Fans are confused whether to watch Solo Leveling anime in Korean or Japanese

Recently, Korean manhwa and webcomics have carved a niche, bringing audiences together with their appealing storytelling and beautiful artistic style, treating us with some anime adaptations as well like Tower of God and God of Highschool. And now, the Solo Leveling anime finally making it’s anime debut would be one such powerhouse. But amidst all the hype, a new yet uncommon debate has emerged: How to watch the anime: Korean or Japanese dub?

Solo Leveling anime

 

Solo Leveling is a South Korean fantasy webtoon written by Chugong and illustrated by Jang Sung-Rak. Both the webtoon and the light novel have been adapted into an anime television series produced by A-1 Pictures, which will be premiered on January 5, 2024.

The story follows Sung Jin-Woo, the weakest hunter in South Korea, who is barely strong enough to scrape by in the lowest rank. After nearly dying in a dungeon, he is trapped in a mysterious “double dungeon” and emerges with the ability to “solo level up,” a power no other hunter has. He begins to rapidly grow stronger, taking on increasingly challenging dungeons and monsters. As he levels up, he uncovers the secrets of the “Gate” that brought the monsters to Earth and his own unique role in protecting humanity.

How to watch the Solo Leveling anime: Korean or Japanese dub?

Fans are confused whether to watch Solo Leveling anime in Korean or Japanese
Solo Leveling anime | Courtesy of Crunchyroll

Unlike usual anime adaptations of Japanese manga, its roots lie in Korea, with both the original manhwa and light novel crafted by Korean authors. This novelty throws a wrench in the typical “Japanese dub for anime” equation, leaving fans torn between choosing the Korean and Japanese dub.

Usually, discussions revolve around choosing between original Japanese audio and an often-criticized English dub. But the Solo Leveling anime has sparked a different conversation, does it emphasize the growing influence of non-Japanese creators in the anime industry? Is the anime industry being reformed?

Korean dub

Fans are confused whether to watch Solo Leveling anime in Korean or Japanese
Shun Mizushino (Sung Jin Woo) in the new Solo Leveling trailer [Image via Crunchyroll]
  • Supporters of the Korean dub emphasize its loyalty to the original content. They believe that watching it in Korean keeps the characters’ subtleties and humor intact, giving a truer experience.
  • Also, if the original voice actors return, the emotions conveyed might feel more genuine and relatable.
  • I would personally like to give it a chance and watch it in Korean dub, since it’s something new for the anime community to experience it might as well be worth it.

Japanese dub

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  • Fans favoring the Japanese dub highlight the skill of Japanese animation studios and voice actors.
  • They assert that Japan’s extensive experience and proficiency in anime would result in a more engaging audiovisual experience.
  • According to them, the polished voice acting and top-notch production of the Japanese dub could enhance the story, taking it to a whole new level.

Korean vs. Japanese Dub: Experience over Innovation?

Fans are confused whether to watch Solo Leveling anime in Korean or Japanese
A still from Solo Leveling anime (Image via Studios A1 Pictures)

Most of us are more used to Japanese dubs and that might make us a bit likely to want to give Korean dub a chance. The argument for retaining the original language to capture cultural nuances and voice actor familiarity makes sense. Hearing the characters in their native tongue can add authenticity and emotional depth. However, not everyone resonates with a language they’re not used to like I mentioned earlier, and cultural humor sometimes doesn’t translate well.

On the other hand, the potential for Japanese sound design and music to enhance the anime shouldn’t be underestimated. Praising Japanese voice actors’ experience is justified, but their “mastery” claim is subjective. 

Also, Korean animation studios are rapidly honing the Japanese studio’s skills, and Solo Leveling itself is produced by the renowned A-1 Pictures, known for high-quality anime like Your Lie in April and Kaguya sama Love is War.

Conclusion

So, Korean or Japanese? The answer, like Jin-Woo’s journey to leveling up, is an ongoing pursuit. Each adaptation gives us a unique ascent, promising a different perspective of the Solo Leveling anime. So, grab your headphones, choose your side, and prepare to lose yourself in the thrilling tale – just don’t forget to enjoy the ride!

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