Key visual for the anime adaptation of Solo Leveling

The Best Manga Like ‘Solo Leveling’

Solo Leveling takes us to a mesmerizing world where monsters waltz out of mysterious gates, and “hunters” are society’s esteemed pest controllers. Our protagonist, Sung Jin-Woo, starts off as … well, let’s just say the “damsel in distress” of hunters. Constantly teetering on the brink of the afterlife, Jin-Woo is about as useful as a chocolate teapot in a monster fight. But one fateful day, after a dicey skirmish in a dungeon, he receives an RPG-style interface only he can see. 

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And then, suddenly, the world’s weakest hunter is on a path to level up, solo-style. And trust me, the glow-up is real. If only our real-life fitness routines were half as effective. And if witnessing Jin-Woo’s dramatic rise from zero to hero is your cup of tea, here are a few more Manga similar to Solo Leveling you’ll appreciate. 

The Beginning After the End

The Beginning After the End
(Turtleme, Fuyuki21)

The Beginning After the End sounds like the metaphysical musings of a philosopher on a caffeine high. However, dive in, and it’s a rollicking tale of reincarnation sprinkled with liberal doses of magic, monarchs, and mischief. At the zenith of power in one world, our hero, King Grey, takes an unscheduled detour through the afterlife and pops up in another world as a baby. 

Imagine ruling empires one day, and the next, you’re gumming on a pacifier and wrestling with diapers. A reborn king, Arthur, as he’s now named, carries memories of his past majestic life, and the cosmic joke is on the universe as he finds himself navigating toddlerhood with the wisdom of a monarch. 

Tower of God

Tower of God South Korean manhwa
(Telecom Animation Film)

Tower of God takes ‘climbing the social ladder’ quite literally. Bam, our eager beaver, enters this vertical enigma not for glory or power but to track down a gal pal who appears to have taken the express elevator upwards. While most of us can’t locate our friends in a crowded room, Bam’s tackling labyrinthine levels and formidable foes just to find his. 

He amasses an unlikely group of supporters along the way, people who, like us, when promised free meals, will do whatever it takes to get to the top. Tower of God cleverly reminds us that the trip frequently outshines the destination and that finding a friend can be more complicated than finding a needle in a haystack—even if that haystack is a multi-leveled, monster-infested tower. 

Second Life Ranker

Second Life Ranker
(Sa Doyeon)

Contrary to the title, Second Life Ranker is not about ranking one’s favorite reincarnation stories. No, this manhwa is about Yeon-woo, a guy whose bro complex leads him down a perilous rabbit hole. When Yeon-woo’s twin brother meets an unfortunate end after playing the world’s most ominous virtual reality game, Yeon-woo decides to dive in—part vengeance quest, part sibling bucket-list completion. 

With a mysterious diary left behind by his late brother, our protagonist is not exactly playing blindfolded. As he navigates a world that’s half MMO, half Darwinian nightmare, Yeon-woo climbs the ranks with a determination that’d put overachieving honor students to shame. 

The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor

The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor
(Kim Tae-Hyung)

The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor sure does sound poetic. One might expect moonlit tales of artists caressing marble with chisels. But this manhwa is about an artist of a different kind—Lee Hyun, the lead character, is a master of MMORPGs. Saddled with debt and fresh from selling his in-game avatar for a sum that would make most of us reconsider our life choices, Lee dives headfirst into the newest virtual sensation: Royal Road. 

Here, he opts to be a sculptor rather than a swordsman or a wizard who throws fireballs. But Lee’s choice isn’t merely for aesthetics. This sculptor’s journey isn’t about breaking rocks but chipping away at monsters, quests, and the occasional player’s patience. 

Overlord

Ainz Ool Gown and Albedo from Overlord
(Madhouse)

The plot of Overlord centers on Suzuki Satoru, an ordinary employee who becomes an extraordinary skeletal ruler due to an in-game server glitch. When his beloved MMORPG, Yggdrasil, was set to shut down, Satoru did what any devoted gamer might—logged in for one last melancholic look around. Little did he know, he’d be trading corporate ladders for dark magical ones. 

