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"I alone level up."
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Ten years have passed since gates appeared in the human world, which are connected to another world. At the same time, some people awakened superhuman abilities. The awakened beings who can enter the gates, and hunt the monsters that are lurking inside, before they can break out into the human world, are called "hunters". One of these hunters is Sung Jin-woo, a 24-year-old E-rank hunter, who is mockingly called the "World's Weakest Hunter". Being barely stronger than the average human, Jin-woo struggled in the lowliest of dungeons to get by and provide for his family.

One day, however, things go awry for Jin-woo and his party when a low-level dungeon turns out to be far more dangerous than initially assumed. Alone, wounded and surrounded, Jin-woo faces his certain doom, until a voice suddenly appears that offers to make Jin-woo a "player". Having nothing to lose, Jin-woo accepts and loses consciousness. After waking up in the hospital, he notices a quest log that only he can see, which uses RPG-like terms. Soon after, he learns that unlike any other hunter, he can gain character levels and improve rapidly by hunting monsters and training every day. This is the story of Jin-woo changing from the weakest to the strongest hunter in the world.

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Solo Leveling (나 혼자만 레벨업, na honjaman lebel-eob, also known as I Alone Level Up) is a Web Serial Novel, written by Chugong, which consists of 270 chapters and was collected into 14 volumes by Papyrus.

In 2018, a webcomic by Jang Sung-lak, and published by KakaoPage, started serializing.


Solo Leveling provides examples of:

  • 24-Hour Armor: Later in the story, Jin-woo actually wears a lot of armor all the time, though no one notices, because by equipping it with the System, the item disappears and its stats are added to Jin-woo's, effectively being invisible.
  • Adaptational Badass: Thanks to an expansion of a fight in the webcomic, Song Chi-yeol can show off his swordsman skills (despite having lost an arm), though it doesn't change the outcome.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Han Song-yi, a friend of Jin-woo's sister, Jin-ah, makes an Early-Bird Cameo in Chapter 11 of the webcomic. In the novel, she first appears as the sole female hunter of the group that tags along with Yoo Jin-ho, while Jin-ho and Jin-woo clear the dungeons.
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    • Hwang Dong-seok's younger brother, Dong-soo, already makes his first appearance in Chapter 24 in the webcomic, right after his brother was killed by Jin-woo, when he first appears in the novel after Jin-woo defeated Kang Tae-shik. He also comes to Korea after merely two weeks, when in the novel he is held off in the States for more than two months.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Kim Sang-shik is given more background story about his family, and his struggle to apologize to Jin-woo, whom he left behind to save his own skin. He is still alive when Jin-woo finds him after Kang Tae-shik mortally wounded him, and he is given enough time to at least beg Jin-woo for forgiveness before dying. In the webcomic, Jin-woo is clearly shaken by Kim Sang-shik's death, while in the novel he merely coldly acknowledges his death.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • Jin-woo's first encounter with Ahn Sang-min of the Baekho guild is significantly shortened. In the novel, Ahn Sang-min trying to recruit Jin-woo and Jin-woo selling the rights to the C-rank gates Yoo Jin-ho reserved is split into two scenes.
    • The Foreshadowing of the red gate incident, after Association employees screwed up the gate measuring, is not shown in the webcomic.
    • Yoo Jin-ho's family situation is not shown in the webcomic.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The webcomic adaptation adds parts that weren't originally in the web novel.
    • There are more scenes with Song Chi-yeol shown right before he meets Jin-woo again, like him practicing swordsmanship at a dojo.
    • Kim Sang-shik's guilt for running away and his struggle to apologize to Jin-woo is shown.
    • The entire fight with Kang Tae-shik is, except for how it ended, different and expanded. Tae-shik plays around with a sword-wielding Song Chi-yeol for a bit before Jin-woo interferes. Furthermore, Jin-woo's tendons are cut after Tae-shik used Stealth only for Jin-woo to pull a Self-Recovery Surprise by using his full recovery quest reward, when in the novel Jin-woo merely fakes panicking and reads Tae-shik's attack in time.
    • Hwank Dong-soo arrives in Korea in Chapter 47 of the webnovel, where he encounters Woo Jin-cheol. The two of them go to Jin-woo's location at the red gate, where they encounter Baek Yoon-ho, and Hwang Dong-soo provokes a short-lived fight.
  • Adventure Guild: The Hunter Association serves as a modern organization for hunters. They measure both the dungeons and the hunters' strength and sell the rights of gates to private raid parties and guilds. They also take in lower-ranked hunters (like Jin-woo at the beginning of the story) and assign them to raids that higher-ranked hunters don't want to partake in before a dungeon break occurs. While larger guilds receive a lot of benefits from the Association, the Association also mandates them to take care of certain dungeons if an emergency occurs.
  • Aesop Enforcer: When Jin-woo is attacked by Hwang Dong-seok's raid force, he is taken aback that the System tries to punish him if he doesn't kill them. When he is hit by a spell, the System goes even further and outright tells him that it will kill Jin-woo if he doesn't comply. Since that quest, Jin-woo has stopped hesitating to kill when he has to.
  • Alien Invasion: Gates that are kept open for a week will eventually allow the monsters inside to invade the human world. And all of them are compelled to Kill All Humans.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The Hunters raid force is very confused when the boss of the dungeon, Kargargan, suddenly starts speaking Korean to them.
  • All According to Plan: This is what Jin-woo thinks when he deliberately faked his panic and "barely" blocked Kang Tae-shik's Stealth attack. He wanted Tae-shik to show enough Killing Intent, so that the System will give him a quest (and thus a reward for killing Tae-shik).
  • Almighty Janitor: Jin-woo is consequently this, as he gets far stronger than his official E-rank implies. At least until he reevaluates his rank, and the Hunter Association officially declares him to be South Korea's tenth S-rank hunter.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Some companies can forge items that will amplify a mage hunter's power. The best items that can be produced amplify magic by 50%, so the Hunter Auction House is dumbfounded when Jin-woo presents to them the Marble of Avarice, which doubles the output.
  • And I Must Scream: Those who arise involuntarily as Jin-woo's shadow minions are bent to his will. Thus, Kim Cheol received a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Another Dimension: The monster world is a dimension separate from the human world. Before its denizens can enter the human world, hunters are tasked to take the monsters inside down.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The double dungeon incident at the start of the story costs raid leader Song Chi-yeol his left arm, and Jin-woo his right foot, although the latter's leg is fully restored after becoming a player.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: After struggling against a horde of heavy-armored knights, Jin-woo decides to acquire the Knight Killer, a weapon that specifically works better against these kinds of enemies.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: A case of Rhetorical Question Blunder. When Jin-woo refuses to become the Hunter Association's future president, President Go Gun-hee is visibly disappointed and asks Jin-woo for his reasons, fully expecting it to be money, since the Association can't pay well. Jin-woo says that he's doing it because he wants to kill the monsters and clear the dungeons, which catches Go Gun-hee completely off-guard. He interprets this as Jin-woo being The Cape who only wishes to protect humanity, and from then on fully supports Jin-woo and asks his employees to do the same.
  • Arrow Catch: Jin-woo is forced to catch an ice arrow to protect Han Song-yi, right after his raid party enters the red gate.
  • Asshole Victim: Generally, the people Jin-woo kills don't deserve any better.
    • Hwang Dong-seok's raid force consisted of greedy "lizards", who would often betray and kill other hunters in the dungeons, knowing they could get away with it, so they wouldn't have to share the rewards with the fillers.
    • Kang Tae-shik was an assassin who tried to kill Jin-woo, Ju-hee and Song Chi-yeol, because they were witnesses to his murders.
    • Jin-woo uses a criminal, who abused his awakened powers to rape women (driving at least one of them to suicide), as The Bait to distract a boss' minions. As Jin-woo puts it in the webcomic, he sees the rapist as even more worthless trash than the psychopathic assassin, Kang Tae-shik.
    • Inside the red gate: Considering Kim Cheol, driven by his starving and freezing madness, tried to kill his fellow hunters, including Jin-woo, who was fighting the boss to save everyone, there is no doubt no one will miss him.
  • Attention Whore: Lee Min-sung is a former actor, who makes a big show out of his awakening, his imminent testing and subsequent choice of guild. Yoo Jin-ho's actress cousin, Soo-hyun, reveals that the industry and other insiders already know that Lee Ming-sung already got measured as an A-rank hunter and was hired by one of Korea's top guilds, Grim Reapers. Lee Min-sung is extremely angry when on the official day of his testing, Jin-woo gets the Hunter Association's full attention, and he is even more furious when the press ignores him in favor of Jin-woo after it's revealed that Jin-woo "reawakened" as South Korea's tenth S-rank hunter.
