New Anime

The Need to Be a Hunter

Solo Leveling Ep 8 Review

After the recap episode from last week, Solo Leveling is back. Sadly, anyone looking forward to more action will be disappointed with this episode. Instead, this episode takes it slower and focuses on the characters. To be more precise, it focuses on why people want to become Hunters. Yes, there’s the fact that it helps keep humanity safe from what’s lurking on the other side of the dungeons. As we’ve seen, though, people have their motivations for risking their lives as Hunters. The fame and wealth it brings, the power it gives them, or the thrill of living out a real life fantasy RPG. Everyone has their reasons. Sooner or later, though, they have to question if their reasons are worth it. 

Exhibit A: Jin-Woo Needs to Help his Family

(no watermark, + contrast, free use)#SoloLeveling #俺レベ
Don’t hesitate to follow and RT to give strength! ( the screens aren’t watermarked, so they’re free to use)

— PasT (@PasTPourChat) March 2, 2024

The first and most obvious example is Sung Jin-Woo. Even before becoming a Player and leveling up, he kept risking his life in dungeons. All so he could provide himself and his sister with money. More importantly, though, in the hopes of finding a cure for his comatose mother. And thanks to his experience in that special dungeon, he now knows about the Elixir of Life. AKA, the Holy Grail of medicine, AKA something that can cure any illness. The bad news is that he still needs to be stronger to get far enough to get the components for it. And when you’re weak in a video game to do something, you either A.) keep trying and hope for a miracle, or B.) go on the grind until you get stronger. 

Jin-Woo goes with option B, which means returning and accepting Jin-Ho’s offer, but with stipulations! They’ll be the only ones doing the work. Jin-Ho can hire people to show up to meet the required number of party members. They do that until they’ve cleared enough for Jin-Ho to become a Guild Master. Jin-Ho happily agrees to his bro’s terms. 

The rest of the episode is mainly exposition and Hunters discussing their reasons for their jobs. And while it’s not as cool as the fights, I like it. The slower moments help reveal more about a character’s personality. 

Exhibit B: the Yoo Family Needs the Resources

One of the big draws of the dungeons is the resources they can provide people with; the kind of resources society has come to rely on to maintain itself. Thus, dungeon diving can be very lucrative, hence why the best Hunters and strongest guilds are celebrities. And as of now, five guilds are at the top of South Korea’s food chain.

— PasT (@PasTPourChat) March 2, 2024

Jin-Ho’s father, though, hopes to establish his own guild for his construction company. That way, they can gather the resources themselves without having to pay a middle man. That way, they’ll stay successful. And while it wasn’t shown in the manwha, additional scenes show that Jin-Ho isn’t the only one of his brothers vying for the right to lead this potential guild. Another one reached out to an S-Rank Hunter and got show down.

Jin-Ho is a loyal man, and will follow Jin-Woo to the ends of the Earth for saving their lives. However, he’s still trying to vie for his Dad’s favor, which means using every advantage he’s got. That’s why he’s a Hunter, and why he’s betting it all on Jin-Woo. It’s a mutually beneficial friendship. 

Exhibit C: The Guild Masters Need to Prepare for the Worst

One of the more interesting moments of the episode involves a conversation between the guild masters of two of the strongest guilds in South Korea. The thing is, both of them were survivors from a dungeon-related incident on Jeju Island. The anime has yet to go into too much detail, but when dungeons started appearing, things got so bad that the Hunters had to retreat. For reference, I read ahead in the manwha, and it’s better than it’s implied. It’s worse. To that end, they need more people to become Hunters—strong Hunters who can be ready for the day when what’s lurking on Jeju Island breaks free. 

Jongin Choi, guild master of the Hunters Guild, reveals that he plans to launch a second raid on the Jeju Island gate in Solo Leveling Episode 8. Do you think Jeju Island or the Demon Castle is more dangerous? #SoloLeveling


— DoubleSama | Anime Reviews (@DoubleSama) March 3, 2024

None of this is important to the story now, but it will be down the line. Thus, this is some good foreshadowing.

The Double Dungeon Survivors Reunite

It might surprise some people, but this episode also marks the return of the other people who survived the double dungeon incident that made Jin-Woo a Player. And each of them is shown to be scarred by the experience, either physically or mentally. It gets to the point where each of them questions whether they should keep being a Hunter altogether. However, Jin-Woo’s friend, Joo-Hee, is the most notable example, as she’s still traumatized by the whole experience. However, despite her mother wanting her to retire, Joo-Hee tries to keep being a Hunter. She doesn’t want to give up the financial independence it provides her, even if it’s dangerous.

— PasT (@PasTPourChat) March 2, 2024

It seems like fate when all the survivors of the Double Dungeon incident reunite as part of an urgent dungeon dive the Hunters Association needs done. Seeing how they each react to Jin-Woo’s new look/continued survival says a lot about who they are. I especially like how Kim Sangshik, one of the people who abandoned the others to survive, can’t look at Jin-Woo without feeling guilty. 

Jinwoo reunites with the surviving members of the first dungeon for another mission. He’s different this time #sololeveling

— Zmurc (@zmurc) March 2, 2024

This episode was a slow burn, but I did enjoy the anime-original scenes that it added in. They are doing a good job of fleshing out the supporting cast of the series. And while many of them aren’t important now, they will be in the future. For the moment, though, we get to see the Double Dungeon survivors, a group of convict Hunters, and that purple-haired guy dungeon dive. 

I’ve waited 2 weeks for this episode and they ended it on a cliffhanger #SoloLeveling #SoloLevelingEp2

— Yumi ✩°。⋆✮ GOJO WILL COMEBACK (@gojosatoros) March 3, 2024

Prepare for bloodshed. People are going to die.

I Give “This is Frustrating” a 3.5/5

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