Waking up as his avatar, Ainz Ooal Gown, and with no log-out button in sight, he finds himself in a world eerily similar to his game but not quite right. As the supreme leader of Nazarick’s powerful patrons, Ainz embarks on a journey to figure out what one does when they’re an all-powerful skeleton with a vast undead army. 

The Gamer

The Gamer
(Naver WEBTOON)

Imagine if your everyday actions had accompanying pop-ups, and no, I’m not talking about those pesky website cookies. Han Jee-Han thought he was just a run-of-the-mill high schooler until he unlocked the most unexpected skills: living as an RPG video game. Suddenly, brushing teeth yields experience points, and house chores might as well be boss battles.

But it’s not all level-up celebrations and stat upgrades. With great power comes many mobs wanting to pick a fight. As Jee-Han levels up in this real-life MMORPG, there’s a lurking suspicion that while maths homework doesn’t spawn XP points, life’s actual quests are just around the corner. The Gamer serves up that classic “be careful what you wish for” with a side of pixelated fun.

Tomb Raider King

Tomb Raider King
(Wuxia World)

The title itself conjures up images of dusty tombs, legendary treasures, and maybe, just maybe, a dashing adventurer in a fedora. But hold onto your ancient artifacts because Tomb Raider King isn’t about raiding tombs in the conventional Indiana Jones style. The main character, Jooheon, lives where relics with supernatural powers decide to play hide-and-seek, turning the world into a grand, dangerous scavenger hunt. 

Jooheon, after a rather explosive encounter with one such relic, finds himself bestowed with a unique ability: a treasure radar. As he embarks on a journey to become the ultimate Tomb Raider King, one can’t help but think of it as a merger of an antique roadshow with high-stakes supernatural escapades. 

Dungeon Reset

Dungeon reset
(Antstudio, DAUL)

In Dungeon Reset, Da-woon finds that dungeon resets aren’t just a handy redo button. After joining a classic dungeon dive, things go predictably sideways, leaving him trapped in a peculiar situation. The dungeon decides to throw a curveball and resets, but with a twist: Da-woon is now part of the dungeon’s system. 

It’s like being the janitor in a deadly video game, cleaning up after messy adventurers and overeager monsters. Armed with the knowledge of the dungeon’s inner workings and his wits, he navigates a world where every reset presents both danger and potential. Dungeon Reset is a quirky blend of survival, strategy, and the occasional slapstick humor. 

Solo Glitch Player

Solo Bug Player
(TAPAS Media)

If you can’t defeat the system, glitch it, as we learn from Solo Glitch Player. When most people encounter game bugs, they grumble, maybe send a strongly worded email, or simply rage quit. But not our protagonist, Taepung Shin. He finds himself reincarnated inside a game he once played, blessed (or cursed?) with the peculiar ability to discover every bug. 

And not the creepy-crawly variety. In a world of predetermined outcomes, these glitches are golden tickets. While others are slogging through objectives and enemies, Taepung Shin essentially plays by his own rules—or, more appropriately, the game’s lack thereof. Solo Glitch Player cleverly presents a game world in which the main character is not the mightiest warrior or the wisest mage but rather the most cunning debugger. 

Kill the Hero

Kill the Hero
(KW Books)

Kill the Hero leaps into a world where dungeons pop up with the regularity of coffee shops but with decidedly fewer lattes and more lurking dangers. Our leading man, Woo Jin-Cheol, differs from your typical dashing dungeon-diver. He’s seen the apocalypse, played second fiddle to the ‘hero,’ and spoiler alert: it didn’t end well for him. 

But fate, with its wicked sense of humor, grants him a redo, and Woo is back with a vengeance and a plan. Forget saving the world; this time, he’s out to kill the hero. This story flips the age-old trope of hero worship, reminding readers that sometimes, the shining knight might just be hogging all the limelight (and not in a good way). 

(featured image: A-1 Pictures)


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Author
Faith Katunga
Faith is a freelance journalist with an insatiable curiosity for all aspects of current events, from the global economy and fashion to pop culture and travel. She watches an absurd number of cat videos on Instagram when not reading or writing about what is going on in the world. Faith has written for several publications, including We Got This Covered, Italy Magazine, TheTravel, etc., and holds a master's degree in Fashion Culture and Management.