  • Backstab Backfire: After he was earlier knocked out by Jin-woo, Kim Cheol tries to kill Jin-woo. Jin-woo, however, expected exactly this to happen and promptly orders Ygritte to kill Kim Cheol, so he can use Kim Cheol's shadow for himself to defeat the ice elf boss, Baruka.
  • Backup from Otherworld: After Cha Hae-in was seriously injured, Jin-woo brings S-rank healer Min Byung-goo back as a shadow soldier, so he can save Cha Hae-in. After the deed is done, Jin-woo releases Min Byung-goo, not feeling comfortable to keep Min Byung-goo in the world.
  • Balance of Power: Hunters are far superior to any governmental military and the only thing that keeps the big hunter guilds in Korea from taking over is the fact that the Hunter Association that governs the hunters is led by their S-rank president, Go Gun-hee. Go Gun-hee needs a Legacy Character who will continue keeping the delicate balance of power, as if one guild grows too strong, conflict will inevitably ensue. Jin-woo being identified as the next S-rank motivates Go Gun-hee to seek Jin-woo out and offer to mentor him. He warns Jin-woo that joining one of Korea's Big Five will probably destroy the balance that he has managed to keep for the last ten years.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • When Jin-woo realizes that Hwang Dong-seok's raid force consists of "lizards", he expects to be left behind as The Bait for the boss in the dungeon. However, this is exactly what he wanted in the first place, as he could then get the experience and the loot for himself.
    • During his battle against the ice elf boss, Baruka, Jin-woo realizes that he's in trouble even with Ygritte by his side. He needed another strong shadow to help him, so he kicks a sword close to Kim Cheol whom he slapped down earlier. When Kim recovers, he notices the sword and immediately tries to kill Jin-woo as payback. This allows Jin-woo to have Ygritte kill Kim Cheol with the pretense of self-defense and raise him as his new shadow soldier. As he dies, Kim Cheol curses as he realizes that Jin-woo predicted his every move.
  • Beauty Mark: Han Song-yi sports one under her left eye.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Jin-woo displays this to those he genuinely likes and feels responsible for.
    • He has become his younger sister's guardian, which is one of the reasons why he cannot quit being a hunter initially. He also would not allow her to become a hunter.
    • He takes responsibility for dragging his sister's friend, Han Song-yi, into an extremely dangerous dungeon, and promises to protect her. She starts respecting him as an elder brother from that point on.
  • Big Brother Worship: Jin-ah, Yoo Jin-ho and Han Song-yi really look up to Jin-woo, the latter two respectfully addressing him as their "brother".
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Inside the red gate, Jin-woo appears just in time before Kim Cheol in his insanity can attack the hunters under Jin-woo's protection, and knocks him out with one hit.
    • In Jin-woo's second A-rank dungeon, he stops the boss, Kargargan, right before he can kill the raid leader, Son Gi-hoon. He could have interfered earlier already, but chose to wait until Son Gi-hoon could no longer help in the ensuing fight, as any "help" might have hindered Jin-woo.
  • The Big Guy: Jin-woo's shadow soldier, Iron serves as a tank.
  • Bishōnen: Jin-woo grows into one after leveling up. He gets noticeably taller and gains a muscular body. After earning more money, he decides to take better care of his appearance. When he visits his old school to talk with his sister's teacher, many girls in the school immediately crush on him.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Hwang Dong-seok and his raid force are "lizards", and show their true colors when they realize that the dungeon they entered is extremely profitable.
    • Kang Tae-shik is an employee who works for the Hunter Association, but is also a sadistic assassin.
    • The actor Lee Min-sung is an Attention Whore, who reveals his true despicable self when he doesn't get what he wants.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Hwang Dong-seok claims that he and the rest of his party forgot the magic crystal mining equipment and that they would have to go back to get it. Jin-woo was made to carry said equipment the whole time.
    • Kang Tae-shik is fabricating extremely obvious lies, to explain how everyone but him supposedly will die inside the dungeon. First, he tries to Make It Look Like an Accident, but changes the story and intends to frame the criminals, who are forced to clear the dungeons. In both the novel and the webcomic, he offers to spare Jin-woo, Ju-hee and Chi-yeol if they keep their mouths shut about what they saw, but Jin-woo immediately points out that this lie isn't very convincing when he already attempted to kill them just moments earlier.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Hwang Dong-soo intentionally provokes everything and everyone to get a fight. He literally is lusting to kill someone.
    • Jin-woo seeks stronger and more dangerous opponents as he levels up. When the Hunter Association's S-rank president offers to make Jin-woo his successor, Jin-woo refuses, stating that he wants to fight in dungeons and hunt.
  • Boss Battle: Every dungeon also has a boss. Defeating a boss will close a gate and the monsters inside no longer threaten the human world.
  • Break the Cutie: The double dungeon leaves Lee Ju-hee deeply traumatized. While she was always a bit reluctant in participating in raids, despite being a B-rank healer, she lost the rest of her confidence after seeing nearly the entire raid force killed, and having to leave Jin-woo to die. After Kang Tae-shik tried to murder her and the rest of the party, she retires as a hunter and leaves Seoul.
  • Bullet Time: By increasing his agility stat, Jin-woo's thinking and reaction process gets a lot faster, giving him more time to think up a plan.
  • But Thou Must!: The System forces Jin-woo to kill sometimes, running away not being an option.
  • Call-Back: After Baek Yoon-ho accidentally activates his Magical Eye to analyze Jin-woo's strength after Jin-woo's rank remeasurement, he recalls the first time he accidentally viewed Jin-woo with his eye after the red gate incident. He remembers how strong Jin-woo was at that time, and then realizes that Jin-woo grew even stronger in the meantime. This leads Baek Yoon-ho to believe that Jin-woo didn't go through a reawakening and has acquired the ability to grow.
  • Came Back Strong:
    • Jin-woo was on the verge of death at the beginning of the story, but was restored and came back as a "player". While his initial strength remained the same (besides getting Ideal Illness Immunity and a Healing Factor), he also gained the ability to become stronger.
    • Kim Cheol as the shadow "Iron" is bigger and stronger than he was in life and can even level up. He's still as stupid as ever though. Also an example of...
  • Came Back Wrong: He's a shadow soldier, meaning he no longer has free will.
  • Casting a Shadow: Jin-woo can raise the shadows of dead monsters and even hunters, who can then also level up.
  • Character Level: The entire premise of the story is that Jin-woo can level up and become stronger, when almost everyone else is stuck at whatever power level they awakened as.
  • Chekhov's Skill: When Jin-woo has a look at his status screen for the first time, he notices in his list of skills an "Unknown" skill that is maxed out, but doesn't think too much about it, because the System gives him no info about it.
  • Chick Magnet: At the start of the story, the only woman in Jin-woo's life is Nice Girl Lee Ju-hee. After becoming a tall bishonen by getting a growth spurt and developing his muscles from raising his stats, the nurses in the hospital start to notice him, and when he goes to meet Jin-ah's teacher, he turns the heads of both the female students and teachers in Jin-ah's school. Park Hee-jin and Han Song-yi also seem to have fallen for him, after he rescued them from the red gate.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Hwang Dong-seok's raid force consists of "lizards", who constantly invite weaker hunters for quick profits (to fulfill Association-mandated party sizes), but then use them as The Bait. They got away with it every time, as governmental authorities cannot investigate what happens inside a dungeon, and while the Association suspected them to be lizards, they couldn't directly approach Dong-seok, because his brother is a famous S-rank hunter. However, Dong-seok and his raid force meet their end when they try to betray Jin-woo and Yoo Jin-ho.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Jin-woo initially felt responsible for the entire double dungeon raid force, but after being betrayed by the hunters who ran for their lives when an opportunity showed up, he has stopped caring about anyone he doesn't know.
  • Consummate Liar: Nearly every word Kang Tae-shik says is a total lie.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: The Hunter Association is an organization that hires smaller organizations (guilds) or individuals that hunt the monsters that are lurking behind the gates that lead to another world. Conventional weapons do not work, only awakened beings can hurt these creatures.
  • Critical Hit: Jin-woo has instinctively gone for vital points with his attacks to the point where he was granted a skill, Vital Strike, that allows him to always deal a critical hit to his target.
  • Critical Status Buff: When Jin-woo is below 30% of his maximum health, the Unyielding Spirit skill activates, which reduces any additional incoming damage by half.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The boss encounter in the double dungeon doesn't even qualify as a fight. The hunters were nothing more than insects.
