Solo Leveling Premieres in the UK

 On Wednesday, 13th December, Crunchyroll premiered the first two episodes of the long-awaited anime of Solo Leveling at Cineworld Leicester Square, London. The premiere falls shy of a month before the anime is released on the platform on 6th January 2024. The series, which started as a web novel, has also been adapted into a manhwa.

In Solo Leveling, we get transported to a world that looks like just ours except for the appearance of gates—portals to other dimensions where demonic beasts live, aka dungeons. Only selected humans, known as hunters, can hunt them down before the gates break and the beasts have free access to our world. Sung Jinwoo is one of those lucky persons. But is he? Hunters are ranked based on their skills, with S being the highest and E, the lowest. Jinwoo has the lowest rank, and even among them, he’s quite weak. It’s no surprise that he’s known as the weakest hunter of all mankind. Every time he joins a raid to defeat the boss of the dungeon, he’s injured. Every. Single. Time. This latest raid is no exception, but it should be quite easy for the raid of the group members as they have higher ranks. However, the discovery of a secret room inside the dungeon that leads to a second boss room is bound to change Jinwoo’s life… if only he can survive it.

As a big fan of the manhwa, I had high expectations for the anime adaptation, and I’m pleased to say, it didn’t disappoint. The manhwa is already quite dynamic with its full-colour illustrations, which can be considered already anime-like, and the anime steps up its game to give its viewers a more in-depth perspective of the story. The screen adaptation for the first two episodes, and I hope for the future ones as well, is loyal both in terms of story and illustration to the first few chapters of the series. It’s full of action and adventure and, of course, gore. If you’re squeamish or hate the sight of blood, I wouldn’t recommend watching it, but if you don’t mind, you’ll be in for a world full of surprises. It seems that the times are long gone when even a drop of blood was censored.

Although the anime follows the storyline set by the manhwa, there is a twist: we get introduced in advance to a few characters that will cross Jinwoo’s path. As a special treat, Crunchyroll showed the premiere’s attendees an interview with a few members behind the production of the anime. Director Shunsuke Nakashige (Sword Art Online) explained that it was their intention to give the anime more points of view  than just the one from Jinwoo to differentiate from the manhwa. While the story still focuses on Jinwoo’s quest to become the strongest hunter, we get to see his future companions make early appearances while their paths haven’t crossed yet, bringing some background and a shared timeline on why they become hunters and their growth journeys.

We also got a few words by character designer, Tomoko Sudo, who explained the reasoning behind Jinwoo’s character, and how its design changes every time he goes through a power-up. The theme song, LEveL, is a collaboration between Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan) and, for our K-pop fans out there, TomorrowxTogether.

The screening was in Japanese with English subtitles, but the series will also have an English dub. Although I knew that it was being produced by a Japanese company, it was slightly weird at the beginning hearing the characters’ Japanese voices, as I’m used to relating the series to South Korea. However, the cast did an awesome job with the dub, and a couple of minutes in, I didn’t notice it anymore because I was so invested in the animation. Each episode lasts the usual 20-25 minutes that we are used to for anime, but it felt like time flew by so fast, thanks to all the fighting scenes. Of course, it ended with a cliffhanger, making us eager for the next episode to come as soon as possible.

One of the reasons I’m invested in the manhwa, which I believe many people can relate to, is the story’s game-like setting. We see Jinwoo grow as a player with and without the help of the system, and I wonder how that will be interpreted in the animation going forward. Too bad we’ll have to wait a few more weeks before Episode 3 comes out.

Crunchyroll is planning a weekly episode release, with the first episode streaming on 6th January on the platform. If you can’t wait until then, Ize Press has released the first seven volumes of the manhwa, with Volume 8 coming out in January 2024. Solo Leveling is written by Chugong and the manhwa art is by Dubu (Redice Studio).

10 / 10


Number 1 fan of Solo Leveling who also happen to be a self-proclaimed bookworm with a special love for manga and YA, romance and fantasy books. I'm currently obsessed with Korean webtoons.

More posts from Noemi10...