Solo Leveling revealed Ashborn to Jinwoo much earlier than anyone thought

The battles of Sung Jinwoo in Solo Leveling never fail to amaze. Not only does he progressively become more powerful with every encounter, but he also possesses an unwavering determination to survive, allowing him to overcome even the gravest of circumstances.

On his quest to gain strength, Jinwoo encounters more than just monsters and fellow Hunters. He is also forced to confront his inner struggles and weaknesses, often engaging in intense battles against his past self within his own subconscious.

During Solo Leveling episode 12, Jinwoo experienced a significant moment where he saw a vision of his past self while on the brink of death. This pivotal moment could have also served as the introduction of Ashborn, one of the most crucial characters in the manhwa.

Introducing Ashborn: A Suggested Approach for Solo Leveling Episode 12

Ashborn might have appeared in front of Sung Jinwoo as his past self (image via A-1 Pictures)
Ashborn might have appeared in front of Sung Jinwoo as his past self (image via A-1 Pictures)

Despite being confronted with an unrelenting swarm of enemies in Solo Leveling episode 12, Sung Jinwoo began to experience visions of familiar individuals, such as Lee Joohee and Song Chiyul. However, the most unsettling vision that Jinwoo encountered was that of his former self, back when he was known as ‘The World’s Weakest Hunter’.

This vision showed Jinwoo being taunted by his former self, who claimed that despite his newfound powers and altered appearance, he was still the ‘World’s Weakest Hunter’ at heart. His past self also ridiculed him for constantly facing the possibility of death. Soon after this encounter, Jinwoo was suddenly transported to the Penalty Zone, right as he was about to meet his demise.

Despite the lack of clarity in the manhwa, it would be reasonable for people to assume that this scene depicts a conversation between Jinwoo and his past self discussing his weaknesses and shortcomings. On the other hand, an alternative interpretation could suggest that this interaction between Jinwoo and his past self marks the first appearance of Ashborn in the series.

In the manhwa Solo Leveling, it was revealed that Ashborn was the Original Shadow Monarch and had selected Jinwoo as his successor. He enlisted the assistance of Kandiaru, also known as the Architect, to locate a suitable vessel to inherit his abilities. After an extensive search, Ashborn ultimately chose Jinwoo as his successor due to the latter’s unwavering determination to survive despite constantly being on the brink of death.

Ashborn’s true physical form was not revealed until the Monarchs War arc in the Solo Leveling manhwa, where he made a delayed appearance. He addressed Jinwoo and disclosed the source of his strength, as well as the ongoing conflict between the Monarchs and Rulers.

During their conversation, Ashborn assumed the identities of some of the most significant individuals in Jinwoo’s life. While narrating the events that led him down his current path, Ashborn also appeared as both Jinwoo’s past and present selves, emphasizing that they were one and the same.

It is not far-fetched to consider that Ashborn, who had handpicked Jinwoo as his heir and closely observed his arduous journey, may have been the one to manifest as his former self during the Job Change Quest arc.

As Jinwoo neared death, it is possible that Ashborn took on the appearance of his past self to remind him of his bravery turning into recklessness. This was also a message to Jinwoo that he did not want to witness his death just yet.

The relationship between Jinwoo and Ashborn is undeniably one of a kind, as one of Ashborn’s oldest companions later revealed that Jinwoo embodied many aspects of Ashborn’s character.

Ashborn as seen in the Solo Leveling manhwa (image via A-1 Pictures)
Ashborn as seen in the Solo Leveling manhwa (image via A-1 Pictures)

During the Job Change Quest arc, Jinwoo’s interactions with his past self were the only instances that were witnessed. Later, when Jinwoo died during the Monarchs War arc, Ashborn finally revealed himself to the former in both his true form and as Jinwoo’s past self.

Hence, it is highly probable that the Solo Leveling anime may have subtly portrayed Ashborn as Jinwoo’s past self, despite it not being explicitly depicted in the manhwa.

Although it could also be interpreted as Jinwoo’s battle against his own insecurities and past vulnerabilities, the scene possibly served as a manifestation of his inner struggles. In a sense, it could be seen as a foreshadowing of Ashborn, though not actually representing him. By conquering these inner demons, Jinwoo was able to overcome his biggest obstacle, which is a common struggle for many individuals.

Links that are related:

Sung Jinwoo’s transformation into a Shadow Monarch is explained.

Did the author explain whether Ashborn was a monarch or ruler in Solo Leveling?

Can you explain who currently holds the title of Shadow Monarch in Solo Leveling?

The reason for Ashborn’s choice of Sung Jin-Woo was explained.

Who was the betrayer of Ashborn? Reasons will be explained.

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