    • Hwang Dong-seok's raid force is swiftly taken out by Jin-woo without posing a challenge once he is determined to kill them.
    • Any of the C-rank dungeons Jin-woo goes clearing with Yoo Jin-ho ends up being this. While a high-ranking hunter may need an hour or two, Jin-woo initially needs only thirty minutes and gets even faster once he advances to a class. In gaming terms, he is speedrunning.
    • Jin-woo's fight against high orc sorcerer, Kargargan, and his army ends up being one. He easily outclasses the orc, and then was able to take the boss's shadow without any problems.
  • Damager, Healer, Tank: Hunters are generally split into these three roles.
  • Dance Battler: Hunters deputy guildmaster and S-rank hunter, Cha Hae-in, is known for her graceful fighting style, which is why she is also nicknamed "Dancer". The Hunters raid members note that Jin-woo moves in a similar way.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Jin-woo wields shadows, and while they are very scary, neither they nor him are evil. Jin-woo has killed before, but he only kills the worst people.
  • Dark World: Jin-woo's instant dungeons are located in parallel universes of the places he visits. He can only unlock those dungeons with keys he has to find.
  • Death from Above: Jin-woo surprises Kargargan with a punch from above, crushing the latter's head with it.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Ygritte has a tendency to decapitate his victims and present their heads to his master. Dumb as he is, Iron imitates Ygritte, which annoys Jin-woo to no end to the point where he has to ask them to stop.
  • Declaration of Protection: Jin-woo promises to protect his sister's friend, Han Song-yi, after their raid force was left stranded behind a red gate. The declaration was exclusively for her, he felt no obligation to protect anyone else (although he ended up protecting Park Hee-jin and the other two C-rank hunters as well).
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Enemies Jin-woo defeats can be enslaved with his necromancer abilities, but Ygritte is a special case, as Jin-woo's first attempts to raise him fail. In the webcomic, Jin-woo interprets this as Ygritte still being loyal to the owner of the throne he guarded, and Jin-woo asks him to serve a master who is actually still alive. Ygritte seemingly accepts and is then raised as Jin-woo's shadow soldier. In the novel, Jin-woo seemingly frees Ygritte by grabbing his hand and pulling his shadow out of his corpse.
  • Determinator: Despite being mocked as the "World's Weakest Hunter", Jin-woo lept fighting to support his family. He retains this strong will after becoming a player, only now he also gets stronger every time he succeeds.
  • Dirty Coward: Kim Sang-shik shows his ugliest side when the double dungeon raid goes badly, willing to sacrifice anyone to get away, blaming Song Chi-yeol for everything that happened and ultimately running away to leave Ju-hee, Chi-yeol and Jin-woo to die when he is able to flee. However, he eventually regrets his actions and asks for forgiveness.
  • Disappeared Dad: Jin-woo's father, Il-hwan, disappeared, when a gate closed behind him while he was still in the dungeon.
  • Dispel Magic: Kandiaru's Blessing comes with a handy permanent protection spell, which dispels any kind of debuffs Jin-woo may receive.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Jin-woo has told no one why he keeps working as a hunter (to provide for his hospitalized mother and underage sister), despite being so weak and the job constantly threatening his life. He doesn't like revealing personal information to others, and it's implied that he doesn't want to be pitied even more than he already is for being the "World's Weakest Hunter".
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • D-rank hunter Yoo Jin-ho promises to protect Jin-woo in the C-rank dungeon, when he learns that Jin-woo is an E-rank (despite him being a Naïve Newcomer). Jin-woo already dealt with the instant dungeon C-rank boss Casaka. He also is made to be the baggage carrier, even though he is stronger than the entire raid force.
    • Kim Cheol and his team mock Jin-woo, the E-rank, for supposedly leading his team to their deaths by going into the ice bear forest, and are sure that he never received formal training like they did when they joined Baekho. One scene later, the audience learns from Jin-woo that he did this on purpose, because he deemed ice bears to be more reasonable enemies than ice elves or whatever lurks inside the dungeon, because the most dangerous aspect of a dungeon is the unknown. And while Jin-woo did not attend training courses, he is not New Meat and has actually four years of experience as a hunter, and several months as a player. Ironically, Kim Cheol unconsciously assumed Jin-woo to be the leader, feeling the actual power difference between B-rank Park Hee-jin and the other two C-rank hunters that were left behind, but ignored why he got them confused and moved on.
    • Like in the C-rank dungeon with Hwang Dong-seok, Jin-woo accompanies the second Hunters raid force as a baggage carrier in his second A-rank dungeon. At this point, he already was inofficially reevaluated as an S-rank, and was far stronger than the A-rank raid leader.
  • Draw Aggro: Tanks can use taunt skills to draw the attention of the monsters to themselves.
  • Dual Wielding: Jin-woo initially only fights with one dagger, but starts to wield two after acquiring a second weapon.
  • Dumb Muscle: Iron is not really a smart guy, just like when he was still known as Kim Cheol, when he was alive.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: At the start of the story, Jin-woo was known as the "World's Weakest Hunter".
  • Equipment-Based Progression: Hunters are usually stuck at their power level after they awakened (and while some may reawaken and get stronger, they cannot continue increasing their power), with Jin-woo being the sole exception. Getting better equipment that is infused with magic power is the only way for a normal hunter to improve. Good equipment makes up for a lot of shortcomings, which is first demonstrated with D-rank hunter Yoo Jin-ho, who was able to keep up in a C-rank dungeon despite his inexperience and lower strength, because his gear was worth hundreds of millions of won.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: What hits Jin-woo the hardest in the double dungeon is Kim Sang-shik, who Jin-woo saved several times and believed that they had become Fire-Forged Friends, running away and leaving Song Chi-yeol, Lee Ju-hee and Jin-woo to die. Jin-woo swore to never unnecessarily risk his life for someone else again, unless he benefits from it or it's someone he holds dear.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Apparently, not even Kang Tae-shik could refuse a father's plea to kill a serial rapist, who drove the man's daughter to suicide.
  • Evil Counterpart: Kang Tae-shik serves as Jin-woo's very similar opponent early on. Both focus on agility and speed, prefer daggers and are killers. Jin-woo only killed to defend himself though, while Tae-shik is a psychopath who enjoys killing.
  • Expy: An army of powerful ants who eat humans, and assimilate human traits to mutate, whose queen eventually uses all her energy to produce a far superior son, who is eventually called the Ant King. Is the king's name perhaps Meruem...?
  • Fashion Model: Yoo Jin-ho's cousin, Soo-hyun, is an A-rank awakened being, who prefers to pursue a model career. She has no other choice but to join the Yoojin guild, though, when the Yoojin patriarch, Myung-han, orders her to do so.
  • Fatal Flaw: Kim Cheol's party fails, because of their impatience, inexperience, overconfidence and pride. While it seems reasonable to clear the red gate dungeon as fast as possible, he was utterly unprepared for what would await him. Instead of securing a safe base and food, his party was starving and freezing, leaving them weakened against a group of yetis, ice giants and the ice elves. Like Jin-woo, Kim Cheol recognized that the forest would be full of ice bears, but ignored the fact that this would secure their food supply, help against the cold and let them establish a relatively safe base, as they would know exactly which enemies they would have to face.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: While the common roles in a raid are Damager, Healer, Tank, there are other official roles that describe a hunter's class further, like support. Jin-woo is officially a "fighter", and his necromancer skill makes him a mage in his remeasurement, but he is actually a Master of All.
  • Forced Sleep: "Eternal Sleep" is a disease that causes normal people that are exposed to too much magic power, to gradually fall asleep for longer times until they will no longer wake up. The body then quickly deteriorates, with magic cores being the only way to keep the patient alive. Jin-woo's mother already succumbed to this sleep, which is why Jin-woo tries to find a cure. Yoo Jin-ho's father, Myung-han, also is diagnosed with it. The doctor warns him that he can no longer see his hunter son anymore, else he might sleep forever.
  • The Force Is Strong with This One: Hunters with strong Super Senses can feel the power of a being, be it monster or hunter. Jin-woo can improve this ability specifically by increasing his "sense" stat.
  • Fragile Speedster: Assassin-class hunters specialize in speed. Their speed is their strength and defense. Kang Tae-shik is the first one that shows up in the story.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: Subverted, because it's actually forced onto Jin-woo. When his life is threatened by someone, the system makes him fight to kill, else his heart is stopped and he dies regardless.
  • Genius Bruiser: Jin-woo already had a clever mind at the start of the story, shown when he was the only one who figured out the meaning of the "three commandments" in the double dungeon. After given the chance to grow stronger, he adds the brawn to his brains, turning him into a One-Man Army.
