Review of Solo Leveling Anime Episode 1: An Impressive Commencement Mirrors a Nearly Flawless Adaptation of the Manhwa.

solo leveling anime , manhwa

The first episode of the Solo Leveling Anime just premiered, and although it’s too early to determine if it lives up to the ‘god-like’ quality of the Manhwa, especially in its initial stages, it’s safe to say that, among all possibilities, it turned out to be quite a remarkable episode.

Derived from the Manhwa of the same title, also known as “Ore dake Level Up na Ken” (Only I Level Up), the upcoming episodes of the Solo Leveling Anime will center around Sung-Jin Woo’s journey as he acquires a nearly god-like gaming ability, navigating a world dominated by a hunter-dungeon-monster system. Episode 1 is available for viewing here.

Review and Recap of Solo Leveling Anime Episode 1:

solo leveling anime , manhwa
Solo Leveling Anime Episode 1 kicks off with scenes set on Jeju Island and features Chimera Ant monsters. Notably, these scenes are from a later part of the Manhwa, deviating from the original chronological order.

The initial episode of the Solo Leveling Anime establishes a notable precedent by surpassing the content found in the original Manhwa. Unlike the Manhwa, which initially provides limited insight into the dynamics of hunters, the anime introduces characters such as Cha Hae-in, who becomes a significant female heroine for the main character, much earlier in the story. Additionally, figures like Go Gunghee, the chairman of the Korean Hunter Association, are showcased, both of whom are formidable S-rank hunters with considerable strength in their own right. This early inclusion of key characters deviates from the chronological progression observed in the Manhwa.

What Remained Unchanged and What Underwent Alterations

solo leveling anime , manhwa
The chairman of the Hunter Association provides the audience with essential information about the world, and the visual content is the property of A-1 Studios.

A-1 Pictures has executed a remarkable approach in crafting the first episode. It seems probable that the initial storyline depicting Sung Jin-woo acquiring his powers may conclude by the third episode at the latest. There’s even a possibility that it could wrap up in the upcoming second episode, which is just seven days away as of the writing of this article.

Interestingly, much of the opening story in the Manhwa is also covered in the first 2-3 chapters. However, unexpected scenes like Cha Hae-in assisting a young girl in reclaiming her stolen purse or the Korean Hunter Association chairman casually explaining the importance of Hunters retrieving magical stones and items for the real-world economy are pleasant surprises for Manhwa fans.

The significance of maintaining the right pacing

Cha Hae-in in first episode
In the first episode, the early appearance of Cha Hae-in, much like the introduction of the Chimera Ants, deviates from the original timing in the Manhwa. Image rights for these depictions belong to A-1 Pictures, courtesy of Crunchyroll.

Despite the deviations from the original Manhwa, the first episode establishes a captivating pace for the story. The directors likely grappled with the decision of where to conclude the episode, aiming to both engage the audience and provide sufficient information to carry the plot effectively. Striking a delicate balance, they introduced various elements not originally part of the Manhwa’s beginning, creating additional content to extend the episode duration.

By incorporating these extra aspects and delving into the broader world right from the start, the episode avoids potential awkwardness that might have arisen if strictly adhering to the original Manhwa sequence. An alternative could have been a 40-minute premiere, allowing adaptation until the point where Sung Jin-woo faints and wakes up with his powers.

Episode 1 beginning starts with Jeju Island Chimera ant monsters

Jeju Island scenes of solo Leveling
The first episode of the Solo Leveling Anime commences with scenes featuring Jeju Island and Chimera Ant monsters. Interestingly, these particular scenes are originally found in a later part of the Manhwa, deviating from the chronological order of the source material.

The initial minutes of the episode delve significantly into a three-year earlier period, showcasing the conflict between the Chimera Ants of Jeju Island and the hunters battling them. This emphasis on past events hints at the foreshadowing of Jeju Island becoming a substantial arc in the upcoming anime episodes. However, given the complexity of the narrative, it’s conceivable that covering Jeju Island in its entirety might require more than two seasons or at least 48 episodes.

