Solo Leveling anime hero Sung Jinwoo undergoes a drastic physical transformation in just one episode – why?
Solo Leveling is currently a hit among the animes at the start of 2024. First created as a novel, the story was then adapted in Korean comic format, or manhwa, which can be read on the internet by scrolling. Very quickly, the adventures of Sung Jinwoo, a young hunter making his way through dungeons, found success with his readers: obviously, the next step was animation.
An almost necessary step for the hero who continues to progress. Because if at the beginning of the story he is only a frail young man having obtained only a small E rank among his colleagues, he will quickly gain ground. His world may find itself invaded by portals leading to dangerous alternate dimensions, but Jinwoo’s strength continues to grow and demand more.
Solo Leveling was therefore adapted into an anime, moreover by the renowned studio A-1 Pictures, and it works: spectators wait every week for the hero’s return to see him get dragged into nameless galleys. However, episode 5 will mark a turning point. Because Jinwoo will suddenly change his appearance. Why so quickly, and how?
Warning: this article spoils elements of episode 5 of Solo Leveling!
What happens to Jinwoo after Solo Leveling’s double dungeon?
From the beginning, Jinwoo is presented as “humanity’s weakest hunter” . A nickname that sticks to him, while his design makes him a slim young man with youthful features.
Then comes the drama of the double dungeon, in which the hunter witnesses the killing of a good part of his expedition group. Several episodes are dedicated to the trials of the “god” statue, and the torture inflicted on the different characters lasts until the survivors escape… leaving Jinwoo alone to face his destiny.
But instead of going there, the hero of Solo Leveling obtains a strange power: he finds himself accompanied by an interface similar to that of a video game reminiscent of the RPG (or role-playing) genre, and is now qualified as a “player”. If this mysterious ability has allowed him to survive, it also forces him to surpass himself in daily quests, requiring him to undergo drastic training under penalty of mortally dangerous sanctions.
In episode 5, the hero then appears with a very different appearance: he is taller and broader, and his face appears more adult. However, and with all due respect to Saitama from One Punch Man, it’s not 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups and 10 kilometers of running every day that can change you that much. So why does Jinwoo suddenly transform like this?
Why does Jinwoo change his appearance in Solo Leveling?
Jinwoo’s physical modification takes place in a single episode, without time passing too much. But where did our little Jinwoo go? It is in his new status as a player that we must look for the answer.
In reality, physical training doesn’t have much to do with it. If the protagonist certainly owes him muscles, it is above all the system which is responsible for this sudden change. Because the interface does not only offer an impressive inventory or impose daily quests: it also offers the “player” “rewards” .
When Jinwoo meets the conditions necessary for his daily training, or when he defeats the giant snake in the short-lived dungeon in Episode 4, he recovers skill points. He is then free to spend them in several categories, once again linked to the RPG genre in video games: strength, agility, perception, endurance and intelligence can thus be “increased” . However, Jinwoo prefers to place his new points as a priority in strength, a strategy which will be useful to him in episode 4 to survive against the wolves and then the snake.
In Episode 5 of Solo Leveling, Jinwoo relied so heavily on strength that his new features ended up having a direct impact on his appearance. He thus gained in muscles, but also in size, as his little sister pointed out to him. As for his face, it is also an effect of his new skills.
Workouts in anime have always been sources of inspiration for viewers. And if a One Piece fan reproduced Roronoa Zoro’s – scaring the professionals in the process – maybe we’ll soon see someone try Jinwoo’s?