  • Giant Spider: The first C-rank boss Jin-woo encounters is a giant spider.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Jin-woo doesn't really give too much thought about the names of his shadows. He removes the edgy-sounding "Blood Red Commander" title from Ygritte, literally just uses Kim Cheol's given name in English, "Iron", and names his high orc sorcerer, Kargargan, after an orc's physical defining trait, "Tusk".
  • Glass Cannon: Kang Tae-shik is an assassin-class hunter, who can very quickly and easily take out his target, thanks to his superior speed. However, he doesn't wear any armor and Jin-woo can kill him with one well-placed stab after locking him down with his Bloodlust skill.
  • Glory Seeker: The other common reason awakened beings work as hunters besides money: fame, and with it the rise in society.
  • Glory Hound: One example is the actor Lee Min-sung, who awakened as an A-rank awakened being, and made a big show out of his retirement as an actor, so he can "work" as a hunter. Officially he does it to protect mankind, but he is actually only doing it for the attention and fame he will get.
  • Go for the Eye: When Jin-woo encounters the C-rank Giant Spider boss, he defeats it by going for its eyes. He also stabs Ygritte in the eye with great effects.
  • Go Out with a Smile: After Min Byung-goo's shadow saved Cha Hae-in's life at the end of the ant extermination operation on Jeju Island, Jin-woo lets his soul rest and releases Min Byung-goo, who with a smile on his face vanishes into nothingness.
  • Graceful Loser: Kang Tae-shik takes it well that he lost and died to Jin-woo. In the webcomic, he states that it is only the course of nature.
  • Grew a Spine: Part of Yoo Jin-ho's Character Development is him standing up to his intimidating father.
  • Gut Feeling: Park Hee-jin concludes that Jin-woo is far stronger than an E-rank hunter, and decides to tag along with him instead of Kim Cheol, after the red gate closes and the raid force splits into two parties. To be fair, she just saw Jin-woo being the only one who could react to the ice elves' ambush and catch an arrow. Her gut feeling ends up saving her life, as Kim Cheol's party suffers a Total Party Kill, while all hunters that stayed with Jin-woo make it out alive.
  • Hammer Space: As a player, Jin-woo has access to an inventory with seemingly unlimited space, where he can store items and retrieve them at will.
  • Handicapped Badass: Despite having lost an arm, Song Chi-yeol's swordsman skills were still far above average. In the webcomic, he managed to keep B-rank hunter, Kang Tae-shik, busy for a moment before being overwhelmed.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Initially played straight with Jin-woo, who simply couldn't improve and get stronger, despite his four years of experience as a hunter. This changes drastically after becoming a player. The harder he works, i.e. the more quests he completes and monsters he defeats, the more his level rises and the stronger he becomes.
  • Healing Factor: Due to Kandiaru's Blessing, Jin-woo is given a healing factor. A nurse who witnesses Jin-woo healing a papercut in seconds asks whether that is normal for hunters, and later learns that only the rarest of hunters have a self-healing factor, and they usually belong to the highest ranks.
  • Healing Hands: Healer-class hunters like Lee Ju-hee display this.
  • Healthcare Motivation: Jin-woo is initially a weak hunter and actually doesn't want to work as one, but the Hunter Association is paying the bills for his mother's treatment. His sister, Jin-ah, wants to become a doctor, so she can heal her mother. Trying to heal her permanently with a special item also becomes a motivation of Jin-woo's.
  • Hellgate: A special key gives Jin-woo access to the "Demon Castle" dungeon.
  • Hellhound: The Gatekeeper of Hell in the Demon Castle dungeon is the three-headed Cerberus.
  • Heroic RRoD:
    • A hunter's magic power is limited. If they use their magic and other skills too many times, they will be left exhausted until they have taken a rest. This is first shown in the double dungeon, when Ju-hee is unable to move her body, because she spent all her energy on futilely trying to restore Jin-woo's leg.
    • In addition to a mana pool, Jin-woo has a fatigue counter which goes from 0 to 100.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Jin-woo, not wishing for Ju-hee and Chi-yeol to die, and him missing half of his right leg, asks them to leave him behind, with him keeping the exit open. This sacrifice of his triggers the secret quest that causes his transformation into a player.
    • Inside the red gate dungeon, Park Hee-jin tries to buy time for her comrades when Jin-woo's split group faces an ice bear, which she deems as too strong for anyone in the group. Jin-woo quickly stops her though and one hit kills the monster.
    • The Hunters raid leader, Son Gi-hoon, accepts A-rank boss, High Orc Sorcerer Kargargan's, offer to meet him directly, so he and his team can kill the boss before a dungeon break occurs. He also wishes for Jin-woo to use an opportunity to run away and report what happened.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Kang Tae-shik supposedly accepted the contract killing, because he sympathized with the father who wanted to avenge his daughter. Tae-shik is a Consummate Liar, so it's hard to say if he was serious, but since his final words to Jin-woo in the novel were a final request to finish his job, it's likely true.
  • Honor Before Reason: Ygritte decides to accommodate Jin-woo not showing a weapon and fights Jin-woo barehanded. Ygritte loses, but Jin-woo later remarks that he definitely would have lost to Ygritte, if the knight had used his sword.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Statue of God and its minions trample Jin-woo's raid force like insects, and the challenge is more about surviving the encounter by following the commandments that they were given earlier.
  • Hunter of Monsters:
    • "Hunter" in this world refers to the awakened humans who hunt the monsters behind a gate.
    • After killing a lot of lycans, Jin-woo acquired the title of "Wolf Slayer", which increases his damage against beast-type monsters.
  • Hunter Of Their Own Kind:
    • In only ten years, hunters have become stronger and more dangerous than a nation's military. The Hunter Association exists to govern criminal awakened beings and regulate the hunter guilds. The only reason the Association in Korea is still respected is because its president is Korea's strongest S-rank, Go Gun-hee.
    • This is also the reason Yoojin Construction intends to found their own guild. They fear the rise in power of the hunters, and try to hire hunters they can trust.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick:
    • Jin-woo's Dragon, Ygritte, is early on at least on the same level as Jin-woo. Inside the red gate, Jin-woo notes how Ygritte would have wiped the floor with him if he had used his sword against Jin-woo.
    • Cha Hae-in is only the vice guildmaster of the Hunters, but Jin-woo estimates that she is stronger than her boss, Choi Jong-in.
  • Hypocrite: Kim-Cheol becomes murderously furious when he discovers the other group of hunters has supplies such as food and warm clothing (courtesy of Jin-woo), blaming his group's Total Party Kill on them for "hoarding" the supplies. This is after he abandoned them in the first place to fend for themselves because he considered the lower-ranked rookie hunters to be dead weight. Jin-woo even notes that Kim-Cheol was the one who chose to abandon the others to die first while smacking him down.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Jin-woo usually has grey eyes, which by itself can look very scary, but when he focuses his senses or when he gets serious, they become icy blue.
  • Ideal Illness Immunity: Jin-woo's secret quest's reward is Kandiaru's Blessing, which renders Jin-woo immune to all kinds of diseases and poisons. Unfortunately for him, that also means he Never Gets Drunk, as the alcohol in his body is identified as poison.
  • If We Get Through This...: When Jin-woo intends to sacrifice himself so Ju-hee and Chi-yeol can escape the double dungeon, he places a magic core he found in Ju-hee's hand, asking her to go eat dinner with it, as he promised to her earlier. She held on to this magic core and eventually returns it to Jin-woo, after he saved her life from Kang Tae-shik.
  • Ill Girl: Jin-woo's mother is in a coma because of an illness. She is the motivation for Jin-woo still working as a hunter, and why Jin-woo's sister, Jin-ah, wishes to become a doctor.
  • I'm Crying, but I Don't Know Why: In the webcomic, Hwang Dong-soo wakes up with his eyes wet. His brother was killed by Jin-woo hours earlier.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Kim Cheol meets his end at the hands of Ygritte, who impales Kim Cheol with his sword.
  • Innocence Lost: Over time, Jin-woo gets colder and deadlier. He himself notices the changes in him, but he still can smile amongst his loved ones, or if someone genuinely treats him well.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Lee Ju-hee sports two.
  • Invisibility: "Stealth" allows the user to hide their appearance, smell, sound and aura.
    • As an assassin-class hunter, Kang Tae-shik is the first one to display this ability.
    • Jin-woo learns Stealth too, after he loots a runestone from Tae-shik's corpse.
    • The ice elves inside the Red Gate can use Stealth too. They follow Kim Cheol to Jin-woo's group's base, after finishing off the rest of Kim Cheol's group. However, Jin-woo immediately notices their presence.
