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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

Solo Leveling: Return to Demon Castle Arc | Review


Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐


"Jinwoo returns to the Demon Castle to obtain the final ingredient for the Holy Water of Life. Along the way, he meets Esil Radiru , a friendly demon noble who offers to guide him to Baran, the Demon King and the final boss of the castle, in exchange for sparing the lives of her clan."


 

The Return to Demon Castle Arc is the 12th 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 76-89 of the webtoon.


For the third and final time, Jinwoo ventures back to the Demon Castle. This arc had a bit of everything: fighting, some answers, and some character introductions.


Let’s get into the details.

 

PLOT


Though this is the third time we have seen the Demon Castle, there is much more left to see not only in the castle but outside as well. As Jinwoo fights his way up, we learn more about the beasts and their role in the grand scheme. Outside of the dungeon, a storm is brewing that sees the introduction of hunters from America and Japan.


One negative comment I have to make about the arc is that, while it takes a while for Jinwoo to make his up, the final fight ends very quickly, a bit too quickly.



WORLD-BUILDING

I do like how instead of making Jinwoo complete the dungeon in one go, he has the opportunity to keep going back to it after he gets stronger. Not only does it help the author get as much as he can out of the plot point, but it is a great way to show how much Jinwoo has progressed since he first entered the dungeon.


I do have a question though about being a hunter. I don’t quite get why Jinwoo couldn’t be a freelance hunter so he can keep working solo? Is it because even as a freelance getting allowed to go in solo is complicated?


We are introduced to the party system, where Jinwoo can, well, add people who can tag along with him. An interesting feature that, having by the time I am making this review finished the series, wasn't really talked about much.



CHARACTERS


Something that is present, that I would like to see more of is interactions between the side characters. I say this because I love the dynamic between the masters of the White Tiger Guild and the Hunters Guild. I also need more of Jinchul who had a fantastic moment in this.


We are introduced to Esil, who is a demon from the Radiru clan, or as Jinwoo calls them, the Radish clan. She is the first beast who showed no animosity, so it is a shame that we only got to spend a very short amount of time with her.


Also introduced in this arc is the idea of a National Level Hunter, who are the best of the best. We also get a glimpse of one, though not fully, as well as the best hunter from Japan. I mentioned in a previous arc that other countries are starting to play a role in the story, and you can really see that in this arc.



CONCLUDING THOUGHTS


Looking back on it, a lot happened in this arc. Instead of focusing just on Jinwoo fighting, we got a lot of context as to what is to come in the next arc, which was nice to see.


Now, it is time for some spoiler thoughts. If you don't want to be spoiled, stop reading here.



 

WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD - PROCEED WITH CAUTION

 

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Well… that was extremely attractive.

  • The famous actor was throwing a hissy fit because all of the attention was on Jinwoo and not him

  • He then threatened to have his dad pull funding from the association which didn’t faze Jinchul at all

  • Then when he asked what was so special about Jinwoo, Jinchul took off his glasses, all serious, and asked if he would be able to handle the consequences if he answered


Actor guy is becoming a hunter for two years to avoid military service.

  • First of all, isn't that illegal?

  • Second of all, how on earth is becoming a hunter better than the military?


Jinho immediately abandons his plans to take over his father's guild because he doesn't want to leave Jinwoo lol.


Tiger Guild master is the first person to figure out Jinwoo can level up.


Somehow, I forgot this was set in Korea and not Japan, and was very confused that it was a big deal that an ant made it over to the coast.


Jinah has DTS (a.k.a BTS) posted on her wall lol, same girl, same.


...That is one big dude, and he is a National Level Hunter too.

  • He had to duck under the doorframe


Yes Jinchul, you do your best to bar Dongsoo from entering the country.

  • Even the big guy doesn't Dongsoo there


Esil's dad looks like Dracula from the Castlevania show.


Scruffy man #3 has entered the building, Goto Ryuji.


Oh boy, you know when a character starts talking about living a normal life, you know he's gonna die...


Aww, the poor guy is crying because he got his mom to wake up.

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