“I’m Used to It”
All right – so here we are! Ore dake Level Up na Ken or Solo Leveling – the long-awaited premiere by many is finally here and has graced our screens at home. It’s not the first premiere of Winter 2024, but it’s certainly an anticipated one. And I’m here to give all the details as a big fan of the original manhwa. I will give small hints at future plot points when relevant but not flat-out spoilers unless they happen in the episode. So rest assured there will be no spoilers. This will be very similar to my review of JJK!
Okay, all that out of the way, my initial thoughts on this episode? Well, it should have been a two-episode premiere! Mainly because the episode decided to introduce a bunch of characters that will become relevant to the plot – but much later. Let’s just say A-1 was teasing all the good rankers, however to anyone not a fan of the manhwa, they might pass over their head not knowing who they are. I applaud A-1 however, because they could have easily placed a bumper on screen saying who this character is – but decided to keep it a mystery for now and let the viewers understand who they are via context clues. I think this is how you should introduce B characters because they’re not exactly relevant right now. But they will be shortly. Furthermore, they add important lore context clues that set the premise for our titular character.
What I personally really like about Solo Leveling is its world-building with the rankers. There’s a whole bureaucratic system set up that works very similar to Yakuza. We got a small hint during the explanation of where the monsters come from and how rankers are given a grade. No matter what you do or how hard you work out. There is simply no way to make your mana stronger. Even if you work super hard. You will never be able to push past the rank you were given.
Enter Sung, Jin-Woo (Ban, Taito) a cute guy who seems to have all the respect of everyone he goes dungeon diving with – not – he has gained respect from the people as being the weakest hunter and every one he goes dungeon diving with knows his name – not because he is super strong and they respect him. But quite the opposite, they cuddle him. Treating him like a little brother, everyone is quite worried about him. A minor injury set him back to the hospital, he almost starved in a dungeon and many other quite tragic things happened to him. Right now he is the lowest of the low – the weakest of them all.
But don’t worry – he’s going to change! So if you dislike him right now – just give him one more episode.
There’s a lot to dislike right now of Sung, the fact he’s so weak that it makes him pity himself, he’s full Shinji mode right now. Which is a character trait I really despise. Furthermore, he has that other thing I despise even more. He is only doing this for the money – his mom is sick (?) his little sister needs to go to school and he has bills to pay. So he needs the money – and even though fear paralyzes him, he still needs to continue onward. Commendable that he fears through the dungeon for other people – sure. But bravery for other people is the same as not having bravery at all. IMO of course.
Always with the hot takes right?
Anyway, enter Ju-Hui Lee (Honizumi, Rina), she is umm… Well, let’s just say right now she’s kinda annoying because she has the hots for Sung, but like in a pitty type of way. Like if he would only square up and invite her to dinner then maybe she would want to date him type of way. But Sung is so clueless and buried in his own drama that she has to spell it out for him. Just a personal pet peeve. But don’t mind me.
Before we continue let me introduce you to my favorite little guy Jin-Ho Yu (Nakamura, Genta) I really can’t say much about him because well spoilers – this episode simply just introduced him and like made him walk in the background before something more important happened. And that blonde pink hat girl Hae-In “Shizuku Kousaka” Cha (Ueda, Reina) she got some booty. Let’s just leave it at that.
Fan service be lit this season!
So we dive deeper into the dungeon, against all logic because otherwise there wouldn’t be a story and they end up in a big open room after like 45 minutes of walking, with statues that seemingly start moving on their own and shoot laser beams out of their eyes. This is why I think it should have been a two-episode premiere because this is where the real meat and bones of the story start happening. But oh well – guess we’ll have to wait till next week. Overall I quite liked this premiere – I think some things were moved around although I’m not sure. Hopefully, the level of quality presented here will continue throughout the next episodes. But overall it’s quite good – the next couple of episodes should prove to be more engaging and interesting than this one. It might seem like a whole lot of nothing – but it will continue to get better if you’re not exactly familiar with the manhwa then I get that this episode was not exactly a stellar introduction.
Anyway, I’m ecstatic to cover Ore dake Level Up na Ken here on RC bringing you coverage week by week!
Full-length images: 39.