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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

Solo Leveling: D-Rank Dungeon Arc | Review


Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2


"While on a D-Rank dungeon raid, E-Rank Hunter Sung Jinwoo and his raid party discover a second hidden dungeon inside the gate. They decide to check it out, but realize too late that it's a trap and find themselves locked in with no way out and surrounded by statues who kill them if they make the slightest error."


 

The D-Rank Dungeon Arc is the 1st arc in Solo Leveling, a webtoon adapted from the web novel by Chugong, with art by DUBU (REDICE STUDIO) and story by h-goon. This arc consists of chapters 1-10 of the webtoon.


What a way to start a series, that is all I have to preamble with really. I know that I am in for a real treat with this series, and, so far, the hype was true.


As this is a webtoon, I am going to include a spoiler section at the end full of my thoughts and comments about the content. If you don't want to be spoiled, you can stop reading when you are prompted.


Now, let's get into the details.


 

PLOT


This story does not mess around. Right off the bat, Jinwoo is put into a situation far more dangerous than anyone in the party was expecting. While entering a D-rank dungeon, they are unexpectedly confronted with a double dungeon. A simple plot, but one that is executed to near perfection.


As the reader, you know he is going to make it out okay because the story must go on, but you still feel the tension. As their situation goes from bad to worse, it is like you are there with them every step of the way. It is really hard for a story to pull you in right away and give the reader the introduction you need to keep you invested, but this aced it with flying colours.



WORLD-BUILDING


In this world, gates started suddenly appearing. Gates are portals connecting this world to another dimension. Beyond those gates are dungeons full of evil spirits, or beasts. It is the job of hunters to enter the gates and defeat the beasts in order to close them.


While we are going to get more information as the story progresses, I rather like the world-building and magic system so far. It follows a pretty standard ranking system, E-S, but it is one that the reader can easily remember. In general, the world is complex, but is easy to grasp, especially if you are someone who liked to play video games.


One minor complaint I had was that there was some exposition given down the line that should have been put at the beginning.



CHARACTERS


In this series, we follow Sung Jinwoo, the weakest hunter. While he may be physically weak though, he is strong mentally, which you can see through his reasons of being a hunter. I think it says a lot about his character initially that he is constantly putting himself at risk in order to pay for his mother's hospital bills, and to send his younger sister to college.


What I also like about Jinwoo is that he is smart. He is able to observe his surroundings and figure out how to survive. That is a major bonus for me, because I don't like character who are reckless and jump into the action without thinking things through first.



CONCLUDING THOUGHTS


This was an extremely solid introduction, and I am excited to see where it goes from here as Jinwoo levels up.


Now, I am going to go into spoilers to talk about what I thought while I was reading. If you have not read this arc, stop reading here.



 

WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD - PROCEED WITH CAUTION

 

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I am very happy they kept the last names first in this.

I love how he has a daily quest, which looks an awful lot like Saitama's workout routine.


Ah yes, what is the worst that can happen indeed.

  • That is always the literal worst thing you can say because you end up jinxing yourself


That is a lot of money you can end up raking up though.

  • If you get 10 million Won for defeating a C-rank beast, you must get a ridiculous amount for an S-rank


The gate closes one hour after the boss is defeated, so what happens if you get stuck there?


You would think that if you encounter something you've never seen before, maybe you would be more cautious?


That is some good design though, that statue is seriously creepy.

  • It kind of looks like the nun


Only awakened people enter the dungeons, but what happens if someone who isn't tries to go in?


Oh no, the statues are indeed like Weeping Willows...

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