Oscar Lavitt ’23
Solo Leveling is a webtoon adaptation of a light novel of the same name. The series takes place on an Earth that has undergone an extreme transformation, becoming a world in which portals called gates open regularly. From these gates come monsters hellbent on destroying humanity. Humanity’s only line of defence is that of the hunters, people who have awoken with special powers that allow them to combat the monsters.
Protagonist Sung Jinwoo is one of humanity’s weakest hunters. Barely stronger than a regular human, he works as a hunter to pay for his mother’s hospital bills. Deeply entrenched in the “E-Rank”, the weakest rank of all the hunters, he is given an assignment at a D rank gate where he nearly dies and is knocked unconscious.
Upon awakening, he gains the strange power of access to a quest log that only he can see. This system helps him become a stronger hunter, while also giving him access to better skills. The series follows his adventures in pursuit of becoming the world’s strongest hunter.
I will not go further into depth as I do not want to spoil the series for potential readers, but I can tell you that it is incredible. The best part of the series is the artwork. Every panel is masterfully drawn and coloured, a perfect accompaniment to the storyline. The story is also intriguing. Following multi-chapter story arcs, each chapter is action-packed and rich from a storytelling perspective.
While Solo Leveling has many strong attributes, there are some gripes that I have. Although the storyline is good, it follows a very generic formula, making it one-dimensional. Another issue is that while some characters are well-written, others fall to the wayside and into predictability.
Despite these nitpicks that I have, I feel that the good factors strongly outweigh the negatives. The webtoon is currently at around 140 chapters and is ongoing. Do not dive into this series expecting wild plot twists and changes from the left to the right every other chapter, as this is not its strength. Instead, the series shines with its creative and multilayered world.
Overall, this is a great series: the art style is good, and the story—although nothing revolutionary—is engaging (after picking it up I read it over spring break in less than a week). For those who might want to read it, it can be found at sololeveling.net.
Photo Credit: Dubu (Redice Studio)