Solo Leveling Anime Review: Predictable, Safe, And Overhyped AF

When we’re gonna do a list ‘bout the blandest, generic, and downright predictable anime of 2024, Solo Leveling is gonna stick out like a turd in a fruit basket ‘cause of our review. Seriously, WTF is this train wreck? More importantly, to the fanboys who enjoy this, let us all ask ya’ somethin’: Why do y’all think it’s the greatest thing ever? No, like, really, we’re genuinely curious to know ‘cause it needs to be a case study for the shrinks.

The entire anime’s biggest strength is in its visuals, nothin’ more, ‘cause it’s lackin’ in just ‘bout everything else. It plays around the topic of bein’ complex when, in reality, Solo Leveling is entirely unexceptional. It just pales in comparison to our favorite anime with dark twists for edge lords. We’re not ramblin’ like an ignorant naysayin’ hater over here; no, we’re genuinely gonna prove this point. So, let’s get into this review.

The World Building Premise Review: It’s The Most Unique Part Of The Solo Leveling Anime

The gates/portals to dungeons in Solo Leveling are the most

Credit where it’s due: Solo Leveling starts off with an intriguing hook. No, not the main character. ‘Cause he’s the Achilles heel of Solo Leveling, which you’ll know more ‘bout further in this anime review. So, what’s the one positive of this otherwise by-the-numbers and text-book case of unoriginality? It’s the way it presents the story… initially. We say that ‘cause after the introductory first 3 episodes, all the intrigue’s gone, and storytellin’ falls off a cliff. Everything after just turns to cringe, eye-roll inducin’, and it’s all flash with no class.

Portals open up randomly for hunters.

So, what was the magic that got us to watch in the first place? It’s the world building. Gates (portals) appear in the world, leading to dungeons with powerful bosses and enemies. They are random and can seriously inconvenience the everyday lives of the average person. It’s no generic Isekai 101, and back-and-forth travel is possible. Plus, the dungeon raid rewards of precious stones deeply impact the human world. They’re literally the answer to saving the world’s energy and economic problems.

booty~

The implications of these events on the human world’s politics were refreshin’, actually. Meanwhile, people have these ‘awakening’ events that grant them abilities and a hard-cap rank as hunters. The government is involved in assessing these hunters and takes a hands-on approach. Every dungeon has a category, and based on rank, with E being the lowest and S as the top tier, hunters get assigned. It was nice of Solo Leveling to give us a glimpse into this kind of arrangement.

Our review will tell you literally any of the hunters backstories in the Solo Leveling would have been better if they'd gotten some development.

Literally got some wicked designs and cool-lookin’ hunters in the world of Solo Leveling, who we wish we could talk more ’bout in our review. Alas, that’s not the case; wanna know why? It’s because the anime doesn’t do jack with them, aside from exposition dumps.

The Main Character Of Solo Leveling, Sung Jin Woo, Is Mr. Generic McGenericson

Here he is, folks, Mr. Solo Leveling himself, the one who singlehandedly bogged down the anime in our review.

So, right off the bat, the guy who’s supposed to be the eyes and ears for the viewers is the most cookie-cutter arch-type ever. Like no joke here, Mr. weak-sauce is utterly depressin’, and ironically, he’s at his most interesting in this state. He’s the E-rank hunter who’s been dubbed ‘the weakest hunter in all mankind’. And yet, the guy’s got some grit and brain cells to stay calm.

Sung Jin Woo was compelling in the Solo Leveling anime but later in our review you'll see how that changes.

He’s down on his luck and has a family relyin’ on him to make ends meet. However, the mom’s in a coma, while the sister’s just… there. We would have liked to see that side more, develop into a more confident and powerful individual. But, since the hunters were locked out from the off-set to their rank, our guy’s got a fat chance of ever improvin’ his lot in life.

Blood.
This anime’s graphic imagery in the first three episodes is insanely violent.