  • In the Hood: Jin-woo tries to avoid most people and generally prefers to keep his hoodie up.
  • It Amused Me: After the high orc sorcerer, Kargargan, trapped the Hunters' secondary raid force inside the dungeon, he asks them to come to him. When the hunters oblige, he reveals that he could have killed them at the entrance, but wanted to kill them one by one for his amusement. He then slowly tortures raid leader Son Gi-hoon, by levitating him and repeatedly smashing his body against the floor until Jin-woo interferes.
  • It Gets Easier: Since the time Hwang Dong-seok threatened his life, Jin-woo has stopped hesitating to kill when he has to.
  • It's All My Fault: As the raid leader who asked the raid force to enter the second half of the double dungeon for more profit, Song Chi-yeol takes full responsibility for the deaths of the hunters inside the dungeon. Jin-woo doesn't agree, though, as they voted and the majority (Jin-woo being the deciding vote) decided unanimously as a party, that they wanted to go on.
  • It Runs in the Family: Sung Jin-woo's father, Sung Il-hwan, was one of the first hunters ten years ago, but mysteriously disappeared when a gate closed before he could get out of a dungeon.
  • I Work Alone: Well, Jin-woo does it because he's a One-Man Army. He also doesn't want to miss out on the experience he can gain, so he prefers to clear the entire dungeon alone.
  • Karmic Death: Days earlier, Kim Cheol mocked Jin-woo for going into the forest because it was full of ice bears, when his own decisions lead to a near Total Party Kill, while Jin-woo's group is fine in the forest. Kim Cheol, who treated his fellow hunters like shit because he didn't want to get slowed down by weak hunters, ends up humiliated and killed by the "World's Weakest Hunter", Jin-woo.
  • Kill All Humans: Baruka tells Jin-woo that all dungeon denizens hear a "voice" in their heads compelling them to kill humans. For some reason the voice doesn't command him to kill Jin-woo, which is why he was willing to spare Jin-woo (and only Jin-woo). When Jin-woo asks him for more information about this voice and their origins, Baruka is about to answer, but suddenly "glitches" and repeats his offer as if nothing had happened.
  • King Mook: Ygritte was a red-colored knight, much like the other knights Jin-woo encountered in the class advancement dungeon. However, Ygritte was far stronger and agile than the previous knights and posed a real danger to Jin-woo.
  • Knife Nut:
    • Jin-woo favors daggers as weapons. Due to his extended use of them, he gets a damage bonus when he uses daggers.
    • Kang Tae-shik also uses daggers, since he's an assassin hunter.
    • Baruka, the ice elf boss, favors two tanto, Japanese short swords.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: After "miraculously" surviving a group of high orcs without any casualties (Jin-woo helped while using Stealth), Hunters raid leader, Son Gi-hoon, decides that the monsters are too much for his raid force and reluctantly tells his team to abandon the raid and leave the dungeon, despite this possibly being the last opportunity for him to ever lead a raid again in the guild. This earns him Jin-woo's respect, as he sees it as a wise decision. Unfortunately, the boss of the dungeon, Kargargan, had other plans for them and locked the gate.
  • Lame Excuse: Kim Sang-shik leaves Jin-woo to die, because, as he stated, he has family that he has to take care of. Jin-woo finds this excuse unacceptable, because he (and everyone else) also has family.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Kim Cheol acting like an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy ends up with him humiliated and weakened. Worse, he doesn't show any sign of reason and blames anything and anyone but himself for his own failure. Jin-woo punishes Kim Cheol's emotion- and madness-driven actions by baiting Kim Cheol into attacking Jin-woo, which leads to Kim Cheol's karmic death and subsequent resurrection as Jin-woo's shadow minion.
  • Last Request: In the novel, Kang Tae-shik's final words to Jin-woo were him revealing that his assassination target was still alive, implicitly asking Jin-woo to finish the job and kill the serial rapist. Jin-woo finds the criminal, sees that he shows no regret for what he has done and then uses the rapist as living bait for the monsters.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Kang Tae-shik intends to murder not only his target but every other hunter as well and come out of the dungeon as the Sole Survivor, to leave no potential witnesses to his assassination.
  • Level Grinding: Jin-woo gets stronger with every opponent he kills and every quest he completes.
    • As part of a daily quest, Jin-woo has to work out every day. As a reward, he can increase his stats. Before he entered his first dungeon after he became a player, he first raised his strength stat to a level where he could defeat the monsters alone.
    • Shortly after entering his first instant dungeon, unlike inside regular dungeons, Jin-woo realizes that the monsters respawn. He uses this opportunity to level up for several hours before facing the dungeon's boss.
    • Raiding C-rank gates with Yoo Jin-ho is a way for Jin-woo to level up consistently. This is convenient for Jin-woo, as he was lacking the funds to reserve the gate rights, and Jin-ho helps him with the mandated party sizes, while no one but Jin-ho, who already is Jin-woo's Secret Keeper, will get to see his abilities.
    • Inside the red gate, Jin-woo intentionally walks into the ice bear forest, so he can gather more experience and level up relatively safely, before facing the other unknown enemies.
    • The Demon Castle instant dungeon is full of demons, and Jin-woo in fact is tasked to kill lots of demons to gain their essence for his quest.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Jin-woo is not a Fragile Speedster. He is very durable, wears a lot of armor which doesn't impair his movement at all, and he still packs the power of a damage-focused hunter.
  • The Load:
    • Jin-woo used to be the load of Association-mandated raid forces, as he even struggled against the weakest of monsters. This is reversed later on, as he overpowers his fellow hunters in later raids.
    • Hunters who are seen as expendable are left behind by some of their colleagues. Those who do this are referred to as "lizards" (named after lizards who leave their tail behind when it becomes a hindrance), and a friend of Jin-woo's once warned him that Jin-woo, as the "World's Weakest Hunter", was in frequent danger of this.
    • Kim Cheol leaves half the raid force (all hunters below B-rank) behind inside the red gate, as he doesn't want to get slowed down by them, calling them dead weight, and "subtly" gestures to them to not follow him. In an Ironic Echo, he is humiliated by "E-rank" Jin-woo and gets called dead weight, after suffering a terrible defeat at the hands of the monsters.
  • Locked in a Freezer:
    • The penalty zone for not completing a daily quest cannot be left until four hours have passed. There are also gigantic monsters out there to kill Jin-woo. The first time he was inside the penalty zone, he was still Level 1, so he had no other choice but to run for his life.
    • Jin-woo's first instant dungeon locks him inside. The only way to get out was using a stone to get home or defeat the boss.
    • The class advancement room is another special dungeon that locks Jin-woo inside it.
    • Red gates are special gates that are shut both from the outside and the inside as soon as a hunter enters it. These gates are especially dangerous because of the drastically different environment, the fact that time flows different inside, and help can't arrive until a dungeon break happens. Because of the difference in time, hunters have to survive for half a year or kill the boss before they can leave.
  • Lured into a Trap:
    • The double dungeon can be seen as a trap for hunters who thought they could get easy profits, just because the first half of the dungeon was relatively easy.
    • After noticing that the dungeon is going to be very profitable, Hwang Dong-seok leads Yoo Jin-ho and Jin-woo, who are fillers, to the boss room, so he can trap them there and let them die to the boss.
    • Kang Tae-shik pulls off a Wounded Gazelle Gambit, so he can kill Ju-hee quickly.
    • After killing Kang Tae-shik, Jin-woo sees that the boss room was full of hobgoblins and a powerful boss... for a D-rank dungeon that is. He notes that this likely would have caught hunters off-guard, because earlier they only had to fight against normal goblins, who didn't engage in large numbers.
    • Red gates are basically massively dangerous traps. They initially appear to be normal dungeons, but the gate closes soon after a hunter enters it with no one being able to get in or out. The hunters are then trapped in a dangerous environment, like an icy waste, a hot desert or a hot and humid jungle full of poisonous denizens. Furthermore, an hour outside equals a day inside, and the only way to get out alive is to either wait seven days in the human world so that a dungeon break can occur or to kill the boss of the dungeon.
  • Magic Knight: Unlike most mage-class hunters, Jin-woo is both a strong mage (in form of a necromancer) and strong in close combat. He only became better in magic and improved his intelligence stat, because the System made him one, when originally he fought like an assassin-class hunter.
  • Make a Wish:
    • After completing a secret workout quest, Jin-woo is offered a "Blessed Box" which contains something that he wants or a "Cursed Box", which contains something he needs. He takes the former, which gives him an instant dungeon key, which again leads to a place where Jin-woo can earn money, experience and items. And more importantly, he was given a potion recipe and the means to make it, to cure his mother from her illness.
