Growing up on “Slam Dunk,” “Sakura Card Captor,” and “Captain Tsubasa,” I’ve had the amazing privilege of being part of the Manga fandom since I can remember. I was here when the first chapters/episodes of the Big Three (Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece) came out.
They were my companion through different moments in my life: immigration, high school, university…even now as an adult!
I have read it all. Even if it wasn’t good, I read it: Shonen, Shojo, Seinen. It did not matter to me as long as the story was good. So, naturally, while waiting for new chapters of my favorite mangas to release, I saw the rise of a “new” genre called Manhwa or Webtoon. That’s right. You’re soon to be new favorite read isn’t even a manga. But what is a Manwha?
Manga vs. Manwha. What’s The Difference?
A Manhwa is a web novel adaptation usually full of color and is characterized by a different art style than what we are used to with Mangas.
The term “Manhwa” became popular in Korea during the 1920s to describe the political cartoons in newspapers criticizing the Japanese occupation (1910 to 1945). Later in the 20th century, Manhwa became the general Korean term used to describe comics and print cartoons, bringing us to today.
Over time, Manwha has developed a loyal and large fanbase, allowing the medium to step into the world of animation, bringing us to the show’s star — Solo Leveling!
This Korean web novel turned Manhwa is one of the best works of artistic storytelling I have ever read. Believe me when I say that I am not making this statement lightly. After all, I have been reading mangas and watching anime for the past 20 years.
Solo Leveling is going to take the anime world by storm. Mark my words: 2023 will be the year of Sung Jin-Woo, the main character of Solo Leveling.
What Is Solo Leveling?
Solo Leveling, alternatively translated as Only I Level Up, is a South Korean web novel by Chugong in 2016. It was later adapted into a webtoon by the fantastic illustrator Jang-Sung Rak (aka Dubu), who died of a chronic health condition on July 23, 2022, a couple of months after the last chapter was published.
The plot follows Sung Jin-Woo in a world where multi-dimensional “gates” start appearing, connecting earth to a world full of monsters, and humans are given the magical ability to become “hunters.” Unfortunately, there is an Alphabetical ranking system for the Hunters, and Sung Jin-Woo is the weakest of them all (Level E).
One day, while riding a double dungeon, Sung Jin-Woo faces a deadly threat that changes his life forever. But, after narrowly surviving, he gains the ability to “control the system” and to level up his powers continuously.
From here, Jin-Woo starts a new journey where he faces many enemies to reach his final goal: Understanding and beating the system.
“The System Uses Me, and I Use the System.”– Sung Jin woo (Solo Leveling)
The success of this webtoon is so big that a role-playing video game and an anime television series are in development. Netmarble will make the game while the anime is set to premiere in 2023 with A-1 Pictures. (Dong, Bamboo (July 3, 2022). “Crunchyroll Unveils Solo Leveling, Tomo-chan Is a Girl! Anime”. Anime News Network. Retrieved July 3, 2022.)
Why You NEED To Read Solo Leveling Today
I have to be honest with you all; this is a weak synopsis if you compare it to the beauty and the richness you will experience while reading this webtoon. It isn’t easy to describe this incredible story without spoiling anything!
Words fail to explain what I felt reading the first few chapters: I was on the edge of my seat, adrenaline pumping through my veins, and I couldn’t get enough! I did not sleep the night I stumbled upon Solo Leveling. I had to read everything available to me that same night.
What a journey it has been! [Sigh]…The Manhwa was completed earlier this year, and I honestly feel the same void after reading the last chapter of Naruto Shippuden. By the way, Naruto was part of my routine for close to my whole life!!!
What can I tell you? Every ingredient to make a fantastic story was added while making Solo Leveling. The story is incredibly written, the protagonist is one of a kind, the action scenes are so incredible you could freeze, the art style sucks you in, it is funny AND a little bit scary in all the right ways…it’s Solo Leveling!
On July 4, 2022, Crunchyroll released the trailer for the Solo Leveling. The anime is set to be released in 2023. It is also available to read on TappyToon.com. Need more recommendations? Check out the Anime Onlies Recommendation page to find what you should watch or read next.