Second Life Ranker (두 번 사는 랭커) Web Novel Review

Second Life Ranker (두 번 사는 랭커) Cover

Web Novel Details

Novel Title : Second Life Ranker
Associated Names : Ranker Who Lives Twice, SLR, 두 번 사는 랭커
Type : Web Novel
Language : Korean
Translated Language : English 
Genre : Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Seinen, Supernatural
Year : 2017
Translated Chapters So Far : 316/800 Chapters (On-Going)


Yeon Woo had a twin brother who disappeared five years ago named Cha Jeong Woo. One day, a pocket watch left by his brother returned to his possession. Inside, he found a hidden diary in which was recorded “By the time you hear this, I guess I will be already dead….”

Obelisk, the Tower of the Sun God, a world where several universes and dimensions intersect. In this world, his brother had fallen victim to betrayal while climbing up the tower. After learning the truth, Yeon-woo decided to climb the tower along with his brother’s diary.

“From now on, I am Cha Jeong Woo.”


Second Life Ranker (두 번 사는 랭커) Cover

Honestly, it's nothing new or innovative, the writing style/narrative is pretty mundane, poor world-building.

I'd flag it as borderline shounen (ages 12-18). Besides constantly powering up, people losing limbs, and s*avery, there's no deeper plot, nothing you don't already see in a Dragonball episode, Hunger Games (PG13), or tons of Japanese isekai.

MC goes into a Tower (substitute any generic leveled dungeon) to seek revenge for his twin brother's disappearance/death (substitute any reason here).

He inherits his brother's powers while developing his own abilities. There are typical factional wars/politicking among tower climbers, and there's probably going to be some bigger mystery for all this, but for the moment it's all been done to death in previous novels. 

Here's the big issue : 

1. Absolutely Nothing Innovative

Here's a quick comparison.

"The Tutorial is Too Hard" (2016), "Reincarnator" (2015), "Everyone Else is a Returnee" (2016), "The King of the Battlefield" (2016), "Main Character Hides His Strength" (2016).

Even the revenge component isn't new, done in "The King of the Battlefield".

If it was well put together that might've been fine, but....

2. Flawed Story

a. Useless Dungeon

All the other dungeon crawler novels had a raison d'être for the dungeons' existence. Save humanity, save another world, etc. Even "Reincarnator" was set up as a pointless game by a sick god that just wanted to see deathmatches between different races/species.

This novel's Tower/dungeon is to "become a god once you climb to the top". No clue why that is, or who would set it up. No mystery, nada. The MC's brother didn't care because he just wanted to find an elixir within the Tower for his mom. Even the MC doesn't care too! Readers are just supposed to accept that. We're completely disinvested in the story right from the beginning.

Even worse, it's mentioned at the beginning people became disinterested in climbing the Tower due to the difficulty. Well if you CAN CHOOSE NOT to climb the tower (since according to MC's brother you can apparently go back to the real world), and can't be bothered being incentivized to climb the tower to become a god, then what the hell is everyone still hanging around the Tower for??? Why not go back to the real world and become a badass with your newfound powers?

b. Disconnected Revenge Plot

The only thing left pushing the story is revenge, which isn't particularly done well either. We're not emotionally connected to the disappearance/death of the MC's brother since there was only a brief diary from his brother and the reason for his disappearance is poorly explained.

MC's 19 yr old brother ran away from home supposedly to find a cure to their mom's "chronic disease". He didn't tell anyone, supposedly because he was afraid his brother would take his place.

Maybe it's a translation issue or the author wasn't thinking when wording the diary, but chronic diseases can be anything from arthritis to cancer. Since the only hint was his mom looking more haggard every day in the hospital, I'm assuming it's cancer, which usually involves a prognosis and timeline (XX months to live, etc). MC's mom eventually passed away within the five years that MC's brother disappeared.

You'd think that if you're running away to find a cure for your critically-ill mom, you'd know not to pointlessly spend years and years MIA adding to her worries/stress (possibly leading to her death), especially after you pledged to return in 6 months.

Also, maybe he could just leave a note explaining where he went? It's not like they could easily follow after him? It's an isekai!

Furthermore, in the diary, MC's brother was ranting along the lines of...

"I was betrayed by A".

"I could have become better/faster/stronger but I was betrayed by B and took an arrow/dagger in the knee/heart".

"While I was missing for 2.5 years, I find someone I love!"

"I lost everything, then I was betrayed by C, Oh and then I took another arrow/dagger in the knee/heart".

Yea we get it. You're an ass.

And it's annoying when you know there's a simple fix. Maybe just write that the mom is still alive? Maybe her condition worsened, she slipped into a coma, and that makes the need for the cure even more important, which gives MORE REASON for the MC to go into the dungeon??

c. The World Building Is Pathetic

Lazy writing. A lot of elements are just randomly introduced with no coherent explanation. Or details are thrown in haphazardly at the end after the author realizes he didn't explain it earlier.

- There isn't any explanation on how people get access to the dungeon (they just randomly receive a phone message), but apparently nepotism exists (since parents can somehow bring their kids over, which btw is a direct copy of "Main Character Hides His Strength"). i.e. There's at the very least some way to communicate between worlds. But the author just glosses over it.

- Skills/weapons that MC acquires are randomly mentioned as Unique, etc, or completely missing their modifiers in their description (e.g. Unique, D+). Then there are paragraphs of exposition explaining how awesome these modifiers are. Literally "this weapon is ranked D+. Holy sh*t that's so amazing, how did you not know that?" We're left wondering what the hell the difference is between E and D since the author doesn't talk about it.

- Mana can apparently do anything/everything. Modify weapons, augment physical abilities, etc. And somehow MC is the only person in the tutorial that can utilize mana in that way.

- After randomly killing MULTIPLE bosses, they are mentioned to regenerate after each tutorial (i.e. every month). Many monsters are given backstories (love for their children, etc), but no reason why they are there. Often times they are not even there as a trial, they just live in their corner of the world minding their own business. Then MC constantly goes on and on justifying why he's entitled to kill the monsters (because it's a dog-eat-dog world). So what's the point of giving us backstories to the monsters? Fillers??

- Somehow other players such as the dark elf can give out quests/rewards. Huh??

- It's REPEATEDLY mentioned players have innate abilities, which seems to be luck-of-the-draw. No amount of effort/determination makes up for it. i.e. You're either born with a silver spoon or nada. And MC just happens to have TWO silver spoons, one from his brother.

Just compare this to "The Main Character Hides His Strength" or "Second Life of Gluttony" where all of these mechanics were explained in clear logical detail.

3. Pointlessly OP MC

MC inherits his brother's powers, and combined with his own skills becomes ridiculously OP just in the tutorial phase (LESS THAN ONE MONTH'S TIME!!!!). There's nothing wrong with OP MCs if done correctly/humorously, but this is just totally absurd with zero humor/interesting draws. MC just proceeds to steamroll everything and everyone, even people outside of the tutorial (official tower climbers).

Compare that to "The Tutorial is Too Hard" and "Reincarnator" where we're slowly watching MC grow through excruciating trials. Even One-Punch Man had a more interesting backstory where we're witnessing an OP MC's struggle for meaning when he's too OP.


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