    • After completing another quest inside the demon castle dungeon, Jin-woo is allowed to get one specific item of his choice. He takes the "Cursed Box", which he earlier passed on.
  • Master of All: Unlike most assassin-class/mage-class hunters, Jin-woo is very durable despite his speed and agility. And as a summoner, unlike others, he is also proficient in close combat. He is not a tank nor a powerful destructive mage, but he has an army at his back that compensates for what he is lacking.
  • Master Swordsman: Song Chi-yeol is a master of the sword, who even teaches an S-rank hunter. However, he awakened as a mage-class hunter, and magic knights do not exist. His swordsman skills do not help him much in dungeons, though with the help of Lee Ju-hee, he was able to fend off Kang Tae-shik for a while.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Baekho literally means "white tiger", and is a portmanteau of its guildmaster's name, Baek Yoon-ho. He also can turn into a white tiger, which is why his name is very fitting.
    • Kim Cheol's first name literally means metal or iron. And like iron, he broke before he bent (i.e. accepting his failure as raid leader and making up for it).
  • Meaningful Rename: Jin-woo names Kim Cheol's shadow "Iron", since "Cheol" literally means iron. It's also a fitting name for a tank.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: After realizing that Jin-woo's rank is inaccurate, Yoo Jin-ho fears for his life, as false rankers are often rumored to be mass murderers. Jin-woo uses this misunderstanding as a way to make Jin-ho keep Jin-woo's strength secret.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Yoo Jin-ho mistakenly assumes Jin-woo is dating high schooler, Han Song-yi. He tries to cautiously remind Jin-woo that Song-yi is a minor (making him an ephebophile, which would mean she is Jail Bait). Jin-woo just rolls his eyes at the misunderstanding in the novel, while he is left clueless what Jin-ho is talking about in the webcomic.
  • Mook Horror Show: Once Jin-woo literally unleashes his Bloodlust, Kang Tae-shik is terrified of facing the monster Jin-woo has become to the point where he slows down and ends up with a knife in his chest.
  • Morality Adjustment: Jin-woo is still a good person, but as he levels up as a hunter, he becomes colder and more of an Anti-Hero.
  • Mugging the Monster: Hwang Dong-seok's entire raid force is killed by Jin-woo after they tried to kill him three times, not realizing that he is not actually an E-rank hunter.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Especially early on, Jin-woo encounters newly awakened hunters. Yoo Jin-ho is on his first raid when the two meet, and everyone but Jin-woo has no dungeon experience when they enter the red gate.
  • Neck Snap: This is how Jin-woo kills Hwang Dong-seok in the novel. In the webcomic, he decapitates Dong-seok instead.
  • Necromancer: This is literally Jin-woo's class name after completing the class advancement quest. He cannot exactly raise the dead's bodies, but he extracts a "shadow" out of the enemies he defeats. Due to his strong performance in the quest, he immediately is promoted to "Monarch of Shadows".
  • Never My Fault: A-rank tank, Kim Cheol, initially accepts that he, as the raid leader, is responsible for the Total Party Kill, but then blames the hunger and cold for his failure (when it was his decisions that led to this). When he runs away and sees Jin-woo's group being fine, he blames them for not providing his team with the food and clothes he needed. This, despite the fact that he abandoned the weaker hunters days earlier, viewing them as dead weight which he didn't want to carry to safety.
  • New Meat: Everyone inside the red gate, but Jin-woo, was basically a newly awakened hunter who received some classes, but basically never entered a dungeon before. Jin-woo notes how they are far too calm to grasp in what danger they are, especially since their combat experience is non-existent.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Despite being clearly weaker than the rest of his party, Jin-woo showed concern for everyone in the double dungeon, hoping to save as many as possible. When an opportunity to escape however appeared, everyone but Song Chi-yeol and Lee Ju-hee ran for themselves, leaving the rest of the party to die.
  • The Nose Knows: Hunters S-rank hunter, Cha Hae-in, can smell the magic power of a hunter. The more magic power they have, the stronger the foul smell becomes, which is why she doesn't like being near too many strong hunters. Jin-woo piques her interest when she smells him and finds his smell quite pleasant.
  • No-Sell: When Kargargan tries to use his magic to curse Jin-woo and weaken him, everything is immediately dispelled by Jin-woo's passive ability, Kandiaru's Blessing.
  • Not So Different: In the webcomic, after realizing that Jin-woo has killed before, Kang Tae-shik states how he and Jin-woo aren't that different.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Yoo Jin-ho is absolutely terrified when he sees that Jin-woo is probably a false ranker, as false rankers are stereotypically murderers, and he is Alone with the Psycho in the dungeon.
    • After Jin-woo gets out of the red gate, he is confronted by Baek Yoon-ho. Baek Yoon-ho instinctively pulls back when he realizes how strong Jin-woo is.
    • Baek Yoon-ho is again terrified when Jin-woo was remeasured and for a short moment reveals to Baek Yoon-ho's Magical Eye that he became even stronger. He then investigates Jin-woo and concludes that Jin-woo didn't go through a normal reawakening and is capable of growth.
  • One-Hit Kill: Over time, Jin-woo grows so powerful that he can defeat many opponents with just one attack.
    • After clearing his first instant dungeon, he defeats a D-rank boss who broke out of a dungeon by throwing his broken sword at it.
    • Inside the red gate, Jin-woo can crush an ice bear's head with a single punch. He also knocks out Kim Cheol with only one hit.
    • He smashes A-rank boss, Kargargan, with one punch in the face.
  • One-Man Army: Jin-woo grows so powerful that he can clear dungeons by himself. Subverted later on, as he gains an army of shadow minions. It's still technically only one hunter, but he is not fighting and leveling up alone anymore.
  • Only in It for the Money:
    • Due to the danger that gates pose to mankind, and the fact that hunters are the only ones who can deal with these threats, being a hunter is a very lucrative job and is the reason most awakened beings work as hunters. Jin-woo was initially also motivated by money, but is later only interested in getting even stronger, after money becomes a non-issue. Hunter Association President, Go Gun-hee, also assumes that Jin-woo doesn't want to work for him because it doesn't pay well, but is extremely impressed when Jin-woo declares that he wishes to fight in the highest of dungeons, and working for the Association would prevent him from doing so.
    • Notably subverted with Yoo Jin-ho's father, Myung-han. Jin-ho initially assumes his father wants his own guild because it's a profitable business sector, but his father eventually reveals that he wants trustworthy hunters for protection of his family against other hunters.
  • Opt Out: Lee Ju-hee decides to retire after the double dungeon incident, and finally quits as a hunter after Jin-woo saved her life against Kang Tae-shik. She already couldn't cope with the trauma of the double dungeon, the attempt on her life by a hunter only gave her the final push, as she also got to see Jin-woo again, only to see that he is no longer the innocent weak man she grew to care for.
  • Panacea: The "Holy Water of Life" is supposedly a potion that can heal any possible illness. Including Jin-woo's mother's Forced Sleep illness, which is why he intends to clear the Demon Castle dungeon and acquire the necessary ingredients.
  • The Paralyzer:
    • Jin-woo's dagger, Casaka's Poisoned Fang, has a chance to apply a paralysis effect on the affected target.
    • Jin-woo later learns Bloodlust, which is a Supernatural Fear Inducer skill.
  • Parental Abandonment: Jin-woo and Jin-ah's father is missing. Their mother is hospitalized.
  • Playing with Fire: Most mage hunters and monsters can use to some degree fire magic. This is also the reason why fire resistance equipment is the most common type.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Casaka's Poisoned Fang is a dagger that can apply a bleeding and paralysis effect.
  • Portal Door: Dungeons are entered via "gates". A red gate is a special gate that soon after closes off until all hunters are dead, the boss is defeated, or a dungeon break happens after seven days in the human world have passed. However, the red gate leads to a dangerous dimension where time is different. Hunters trapped inside a red gate dungeon would have to survive for roughly half a year before help from outside could come.
  • Power Dyes Your Hair: Baek Yoon-ho's hair can become white, when he is starting to get serious.
  • Power Levels: The magic power of a hunter can be measured by special devices. The higher the value, the higher the rank the hunter is given. Jin-woo's level initially only is at a value of 10, which is very low and qualifies him as an E-rank.
  • Practical Taunt: Tank hunters have a skill which allows them to draw a monster's attention to themselves.
  • Promotion to Parent: Due to Parental Abandonment, Jin-woo is acting as his sister's guardian.
