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Solo Leveling: Why Does The Anime Use Korean Names?

The Solo Leveling anime has gained significant attention since its debut. In contrast to the usual Japanese nomenclature in anime, this new show features Korean names, as seen with characters such as Sung Jin-Woo, Lee Joohee, Song Chi-Yul, Cha Hae-In, and more.

This departure from the norm might leave fans questioning the anime’s country of origin. Notably, Japanese viewers may observe that the characters in the series have distinct names in their country. Hence, there arises a curiosity: Is Solo Leveling anime a Japanese or Korean production?

In Which Country Does the Solo Leveling Anime Unfold: Japan or Korea?

The Solo Leveling anime is rooted in Korea. Originally known as Only I Level Up, it originated as a South Korean web novel penned by Chugong. Serialized on KakaoPage in June 2016, the series was later published by D&C Media under their Papyrus label in November of the same year.

The narrative transitioned into a webtoon adaptation, with illustrations by Jang Sung-rak, also known as Dubu. This webtoon, like its predecessor, was serialized on KakaoPage, commencing in March 2018. The first season concluded in March 2020, followed by the second season from August 2020 to December 2021. Regrettably, Jang Sung-rak passed away in July 2023.

The details surrounding its creators distinctly establish the series’ Korean origin. The anime itself reinforces this, as the manhwa consistently situates the story in Korea, explicitly differentiating it from Japan as a separate country. Consequently, it is unequivocally affirmed that the Solo Leveling anime is based in Korea.

The Alternate Anime version of Solo Leveling

Indeed, an alternate version of the Solo Leveling anime exists, featuring Japanese names for characters and locations. This version is exclusively aired in Japan, a strategic move likely intended to prevent any potential conflicts between Japan and Korea, given their complex historical relationship.

In this alternative rendition, the series’ narrative unfolds in Tokyo, Japan, diverging from the original Korean setting. Key character names undergo significant transformations, with Sung Jin-Woo becoming Shun Mizushino, Yoo Jin-ho transformed into Kenta Moribishi, Sung Jin-Ah becoming Aoi Mizushino, Cha Hae-In changed to Shizuku Kousaka, and Go Gun-hee adopting the name Kyoomi Gotou, among others. Essentially, every Korean name in the series is replaced with its Japanese counterpart.

Fans can anticipate further alterations to character and location names as the plot necessitates. Fortunately, viewers worldwide are spared from these adjustments, enjoying the anime with the original names derived from the original web novel and webtoon series.

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