In episode 3 of the manga Solo Leveling, Jinwoo wakes up after surviving the Double Dungeon incident. Two officers from the Hunter’s Association come to talk to him about what went down. They fill him in on how the other survivors are doing and test him to see if he somehow got a major power boost from the experience.
The officers suspect Jinwoo may have undergone a “Second Awakening” based on the survivors saying he did something impossible. A Second Awakening is when a Hunter suddenly gets way stronger out of nowhere. But after testing Jinwoo’s official hunter rank, they see his level is still the same. This proves he didn’t get a Second Awakening, which would have boosted his rank.
What exactly is a Second Awakening in Solo Leveling?
Second Awakening is a rare event in Solo Leveling when a Hunter rapidly gains a ton of new power for no clear reason. It allows them to jump up many levels instantly to become super strong.
The officers thought Jinwoo underwent this transformation since he survived against such high-level enemies. But his normal rank after the incident showed that wasn’t the case, even though he somehow managed to tap into incredible abilities in the heat of the moment.
How Hunters are classified
In the Solo Leveling world, Hunters are ranked based on how much mana power they have. S-Rank is the highest, with only the strongest Hunters making it there. E-Rank is the lowest rank.
Jinwoo is stuck at E-Rank. Normally, Hunters can’t improve their ranking no matter how hard they try. The only way is if they experience a rare Second Awakening, where their abilities suddenly expand. Most Hunters can only handle dungeon raids that match their rank. But Jinwoo is weak even for E-Rank.
Hunters also fall into classes like Fighter, Mage, Assassin, etc. Jinwoo is a special Player class that levels up RPG-style, but he hadn’t started using that yet. So at the time of the test, his potential looked low.
Hunters are also either combat-focused or support-focused. Guilds need a mix of both. As seen at the end of episode 3, raids require support roles like Healers. Jinwoo worries about being trapped and injured in a dungeon with no healing.
In summary, a Second Awakening instantly boosts Hunter’s rank and power through some mysterious awakening. The officers tested Jinwoo to see if he got this, but his rank was still low. His unique Player class and leveling system hadn’t kicked in yet to show his true potential.
How Gates gave rise to Hunters.
Hunters exist because of magical Portals that pop up in the world. The Portals’ magic became part of the world, affecting people physically. Since Gates had different effects and contents, it makes sense that Hunters would vary, too. Some Hunters randomly undergo further development of their powers, known as a Second Awakening.
There are also rare False Classifiers – evil Hunters who can hide their true strength and rank lower than they should. They like killing other Hunters for fun. This is different from a Second Awakening.
Second Awakening is extremely rare in Solo Leveling. No named characters have experienced it. But it’s said to cause extreme improvement in skills. E-Rank can jump to C-Rank, B-Rank to S-Rank, like in One Punch Man.
How Jinwoo Power Aweaking is Different
Jinwoo eventually becomes the greatest Hunter ever, reaching a level beyond S-Rank. So you could say he experienced an extreme version of Second Awakening, going from E-Rank to beyond S-Rank. However, Jinwoo’s power boost was unique.
He became the vessel of the Shadow Monarch, a transcendent reincarnated being. So his strength came from that, not a normal Second Awakening.
Also, his increase wasn’t a sudden jump in base power or new abilities. It came from the System allowing him to improve his attributes like Strength and Intelligence RPG-style.
Since no other Hunters have gone through what Jinwoo did, it’s hard to compare a normal Second Awakening. But Norma Selner can unlock Hunter’s latent potential in up to 30% more stages.
This shows Jinwoo is special – when Selner tries her skill on him, it fails because Jinwoo has no limits, to begin with, thanks to the Shadow Monarch and System.
In summary, you could view Jinwoo’s transformation as an extreme Second Awakening. But it wasn’t a normal one – his unique power came from the Shadow Monarch and leveling up his base attributes, not a magical awakening. So he serves as a special case, not the norm.