This review contains SLIGHT SPOILERS. Though I’ve tried to make it as short and spoiler-free as possible.
QUICK SUMMARY : Based on a world where portals to dungeons filled with different monsters appear randomly. People with powers are known as Hunters and fight in dungeons. This is centered around Sung Jin-Woo, an E-rank hunter, and his journey of becoming an S-rank hunter after receiving a reawakening.
LENGTH : 159 Chapters (updating)
GENRE : Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Shounen, Webtoons
Ah yes, the highly praised webtoon, Solo Leveling. Now that it has started being released physically too, does it live up to expectations? Not really, NO.
Solo Leveling is pretty much your typical “zero to hero” story, despite what fans might claim. Protagonist is weak, encounters trouble and is handed down some op abilities out of nowhere. Yes, he technically has to do quest to earn progress, but just the ability to do quests itself is unique to the world and is given to the protagonist with no explanation as to why. This “underdog” is now stronger than almost everyone else, still hides his abilities, for no apparent reason.
MY OPINIONS ABOUT
STORY : The story is fine, more or less what you would expect from the genre, not great, not terrible. It’s still a fun read, don’t get me wrong, but it’s hardly something I would call great. The greatest weakness is the repetitiveness. All the arcs after the first one go like this: MC enters a dungeon, something “unexpected” happens, the expected difficulty increases, everything looks unbeatable, the threat turns to be irrelevant as MC triumphs over it relatively easily.
CHARACTERS : Our MC is the typical handsome edge lord, chicks fall for him, he doesn’t care and all that typical stuff. The supporting characters are more of an annoying type rather than being relevant in the series. The FMC is kinda bearable as she’s kinda THICC. Characterwise, nothing special. Nothing special about antagonists too, they’re the typical edgy, proud type of guys.
ARTSTYLE : The only GOOD part of Solo Leveling is the ART. It’s full coloured, atmospheric, and the action is well drawn. You can kinda make a wallpaper out of every panel. On the other hand, it’s not that’s much different from most of Webtoons of similar genres as they’re all kinda flashy and full of action.
Overall, Solo Leveling is a fine read, but certainly nothing revolutionary. There is just no thrill anymore. Which is why the first few chapters were the best. You were worried about the protagonist as there was no telling whether he’ll make it out alive. But now, there is no more of threat. It’s just a massacre of obstacles.
Most of the arcs can be summed up as presentation of the strongest characters the Hunter Association has to offer only for all of them to be beaten easily so the protagonist can waltz in and save the day effortlessly, takes a souvenir corpse to summon another overpowered servant and that’s it, the arc is done.
Storyline : 6/10
Characters : 6/10
Fights : 7.5/10
Antagonists : 6.5/10
Artstyle : 9/10
Overall : 7/10