Solo Leveling: Red Gate Arc | Review
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
"In an attempt to expose Han Song-Yi, a newbie E-Rank and one of his sister's friends, to the dangers of hunting, Jinwoo reaches out to Ahn and gets them both spots in one of the White Tiger Guild's training exercises for new recruits. However, things go horribly wrong when they find themselves trapped inside a Red Gate."
The Red Gate Arc is the 8th 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 46-55 of the webtoon.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is a great series, and I have been thoroughly enjoying myself. This arc successfully managed to up the ante a bit as it starts to delve more into the System and how it is affecting everything around Jinwoo.
Let's get into the details.
We start out this arc with Jinah, Jinwoo's sister, parent-teacher conference. Not only does starting the arc out like this further integrate her into the story, but it acts as a setup, and a bit of a reprieve, for what is to come. You know, I know, everyone knows at this point, that the second Jinwoo enters a dungeon, something big is going to go down. And boy does it.
As you can see by the title and description of the arc, they end up getting stuck inside of a rare Red Gate. Inside that gate are not only formidable foes but also some answers that both Jinwoo and the reader need that end up giving some context to the reality and inner workings of the System.
Previous plot points are also continued, with Hwang Dongsoo still in the picture dead set on killing Jinwoo and Jinho (to the dismay of literally everyone).
Again though, as I said in my review for the previous arc, we are confronted with the idea that there is a lot of plot convenience when it comes to Jinwoo. He mentioned how if Igris didn't put his weapons down when they fought originally, he would have been done for. So, plot armour for the sake of Jinwoo being able to level up constantly, otherwise he would have been dead a long time ago.
This arc also made me think a bit. You forget that the dungeons connect to other dimensions so, they are essentially walking into someone else's land and slaughtering all their people.
While we did get a taste in previous arcs, guilds are starting to make more appearances, and are becoming increasingly more important to the overall story. This is done, in this arc, with the introduction of the White Tiger guild, one of the strongest in Korea.
I mentioned earlier that we learn more about the System, in terms of how much of a role it has in affecting the dungeons. We also learn a bit more about gates in general, with the knowledge that an S-rank gate puts the country in an immediate state of emergency because of how serious they are should there be a gate break like Jeju-do.
Jinwoo has the ability to swap between titles, so he can use one that is more suited for killing the beasts he is facing. We also learn that the System has a language interphase, which is an interesting little feature.
From this point on, the cast of characters starts to grow, with the reader being introduced to more and more important figures in the world of the hunters.
A minor detail that I liked when it comes to Jinwoo, is that we got to see a bit more of his personality in this one. He is usually pretty blank-faced and calm, but a character taunted him in this which visibly pissed him off.
While this was a very good arc, there still hasn't been an arc that has topped the first one.
Time for some spoilers now though, so if you don't want to read about the thoughts I had while reading, you can stop here.
WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD - PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Huh, they gave Jinwoo an undercut...
I know it's very popular and common to have in Korea, but I love his floofy hair
I mean, I don't blame you for gawking, but it is a bit weird for a teacher to comment on how handsome he is to his face, and then ask for a favour.
Hwang Dongsoo has landed in Korea, to literally everyone's disappointment because not one single person, character or reader, likes this guy.
Alright there, surveillance guy, I see you.
And the White Tiger master too, loads of good looking guys floating around now
With the amount of armour you're wearing there bud, even if you are a tank, you've got to be overcompensating for something...
You are just waiting for the overcompensation guy to get killed.
He split off from the group and would only take the higher ranking people with him
Ohh, a very beautiful woman has appeared, and she is smart too.
Hmm, Tiger master looks way better with his normal white hair, please bring it back.
Dongsoo over here pissing everybody off.
How confident in your abilities would you have to be to square up against other S-ranks, in a country you abandoned?
Your rank may be able to allow you to be immune to the law, but you ain't immune to a beat down from another S-rank
Ohh, surveillance guy stopped both Tiger master and Dongsoo's fists...he must be a secret badass.
What a moment.
Overcompensation was counting down before he attacks the group, and Jinwoo comes up behind him, says four, and slaps him into the next century
I seem to really like bad guys who find things amusing for some reason.
Elf boss is implying that Jinwoo is no longer human, and then he glitched out...
Igris is adorable.
Overcompensation guy turned into one big puppy.
The gate ended up instantly vanishing instead of staying open for the hour like it was an instant dungeon created by the System.
Jinhoo the absolute cinnamon roll is back.
We need way more innocent, confused, or deadpan faces because I love them and they are a nice getaway from all the seriousness.