The opening context introduces characters like Cha Hae-In, Go Gunghee, and others, while also providing additional insights into the world of hunters. This information is skillfully presented by Go Gunghee, serving as a precursor to the unfolding storyline. All these elements contribute to establishing a narrative flow in the anime, strategically aligning with the goal of finding the ideal point to conclude the episode.

The responsibility of a successful adaptation to its audience

Park and Song
Park and Song in Solo Leveling Anime Episode 1

One of the key measures of a successful adaptation, especially when dealing with a highly revered source material, is the ability to resonate with both newcomers unfamiliar with the source and dedicated fans who hold the original work in high regard. Solo Leveling Anime adeptly achieves this delicate balance.

As a devoted Solo Leveling fan who completed the Manhwa several months ago, there was a strong desire to revisit the source material and relive the story’s finest moments from the beginning. However, the exceptional quality of the first episode dissuaded me from doing so. While acknowledging that the Manhwa serves as the foundation for the Anime, the first episode presented a distinct and captivating narrative. Solo Leveling Anime, at least for now, offers a different yet equally compelling experience compared to its source material. The episode deserves full credit for accomplishing this feat, successfully blending well-paced storytelling and effective world-building right from the start.

Exploring the Sound, Animation, and Characters of Solo Leveling Anime

Episode 1

I’ve dedicated a significant portion of my overall word count to elaborate on a nuanced aspect like pacing. Now, let’s delve into the technical aspects as well.

A particular flow appeared to be lacking.

Cha Hae-in
Cha Hae-in summersaulting into the air was a quite flawless animation

While the story adaptation itself is commendable, the seamless flow of how each scene transitions into the next seems to be lacking in Solo Leveling Episode 1. In comparison to other series, such as the first episode of Attack on Titan, which concluded with an enticing cliffhanger while effectively establishing the world, Solo Leveling falls short in terms of scene cohesion.

The music scores, frames, and voice acting, while generally fitting, lack the smoothness seen in some other productions. Certain frame changes and cuts appear abrupt, disrupting the overall fluidity of the viewing experience.

Regarding the music, it harmonizes well with the scenes, even though it doesn’t necessarily stand out independently. Hiroyuki Sawano, known for his outstanding work on Attack on Titan, leads the music direction for Solo Leveling Anime Episode 1, ensuring a solid musical foundation. However, the anticipated impactful moment, like Sung Jin Woo’s first utterance of ‘arise,’ might be the pinnacle where the desired emotional resonance and awe are expected to be conveyed to the audience.

The character building is quite strong

Sung jin-woo
Sung jin-woo in Solo Leveling Anime Episode 1

The characters, at least in the Crunchyroll version, seem to retain their Korean names. However, there are indications that the Japanese TV release for native audiences might use Japanese names for each character.

Fortunately, the anime adeptly introduces the world, the soon-to-be significant characters, and the protagonist. As a reader of the Manhwa, one recognizes that the true essence of the Solo Leveling story lies in the journey of the weakest climbing the power hierarchy, and the satisfaction the audience derives from it. Therefore, a crucial milestone is establishing just how helpless and weak the protagonist is.

As Sung Jin-woo reflects on why he has spent his life analyzing situations for potential escape routes, it becomes evident that his seemingly ‘weak’ demeanor provides him with valuable insights when danger is imminent. True to form, when his instincts kick in, the statue unleashes a barrage of laser beams on his fellow hunters. This well-executed adaptation indicates that the initial focus of the story will revolve around establishing Sung Jin-woo as a person of character, deserving of the immense power privilege that he is about to receive in the upcoming episodes.


Animation in Solo Leveling
The animation in Solo Leveling Anime Episode 1 appears to be impeccable.

The animation in Solo Leveling Anime Episode 1 is undeniably breathtaking. Initially, the animation style in the opening scenes led me to draw comparisons to certain mature anime genres. However, as the action unfolded and the anime fearlessly depicted vivid scenes of crimson red blood and heads being severed, my impression was immediately elevated. The moment where the statue unleashes incinerating lasers stands out for its colorful and vivid depiction. The seamless animation, devoid of any reliance on CGI, enhances the experience, particularly as Cha Hae-in executes a graceful somersault high in the air.

What were your thoughts on the first episode of Solo Leveling Anime? Did it meet your expectations?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top