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“Solo Leveling” — a Webtoon Review

Reflection: How a fantasy webtoon captured the grimy reality of our world

By Max Vigue

Multimedia-Content Editor 

As content online continues to spread across the internet, media such as comics and manga have blown up across the digital landscape. Webtoons can trace their origins back to the early 2000s. It was a niche style of comics similar to manga that was not that well known. Unlike it’s Japanese counterpart, it tended to be in full color and a lot shorter.  

Solo Leveling is a Korean manhwa (webnovel) written by Chu-gong, art created by Gi So-Ryeong and Jang Song-Rak, and published by D’and C Media. It is distributed in English by Webnovel and Tappy-Toons.
It is a fantasy action Webtoon, following our main character Sung Jin Woo. The setting takes place in a reality similar to ours, however mysterious objects known as “gates” start appearing. 
Along with people across the planet undergoing a process known as “awakening”, in which they gain superhuman abilities. These people become “Hunters”, forming organizations known as “guilds” to traverse the dungeons which lie beyond the gate. 

Sung Jin Woo is the weakest Hunter in this world, and often undergoes lots of self-torment. He perceives himself as worthless due to his status. But after a near death experience, in a failed dungeon raid, he experiences a “reawakening” in which a Hunter’s power is either amplified, or completely changed.

However, in a rare occurrence, Jin-Woo only morphs into more of an anomaly when his power is aided by an unknown otherworldly force from where the secrets of the gates lie. His power is the ability to continuously get stronger or level up, through this outside force referred to as “the system”.  
In the course of this story, we see the progression of Sung Jin-Woo from a low E-class hunter, to becoming the renowned Shadow Monarch. 

I really think this story is not a new idea, but a refined take on the power fantasy trope. In most mainstream franchises such as Avengers, Dragon Ball, and Star Wars, we see our heroes build their power from the ground up. 

They use this power to protect the ones around them after a traumatizing event. But these motives, while believable, don’t fully capture the more gritty reality of what a normal person might become in those situations. 
In stories like Attack on Titan, the protagonist goes through a traumatizing event which shakes him to the core. But through the course of the story, we see him change as his black and white perception of the world is shifted by the grey nature of reality. 

A similar approach is taken with this story. The main character originally saw things through a very simplistic moral compass. Due to the nature of his circumstances, requirements that need to be met by the system, and the nearly almost impossible situations he must overcome, his psyche and mindset gradually change over time into a more gritty but realistic doctrine. 

What makes Solo Leveling stand out among emerging webtoons is not only just its sleek art and fast-paced action, but also its primary narrative enchants the viewer, wrapping the audience into the setting. 
Solo Leveling is a story primarily focused on providing an entertaining tale, while at the same time giving an introspective commentary on the human condition and how the world can’t be seen through a tinted glass.  
Solo Leveling is a webtoon that I recommend to any high school student and adults, as this is an M-rated (16 and Up) series. But the story will have you addicted. This is the kind of story that will have you on edge. You will most likely binge-read this series, potential reading the first 30 chapters in one sitting. It has an immersive narrative, adrenaline-packed action sequences, and very modern but satisfying art. 
Solo Leveling Art created by Gi So-Ryeong and Jang Song-Rak
Solo Leveling Art created by Gi So-Ryeong and Jang Song-Rak

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use

Election results declare Joe Biden the next President of the United States

By Kaitlyn Resline

Editor-in-Chief

Democrat nominee Joe Biden has been projected to win the 2020 election race against Republican incumbent Donald Trump.

Biden is currently leading with 279 electoral votes against Trump’s 214 votes, according to the Washington Post. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris sets a precedent as the first female, Black-American, and Indian-American to hold the office of the Vice President.

Results are still being counted in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina. 

Biden is currently leading in Arizona with 0.4% of the votes and in Georgia with 0.2%. Trump is leading in North Carolina with 1.4% and in Alaska with 28.6%. 

As of November 10 the Senate is split 48-48. Party control is expected to be determined after the results of two Georgia run-off elections in January. Alaska and North Carolina have not called their races yet. 

The Democrats are expected to keep the 218 House of Representatives majority with a slim margin. They have lost four seats to Republicans, who currently have 201 seats.

Some races are still being determined as more mail-in-votes are counted. 


“Sit-down with People Magazine – Wilmington, DE – August 14, 2020” by Biden For President is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Delaney Bittner Dominates the Poll for GameTimePA YAIAA Athlete of the Week

Genevieve Turner

Sports Editor

Soccer attacking center midfielder Delaney Bittner won the October 15 GameTimePA YAIAA Athlete of the Week. Each week people get the chance to vote for the GameTimePA YAIAA Athletes of the Week at https://www.ydr.com/gametimepa/

This is the second week that senior Delaney Bittner has been nominated. 

