Solo Leveling | Complete Review

Solo Leveling | Complete Review
Solo Leveling | Complete Review


Solo Leveling | Complete Review


“In a world where magically gifted people known as hunters must fight terrifying creatures to save humanity from near extinction, Sung Jinwoo, a famously poor hunter, finds himself in an apparently never-ending war for life.


One day, after barely escaping a monstrously strong double dungeon that almost destroys his whole party, he is selected as the only participant in a strange program known only as the System. This program bestows upon him the incredibly rare ability to level up in strength, maybe to the point of no return.


Jinwoo then sets off on a mission to uncover the mysteries of the dungeon and the true source of his abilities, coming up against a range of adversaries, both human and monster.”


However, I felt that this was my opportunity to finally pick it up because the series was ending in December of last year, and I have no regrets about it. I finally understand what all the excitement is about, even if it took me considerably longer than I anticipated to finish. I will discuss several of the shortcomings that I found particularly noticeable in my evaluation, so this wasn’t a perfect fit for me.


Although this series may initially appear to be nothing more than a ton of fighting, it is actually much more than that, and fans of many genres will find something to like in it. Do you read books based on characters? All the Jinwoo you could possibly desire is here, then. Do you read stories first? Since this is divided into plot arcs, we most certainly have that. A little solid worldbuilding would be nice. Okay, so you can also cross that one off.


I’ve included my reviews of the arcs below if you’d like to read them. For the time being, though, brace yourself—this review has a lot to digest.


Now let’s examine the specifics!

WRITING/ART


There are a lot of lovely characters in this, so you can’t really complain about the character design. However, there was one thing that struck me about the designs—specifically Jinwoo and Jinha. Jinha’s hair alternated between dark brown and purple, and Jinwoo’s eyes continually shifted between grey and black. I’m not sure what the purpose of this was, but something strange caught my attention.


The battle sequences were a little difficult to follow. Webtoons, in contrast to manga, include lengthy vertical panels. This makes it difficult to read certain fairly unpleasant scenarios because you have to scroll down to see the entire image. In addition, there was a ton of text, flashes, and motion blur on the panels.


I really have no issues with the content itself, except one spelling error that I did find. Manhwa and manga are excellent at cramming just the appropriate amount of text and background into a bubble. I also appreciate that the colors changed to fit the mood rather than just being the typical white and black boxes.

PLOT


Depending on your preferred style of reading, you could appreciate this story or not. Your odds of enjoying it are lower if you’re someone who dislikes OP characters or excessive action. However, this does not imply that the chances are zero; many readers who tried it and had the same objections ended up finding it enjoyable.


In terms of imagery, I have previously discussed battle sequences in the previous part, but I wanted to revisit them in this area. You know, for a series that featured a lot of combat, there was also, well, not a lot of fighting. It was disheartening that most battles were on the shorter side, even the ones I had been looking forward to for a long. However, there are still plenty of battle sequences, so if you’re searching for a show with an MC who consistently wins and kicks ass, this one is a winner.

The series’ ability to make you feel as though you are growing with it is another positive aspect. Because I pace myself, it takes a while to go through, and by the time you reach the finish, it feels like a century has passed since Jinwoo first woke up transformed. That makes it very evident how far he has progressed and how much his physical and emotional state has changed.


In terms of development, though, the narrative did a fantastic job of illustrating Jinwoo’s overall growth as a hunter. The narrative begins by placing him in circumstances that he has little chance of winning, but it will come full circle later on, once he has gained the strength to handle it. It was also a pretty effective approach to give each subplot its proper development.


That’s basically the main plot of the story: we follow Jinwoo as he gets stronger and encounters stronger opponents. Of course, there’s a deeper undercurrent that emerges gradually as you continue, but I can’t really discuss it in length for fear of giving anything away. Although I wouldn’t say I was very interested in the deeper plot, I didn’t really care because I was having fun nonetheless.

WORLD-BUILDING


Let’s begin with Jinwoo’s magic system, also known as the System. Because the magic system is based on a common video game leveling system, it is rather simple to understand, especially if you are a gamer. It has a very simple structure of doing missions, earning experience points to advance in level, and receiving rewards. Basic, uncomplicated, and efficient.


The system was not overly intimidating, which was one aspect of it that I liked about the way the creative team handled it. Jinwoo is OP, for sure, but his skills are limited to the position he was given. It’s not as though he has a vast array of superhuman skills, no, and for that I am grateful.


Another thing I enjoyed was that they would display precisely what Jinwoo was using on the website. You could view the description if he acquired a new object, which was an intriguing and practical method of providing information.


They are separated first by kind, then by rank, with regard to the other hunters. Depending on how strong their mana levels are when they awaken, hunters and creatures are ranked from E to S. Naturally, things become a bit trickier when you get to S-Rank since there are no subdivisions, but the rankings effectively illustrate the disparities in strength.


Regarding the classes—tank, assassin, and mage, for instance—we didn’t exactly receive a comprehensive list. When a character on the page had a certain kind not previously stated, types would appear at random. This is one of the world-building elements for which a list would have been useful.


The dearth of things was one thing I did see. You only witness Jinwoo utilize physical objects, not healthy ones, a few times; I’m not sure if that’s because they are invisible. Items are a major component of any game system, thus I didn’t see why Jinwoo would not have used them just because he was strong enough.

CHARACTERS


The characters in this series—or more specifically, the supporting cast members—are its worst weaknesses. Naturally, the major focus of this is on Jinwoo and Jinwoo alone, thus all of the supporting characters are, well, shoved to the side. Regretfully, several intriguing individuals with a lot of promise were either overlooked or perished before their character arc could progress, which was unfortunate.


I’m not sure whether this is because the tale was written by guys, but it felt like she was only there to be Jinwoo’s eye candy and to form a relationship. Speaking of which, I also believe that romantic connections weren’t handled very effectively. Not only did this plot not require it in the first place, but there was hardly any progression at all, which made it much worse. It sort of shows that sentiments between people were building by going from 0 to 100 with nothing in between.


Now let’s get back on topic: the remaining supporting cast members. More interactions between people who I thought had a great dynamic together would have been wonderful. In addition, I really desired to see more characters overall—Zhigang, for instance. Although he only made a few fleeting appearances, he was regarded as Jinwoo’s strongest hunter, and we never got a good look at him in action. The team’s lack of progress with these characters after building such a big excitement around them seems odd.


However, as I mentioned before, there were a ton of very fascinating folks. I did wind up being close to them, and the characters I adored formed some very wonderful ties with one another. In the end, I found myself becoming a little emotional about some of the characters and sequences.


After discussing the supporting cast, it’s time to concentrate on Jinwoo. Jinwoo is a figure who was effectively used for the purpose. You now have a character that is capable of constant strength gains and combat loss. The positive thing about Jinwoo’s character, though, is that, as I previously indicated, even if he is OP in comparison to other characters, his development is slow.


He starts with an E-Rank and advances through the ranks by taking on monsters that correspond to his own ranking. It’s not like the squad put him up against animals far more experienced than he was, and he emerged unscathed. Despite this lack of significant power disparity, he still gets beaten severely.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS


This was a really good series all around. Even while I don’t believe I like it as much as some others, it lived up to the expectations and accomplished its intended goals.


Though I did have some reservations, the creative team might have chosen not to extend it given that this is a webtoon adaption. However, I might really read the novel to see if it resolves the problems I experienced with the webtoon.


This is available to read on Tapas or Tappytoon. Keep in mind, though, that you must pay to access the further episodes after reading the first few for free.


Now, as I mentioned before, click on the links to see my own evaluations for each of the arcs!


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