The main highlight of Solo Leveling is the thrilling second half of the opening sequence, which has set high expectations for the upcoming episodes. However, the series seems to be relying on popular sayings, such as “weak heroes become strong” and “hidden strength,” which has increased viewers’ desire to the main character proves himself. If Solo Leveling doesn’t hit its initial highs, it may struggle to maintain momentum, similar to other over-hyped game series.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for Solo Leveling #4 while the anime adapts it Level up alone has garnered incredible hype and expectations before and after its launch, ahead of its highly anticipated launch, it seems the series has left behind the most original elements seen in the opening to relies on the tried-and-true stories of the genre.
The immediate appeal of Solo Leveling is the way it combines the “modern world dungeon portal” plot with the more game-like solo experience of the same name by protagonist Sung Jin-woo. Solo Leveling’s debut was unique on many levels. Now, after the fourth episode, Instead, Solo Leveling seems to rely on classic isekai and Shonen tropes.
One of these common tropes sees an incredibly strong hero mistakenly portrayed as weak, leaving viewers frequently disappointed. The final scene of the fourth episode implies that Sung Jin-woo was led to the mistaken impression that his incredible contribution in destroying the D-class boss was actually not that great and, therefore, did not seek recognition.
Leveling up alone has been left behind by its most interesting premise
Produced by A-1 pictures, based on the web novel and manhwa by Chugong
This popular trope is further complicated by the incorporation of another isekai element, where the initially weak hero who craves power stumbles upon a unique newfound power that leaves them overwhelmed. The fact that Jin-woo has always been considered the weakest hunter further emphasizes his initial unfortunate circumstances, which only increases the viewer’s desire for him to prove himself more.
From a more critical perspective, these common tropes don’t seem like enough to elevate Solo Leveling to the heights it has reached. Solo Leveling sets itself apart from the competition through its iconic second episode as Jin-woo and his makeshift team face a deadly puzzle reinforced by Solo’s fearsome Attack Titan statues. Leveling. All the promotions Jin-woo has made since then pale in comparison to that brutal yet captivating scene.
Leveling up alone could suffer the same fate as other over-hyped franchises
Ironically, Jin-woo acknowledged the thoughts of more demanding viewers during the big battle in episode #4. When facing a dangerous B-rank boss, Jin-woo realized that the situation was nothing compared to what he went through that day with the statues. The reason why that scene is so compelling is because it goes beyond the classic isekai and fantasy genres, placing the main character in a situation where he needs to use his brain to overcome previously impossible difficulties. enemies far beyond his alliance.
However, in the following episodes, Solo Leveling seems to rely on retelling the common rite of passage that every new isekai character must go through, grinding levels and experience. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when a series attracts as much attention as Solo Leveling does, the bar is naturally set higher to demonstrate a measure of originality. Of course, the current hype may be coming from fans of Chugong’s original web novel and the later manhwa adaptation, who are excited based on the unanimated chapters.
Hope that, Level up alone manages to match the expectations it has set for itself, proving that its originality is not limited to just the second volume.
Level up alone available on Crunchyroll.
Level up alone
Based on the webtoon series, Solo Leveling is an action-adventure fantasy anime created by Chugong. When Sung Jinwoo was killed deep in a high-level dungeon, he was reincarnated – but this time with a plan. Using a unique program that only he can, Jinwoo levels up dramatically quickly – and he plans to use his newfound power to reach the heart of the dungeon and uncover the secrets of It.
Release date January 7, 2024
Creator(s). Department of Public Works
Writer Noboru Kimura
Director Shunsuke Nakashige