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Sung HIM-Woo Continues his Black Air Force Campaign

Solo Leveling Ep 9 Review

Ever since I started (and finished) reading the Solo Leveling manwha, I’ve looked forward to seeing many moments. And most of them involve Jin-Woo making victims out of his opponents. He now radiates Black Air Force energy, and every time he takes down an enemy, it’s incredible. Seeing it go from being still images to being animated by people who worked on SAO and Jujutsu Kaisen is flat-out spectacular. And in this episode, we get to the next moment that I wanted to see in the anime. Sung Jin-Woo might call himself Sung HIM-Woo because he is HIM. 

Psycho Killer, Qu’est-ce que c’est?

The episode tries to start off by acting like nothing’s going to go wrong. This would be a simple dungeon dive for Jin-Woo and the other Double Dungeon survivors. But even if they didn’t read the manwha, savvy viewers should notice the red flags from the previous episode—the extended focus on Kim and his family. The prisoners joining them, and the shady meeting with that unknown person? Things get set up to be a disaster from the start. And they are.

— PasT (@PasTPourChat) March 9, 2024

Ripping the band-aid off, Kang Tae-Shik isn’t just working for the Hunter Association. He’s also an assassin. The father of a woman who was assaulted by those same prisoners and later killed herself hired him to kill them. And when Kim and the other Double Dungeon survivor stumble across him, he kills them both, too.

— PasT (@PasTPourChat) March 9, 2024

The red flags for Kim’s death were pretty obvious. The last episode focused on his family, and he talked about apologizing to Jin-Woo after this dive. So, his death shouldn’t be a surprise. It doesn’t make it any easier to watch, though. 

The story also makes it clear that, even if those prisoners deserve their fate, Tae-Shik doesn’t do this out of altruism. He just likes killing people, and this gives him the best excuse.

However, Tai-Shik makes one mistake: he tries to kill Jin-Woo, Jee-Hoo, and Sung in front of him. And we all know what that means.

Another Day, Another Victim

The fight between Jin-Woo and Tae-Shik is a foregone conclusion, but that doesn’t make it less exciting to watch. Sung makes a good effort before fighting him, but it isn’t until Jin-Woo steps up that the real boss battle begins. The animation is superb, but what cinches is the reactions that everyone else has to Jin-Woo. Sung and Jee-Hoo have trouble processing his Black Air Force energy. Tae-Shik, on the other hand, goes from being cocky as they come to looking ready to wet himself. And the absolute death glare that he gets from Jin-Woo. I could practically hear Jin-Woo thinking how worthless Tae-Shik was at that moment for trying to kill him. 

Peak Episode of Solo Leveling it’s really good! 10/10 #SoloLeveling

— Khalid (@Rm_5aled) March 9, 2024

It should be noted that Jin-Woo only has the moral high ground here because he’s doing this to protect his comrades. Beyond that, though, he’s just like Tae-Shik. He has killed before, and will kill again. But unlike last time, where the System did force him to kill, he didn’t even need to be told that here. He didn’t care about it anymore. Anyone who stands against him is his enemy, and that means they’re liable to become victims. 

Sung Jin-Woo is HIM, indeed.

In the end, Mr. Sung covers for Jin-Woo by saying he killed Tai-Shik with Jee-Hoo’s help, so his secret is safe for a little longer. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the two other survivors of the Double Dungeon incident are dead. At this point, though, I don’t think Jin-Woo even cares anymore.

Thus, the episode ends with yet another example of Jin-Woo exercising his Black Air Force energy, and this will only be the start. The question is, though, is as he gets stronger, what’s to stop him from becoming detached from humanity altogether? We’ll just have to keep watching and find out. 

Also, it’s sweet that people think that this moment was a tribute to Toriyama, but that’s just a case of unfortunate timing. 

Solo Leveling Animators paid homage to Goku in the latest episode out of respect for Akira Toriyama and his works

— LegionzGaming PAXEAST (@LegionzGaming) March 10, 2024

I Give “You’ve Been Hiding Your Skills” a 4.5/5

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