A Fast-Forward and a Teenage Jin-Woo: Solo Leveling Ending Explained

Solo Leveling Ending Explained
Credit: A-1 Pictures

Solo Leveling Ending Explained
Credit: A-1 Pictures

The Korean manhwa Solo Leveling's ending was an emotional blow for fans. Do you still have questions after reading it? Below, we explain the unusual Solo Leveling ending.

While there were several things to like about the 179th and final chapter, many readers were disappointed, as it was rather off-beat and quiet.

This is not a problem in itself, but the final chapter's vibe still differs from the almost cinematic action we're used to seeing in Solo Leveling.

That being the case, many fans want more context on the fantasy series' finale, so here’s everything you need to know!

Spoiler Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the ending of Solo Leveling!

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How Did Jin-Woo Beat the Monarchs?

Solo Leveling Ending Explained Beating the Monarchs
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Credit: A-1 Pictures

A few chapters before the finale, Jin-Woo decided to use the Cup of Resurrection one final time to go back and defeat the Monarchs once and for all.

Of course, readers have already seen the Shadow Monarch beat all sorts of enemies, so repeating his fights with powerful opponents such as Antares once more would be beside the point.

After all, Jin-Woo has consistently leveled up to the point of invincibility, so his victories had long ceased to surprise us.

Chapter 178 hinted at a final confrontation with Antares, however, it is one that we never got to see.

This is likely because the creator, Chugong, decided that we didn’t need to.

Jin-Woo vs Monarchs
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Credit: D&C Media

At this point, an additional fight with Jin-Woo in it would possibly lower the stakes, rather than raise them.

Consuming media with weak characters becoming OP is a form of escapism, wish-fulfillment, or just undemanding fun, and that’s okay.

The lack of action in the final chapter of the manhwa can mean that the fact of Jin-Woo’s – and humanity’s – victory is far more important than the way it was achieved.

READ MORE: The Strongest Characters in Solo Leveling, Ranked

Why Did Jin-Woo Return as a Teenager?

Solo Leveling Ending Explained Jin-Woo as a teenager
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Credit: A-1 Pictures

Solo Leveling ending with its protagonist younger than he was when he started was a confusing narrative choice for sure.

When Jin-Woo emerges victorious, two years have passed in his world, although the Shadow Monarch himself spent much longer in another dimension.

The Ruler who welcomes him is surprised by his youthful appearance, to which Jin-Woo jokingly replies that he didn’t want to scare the world by arriving bearded.

Once again, the final chapter does not elaborate on Jin-Woo’s youth upon his return.

However, the Cup of Resurrection is meant to send people back in time, so there are several implications here.

First of all, Jin-Woo made an important sacrifice by taking himself into another dimension to bear the weight of the world alone. Returning exactly as he used to be might have been a bit too easy.

The hero managed unexpectedly well when faced with the ultimate challenge, but some degree of sacrifice still had to be involved.

Jin-Woo Returning as a Teenager
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Credit: D&C Media

His current youth, paired with the fact that he still has the same incredible powers, makes Jin-Woo scary to the Rulers, and quite unpredictable.

If he gets to grow again, he could potentially become too powerful for the Rulers, hence they propose that he gets transferred to another world that is better prepared for someone like him.

But there aren’t only negatives about Jin-Woo’s new age and appearance.

While some complications are to be expected, he is very much alive, and youth connotes new beginnings and hope.

Besides, Jin-Woo’s mind is still that of the indomitable Shadow Monarch, thus he refuses to comply with the Rulers’ wishes.

He still has people he cares about, and he’s determined to live with them, no matter what he looks like.

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Solo Leveling Ending: What Happened to the Other Characters?

Solo Leveling Ending Explained Other Characters
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Credit: A-1 Pictures

Thankfully for Jin-Woo, he isn’t the only one who aged down. The finale shows Choi Jong-In being an office worker, while Baek Yoon-Ho is now a bodyguard.

Yoo Jin-Ho is at school, while his parents and sister lead normal, happy lives.

Jin-Woo also encounters a younger version of Cha Hae-In, suggesting their relationship will go forward in the new timeline as well.

There might not be such a thing as normality for someone like Jin-Woo, but it looks like he will find some joy still, just by living alongside those he loves.

What Does the Future Hold for Solo Leveling?

Jin-Woo Solo Leveling
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Credit: D&C Media

The Solo Leveling manhwa might be over, but we expect the hype to return soon as a Solo Leveling anime will be released in early 2024.

A Japanese anime adaptation of the Korean manhwa had been in discussions for a long while, with reported leaks suggesting it was in the making, but this only became confirmed after the end of the manhwa.

A lot of the best anime adaptations elaborate upon and flesh out the original narrative, filling in gaps and adding little moments that help us get to know the characters better. The addition of music and sound also helps.

Fans can only hope that the beloved fantasy series' anime adaptation delivers and exceeds expectations as much as the original.

When the time comes, they might even give us new insights about the strange Solo Leveling ending.

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