She finished with four goals in last Thursday’s YAIAA win against South Western, which earned her a nomination. As of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Bittner came in first place out of the seven girls on the poll. She won with a total of 4,750 votes. 

Bittner has played on varsity all four years of her high school career. She started playing when she was four years old and has since been playing for the last 13 years. 

Bittner has also accumulated multiple awards and accomplishments over the years. She won 2x First-Team All-County, 2x Varsity Captain, 2017 Varsity Newcomer of the Year, 2018 Outstanding Effort Award, and the 2019 Red Lion Player of the Year. 

“I am honored to have been nominated twice,” said Bittner. “The support I got from my teammates, friends, and family was unreal.”

In previous years Bittner said that she struggled to move into an offensive role, but this year she has fully embraced it.“My biggest triumph this season has been my switch into more of an attacking role,” said Bittner. “I feel like in the previous years I have been more defensive minded, and didn’t really transition much into offense.” 

Her success thus far was not always guaranteed. “My biggest struggle this season has been all the uncertainty with COVID,” Bittner said. “We didn’t know if we would even have a season for a long time, so it was hard to keep the intensity up while we would only be allowed to play each other.” 

Her confidence since the beginning of the season has changed. “I also feel like the confidence my coach has in me has made a huge difference in my play,” Bittner said. “He believes in me which makes it easier to believe in myself.” 
“I would like to give a huge shoutout to my awesome teammates for being my personal hype up crew,” said Bittner. “And being amazing per usual.”

Senior attacking center midfielder Delaney Bittner prepares to score a goal against Central High School on Horn Field during the Fall 2020 season Bittner won GameTimePA’s YAIAA athlete of the week in mid October. Photographed submitted by Chris Riddle, Northeastern Photography.

Lanius and Lakatosh Combine Skills To Dominate on the Tennis Court

Genevieve Turner 

Sports Editor

“There is no I in team,” is a common saying within many sports. Tennis, on the other hand, has its players compete in order to be ranked. While this happens on every team, every year, it still insights competitiveness between teammates. 

Junior Sophie Lanius and freshman Alexis Lakatosh were two such competitors. At the beginning of the 2020 season they competed against each other for the number one ranked spot on the team. Lakatosh came out victorious taking the number one spot on the team.

Since then, Lanius and Lakatosh have been working together in doubles matches against rivaling schools. They are both 7-1 this season and plan on continuing to dominate on the court. 

The relationship between Lanius and Lakatosh developed over time. “I knew it was going to be tough beating her in the challenge matches,” said Lanius. 

“Sophie and I have been friends for around two years now since I’ve been playing since seventh grade,” Lakatosh said. “Sophie and I knew it was going to be tough battling each other, head to head.” 

After the initial competition, the two have grown closer together and have been victorious in many matches against competing schools. But this teamwork did not come easily. 

“Since we have been together every day over the summer and we’ve been playing all this time, it’s been really good,” said Lakatosh. “Our relationship has gotten a lot better.” 

Lanius said that the hardest part for her was that they were not yet familiar with each other’s playing styles. 

Lanius and Lakatosh competed in the county finals Friday, August 9, 2020. Both won their bracket and faced off for the champion title. Lakatosh beat Lanius in both matches, 6-2, 6-3.

Even though they started out as competitors, they have grown closer as teammates, with many nice things to say about each other. Lakatosh describes Lanius as energetic, caring, and funny.

 “I see Lexie as a little sister and I have seen how hardworking, competitive and resilient she is,” said Lanius. “I really admire that about her.”

Teammates junior Sophie Lanius, left, and freshman Alexis Lakatosh, right, joined forces against Dover school district. Red Lion dominated 5-0. 
Photographed by Angie Lanius.

Mrs. Gillmen Wins 300th Game Coaching Varsity Field Hockey

Shana Carey

Opinions Editor and Marketing Editor

Haley McCartney fights for the ball against Susquehannock on Senior Night. A week before the 300th win, Red Lion lost 2-1 with an unassisted score by Kennedy Bratton.

Cheers echoed throughout Spring Grove as the field hockey team celebrated Coach Carol Gillmen’s 300th win Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The team painted a poster to run through, signed a framed picture for Coach Gillmen, and wore matching yellow shirts to honor their coach’s hard work. According to Coach Gillmen, this was a pleasant surprise. 

“That’s what people want,” Coach Gillmen said. “They want to work hard, be successful, and have fun.”