In the span of three episodes, Sung Jin Woo, the protagonist, undergoes the giga-Chad metamorphosis. It just reeks of laziness and further calcifies our belief that the source material wasn’t all that great, to begin with, either. Notice we didn’t use the word development for Sun Jin Woo ‘cause that’s not what happens. In fact, we wouldn’t be wrong in sayin’ he literally becomes a different person entirely.

from zero to well... still zero personality.

Now, don’t get us wrong: how the change kicks in is the peak of this anime, many of y’all are gonna agree with this point of our Solo Leveling review. But the transformation still feels abrupt and makes us lose our interest fast. The guy literally gets a cheat menu; the system just gives him ass-pull after ass-pull, and he’s just a one-note, one-dimensional guy, coming across as a reject badass wanna-be.

The Creepy Statue In Solo Leveling Is What Everyone’s Gonna Talk About In Their Review

Solo Leveling creepy statue is the stellar highlight of the anime in our review.

It all begins with a dungeon raid. Our character and a bunch of other expendable-pretendables, discover a route of unknown origin. After voting on it, the majority decides to enter. Let’s just say the Berserk and Attack On Titan level influence is strong. There’s the infamous creepy statue; it wreaks havoc. On the cusp of death, our character’s wish for a second chance is granted after a grueling trial.

Other statues are sinister, too.

The whole vibe of the dungeons is the true sellin’ point of this anime, and one that Solo Leveling relies on to still hold our interest for this review. Unfortunately, after the first 3 episodes, nothing even remotely comes close to this one standout moment. There are flashbacks to the creepy smile of the statue, but it serves no purpose. Well, aside from givin’ Sung Jin Woo, more reason to compare and make light of any opposition he encounters.

The Double Dungeon in Solo Leveling is why we even bothered to continue with the anime to review it.

Anyway, in Solo Leveling, there’re these eerie statues that do the bidding of the creepy smile one. If the hunters ignore the rules, they get wrecked… permanently. We’re not gonna lie; the SAW movies-esque death mechanism was fun. But that novelty wears off pretty quick. Somehow, even when injured, our guy manages to be the only one to figure out the solutions. This part irked us ‘cause many veteran hunters who got screen time couldn’t.

That smile is nightmare fuel.

Then, of course, we see the ‘system’ choose him, and that’s where the problems begin. You see, Solo Leveling lives up to its anime name, and while writing this review, we really tried to like the show. But the setting itself is the issue. No one else but the hero can level up, and that, too, mid-fight by just screamin’ at his opponents. He gets random loot drops doin’ daily exercises in a parody of Saitama.

All The Other Arcs Are Nothin’ More Than The Typical Shonen Arch-type, With Poor Execution

Solo Leveling is one of the most overrated anime we've ever done a review on.

So, here’s the deal with the Solo Leveling anime comin’ under fire for the review. After the three-episode honeymoon phase, it just descends into the formulaic and utterly forgettable territory. Why? Well, we present to you exhibits A to D, which prove our point:

The serpent fight in Solo Leveling was a litmus test for the anime in our review.

The first major fight, Sung Jin Woo has is with a blue serpent. Now, the visual cinematic of that one felt somewhat intriguing ‘cause of the build-up with wolves. But then, when he gets thrown ‘round a lot. The flashback creepy smiley statue face happens, and our guy levels up. Soon he’s able to cut down the snake by just screamin’.

The Spider boss fight wasn't anything special.

Skippin’ on ahead, there’s a spider boss, too. Here, the guy just steamrolls over the boss, and there’s a side-character cheerleader for exposition. It didn’t feel menacing or a threat to the main character. Oh, yeah, our edge lord hero kills a bunch of hunter-killers, too, but it was just whatever.

Potentially good fight which became flat out meh.

Now, we fast forward the drivel to one fight that could’ve been that great one. Sadly, in this one, our hero’s pushed to the limit, and there was a glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe, our guy won’t be able to finish this fight. Instead, he’d have no choice but to retreat. He even contemplates usin’ a teleport stone, too. But then, through plot-device shenanigans, he… yep, you’ve guessed it, screams a lot. Gets that power boost, stabby stabby, and look at dat~ it’s over.

