As I settle into my cosy spot on the couch, anticipation bubbles within me as I prepare to dive headfirst into yet another thrilling anime series freshly added to Netflix’s line-up.
After hearing my friends rave about this new anime called Solo Leveling, and realising it’s been a while since I’ve indulged in any anime series, I’ve decided to give it a shot.
With a bowl of snacks at the ready and my tablet fully charged, I’m eagerly anticipating the opening credits to whisk me away into a world bursting with excitement and adventure.
A bit of background information from the interweb on this anime series. Solo Leveling, alternatively known as Only I Level Up or RR: Na Honjaman Rebeleop in Korean, is a South Korean web novel that was penned by Chugong.
It made its debut on Kakao’s digital comic and fiction platform, KakaoPage, in July 2016, and later found its way into publication under D&C Media’s Papyrus label from November 2016.
This riveting tale didn’t stop at the written word though; it found new life through a webtoon adaptation first serialised on KakaoPage in March 2018 – as a manhwa, like a manga, but Korean so to say.
Illustrated by the talented Jang Sung-rak (known as Dubu), the webtoon’s first season concluded in March 2020, with its second season delighting fans from August 2020 to December 2021.
D&C Media compiled these chapters into nine volumes as of August 2023, also licensed in English by Yen Press, ensuring fans worldwide can immerse themselves in its fantastical world.
Expanding its reach further, an anime television series adaptation, produced by A-1 Pictures, premiered in January 2024, promising to bring the story to life with stunning visuals and immersive animation, and as I’ve mentioned earlier on, it’s now available to watch on Netflix.
Alright, so you may get a bit confused when you start watching the anime because it’s in Japanese. “Isn’t this supposed to be from a Korean manhwa?” was my thought.
Well, the anime TV series, announced at Anime Expo 2022, was produced by A-1 Pictures and directed by Shunsuke Nakashige, with Noboru Kimura on scripts, Tomoko Sudo designing characters, and Hiroyuki Sawano composing music.
Originally slated for 2023, it premiered in early January 2024, on Tokyo MX and other networks, with Crunchyroll streaming it a day prior across various regions.
Initial episodes were screened in December 2023 in key cities.
Level by Sawano and Tomorrow X Together serves as the opening theme, while Request by Krage is the ending theme.
Crunchyroll holds licensing rights for regions excluding China, Japan, and South Korea, while Medialink covers Southeast Asia and Oceania (except Australia and New Zealand).
So, you probably get the gist of where I’m going with this.
QUEST FOR STRENGTH
Alright, so what is this show about? If you’re like me – someone who doesn’t avidly read any show’s manga to spoil the plotline of anime – it’s basically a series about normal humans coexisting with those with supernatural abilities called ‘hunters’ who face the relentless onslaught of monstrous threats to protect humanity – and collect reward bounties, of course.
What kind of show would it be without a lead character, too? In Solo Leveling, the series follows the gripping journey of Sung Jin-Woo, an E-rank hunter with humble beginnings and very well-known as “the weakest hunter” who finds himself thrust into a perilous game of survival and power.
So, Jin-Woo joins an expedition crew one day into a pretty mysterious dungeon, and our hero barely makes it out alive from this insane double dungeon that’s wiping out everyone left and right.
After surviving the ordeal, out of the blue, this mysterious programme called the System picks him to be its player.
And get this – it hands him this crazy rare power to level up and get stronger. Talk about luck, right?
Set in a modern-day society infused with elements of fantasy and adventure, the show unveils a world where gates to other dimensions unleash terrifying creatures upon humanity.
The character is endearing because he’s determined to become stronger through his newfound abilities, embarking on a quest to ascend from that label of “weakest hunter” to an unstoppable force, unravelling dark mysteries and confronting formidable adversaries along the way, probably.
Of course, it’s still in its fifth episode and he has yet to publicly reveal his new ability to anyone, but, every action scene in the series is like a masterpiece, showing off Jin-Woo’s evolution as a hunter and his ninja-like skills.
Whether he’s slicing through enemies with his sword or unleashing magical explosions, the animation really brings the characters’ power and agility to life.
But it’s not just about muscles. Jin-Woo’s fights are all about brains too. He’s always pulling off smart moves to outwit his enemies, which makes every battle a real thrill ride.
Plus, the story isn’t just about fighting. It’s also about Jin-Woo’s journey, and how each battle teaches him something new about himself.
Fans can get hyped for a Korean drama adaptation in the works, and a spin-off webtoon titled Solo Leveling: Ragnarok, dropping in 2024. Plus, Netmarble is cooking up a role-playing video game, inviting players to join the action.
Solo Leveling plunges you into a gripping tale of bravery and ambition as you join Jin-Woo’s journey fighting his way to the top, unlocking his powers and uncovering dark secrets. It’s an epic adventure where reality and myth collide, and the stakes couldn’t be higher! – Izah Azahari