After the very much skippable recap episode last time, Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating” is a breath of fresh air. Mostly because it’s a return to your previously scheduled dungeon raid. This time, we even have a return of some of the original cast. Complete with all the trauma it entails, and promising more on top of that.

Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating”: Details

Solo Leveling textless key visual.
Sung Jin-woo returning to his roots here. And by “roots”, I mean Ep. 1.

Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating” is the eighth episode (you can read reviews for Ep. 1Ep. 2Ep. 3Ep. 4Ep. 5Ep. 6Ep. 7, and Ep. 7.5 here) of the first season of this kinda sorta urban fantasy action anime. Said anime is the anime adaptation of the South Korean web novel and webtoon series of the same name by ChugongA-1 Pictures (Black ButlerBlue ExorcistSword Art Online) is the animation studio behind this anime.

Hiromu Oshiro is the director and storyboarder behind Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating”, with Shunsuke Nakashige himself as the writer, and Chiaki Furuzumi as the chief animation director. Shunsuke Nakashige is the director of Solo Leveling overall, with Noboru Kimura also being the writer for the same. Hiroyuki Sawano is the composer of the music you hear in the anime.

Speaking of music, the opening theme music for Solo Leveling as a whole is “Level” by Sawano and Tomorrow X Together. Meanwhile, “Request” by Krage is the ending theme music.

Voice Cast

Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating” features the voices of Taito Ban (Aleks Le in English dub) as Sung Jin-woo, Genta Nakamura (Justin Briner in English dub) as Yoo Jin-ho, and Rina Hon’izumi (Dani Chambers in English dub) as Lee Joo-hee. The other notable voice role in this episode is Haruna Mikawa (Rebecca Wang in English dub) as Sung Jin-ah.

When and Where to Watch

Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating” made its airing and streaming debut on March 2, 2024. You can watch this episode only on Crunchyroll at the moment. In fact, you can watch this entire anime only on Crunchyroll for the moment, due to this anime being a Crunchyroll exclusive at the time of this writing.

Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating”: Synopsis

Now he gets to look terrifying in front of his old…friends?

Finally, there is a reason to have a plot summary again! Just kidding. This is still an ongoing anime series, after all. In fact, Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating” literally only just premiered 2 days ago at the time of this writing. Thus, you’re still going to get the official synopsis from Crunchyroll as usual. You can check that out below:

Jinwoo answers a Hunter’s Association request to take part in the raid of a D-Rank dungeon, where he encounters a few familiar faces.

Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating”: The Good

Solo Leveling Ep. 8 "This is Frustrating" screenshot showing Lee Joo-hee in her first appearance in several episodes.
Oh look, someone other than Jin-woo might get some spotlight.

Interestingly enough, it’s not the action that’s the star of Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating”. Actually, there’s no action in this episode at all. Instead, what makes this episode great is the story. Especially since this entire anime has had a fairly simple plot so far.

First off, this episode actually gives us some focus on people other than Sung Jin-woo for once. In particular, of the characters who know Jin-woo so far, Yoo Jin-ho and Lee Joo-hee are finally getting some spotlight. We even get to get a look into their respective backstories. Granted, it’s not much of a look in either of their cases. However, at least we get to see that much.

Not only that, but this episode of the anime even gives us a look at a bunch of characters who, for various reasons, are returning characters. Returning from what, you might ask? Well, returning from that very bloody first two episodes. Yeah, if you recall what happened during those episodes, then you can imagine just how awkward this reunion is. Especially since they’re some of the few survivors of that incident. With all the accompanying trauma that you can imagine. It’ll be interesting to see how this trauma manifests in the next episode. You know, assuming that nothing else interferes with that.

Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating”: The Bad

Solo Leveling Ep. 8 "This is Frustrating" screenshot showing Kang Teshik with a scary frown.
You can tell just from his face that there’s something off about him.

It’s really difficult for me to talk about what I think is bad about Solo Leveling Ep. 8 “This is Frustrating” without giving away spoilers, but I’ll try my best. My one complaint about this episode is the way they handle the concept of crime and reducing sentences for that crime. See, three of the new characters in this episode are prisoners who agreed to go into dungeons on raids in order to reduce their sentences. Normally, this would be a good idea in order to rehabilitate prisoners who’ve been on good behavior.

But the big problem here is that none of these prisoners are even remotely interested in good behavior. Heck, one of them outright sexually harasses someone immediately upon stepping out of the prison transport limousine (yes, that’s apparently a thing in this world). That prisoner especially showed absolutely no remorse for anything he did, and doesn’t seem even the least bit interested in rehabilitation. Even worse, he did this right in front of the correctional officer overseeing him, but the officer didn’t even so much as react. The officer didn’t even seem to care, and not only just allows this to happen, but also proceeds with the mission. Heck, behavior like that should’ve gotten that prisoner’s sentence reduction time revoked, and he should’ve gone straight back to prison.

What I don’t understand here is why didn’t that happen? I can only assume that there’s some plot reason for this that will be revealed in the next episode. Hopefully, that will explain something about this.