The one fight where we had fun but ultimately still left wanting.

Finally, we’re gonna talk ‘bout the final fight of season 1 of Solo Leveling in our review of this anime. The crimson knight Igrid. He’s the Not-Artorias Of the Abyss from Not-Dark Souls. He pulverizes our hero, and through nothin’ but plot armor, our guy comes back with new level-up skills and wins. There was never any danger.

What’s The Verdict On The Side Characters In Our Solo Leveling Anime Review?

We’re not gonna spend too much time on the side characters of Solo Leveling in our review since it was the anime that should have done it. Seriously, what’s even the point of givin’ screen time to a character with little to no consequence? Case-in-point:

She is literally of no use in the entire anime and is a bog reason why Solo Leveling anime reviews are gunning for it.

Lee Joohee’s a redhead who showed promise. Heck, she was even a healer and a B-rank hunter. What does the anime do? Give her PTSD, have her be dead weight, and hintin’ at a romance angle that goes nowhere, then she retires. That’s it, nothin’ else. WHAT?!

Sister is there... living her life in blissful ignorance.

Then there’s the rest of the forgettable cast: mother’s in a coma. She remains that way, and the little sister… well, she’s just livin’ her life, goin’ to school, and socializin’.

Hoodie girl is one case of underutilized potential and why we're so critical of the Solo Leveling in our anime review.

There’s a classmate of the sister; she’s shown in a hoodie and even becomes a hunter, too. She does literally nothin’, aside from just accompanyin’ our character’s hired help and maybe a picnic. Don’t worry ‘bout it.

Big deal characters.

There’re these hunter guilds and big league types. All of’em have some kind of politickin’ and backstory. It gets skimmed over and only hinted at. Nothing major happens from their side at all.

Chae Hae is gonna be the best girl.

There is a blonde female acrobatic hunter with a killer bod. She’s most likely the candidate for best girl, but not in this season. Would’ve loved seein’ more of her. Oh, but if it’s gonna be like, one look at the main character’s power and she’s droppin’ to her knees and fallin’ for him, hard, then, no thanks!

Swordsman.

There’s Son Chi-Yul, too. A swordsman gramps who actually puts up a fight against a treacherous enemy. He, too, became just fodder and a side-lines character in the anime, with nothing significant happening from his end. We’re only talkin’ ‘bout him ‘cause he gets a chunk of screen time.

How Is The Animation Quality And Overall Visual Effects?

His design is awful.

You might be thinkin’ to yourself, hey, the animation was really great, though, right? Well, yeah, we’re not gonna lie; the visual effects were pretty cool. Having said that, the design of the main character, Sung Jin Woo, felt pretty generic as hell. Let’s face it: the edgy, cool look isn’t really workin’ too much with a zipper hoodie and glowing blue eyes with the dagger pose.

Solo Leveling animation quality review will you the anime slips up too.

The fight sequences and special effects in Solo Leveling are pretty dope; we’re not denying that in our review of the anime. However, there’s a downside to that, too. Every environment, every dungeon design feels so lifeless. There’s nothin’ noteworthy at all in all the scenes, aside from the first double dungeon with the creepy smile statue.

Solo Leveling special effects.

When you compare the fight scenes, the animation movement feels more or less the same. The gravity-defying agility, high-level strength to crush or pound low-level enemies, and then gettin’ rag-dolled by high-level bosses, it felt the same with little to no difference. Even the flashy character skills feel redundant after a while. Only the Cerberus boss fight, and the Igris one felt like they were tryin’ somethin’ new.

How Is The Sound Design And Musical Score Of Solo Leveling?

The opening theme.

The opening theme, ‘LevEL’ by Sawano Hiroyuki, starts off with the right tone, but it devolves into basic edgy lyrics. Like the visuals are fine and dandy, but the beat loses its appeal. What we’re left with are just simple musical notes that don’t have any significant high points beyond the opening drums. Hell, we skipped the opening after the 3 episodes.

Related: The 100 Most Iconic Video Game Soundtracks Of All Time (100-81).

