‘Solo Leveling’ Levels Up With a Stunning Trailer
One of the biggest surprise announcements from Anime Expo 2022 was Solo Leveling—a series fans have been wanting for years. Solo Leveling is, technically, an adaptation of an adaptation. It’s based on illustrator DUBU’s brilliant and hugely popular manhwa (the South Korean equivalent of manga), which itself was an adaptation of a web novel by Chugong. The manhwa ran from March 2018 to December 2021, so an anime adaptation wasn’t far behind the series’ completion.
The Solo Leveling anime has unfortunately taken on a new meaning. Just a few weeks after the series’ announcement, DUBU tragically passed away due to complications from a chronic illness. DUBU’s Solo Leveling manhwa (which was illustrated in gorgeous full color) is beloved by millions of readers around the world. Here’s hoping that A-1 Pictures—the studio behind Kaguya-Sama, Sword Art Online, and this year’s Nier Automata Ver1.1a—does DUBU’s beloved work proud. Here’s everything we know so far about the anime adaptation of Solo Leveling.
Solo Leveling trailer and plot revealed!
The anime adaptation of Solo Leveling—or, to translate the Japanese title, Only I Level Up—appears to follow the comics’ storyline. The series’ first trailer debuted on March 21, 2023. Yen Press describes the onset of the series like so:
Known as the Weakest Hunter of All Mankind, E-rank hunter Jinwoo Sung’s contribution to raids amounts to trying not to get killed. Unfortunately, between his mother’s hospital bills, his sister’s tuition, and his own lack of job prospects, he has no choice but to continue to put his life on the line. So when an opportunity arises for a bigger payout, he takes it … only to come face-to-face with a being whose power outranks anything he’s ever seen! With the party leader missing an arm and the only healer a quivering mess, can Jinwoo somehow find them a way out?
Crunchyroll provided an alternate—and ever so slightly more spoilery—summation for the series’ announcement:
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.
Solo Leveling cast and production breakdown
Solo Leveling shares a lot of its production staff with a time-tested, fan-favorite shounen series: Sword Art Online. Notably, the series share a director in Shunsuke Nakashige. This isn’t too surprising, since the two series also share a production studio, the Aniplex subsidiary A-1 Pictures, whose other series of note include Blue Exorcist, Kaguya-Sama: Love is War, and Erased.
No voice actors have been announced yet, but we do know the key members of the production crew. Screenwriter Noboru Kimura has worked in recent years on series like Gundam Build Drivers, Princess Principal Crown Handler, and Healer Girl. Character designer Tomoko Sudo is primarily known as an animator and animation director, with credits like Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day and The Seven Deadly Sins. Composer Hiroyuki Sawano is most well-known for his iconic score to Attack on Titan, but he also wrote this terrifying bop for the climax of One Piece Film: Red.
Solo Leveling release date
Despite initially hinting that Solo Leveling would come out in 2023, the anime’s release has been pushed back a bit. An official release date has been definitively announced for the winter 2024 season, which means you can expect it to start airing in January. It also makes it easily one of the most anticipated anime of 2024.
I’ve become a huge believer in allowing studios to take the time they need to complete their work, especially on highly anticipated titles. So while it’s a bummer to have to wait a few extra months, here’s to hoping that it’s worth it! The extended wait also gives some people (ahem, cough cough) time to read the manhwa.
Solo Leveling will definitely stream on Crunchyroll upon its release. It was announced during Crunchyroll’s Anime Expo panel, after all.
(featured image: A-1 Pictures)
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