Popular webcomic Solo Leveling will be adapted into an anime, it was announced at this year's Anime Expo. The webtoon is based on Chugong's webnovel, which was completed in 2021. Fans were already pleading for the webtoon to be animated at the time it was being published because it seemed like the ideal candidate for it. The plot featured an underdog protagonist, jaw-dropping battle scenes, and a setting where the fate of the world was in jeopardy. These are all essential components of a smash-hit isekai.
The announcement that Solo Leveling will be adapted into an anime has fans and newcomers alike excited, making Solo Leveling one of the most anticipated anime to debut on Crunchyroll next year; however, this isn't the only reason anime fans should keep an eye on Solo Leveling. The production will be directed by a number of well-known names, including one of the biggest names in anime music history. Here's why fans are ecstatic about Solo Leveling, which will be released in 2023, and why new viewers should be excited about the upcoming anime.
What is Solo Leveling?
Solo Leveling follows a character who begins at the bottom and works their way to the top in traditional iseaki fashion. Sung Jinwoo becomes a Hunter in order to care for his mother. Hunters are people whose job is to kill monsters and demons in dungeon raids. The only problem is that Jinwoo is an E-Rank Hunter — the lowest of the low, with E-Rank Hunters usually being the first to die, either because monsters target the weak or because the other Hunters abandon them to die.
When Jinwoo encounters a double dungeon, things begin to change for him. This double dungeon nearly killed him, but just as he thought he was finished, he is given a second chance: an offer to become a Player. He then joins a program called the System, where he is required to complete quests in order to 'level up' and become stronger. He not only grows physically stronger, but he also gains new abilities, such as the ability to summon the dead.
What Is the Appeal of Solo Leveling?
Solo Leveling is a fairly straightforward power-up story, and the protagonist, Jinwoo, isn't particularly interesting once he reaches a point where he's virtually unbeatable. His status as an underdog doesn't last long before it becomes clear that his ability to level up and become stronger is practically limitless.
While he does become extremely powerful, Jinwoo's strength did not appear out of nowhere; he had to work for it, and watching his development is rewarding. Despite knowing how most of his battles will end, you can't help but root for him because, at his core, Jinwoo is simply a man who wants to protect those he cares about.
The other characters in the story are extremely compelling to read, in particular, Jinwoo's shadow army. Jinwoo's interactions with his loyal shadow soldiers are some of the most entertaining parts of the story. All of them have very distinctive personalities but the one thing they have in common is their loyalty to Jinwoo.
Aside from the characters, the world-building in Solo Leveling is fantastic. One of the world's distinguishing features is the incorporation of gaming elements such as RPG into the fantasy world. Solo leveling quickly teaches you about monsters, dungeons, Hunters, and guilds, but it never feels overwhelming. The story gradually introduces elements of the world through Jinwoo's interactions until readers are completely immersed in it. The webtoon's action scenes, of course, were what drove Solo Leveling's popularity. Jinwoo fights a lot in the story, both to strengthen himself and to defeat his enemies.
The Creators of the Solo Leveling Anime
One of the reasons fans are so excited is that the production team is poised to take the novel to animated heights. Anime adaptations can be hit or miss depending on the studio, but it appears that Solo Leveling is in good hands. Although Studio MAPPA has quickly become a household name in the anime community for producing titles such as Attack on Titan, A-1 Pictures, which will be producing Solo Leveling, has also been slowly gaining more acclaim.
The studio previously created anime such as Black Butler, Fairy Tail, The Seven Deadly Sins, and perhaps its most well-known work, Sword Art Online. Many of the shows produced by A-1 Pictures have received widespread acclaim, including Your Lie in April and, more recently, 86 and Season 2 of Kaguya-sama: Love is War!, with shows like 86 and Sword Art Online demonstrating the studio's ability to create beautiful battle animation.
Part of what makes action scenes the most memorable scenes from an episode is the music that accompanies them. With Hiroyuki Sawano helmed as the composer, Solo Leveling is about to get even more epic. His powerful soundtracks are almost overwhelming in the soundscape, making it sound like his music surrounds you from all directions. While Sawano is most well-known for his battle-type OSTs where adrenaline is rising and the characters are put in a life-or-death situation, his heartfelt soundtracks are also extremely moving in their gradual build-up into an emotional climax. Sawano is most famous for his work in Attack on Titan, but he has also worked on the composition for other works such as Re: Creators, Guilty Crown, and Blue Exorcist.
Other notable names include director Shunsuke Nakashige who was responsible for the key animation in iconic episodes of series like The Ancient Magus' Bride, Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal and Bungo Stray Dogs Season 2. Some people have noted that Jinwoo looks different in the sneak peek of the anime trailer compared to the webtoon, and it's most likely because the anime will be adapting the novel, but Jinwoo's character design is already hyping fans up, and all thanks to Tomoko Sudo.
Sudo was the animation director for a few episodes of Wotakoi, and worked on some key animation for a few episodes of Black Butler and Sword Art Online. Sudo also worked on the character designs of Fragtime and Alice in Borderland. In the trailer, some snippets of the line animation of various characters such as Jinwoo and Cha Hae-In already show Sudo's prowess. Solo Leveling has a juggernaut of a team behind its production and fans can look forward to the anime when it premieres sometime in 2023.