We infinitely liked the anime ending song, ‘request’ more in Solo Leveling, which is why our review of it is more positive. The creepy imagery and the asylum depiction are way more interestin’. It gives that unnerving feeling of what if it’s all just a dream instead. Is he just hallucinatin’ it all in his mind? The lyrics are way more intriguin’, too.

Related: The 100 Most Iconic Video Game Soundtracks Of All Time (80-61).

The rest of the soundtracks have their ups and downs. Some feel straight out of the superhero genre, too. Kinda makes sense, now, as Solo Leveling feels like a wish fulfillment of a 13-year-old who suddenly got the power to cheat to the top. This stuff ain’t somethin’ to gloss over for an anime, so it’ll matter in our review of Solo Leveling.

How Do We Review The Ending Of The Solo Leveling Anime?

Evolving enemies is briefly touched upon int he anime finale of Solo Leveling anime, and it's gonna count in our review.

As a certain Youtuber would say, ‘the endin’ is paramount’ and we agree. So, then, how would we react to that epilogue? Ya’ know, bein’ an anime-only/anime-purist, the cliffhanger ending’s not gonna do the review score of the Solo Leveling anime any favors. Well, here’s the deal with that: the thing we’re most peeved at is this backdrop story, that’s only teased but never shown.

Serious level up.

Seriously, the interesting characters spent a good chunk of their time tellin’ the viewer’s ’bout it. But it’s never explicitly mentioned what exactly’s goin’ on. The island where the SSS-ranked hunters failed to contain a calamity event. They’re all gearin’ up to take a third crack at it. Then we’re told that enemies are evolving? Like Why wasn’t this a thing? It would have been a nice twist if the hero had lost a few fights. But when he returned to face them, enemies also would have gotten stronger.

Our boy's got some serious upgrade but it feels like out of nowhere.

No joke, when the final power up for season 1 of Solo Leveling was shown, we were legit snickerin’ out loud. Why? ‘Cause the whole crapfest felt so laughable. Seriously, the setting of Solo Leveling works against itself. If no one else can even compete with the hero, why even bother with showing fights? The last power felt like such an ass-pull we legit had to check for shrooms in our drinks.

Do y’all know what he gets? He gets freakin’ necromancy, aka, the power to command the dead. People jokingly refer to the main character as Saitama before he became bald; it’s cute. But no, really, this feels like an origin story of Ainz Ooal Gown when he was grindin’ to level up. We’ll leave it at that and say the ending left us with more questions than answers. So, it’s not good.

Will There Be A Season 2 Of Solo Leveling? If Yes, When?

Season 2 is confirmed.

Season 2 of Solo Leveling is a pretty hot topic considerin’ the first season’s just ended not too long ago. We’ll, we’re happy to tell the curious, yes, the anime’s gettin’ a second season, so rejoice, fanboys. Otherwise, those of us with a taste for more refined anime ignore this one like the plague. You’re better off watchin’ the 9 best anime-inspired, non-Japanese animated series worth your time.

Seriously, we’ll give the second season a try, so y’all won’t have to. If the experience improves, y’all can binge the two seasons and get more enjoyment out of Solo Leveling. It’s a win-win situation for y’all. As for when season 2’s release date, get ready for an explosive 2024. ‘Cause it’s comin’ in the tail end of the year in Q4 of 2024. We’re not thrilled ’bout it, but it is what it is. Our review of Solo Leveling anime is for season 1 of the anime.

Where To Watch Solo Leveling Anime Episode 1-12 Online?

There are 2 official sources of watchin’ Solo Leveling online from start to finish. We’ll go over both of them. While the rest of the unsavory means, y’all can figure out yourselves on reddit. So, let’s get into it before we conclude the anime review of Solo Leveling, yeah?

Crunchy Roll is one of the two places where you can view and review Solo Leveling anime.

So, the first stop for all anime enthusiasts is Crunchyroll, as the anime’s available for streaming. Y’all can watch the anime in Japanese audio, Korean audio, and even Chinese audio, too. All come with English subtitles. However, if you’re hankerin’ to hear the dialogue in English, then you’ll be happy to know the English Dub is available, too.

