- Solo Leveling, a popular new anime, follows Sung Jinwoo, an E-rank hunter who undergoes significant transformations and challenges.
- Unlike traditional protagonists, Sung Jinwoo cannot train his way to become stronger, as powers in this world are fixed and rank advancement is not possible through training.
- Sung Jinwoo's nuanced blend of vulnerability and strategic thinking sets him apart from confident protagonists, and his journey explores the psychological toll of his newfound powers.
Joining the ranks of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Spy x Family, Solo Leveling is swiftly becoming a popular new anime among fans. Originating as a Korean comic, Solo Leveling has garnered significant attention over the past years.
Despite having only a few episodes released, it is already being hailed as one of the best anime of 2024 and holds an impressive nearly five-star ranking on Crunchyroll. It has become a major talking point on social media, with fans praising it. What is it about this action-fantasy anime and its unconventional protagonist that resonates so deeply with fans?
What is Solo Leveling?
Solo Leveling follows the journey of Sung Jinwoo in a world where hunters, individuals with magical abilities, combat deadly monsters and beasts. Hunters are categorized by ranks, ranging from E-rank (lowest) to S-rank (strongest). In this unique setting, unlike most anime, an individual's powers are fixed, and there's no possibility of training to advance to a higher rank. Sung Jinwoo is an E-rank hunter, considered the weakest. However, his life takes a dramatic turn after a mission, leading to a life-changing event that alters the course of his life and powers. To avoid spoilers from the manga, the story unfolds with Sung Jinwoo undergoing significant transformations and challenges that redefine his status as a hunter.
Solo Leveling started as a South Korean manhwa, a form of Korean comics and print cartoons, written by an author with the pen name Chugong. It was serialized from July 25, 2016. A webtoon adaptation of Solo Leveling began its serialization in March 2018, concluding with its final 201st chapter in May 2023. The manhwa garnered immense popularity over the years, and Crunchyroll's Anime Expo 2022 Industry Panel announced that Solo Leveling would receive an anime adaptation. The anime series premiered on Crunchyroll, with the first episode released on January 6, 2024.
Sung Jinwoo Can’t Train His Way Stronger
Sung Jinwoo defies the conventions of a typical anime hero. Unlike traditional protagonists, he begins his journey as an E-rank hunter, considered the weakest in the hierarchy. The distinct growth system within the Solo Leveling story makes training obsolete. In a world where powers are inherently fixed and impervious to training for rank advancement, Solo Leveling diverges from the narrative approach seen in anime like Naruto and Jujutsu Kaisen. Unlike these series, where a significant emphasis is placed on characters like Naruto and Itadori engaging in rigorous training to enhance their strength, Solo Leveling takes a departure from this traditional trope. Rather than relying on the conventional training arcs seen in many anime, Solo Leveling places more emphasis on Sung Jinwoo's strategic thinking.
Sung’s Personality Sets Him Apart
Sung Jinwoo stands apart from characters like One Piece's Luffy or Yu Yu Hakusho's Yusuke by presenting a nuanced blend of vulnerability and fear. Unlike the brash protagonists, Jinwoo's character takes a departure from the confident protagonist anime fans have come to love. His determination is tempered by moments of vulnerability, creating a relatable and multifaceted lead. Jinwoo's strategic approach to challenges showcases a level of intellect that sets him apart from traditional shonen protagonists who can be more headstrong and impulsive.
Sung Goes on a Different Type of Journey
Furthermore, Jinwoo's journey is not just about physical strength but also explores the psychological toll of his newfound powers. The series delves into the consequences and responsibilities that come with being an exceptionally powerful hunter, offering a more intricate portrayal of a protagonist's development. In essence, Sung Jinwoo challenges the stereotypical anime protagonist mold, contributing to the allure and uniqueness of Solo Leveling.
Solo Leveling is available to stream on Prime Video.