The lions earned that 300th win 4-1 against Spring Grove with their strategic and balanced offense. Kennedy Bratton, Hannah Downs, and Paige Griffin all scored that Wednesday night. 

“Emma Waltemyer did a great job getting the ball off to her offense and trying to control her midfield,” Coach Gillmen said.

Though single players score a goal, Coach Gillmen emphasizes teamwork both on and off the field.

“One of the things we try to preach is that we’re going to be there for each other as a team,” Coach Gillmen said.

Her players notice her drive to meet the challenge. “Coach Gillmen is dedicated to what she does,” junior JV player Bryn Hughes said.  “She’s in it to win it.”

Coach Gillmen started coaching at Red Lion in 1995 and says the time has flown by. She remembers former players.

“Over the years, there have been some really awesome families and athletes in the program.” she said. “It’s been really cool to hear from them, saying they have a lot of good, fond memories from playing field hockey.” 

Having passion for the sport is vital to being a good player or coach. “Being an athlete is not an easy job,” Gillmen said. “Dedication and perseverance are needed to be successful,” Gillmen said.

The 300th win milestone gave Gillmen reason to reflect on her career as both a teacher and a coach.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be at Red Lion School District, teaching and coaching and (having) a lot of support over the years from the administration and the community,” Gillmen said. “I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else.” 

The Red Lion Field Hockey team congratulates Coach Gillmen for 300 wins in her 25 year coaching career. After the Spring Grove game, the team gifted Coach Gillmen a signed picture in order to commemorate her successful coaching.

Decompression: Why self-reflection is important in 2020

By Max Vigue

Multimedia Content Editor

During the course of the pandemic, many students were isolated from the outside world. As our society fell into social and economic shambles, our whole situation changed. It would take over nearly four months before the citizens of Pennsylvania (PA)  were allowed to exit their homes. 

While I was stuck in isolation, I felt as if almost if I was in limbo. I’m used to the feeling of loneliness, even within large masses of people I always felt ignored; but that never typically bothered me. In fact I like to view my mind as a sanctuary, where I could ponder complex concepts, create alternate worlds, and conceive endless ideas without the bounds of the physical world. I feel a sort of bliss when I lose myself within my inner consciousness.  

Life isn’t always on one side of the spectrum, the pendulum swings back and forth. Swinging back out of my mind, cascading into a bittersweet reality, 2020 is a year that will go down in history as the year in hell.  Increasing cases and death, uproar against injustice in the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbey. 

The momentum quickly turned into a front for chaos, and politicians continued to further the chasm between discussion and unintentional comedy as evident by laughable tweets, and debates turning into kindergarten level arguments.   

The events transpiring seemed like the plot points in a novel, spiraling toward a calamity of a climax. Even if I was just a bystander on the sidelines of 2020, I felt a wave of anxiety, stress, and paranoia crash down on me. It was a ripple effect that I could tell was spreading across the pond of social media.  My entire feed was covered in the most current events, headlines of depressing tragedies popping up one after another. I needed a break from reality, escapism was the only route I could think of. 

Then I realized, in the greater scheme of everything, the issues of one year will not hinder the progress of humanity in the long-run. If anything I should be grateful for the time I’ve been given, I can allow myself to think. I can pursue goals I wouldn’t normally be able to do. Even in a stress inducing world, with threats still not yet fully realized. I still had time on my hands, with this, I could come out of this different, not just in skill ability from where I started before the pandemic. 

But, also being smarter because of all the hours I poured into reading, or even being closer with my family. 

At that very moment, I realized I could come out as a different person, because when I  have so much time on my hands. I don’t always have to put my brain to work. I realized the importance of looking back, and examining the inner workings of my thoughts. Sailing down my stream of thought, running down the flowing of discourse of a thousand different ideas. I eventually came to the realization that the endgame of this quarantine is not to come out improved on the physical level. But to be revalued and come out stronger, level-headed, and sturdy on the mental level. 

In the short span of around six months I feel like a completely different person. Of course I’m always going to maintain a consistent character, but now my headspace has been reset. I’ve diverted my efforts to areas where I feel they are important, and ultimately just readjusting. Especially with the world we live in nowadays, we have to change and adapt to the ever changing climate.  

Like many others, every day I go through the motions of life, with energy varying depending on how I feel. And when I get a break all I worry about is recharging this energy and building up my stamina to this demanding world. When people actually have time to themselves, we’re always wasting away with entertainment. The only time I give my mind a break to let loose is when I’m in the trenches of the deep ocean of REM sleep. When do we ever decide to let our minds off the shackles of consciousness?