Netflix!

The other place y’all can hop on over to watch, rate, and review the Solo Leveling anime is Netflix. There’re tons of other anime there, too, just like Crunchyroll, and it’s a whole rabbit hole that gets deeper. Similar to Crunchyroll, y’all can watch both the subtitled versions or the English dub one on Netflix. Aside from those two, y’all can go for the not-so-official versions out there, but we don’t recommend those. After all, it’s ’bout supportin’ the anime studios, too. Though, in this case, we don’t mind if y’all did a samplin’ before supportin’.

What Is The Sequel To Solo Leveling, Solo Leveling Ragnarok?

Solo Leveling Ragnarok.

So, our review of the Solo Leveling anime is actually takin’ the story from the manhwa of the same name. A manhwa is the Korean version of manga, which is the Japanese version of a comic book. Anyway, y’sall are gonna be happy to know the original manhwa is finished. Y’all can read the chapters officially online by the author. However, there’s a sequel to Solo Leveling, too.

We’re not gonna spoil the plot, though given that there’s not much in that department, we don’t gotta put in any effort. But know this: Solo Leveling Ragnarok is a direct continuation of the story from the original Solo Leveling manhwa.

So, don’t go readin’ it before reading the original manhwa or the anime. Capeesh? Good! The point we’re makin’ is that there’s plenty of content to adapt into the anime.

Overall Review Score Of The Solo Leveling Anime, The New SAO

this image sums up our review of the anime Solo Leveling.

**Sigh** Where to even begin this review of the Solo Leveling anime? Look, we’ll summarize our thoughts for y’all. If you’re into action games, you’ll enjoy Solo Leveling, but the catch is that with the games, you actually work your way to something. Here, there’s no engaging gameplay or even a semblance of story. The main character is bland and nothing special, even his design’s pretty lame, and that’s after the cheat menu gamer skill. The most interesting aspect of the anime is the temple, which we don’t see again or hear much ’bout.

Also, he just screams to level up and utters the words ‘I need to get stronger’ then poofs~ he gets stronger. The plot armor eliminates any sense of danger; hell, he even acknowledges this fact that the system’s protectin’ him. There’re severely underbaked sub-plots and characters that’re under-utilized and never fleshed out. The fight scenes are fine for the most part, but even they feel ’bout the same, too.

He’s been given daily quest rewards, he’s leveling up to be stronger than everyone else, and with no one else around him on an equal footing, everything feels pointless. There’s no high-stakes feelin’ and overall, this anime was the bottom of the barrel for us, creatively speakin’. It’s the second comin’ of SAO, and we dread its popularity. So, with that in mind, our review score for the Solo Leveling anime is a meager 3/10. The 3 points are for the first three episodes, only, as the rest is hot garbage.

Final Thoughts

Well, there y’all have it, folks. Solo Leveling anime review, ’cause y’all; were dyin’ to know ’bout our thoughts on it. We frankly hated the time spent on it, as we’d much rather enjoy a rewatch of the breakout anime of 2024: The Wrong Way To Use Healing Magic. Seriously, that anime didn’t break any new grounds, yet it entertained from start to finish. So, it tells us that the writing of Solo Leveling is the problem, not that it’s relying on cliches and tropes.

Another way to look at it is that, since the settin’ is a dead giveaway in the name, Solo Leveling fumbles because of it. Why? Well, there’s just no foil for the main character. He’s just becomin’ absurdly OP, and that’s never good. It certainly removes the element of intriguing storylines if the guy can punch his way out of anythin’. So, hence, we standby our review score. So, then, what do You all think of the anime? We’re curious to know, so feel free to drop a comment below. We look forward to your feedback. Welp, until next time, take care y’all!

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Rafi Ahmed
Rafi Ahmed
Retro(and modern) gamer, proud comic geek, anime connoisseur, and opinionated peach without a filter. I'm bringing you hot takes, recommendations, and what-if fantasy scenarios and championing the gamer cause against corporate greed. You're welcome!

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