A1-Pictures’ ‘Solo Leveling’ also known as ‘Ore dake Level Up na Ken’ is an action-packed fantasy series that explores themes of self-actualization and self growth. The show introduces viewers to a financially struggling young adult named Sung Jin-Woo, who works hard to make ends meet as a monster hunter. His notorious image as the world’s weakest hunter does not help him at all as he barely manages to pay for his mother’s medical bills despite working tirelessly. But his miserable condition changes dramatically as he is tasked to succeed in a demanding training program that eventually puts him on a path to becoming the world’s most frightening Hunter. The story of an underdog suddenly undergoing a dramatic turn of fate has won the hearts of viewers around the world and if you wish to experience a similar story then should probably give the following anime a shot.
10. The Rising of the Shield Hero (2019 -)
‘The Rising of the Shield Hero’ follows an otaku named Naofumi Iwatani who is summoned to the kingdom of Melromarc from modern-day Japan along with three other people to become a Cardinal Hero and fight against the Waves of Catastrophe that have plagued the country. While he hopes to deliver despite being thurst with such an unexpected responsibility, his soon life is complicated when he is wrongly accused of taking advantage of Malty Melromac, who is supposed to help him train.
While he tries desperately to prove his innocence, no one trusts Naofumi as he falls from the stature of a respected hero and is completely rejected by society. But the Shield Hero soon finds an unlikely ally when he helps a demi-human on the verge of death. With her support, he vows to win back people’s trust and ensure that he fulfills his responsibilities. Just like in Jin-Woo’s case, the odds are heavily stacked against Naofumi who grows with the challenges in his path and proves himself to be worthy of respect. Feel free to watch the anime here.
9. Mashle (2023 -)
‘Mashle’ is a shounen anime that packs a unique combination of action, gag humor, and drama that rarely misses its marks and entertains viewers in each episode. The show follows Mash Burnedead, an aloof boy with superhuman strength who is born in a magical world without any supernatural powers which effectively makes him an outcast. Although he chooses to lead an ordinary life with his father, he is forced to compete for the coveted title of Divine Visionary in order to keep his lack of magical powers a secret. Although the premise of ‘Mashle’ does not share many similarities with ‘Solo Leveling,’ fans looking for another action-packed fantasy series where the protagonist fights vile monsters (beasts), will find the former entertaining as well. The series is accessible for streaming here.
8. Bleach (2004 -)
When it comes to Shonen anime, the influence of ‘Bleach’ is unparalleled as it has left an indelible individualistic mark on the genre and the industry overall that is unlikely to be replicated in the near future. The tale of valor, retribution, duty, and comradeship continues to resonate with viewers around the world. The Shounen series revolves around Ichigo Kurosaki, who like Jin Woo is entrusted with responsibility far beyond his abilities but by valiantly shouldering them he manages to grow and become a strong and reliable individual worthy of respect and honor. The anime features some of the most iconic anime fights and has over time truly justified its place in the Big 3 alongside ‘Naruto’ and ‘One Piece.’ The series is accessible for streaming here.
7. Black Clover (2017 – 2021)
Inspired by Yuuki Tabata’s work, ‘Black Clover’ is an adventure fantasy series that recounts the story of an underdog rising to prominence just like ‘Solo Leveling.’ The show primarily focuses on Yuno and Asta, two unfortunate kids who are abandoned at the door of a church. They grow together dreaming of becoming the Wizard King. While Yuno can wield magic, Asta unfortunately is unable to awaken his powers. This lasts until the duo faces a life-threatening encounter with an adversary who attacks them. During the fight Asta suddenly a five-leaf clover Grimoire following which he gains frightening abilities. As they survive the encounter, the duo together sets out on a path to greatness. Feel free to watch the anime here.
6. My Hero Academia (2016 -)
Izuki Midoriya is born without quirks in a world where they are almost ubiquitous and are inherited by about 80 percent of the population. Despite his lack of abilities, Midoriya still dreams of becoming a hero, a group of powerful fighters who stand up to corrupt individuals using their quirks for their twisted goals. He often suffers bullying and mockery at the hands of the people for his unrealistic goals. But everything changes when he meets his idol All Might, who selects him as his successor and gifts him his powers. As you may have noticed, Izuku’s story resembles that of Jin-Woo. Both characters go through serious traumatic experiences before finally finding powers that allow them to live the life they have always dreamt about. You can watch the series here.
5. Goblin Slayer (2018 -)
Goblin Slayer is a well-known adventurer who primarily goes on missions related to goblins and their tribes. He is driven by a desire to never let them grow in influence as they are known to be quite sleazy and dangerous. Since most adventurers do not consider them worthy of the target, they often grow in numbers and target a village at a time to kidnap women for breeding. These vile creatures have caused unimaginable horror and the Goblin Slayer is determined to eradicate them for good. Just like hunters in ‘Solo Leveling’ are primarily focused on fighting vile beasts and the like, ‘Goblin Slayers’ recount a story of adventurers struggling endlessly to protect humans from dangerous monsters as well. You can watch the anime here.
4. Hunter x Hunter (2011 – 2014)
In the ‘Hunter x Hunter’ universe hunters are special individuals who are solely dedicated to finding rare items and fighting monsters. Just like his father, Gon also dreams of becoming one so that he can embark on adventures around the world making friends along the way. But before that dream could turn into reality, he needs to pass the Hunter Examination, which eventually decides if a person is worthy of shouldering such a dangerous responsibility. ‘Hunter x Hunter’ is essentially a story of hunters just like ‘Solo Leveling.’ In both shows, the hunters are entrusted with responsibilities that are almost identical. So fans of ‘Solo Leveling’ who are looking for another series should definitely give ‘Hunter x Hunter’ a shot as it promises an identical entertainment value with a similar premise. You can watch the series here.
3. Overlord (2015 -)
Although ‘Overlord’ is an isekai series which is a completely different genre from every other show on the list, its emphasis on strategic battles and power progression makes it an ideal recommendation for ‘Solo Leveling’ fans. The anime revolves around an obsessive gamer who mysteriously gets transported to a game world as an in-game character named Aainz Ooal Gown. Unable to make sense of such a dramatic turn in his life, the protagonist commands his servants and decides to use his knowledge of the game as an advantage to grow in influence and power with the hope of someday figuring out a way to return to his former life. The anime is accessible for streaming here.
2. Chainsaw Man (2022 -)
If you wish to watch another show that revolves around slaying vile beasts or devils in which an underdog suddenly comes in possession of immense powers that turn his life around then ‘Chainsaw Man’ is probably one of the best shows out there. The action-packed series revolves around Denji, an impoverished teenager who dreams of living an ordinary life that has become inaccessible to him because of the endless debt that he needs to repay to lenders because of his late father. While his cruel fate is already depressing, his life comes to a sudden end when a yakuza member betrays him. Luckily, his pet Chainsaw devil dog fuses with his body and gives him another chance at life. This marks the beginning of a new story for Denji but his dream life may not be as bright and beautiful as it appears at first. You can watch the anime here.
1. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba (2019)
In ‘Solo Leveling’ viewers are introduced to hunters who fight vile beasts, while in ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba’ the members of the Demon Slayer Corps fight against dangerous demons. Both shows follow a protagonist who is not even close to being a powerful ally in the fight against dangerous monsters but rises to prominence out of nowhere. ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba’ follows Tanjirou as he embarks on a dangerous quest to take revenge for the deaths of his family members and also with the hope that he will eventually be able to turn his sister back into a human being. In the process, he joins the Demon Slayer Corpse and soon finds himself up against dangerous demons who feed on helpless humans to grow in power. The series is accessible for streaming here.