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Is ‘Solo Leveling’ Getting an Anime Adaptation?

Promotional image for anime adaptation of Solo Leveling

If you’re an anime fan, you’re probably acquainted with the idea that most anime come from manga, and that manga are Japanese comics. And yet, another wellspring of potential adaptations are now starting to become anime: manhwa, South Korean comics. And even more specifically, webtoon (comics where you scroll vertically down to read, but I’m probably preaching to the choir here). 2020, for example, saw the release of both Tower of God and God of High School. And so, for a long time, there’s been a strong desire amongst fans for another widely popular webtoon to get its own anime: Solo Leveling.

Solo Leveling—alternatively translated as Only I Level Up—began as a web novel by Chugong in 2016. In 2018, illustrator Jang-Sung-Rak, better known as Dubu, converted Chugong’s novel into a webtoon. The webtoon skyrocketed in popularity, gaining a loyal fan base of millions of readers across South Korea, Japan, and eventually the US. With the webtoon wrapping up in December 2021, the next question is obvious: so… an anime, then? I mean, an RPG video game was announced in January 2022. Surely there’s going to be an anime. Right? Right?!

Speculation on whether or not Solo Leveling would get an anime has been happening for years. In a poll conducted by Crunchyroll, Solo Leveling ranked in the top ten series fans wanted to see made into an anime in both 2021 and 2022. With the webtoon’s end, calls for and speculations around an anime adaptation were turned up even higher. Outlets and fans speculated as to whether or not it could actually happen. Rumors circulated like wildfire. One poor outlet opining it’s out of the cards just one week before The Announcement. Because on July 3, during Crunchyroll’s Industry Panel at Anime Expo, the Solo Leveling anime was officially announced. It will be streaming on Crunchyroll in 2023.

The trailer shows very little animation, but does tout an impressive production team. A-1 Pictures, a subsidiary of Aniplex, will be producing the adaptation. A-1’s portfolio includes Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War, Sword Art Online and all its various spinoffs, Blue Exorcist, and—a personal favorite—Erased. Director Shunsuke Nakashige also worked on all the Sword Art Online series. So, it’s probable that if you like Sword Art Online, you’ll be pleased with the Solo Leveling anime. Additionally, the series’ music will be composed by Hiroyuki Sawano, whose credits include Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill, and, fascinatingly, One Piece Film: Red.

Here’s the synopsis of the first season, as supplied by Crunchyroll:

It’s been over a decade since the sudden appearance of the “gates”—the paths that connect our world with a different dimension. Since then, certain humans have awakened to supernatural powers. We call these individuals “hunters.” Hunters make their living by using their powers to conquer dungeons inside the gates. In this world of tough customers, the low-ranked hunter Jinwoo Sung is known as “the weakest hunter of all mankind.” One day, Jinwoo gets fatally injured when he runs into high-rank double dungeons hidden within a low-rank dungeon. Just then, a mysterious quest window appears in front of him. On the verge of death, Jinwoo decides to accept the quest and starts leveling up… while the others aren’t.

Chugong, the writer of the web novel which started it all, additionally supplied an incredibly heart-warming comment upon the anime’s announcement:

“About six years ago when I was writing the very beginning of Solo Leveling, if someone had said to me, ‘The novel you wrote will become a comic,’ I bet I’d have told them to stop pulling my leg. But now, I’m told that it’ll be animated?! Seriously, stop pulling my leg!… But these days, I’m feeling excited and thrilled. Since I’m still half-doubting that this is real, I want to see Jinwoo and the other characters get animated soon and feel relieved. I’ll keep working diligently while looking forward to that day. (lol)”

We still don’t know exactly when in 2023 we’ll get the Solo Leveling anime. But alongside Chainsaw Man, the future is bright for anime adaptions of beloved comic series. It’s highly possible Crunchyroll will reveal more during their own expo, which takes place August 5-7. In any case, Crunchyroll has itself one hell of a 2023 shaping up.

Featured image credit: A-1 Pictures

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Kirsten (she/her) is a musician, audio person, writer, and nerd. When not talking about One Piece or Pokémon, she's finding surprising ways to play the guitar.