  • Propaganda Hero: Lee Min-sung is really only doing promotional work as a hunter to push his fame further. He joins the Grim Reapers, who are not as big of a guild as the Baekho or Hunters guilds, but that makes him stand out more as an A-rank, and they share a mutual interest of promoting themselves.
  • Random Power Ranking: Hunters are measured after their magic power and are given letter grades with A-rank being the strongest, and E-rank being the weakest rank. They are then assigned to the similarly graded gates. Someone who cannot be measured by the Stat-O-Vision is given an S-rank.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Jin-woo kills a serial rapist by using him as The Bait, stating that he is even worse than serial murder, Kang Tae-shik.
  • Rare Candy: Many quests, including the daily quests, offer Jin-woo attribute points as a reward, which he can individually use however he likes. They are not tied to him leveling up.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • In the webcomic, the Hwang brothers, Dong-seok and Dong-soo, feature glowing red eyes when they reveal their sociopathic selves.
    • Gatekeeper of Hell, Cerberus' eyes turn frighteningly red when it activates its Unstoppable Rage skill.
  • Regretful Traitor: Kim Sang-shik in particular feels guilt for leaving Jin-woo alone to die, and in the webcomic can no longer work well, until he can properly apologize to Jin-woo. Unfortunately, he only got the opportunity to apologize right before his death.
  • Reluctant Retiree: The Hunter Association's president, Go Gun-hee, is getting old and suffers from a disease. He seeks a Legacy Character who follows his ideals to keep the hunters in check.
  • Remote Body:
    • During the class advancement quest, Jin-woo notices that some of the enemies don't give him any experience. He eventually realizes that they are simply summons of the actual enemies he was supposed to kill and quickly runs to the defenseless summoners. Once they summoners were taken out, the soldiers they controlled all fell apart.
    • A-rank boss, Kargargan, uses one of his minions to speak to the Hunters raid force, demanding from them to come to him.
  • Rescue Romance:
    • Park Hee-jin and Han Song-yi seem to be smitten with Jin-woo after he got them out of the red gate safely.
    • Cha Hae-in already was interested in Jin-woo when she noticed that he didn't give off a foul stench, but she crushes on him after he saved her life on Jeju Island, and even asks him to join his newly founded guild.
  • Resting Recovery: Kandiaru's Blessing allows Jin-woo to rapidly regenerate when he sleeps.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: Jin-woo is seemingly the only one who operates with "the System", which allows him to see and increase his "stats", and gives him quests which are rewarded with items or a stat boost when they are completed.
  • Script Breaking: Jin-woo ends up going "off-script", when he asks the ice elf, Baruka, about the origins of the monsters and the voice that commands them to kill humans. When Baruka is about to respond, he "glitches" and continues the conversation as if he didn't hear Jin-woo moments earlier.
  • Shadow Walker: Sort of. Jin-woo learns to swap places with one of his shadow soldiers, and he can take other people with him. He also can place his minions in other shadows.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Jin-woo cuts his hair and starts wearing fashionable clothes later on. Some people already noticed how attractive he looks, but after his makeover, he gets a lot more attention.
  • Shock and Awe: The final boss of the Demon Castle dungeon, Baran, uses lightning attacks. His sword can also produce lightning.
  • Shoot the Mage First: When Hwang Dong-seok's raid force attacks Jin-woo, he first aims for Jo Gyu-hwang, who is a squishy but powerful C-rank mage.
  • Shoot the Medic First:
    • When trying to get rid of the last witnesses to his murders, Kang Tae-shik's first target is Lee Ju-hee. Thanks to Jin-woo's reaction, he fails. He later tries again to kill Ju-hee while being preoccupied with Jin-woo, but since Song Chi-yeol is still around, Ju-hee is unharmed.
    • When the Ant King realizes that the Korean extermination team has a healer with them, he tries to locate Min Byung-goo and then kills him first.
  • Shoot Your Mate: Hwang Dong-seok offers to spare Yoo Jin-ho's life, if he kills Jin-woo, therefore making him an accomplice of their schemes. He intended to record the killing to blackmail Jin-ho's very wealthy father, so he could extort money. Jin-ho, however, refuses and sides with Jin-woo.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ahn Sang-min's ringtone is TWICE's "CHEER UP".
    • Jin-woo's shadow knight's name, Ygritte, and the ice elves' nickname, the White Walkers, are possible references to A Song of Ice and Fire. The latter are alternatively translated as "hyakki".
  • So Proud of You: Yoo Jin-ho's father, Myung-han, wishes for Jin-ho to lead the Yoojin Guild, after learning that Jin-ho has become friends with Jin-woo, a strong and reliable hunter. He is extremely angry and disappointed when his son declines and wishes to follow Jin-woo and his plans to create his own guild. Myung-han freezes all of Jin-ho's bank accounts and kicks him out of the house that is under his name to teach him a lesson, but his wife points out that he is actually really proud of Jin-ho for standing up against him for the first time.
  • Squishy Wizard: Mage-class hunters generally can't defend themselves very well, which is why they need to stay behind their tank. The mages Jin-woo encounters in the class advancement dungeons also do not pose much of a threat by themselves, it's the minions they summon that will overwhelm anyone in sheer numbers.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Due to the many ways Korean can be romanized and translated, this is to be expected.
    • Fan translations are split on whether "eo" or "u" should be used for names, e.g. Song Chi-yeol/-yul and Kim Cheol/Chul. Same with "oo" or "u" like with Dong-su/-soo and Joo-hee/Ju-hee.
    • Kang Tae-shik's name can also be written as "Gang" and "Tae-sik".
    • Is it Igris or Ygritte? One translator has chosen the latter, because it matches the Korean form of a certain redhead's name.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Yoo Jin-ho was raised in a wealthy family, unlike Jin-woo. In his first raid, his father provided him with equipment that was supposedly worth hundreds of million won. However, he is actually a Nice Guy, has a strong moral sense, values fairness, and comes to view Jin-woo as a brother, even more so than his own brothers.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: After Jin-woo escapes the red gate, he is still furious that he couldn't get the shadow of the dungeon boss, Baruka. When S-rank and Baekho guildmaster, Baek Yoon-ho, is irritated at Jin-woo's dismissive behavior, he tries to intimidate him, but backs down when he accidentally measures Jin-woo's strength and realizes how strong Jin-woo is. This encounter left a deep impression on Baek Yoon-ho, who then tasks his chief recruiter to use all their resources to bring Jin-woo into his guild.
  • Stat Grinding: Jin-woo's skills have to be used often and successfully to level them up.
  • The Stoic: Jin-woo grows into one after he Took a Level in Cynic and became a player. He rarely openly shows emotions, and when he's angry, he usually is in a Tranquil Fury state.
  • Stress Vomit: In the webcomic, Yoo Jin-ho has to throw up after seeing Jin-woo's scary power.
  • Sudden Game Interface: A female electronic voice accompanies Jin-woo, and he can see an RPG-like interface with which only he can interact.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Jin-woo notes how stupidly overconfident the Baekho guild's New Meat raid force inside a red gate dungeon is, just because they had received some training courses. Seeing how Kim Cheol's party is completely wiped out because of a lack of food, clothes and facing too many enemies in that icy waste, Jin-woo was completely right.
  • Summon Magic:
    • During the class advancement quest, the mages keep summoning more knights to fight Jin-woo. In order to complete the quest, Jin-woo had to kill the summoners.
    • After becoming a Necromancer, Jin-woo learned to summon the shadows of fallen foes.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Baek Yoon-ho's eyes are unnaturally golden. They are the eyes of a white tiger, which he can shapeshift into.
  • Superpower Lottery: How strong an awakened being becomes is purely based on luck. Some weaker beings can reawaken and get another boost, but their power is set, and those who are above D-rank can earn a lot of money. S-ranks are even rarer, with only nine appearing in Korea since the gates appeared ten years before the story began. Jin-woo eventually also hits the jackpot, when he is given the ability to grow.
  • Super Reflexes: Hunters who focus on agility have great reflexes. Since Jin-woo used a lot of his stat points on agility, he also has superhuman reflexes.
  • Super Senses: Awakened beings have enhanced senses.
    • Jin-woo always had good hearing. After increasing his "sense" stat, he can feel the magic power of others from a long distance and determine their strength. This also makes it easier for him to spot obscured and invisible enemies, as he immediately managed to sense Kang Tae-shik, in the novel, who hid himself with Stealth.
    • The Hunters' S-rank deputy guildmaster, Cha Hae-in, has a supernatural sense of smell. She can't stand the stench hunters give off, though. The stronger they are, the stronger the smell becomes, although she notes that Jin-woo actually smells very nice.
