Manhwas have always been a prominent part of Korean entertainment, and the popularity of Webtoon only shot it to international appeal. Now side by side with manga, popular manhwas continue to flood the scene and various artists have gained the spotlight and means necessary to launch their writing and illustrations to well-reputed platforms. Amongst the likes of established manhwas such as Solo Leveling, Wind Breaker, Tower of God, Lookism and The God of High School comes another rising webtoon star with the name ‘Level Up Infinite in Murim’, or alternatively ‘Infinite Leveling: Murim’. The manhwa is an original work written by Gonbung and illustrator Kim Jinwoo.
Infinite Leveling: Murim Wiki- What Is It All About?
The story begins with the end of a life. Protagonist Dan Yuseong has poured 40 years of his life into the military but never gains the acknowledgment or promotions he desires due to his poor background. When he’s finally assigned a critical role in a war mission, he finds the assignment odd but excited to finally prove his worth, he tackles the battlefield with vigor and enthusiasm. At a vital point in the mission, he realized that he was merely bait and was sent to die. Upon his death, what should have been the end, Yuseong wakes up in the past in the body of his 16-year-old self with a strange quest and leveling system assigned to him.
Taking it as a chance to redeem himself from his old mentality and rewrite his miserable ending, Yuseong follows the quest and gains rewards for completing quests and penalties for failing them. As the objectives become harder and harder, Yuseong’s skills are put to the test, and the frequent battles he indulges in to level up push his body’s limits continuously. His main goal is to prevent the mistakes he made in his past life but what will truly allow him to escape this punishing system forced upon him, and what does it all mean?
Infinite Leveling: Murim Main Characters
1. Dan Yuseong
The strong protagonist of the martial art manhwa, Dan Yuseong is the face of ‘fair and honest’ in terms of personality. Betrayed by his military faction into being used as a sacrificial tool in war and dying disgracefully at the hands of the enemy, Yuseong vows to remain loyal to his goals without causing harm to anyone as it was once caused to him. However, his goodwill does not cause him to become a pushover, as he learns to be more assertive and train harder, two qualities that gain him respect amongst his peers and opponents.
The only thing he brings back from his past life to his new one is perhaps his father’s teachings- the importance of discipline, consistency, and hard work. Yuseong applies these virtues to his new life as he climbs levels and finally has access to fighting techniques and mentorship that he lacked in his previous life. This causes him to go on to become one of the strongest characters in the manhwa.
2. Jang Gihu
In the previous timeline, Jang Gihu was a ruthless and cruel king with a penchant for sadism. His precise nature made it even more difficult for opponents to defeat him and he was impartial in his merciless executions with no regard for age, gender, and status. In the new timeline, his tryst with Dan Yuseong shifts his focus and the series of unfortunate events that would go on to shape him into the king he was meant to become. Instead, he becomes Yuseong’s best friend and the duo uses each other as inspiration to become stronger, train harder, and persevere.
This dynamic in their relationship causes Gihu to have a deep bond of mutual respect, trust, and admiration for Yuseong as the two continue to pursue their dreams and secure the lives they wish to live. Yuseong’s involvement in Gihu’s life in this timeline allows him to develop compassion and a sense of respect, or at least courtesy for others that he would not have otherwise had. His personality development is the most explicit due to the polar shift in his virtues, although he retains a cruel streak, it is used to protect the weak and inflict justice upon the ones who cause harm.
3. Cheon Soso
The final member of the main trio in the manhwa, Cheon Soso is introduced as the daughter of the Cheonbeong Academy’s principal, Cheon Taegong. Credited as the most skilled female disciple of Murim University, Soso surpasses her seniors in ability and sheer talent. In the previous timeline, her father refused to acknowledge her and only focused on marrying her off. When married off unfortunately, Soso harbors malice and seeks vengeance for the restraints she was raised with. This causes her to become the most feared martial artist of Murim and she poses as a threat to whoever encounters in.
However, her talents are acknowledged and even praised in the new reincarnation due to her meeting Yuseong. Soso is heralded as one of the most beautiful women to exist and admires Yuseong, joining the trio to become stronger as well. She develops an infatuation with him and becomes a disciple of one of the best female martial artists of the generation, dedicating her life to training to become the world’s best warrior in order to compete on the same stage with Yuseong and fulfill her life’s purpose.
4. Cheon Taegong
Father to famed martial artist Cheon Soso and the principal of Cheonbeong Academy, Cheon Taegong once served as the country’s best general and taught thousands of students in his time as a teacher and principal at his academy. He once refused to acknowledge his daughter’s skills due to her gender and focused on capitalizing on her famed beauty, resulting in her treading a treacherous path to an unpleasant marriage and notorious villainy. However, in the new timeline, he meets Dan Yuseong and instantly feels a sense of trust in his character and abilities.
As he cares greatly for producing the best students to serve the country, Cheon Taegong takes care of Yuseong, his relationship with the young protagonist causing him to slowly understand his daughter and eventually approve of her abilities and aspirations as she departs her father to journey with Dan Yuseong and Jang Gihu with his conflicted blessings.
5. Jin Hoon
Jin Hoon isn’t exactly a main character, but the story just wouldn’t have been propelled in the right direction without him. In Dan Yuseong’s first life, Jin Hoon was the only one who encouraged Yuseong’s dedication to studying magic and training to become stronger. As one of the rare handful of people who believed that people had the right to be deserving of acknowledgment based on strength and merit alone without respect to rank, class, gender, age, and status, his unique ideology is what shaped Yuseong’s mindset and kept him motivated in the battlefield when he was disregarded for his status and poverty.
Jin Hoon died protecting Yuseong from the enemy and this cataclysmic event is what deeply instilled Dan Yuseong’s dedication to training and rewriting his timeline in his new life. Without Jin Hoon’s support and compassion, Yuseong’s journey would’ve likely not taken him in the direction it does in the newest timeline, nor would he have had the same compassion and will to protect and cherish the hearts of those whose fates doomed them previously. In a sense, he can be considered the most important character in the story.
‘Level Up Infinite in Murim’ is a classic example of a zero-to-hero story and it holds various stereotypical elements found in such stories, such as the training arcs, budding sub-romance with the female lead, tragic backstories and a concise leveling system that allows the readers to follow the protagonist’s physical and mental progress. What it does do differently is use slower pacing to truly flesh out the plot arcs and explore the depths of characters. This gives this reincarnation manhwa a unique flavor in how the main trio’s bonds and strengths are developed, allowing readers to peer into the complexities of their lives, fears, dreams, and ambitions.
Moreover, it is exciting to follow the reconstruction of personalities, traits, quirks, and fates that befall the characters in Yuseong’s new life as he struggles with not only his own past life’s mistakes but the ones of his friends and loved ones as well, a series of decisions that cause a ripple throughout the story and changes the lives of all those he meets. Level Up Infinite in Murim is definitely a manhwa that requires mental investment and time, despite the manhwa only having begun in 2020 and having two seasons so far, its plot development and sheer number of events take time for the average reader to chew on. For veteran readers and regular webtoon lovers on the other hand, it is a great binge when one is in the mood for unique battle sequences, unexpected plot twists, and heartwarming scenes between the main characters that uplift the story’s otherwise serious tone.
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