company behind “Tayo the Little Bus,” it follows the adventures of Pororo, an adorable penguin and his group of friends who live in the snowy village of Porong Porong Forest.
Together, they work to overcome challenges and learn practical and moral lessons in each episode. The episodes are rich in insights about Korean language and culture. You’ll learn 반말 (informal speech) along with numerous useful everyday expressions and questions.
This great YouTube playlist has some adorable episodes featuring the Cooking Princess for some uplifting “Pororo” episodes about Korean food.
So, are you ready to start learning Korean with cartoons? We bet you are! We can’t wait for you to start streaming these iconic Korean animations and propel your Korean studies to the next level. Enjoy!