Solo Leveling Episode 9 Review

Solo Leveling Episode 9 Review

A Twist I Wasn’t Expecting

Solo Leveling Episode 9 included a twist I wasn’t expecting. I never suspected that Taeshik Kang would be a serial killer. But, just because this was a twist I didn’t see coming doesn’t mean it’s a good twist.

Alright, so, why wasn’t this a very good twist? The problem is that the twist didn’t lead to anything long-term. We found out that Kang was a serial killer and then Jinwoo killed him. Sure, Song and Joohee know Jinwoo’s secret now. But, they aren’t a threat to him in any way.

What I expected to happen was for Kang to figure out Jinwoo’s secret and go on to cause problems for him. Or, at the very least, he’d be suspicious of Jinwoo and so Jinwoo would have to be cautious while around him. You know, something that would have longer-term effects.

Mr. Song, Joohee, and Jinwoo from the anime series Solo Leveling Episode 9
Mr. Song, Joohee, and Jinwoo

Kang could even have still killed the three convicts. That part’s fine as long as it leads to something else. For example, let’s say the Jinwoo’s group defeated the dungeon boss while Kang killed the convicts. That could have led to both Jinwoo and Kang being suspicious of the other.

Kang would rightfully be suspicious about Jinwoo’s role in defeating the boss. And, Jinwoo would be suspicious about how the convicts died under Kang’s watch. This could have led to an interesting back and forth with each of them attempting to reveal the other. But, that’s not what we got.

And, this kind of ties into some complaints I’ve seen about Solo Leveling before. I’ve seen people who have read the source material call the story “straightforward.” There may be twists or obstacles that get in Jinwoo’s way. But, the solution is always the same — he powers through it with his skills.

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Taeshik Kang the Assassin

Before Episode 9, we knew there were different kinds of Hunters. But, our knowledge of these Hunter types was very simplistic. We knew there were mages, like Song. We knew there were healers, like Joohee. And, we knew there were physical combatants, like Jinho.

Of course, Jinwoo is an exception, as he can do everything thanks to his unique level-up ability.

But, we now also know that there’s more variety when it comes to Hunter classes. Taeshik Kang, for instance, is an Assassin Hunter. And, this is reflected in both his stats and skills.

As an Assassin, Kang’s attack and defense stats aren’t as high as some other physical fighters. But, his speed stat is higher. On top of that, he has specialized skills, such as his Stealth skill. So, we can assume that this is true for all Hunters. They all have classes.

Chiyul Song fighting Taeshik Kang from the anime series Solo Leveling Episode 9
Chiyul Song fighting Taeshik Kang

Okay, but why does this matter? Wasn’t it obvious that Hunters have classes based on those from RPGs? Yes and no. The start of this series was very slow and explained a lot of things that didn’t need explaining. But, how Hunters’ abilities work isn’t something that was explained well.

Joohee’s ability is an example of this. It was unclear whether she was a healer by choice or not. We can now safely assume that it wasn’t her choice. She’s a healer because her class is Healer. It’s not that she can use any magic and she chose healing magic — these are her skills.

However, there’s still something that doesn’t make much sense. Why can’t Song use a sword within dungeons? I know he’s a Mage Hunter. But, he still has his sword skills. What’s stopping him from getting a sword and using it like we saw in this episode?

Losing One’s Humanity

Did you notice how Jinwoo looked right before he killed Kang? He had the same glowing eyes as the smiling god statue from Episode 1. All he was missing was the smile and he would have looked just like the god.

This is where I lay out my theory. Why does the system seem to want Jinwoo to continue getting stronger? Why does Jinwoo feel like he’s losing something (his humanity?) as he levels up? And, why did he have the same eyes as the smiling god? Because that’s what he’s becoming.

I predict the system is trying to turn Jinwoo into a vessel for the god to reincarnate into. That would explain everything that’s happening to him. It explains why the system wants him to survive and get stronger. And, it explains why he feels like something’s wrong when he levels up.

Jinwoo Sung looking down on Taeshik Kang from the anime series Solo Leveling Episode 9
Jinwoo Sung looking down on Taeshik Kang

Let’s also not forget what other characters have been saying about Jinwoo. Ever since the double dungeon, they’ve been saying he’s like a different person. He looks like a different person, for sure. But, he also acts like a different person. It’s as if who he was before is being eroded away.

As further evidence of this, Jinwoo no longer cares about killing other people. What he feels like he’s losing is definitely his “humanity.”

And, think about it. What will Jinwoo look like to other humans at the end of the series? He’ll be monstrously strong and have no regard for human life. That sounds a lot like how the Hunters viewed the god statue from the start of the series.

With that said, though, I do want to clear one thing up. I don’t think Jinwoo is the god from Episode 1 setting himself down this path.

Final Thoughts

What do you think of Solo Leveling Episode 9? Were you expecting Kang to be a bad guy? How many different Hunter classes do you think there are? And, what do you think of my prediction that the system is trying to use Jinwoo as a vessel for the god?

If you enjoyed this review, remember to share it with everyone you know. Also, follow me on your social media of choice so you don’t miss out on any future articles — links are in the footer.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about the perks of supporting this blog, check out DoubleSama.com/support.

My review of Episode 10 is available now.

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