Portals to another dimension started to appear ten years ago. Only those blessed with magical abilities can fight the monsters that are waiting to come through. However, Jinwoo Sung, the weakest hunter still can’t keep up!
Solo Leveling (Episode 1) – I’m Used to It
Those blessed with magical abilities are known as Hunters. Once they awaken, their powers do not change. They can exchange the loot they find in the dungeons on the other side of the portals for equipment and weaponry with which they can presumably acquire more loot. However, they cannot let their guard down. Failure to defeat the dungeon within a certain timeframe makes it possible for the monsters to pass through to our world where they would be almost unstoppable.
Jinwoo Sung is known as the World’s Weakest Hunter. He has an E-Rank, but his appearance at one of the portals is often a reason to celebrate. If Jinwoo is there the dungeon won’t be that difficult… well, at least for everyone but Jinwoo. Because he’s weak, he rarely gets any loot. Therefore, he doesn’t have the chance to upgrade his equipment, and thus he is always going to be the weakest. He keeps pushing himself though. His father recently vanished, his mother is terribly sick, and his sister is almost at the age to go to university. Earning enough money to keep his family going has fallen to him.
So, when his party encounters a rare double dungeon (a dungeon within a dungeon) they take a vote as to whether they will investigate the second dungeon or report back and wait for instructions. Jinwoo has the deciding vote and decides to go for it, much to Joohee’s horror, especially as she just spent most of the battle healing his wounds. After walking for forty minutes, they come across two giant doors. Inside is a large round room full of giant statues, but there appear to be no monsters. Then, the doors slam shut. One hunter tries to open them but is instantly cut down by one of the statues. Remembering some instructions they saw on a stone tablet, Jinwoo manages to react, saving several of the hunters, but not everyone is so lucky!
What did you think?
I loved this episode. I think they nailed the atmosphere in the temple and did a great job of fleshing out the world and explaining how it works. There were some infodumps that could have been handled better, but overall, I can’t fault it. The action was good, especially at the beginning of the episode when we got to see some of the S-Ranked Hunters in action. However, my favourite part of this episode and one of the reasons I got pulled into the manwha was the scene where we met Jinwoo and his party. I was expecting a much more fantasy vibe, but they were all dressed in regular casual clothes and carrying medieval weapons. I loved how jarring that felt. It really made me question what was going on, and once I start asking questions, I need to find out the answers.
I’ve read the first volume of the manwha and really enjoyed that. It was almost a year ago and sadly, I haven’t had a chance to get into the next volumes. I’m definitely thinking about pushing them up my to-read list. Anyhow, it wasn’t until I was two minutes into this episode that I realised that I’m covering Chained Soldier and Solo Leveling from the Winter 2024 season and both have a lot of similarities. Portals linking a magical dimension to Earth. Select people given the ability to fight back. Hopeless protagonist with almost no power. Admittedly, the comparison stops there, although I’m sure there will be more things I spot as the season unfolds. Anyhow, I am loving both and can’t see that changing. It’s a great start to the 2024.
Other posts in the series