Where and when can we just rewind our memories, and ponder what those experiences gave us. Every few hours of every day, I would take some time off my normal routines to just relax and let my mind run. I looked back on what happened into my past, looping different events, breaking down the details of every little aspect. Sometimes I would replay those same events and run them through an alternate ending like some kind of choose-your-own-story game. 

While this pandemic has been one of the most trying times in our history.  In the end, we live in a sink or swim world where we need to take any chance we can to better ourselves. And mental health is a very important aspect that tends to get overlooked. In the worst circumstances, sometimes we gotta make the best out of our environment. And sometimes this means letting loose and letting your mind out of the cage.

Academic Prep to return to schedules October 15

By Kaitlyn Resline

Editor-in-Chief

Academic Prep is returning to the high school schedule on Thursday, October 15. 

Right now, the class periods are 42 minutes, but they will become 37 minutes once AP is added. Ten minutes will also be taken away from the transition times for lunch.

The lunch periods will not be shorter, but the new schedule has removed the transition time between the shifts. 

AP will follow a day six schedule. It will occur between periods four and five. On day six, clubs will occur during AP, similar to how the schedule was last school year. 

The schedule change will occur from October 15 up to the end of the first marking period, October 28. Then the administration will evaluate if adding AP back was a good idea. 

Mr. Mark Shue, principal of RLASHS, said the conversation to bring back AP happened with the department heads. They discussed what things they felt worked well in the past, and they believed AP was something that worked well for everyone. 

Having AP will allow students to make up tests without missing class time or coming in before or after school. 

“This way we have time devoted within the school day when we can get all that done,” Mr. Shue said. 

Students work from home using a hybrid day option

By Kaitlyn Resline

Editor-in-Chief

It is morning in the early fall inside a high school classroom.  School is in session.  A classroom in prior years would  typically seat 25-30. This year a typical class seats 15.

But on this typical morning,  only about eight students are actually present. The rest of the students are taking a hybrid day, one of the Red Lion Area School District’s solutions in the 2020-21 school year for students being able to learn part time online. 

According to assistant principal Ms. Dana Schmidt hybrid days are to be used to keep up with schoolwork if a student has been instructed to quarantine due to COVID-19, has been exposed to COVID-19, or is awaiting a test for COVID-19. 

Senior Mera D’Aquila follows a self-made hybrid day schedule for the week. She typically takes hybrid days Wednesdays and Fridays, but she will come in for tests. She finds that hybrid days help her focus and get more work done. 

“I like the flexibility of being able to work at my own pace on certain days,” D’Aquila said. “I think it’s very stressful coming into school sometimes because, obviously, I’m worried about the pandemic. I’m worried about getting my parents sick.”

Braden Reese de Leon, also a senior, has not taken any hybrid days. She thinks it is a good option that the school considered just in case it is needed, but she does not plan to use this option.

“A hybrid day would affect my ability to learn because I would get too distracted at home to do my work,” de Leon said. “Also, it’s likely that I would be bothered a lot if I was learning at home.”

She admits that she does know people who take hybrid days to sleep in or get out of tests. Tests are a big concern for the teachers as well.

“It’s difficult to assess students, if they’re not coming into the building,” Ms. Schmidt said. “So, that’s our biggest issue at the moment.”

D’Aquila feels that she uses hybrid days responsibly and always makes sure to get her work in on time. She said she personally would not feel right using hybrid days to take off or go on vacation. 

According to district officials, students are expected to treat hybrid days as work days, including checking in to Google Classroom and attempting all work by midnight that night. If they do not show any accountability for their attendance and work that day, the absence will be marked unexcused. 

 If students are taking a hybrid day, they need to go into Skyward and select the hybrid day option. This notifies the school that the student is taking a hybrid day. Then, the student should email their teachers to notify them about their hybrid day.

Hybrid days differentiate between remote learning because with remote learning, students receive synchronous instruction and check in with teachers to keep on pace with the curriculum, according to Ms. Schmidt. With hybrid learning, teachers only have to put the  assignments on Google Classroom; they do not have to make videos of their lessons. 

D’Aquila says her hybrid experience varies from teacher to teacher. Some will post videos of their lectures and notes, which she finds very helpful, while others will barely post anything, if at all. 

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed both schools and students’ experiences.

“We want to make sure that kids feel safe, families feel safe, so hybrid days are okay, we just want to make sure that everyone understands the differences,” Ms. Schmidt said. “And, I mean, nothing really replaces being in class with the teacher.”

Mera D’Aquila discusses with her friend, senior Sarah Yost about what she missed during her hybrid days. D’Aquila finds that hybrid days help alleviate school and pandemic stress. 
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