    • The Baekho guild's guildmaster, Baek Yoon-ho, possesses magical eyesight. He can measure the strength of an individual by analyzing them with his eye. Since he first met Jin-woo, and was terrified of his power, after Jin-woo got out of the red gate, he is the first one to notice that Jin-woo became even stronger, which leads to him figuring out that Jin-woo didn't reawaken and continues to grow in power.
  • Super Speed: Especially agility-based hunters are known for their superhuman speed. Jin-woo can even go further and activate the Sprint skill, which will temporarily give him a speed boost.
  • Super Strength: Most hunters get physically stronger after they awakened. The first attribute Jin-woo increased when he was given the chance to grow was his strength stat.
  • Super Toughness: Jin-woo has a special skill, Unyielding Spirit, which increases his toughness if his health is below a certain threshold, and a title that increases all his stats proportional to the health he is missing. He also consumed Casaka's Poison, which gave him strong physical damage reduction without having to pay the price of a lower strength stat, since his Ideal Illness Immunity dispelled the negative effects.
  • Stealing the Credit: Not so much stealing, but more like Taking the Heat happens twice at the beginning of the story, to Jin-woo's benefit. The first time, Yoo Jin-ho officially takes the credit of defeating a C-rank boss with the help of his powerful gear, and the second time happens when C-rank Song Chi-yeol claims to have defeated B-rank Kang Tae-shik with the help of B-rank healer Lee Ju-hee. Both times they want to hide the fact that Jin-woo has grown far stronger than E-rank, but Baekho's recruitment chief, Ahn Sang-min, notices anyway that the common denominator was Jin-woo and seeks him out.
  • Take a Third Option: When word gets out about Jin-woo's supposed reawakening and new powers, Jin-woo is presented two options: Join a powerful and influential guild (Hunters, Baekho or Yoojin) or the Hunter Association, and become its future president. Since Jin-woo wants to level up on his own and not rely on anyone else, he takes the third option and decides to found his own guild.
  • Telekinesis:
    • After defeating Ygritte, Jin-woo learned Ygritte's signature skill, Ruler's Hand, by using the runestone Ygritte dropped.
    • The high orc sorcerer, Kargargan, can use gravity magic, with which he can levitate others.
  • Terror Hero: Jin-woo alone with his intimidating magic power and Death Glare can scare many (not to mention his shadow army will also make many think twice to cross him), but he also has skills like Bloodlust, which supernaturally induce the Fear status effect and weaken his enemies.
  • Think Nothing of It: Jin-woo appears to be someone who respects authorities and isn't very interested in fame or money. For instance, he explicitly asked the Hunters raid leader, Son Gi-hoon, if it's okay for him to kill all magic beasts, and when he is done, doesn't want any loot after saving the secondary Hunters raid force despite single-handedly clearing the A-rank dungeon. There are multiple reasons for this. First, Jin-woo doesn't feel like he deserves it because he didn't pay for the gate rights, but also because he was more interested in observing what an A-rank dungeon looks like. He also already was rewarded by getting powerful shadows for his army and experience with which he levels up. Hunter Association President Go Gun-hee interprets this as Jin-woo being The Cape who only wants to protect people, and wholeheartedly starts to support him.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works:
    • After leaving the instant dungeon early in the story, Jin-woo encounters a monster that broke out of a dungeon, and throws Kim Sang-shik's broken sword at it. Despite being extremely tired after single-handedly defeating a boss earlier, his attack shatters the monster's head.
    • After Jin-woo repeatedly throws his knives at enemies, he learns the Dagger Throw skill, which increases the accuracy and damage he can potentially do.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kim Cheol is a classic example of this. He fights his way through a dungeon without knowing what to expect, leaving him and his team starved and frozen, which eventually leads to a Total Party Kill. When he in his madness tries to lash out at Jin-woo's party, he gets knocked out with one hit, and when he wakes up to get back at Jin-woo and kill him, Jin-woo gets the excuse to kill Kim Cheol in self-defense. Jin-woo then rips out Kim Cheol's shadow and enslaves him.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The story shows Jin-woo's journey of the weakest hunter to becoming the strongest hunter.
    • After clearing the instant dungeon, a fatigued Jin-woo easily shatters a D-rank monster that broke out of a dungeon.
    • He later defeats a C-ranked boss and a group of D- and C-rank hunters, who tried to kill him. He then teams up with Yoo Jin-ho to clear several C-rank dungeons to make money, though the speed at which he clears them catches the attention of Baekho's Ahn Sang-min.
    • Jin-woo kills B-rank hunter, Kang Tae-shik, when he and his party are targeted by the assassin.
    • After completing the class advancement quest, Jin-woo is given the unique class of Necromancer, allowing him to summon his own army of shadow minions that can also level up with experience.
    • Inside the red gate, Jin-woo is the only one who can deal with the attacks of the ice elves, and becomes the leader of the split group. Every one of his group makes it out alive after Jin-woo single-handedly took down the ice elf boss, while the other group suffered a Total Party Kill. A few chapters later, Jin-woo reevaluates his rank and becomes Korea's tenth S-rank hunter.
    • When an A-rank dungeon goes awry, due to the far superior boss and his minions, Jin-woo is forced to reveal his abilities to the Hunters' raid force, but easily kills the boss's 150 men strong army and then the boss. Unlike against Baruka inside the red gate, Jin-woo didn't require Ygritte and Iron's help and was able to successfully extract the boss's shadow.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: The double dungeon incident has given Jin-woo very Jade-Colored Glasses. He has no interest in saving as many people as possible anymore, and will only go so far to protect the people he feels obliged to.
  • Total Party Kill:
    • Hwang Dong-seok's entire party is killed by Jin-woo, after they tried to leave guest hunters, Yoo Jin-ho and Jin-woo, to die.
    • Kim Cheol and Jin-woo split up the attack force into two groups after entering the red gate. Kim Cheol's group is completely wiped out by yetis, ice giants and ice elves. Kim Cheol is later killed too, and his shadow is raised by Jin-woo.
  • Traitor Shot: The webcomic makes it pretty clear that Hwang Dong-seok and his raid force are not as nice as they initially seem.
  • Tranquil Fury: Jin-woo doesn't rage out openly. When he's pissed, he lets his actions speak.
  • Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil: The most unforgiving thing for Jin-woo is betrayal. He himself was betrayed, and he has no problem killing people who betray their comrades.
  • The Unapologetic: In the novel, Kang Tae-shik, after having lost to Jin-woo, asks him to kill the rapist he was supposed to kill. When Jin-woo finds the man, he asks the rapist if remembers his victim, who obliviously asks which victim Jin-woo meant. Seeing as the man showed not one ounce of regret for abusing the powers he was given, Jin-woo decides to feed him to the hobgoblins.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The high orc sorcerer, Kargargan, absolutely loses it when none of his attempts to kill Jin-woo work, and his army is killed and then desecrated by Jin-woo's necromancer abilities.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Hwang Dong-seok begs for his life, after trying to kill Jin-woo three times. Jin-woo ignores his pleas and coldly executes him.
  • We Can Rule Together: Hwang Dong-seok falsely assumes that Yoo Jin-ho killed a C-rank boss with the help of his fancy equipment, and offers to let him join the raid force... if he gets rid of Jin-woo (which he intended to record to extort money out of Jin-ho's father). Jin-ho refuses, which earns him Jin-woo's trust.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Yoo Jin-ho craves the approval and respect of his father, which is why he intends to become the Yoojin Guild's guildmaster.
  • White Magician Girl: Lee Ju-hee is a caring and compassionate young woman, who took special care of Jin-woo in his days as an E-rank hunter.
  • Willfully Weak: In the class advancement dungeon, Ygritte decides to play along with Jin-woo pulling back his weapon, and goes for hand-to-hand combat. Jin-woo ends up defeating Ygritte because he pulls out his weapon again, though Jin-woo later noted that he definitely would have lost if Ygritte had used his sword.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In the novel, Kang Tae-shik pretends to be seriously hurt to get Lee Ju-hee to come and try to heal him. Jin-woo realizes the trap and stops Tae-shik before he can kill Ju-hee.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: One day inside a red gate equals one hour in the human world. This is why a dungeon break can take months inside a red gate.
  • You Talk Too Much: In the webcomic, this is literally what Jin-woo says to Kang Tae-shik, whose Motor Mouth keeps running.
  • You Will Be Spared: Baruka, the ice elf boss of the red gate dungeon, offers to spare Jin-woo, if he abandons the other hunters under his protection. Jin-woo refuses and kills Baruka.

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