Original Run: July 6, 2020 - September 28, 2020 Number of Episodes: 13 Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Supernatural Based on the Series Created By: Yong-Je Park
***The following may contain spoilers for The God of High School. Reader discretion is advised.***
The much anticipated God of High School tournament is about to begin. Here, fighters from across South Korea gather to determine who is the strongest. The winner will not only achieve fame and glory, but they will also be granted a single wish.
The energetic and skilled martial artist Mori Jin (voiced by Tatsumaru Tachibana) eagerly awaits his chance to face off against strong opponents. As the tournament unfolds, Mori forms a close friendship with his fellow competitors Daewi Han and Mira Yu (voiced respectively by Kentarou Kumagi and Ayaka Ohashi).
God of High School might be the ultimate spectacle, but it hides a more sinister purpose. The tournament’s commissioners are hoping to find an individual of immense power. Mori and his friends don’t know it, but they have just entered a battle for the very fate of the world.
Well, highly entertaining and fun as all hell is certainly one way to describe The God of High School. It is also the aptest way, so I’ll stick with it.
Early on, it was established that this show was to be energetic, fast-paced, and, at times, completely off-the-wall insane. There was to be a tidal wave of action which would often lead to pure craziness. When series do this, they play with fire; one small misstep and things can get out of control real fast.
Conversely, when such blatant disregards to moderation are successful, the results are nothing short of spectacular. I am happy to say that The God of High School falls firmly in this category, an achievement brought about by several mechanisms working in outstanding harmony.
First, the animation, particularly during the many, many fight scenes, was thrilling at this show’s weakest and awe-inspiring at its best. The God of High School employed a unique and effective blend of high-octane explosions, energy blasts, and supernatural powers, which was then mixed with well-choreographed displays of more realistic (in comparison) bouts of hand-to-hand combat.
All the fighters were martial artists that happened to have otherworldly powers. Although raw strength could win the day in this series, many fights came down to pure technique.
For example, protagonist Mori Jin would typically carry himself in a happy-go-lucky mannerism. He wasn’t serious, often lazy, and more interested in enjoying a fight than winning one. Still, there was no question that he knew his stuff and was a master combatant. Mori was always quick to adapt to any given situation and was capable of strategic planning in the middle of even the most intense face-offs. He could even perform the moves and abilities of his opponents after only seeing them once.
As a side note: You’re not wrong if you think Mori’s personality and combat prowess are similar to Dragon Ball’s Son Goku. Aside from The God of High School creator Yong-Je Park’s admission of the influence, both Mori and Goku were based on the hero of the Chinese novel Journey to the West, Sun Wukong, a.k.a., the Monkey King.
Second, the soundtrack. Holy hell, this alone would have made any series worth watching. Yeah, it helped that fights were well-animated, but to have them paired with this series’ choice of music really helped the whole thing stand out. I would say it was for this reason that no confrontation in The God of High School was boring or subpar.
It’s times like this that I wonder if it would be worth doing video rather than written reviews. It’s hard to express through words how epic this series sounded. Oh well, I suppose this just means you’ll need to check out this show for yourself to understand.
Third, The God of High School was not afraid to go big.
I’ve lost track of how many series have boasted about their characters possessing god-like powers, only to have fights come off as oddly reserved and dull. There is no reason for this. If the sky is the limit, why hold back? The God of High School sure didn’t.
The further along this series went, the crazier it got; and I was all for it. To give just a single example: There was an assault on the stadium where the God of High School tournament was being held. The attackers were hoping to release an apocalyptic deity, and the toys they brought with them were massive. Therefore, the only way to counteract such a gargantuan boot was to bring in an even bigger boot.
By combining this scene’s scale with the already mentioned animation and soundtrack, you’re left with something hard to forget.
Oh, and by the way, these are only the secondary reasons why The God of High School was as good as it was. I’ve barely even mentioned this series’ most excellent aspect – it’s characters.
In particular, I want to highlight the show’s central trio, Mori Jin, Daewi Han, and Mira Yu. These three were all kinds of great, and should this series become a multi-season franchise, these are the characters that are going to keep everything together.
Continuing with what I’ve already said about Mori, he was a blast. Although rare, there were times when he would toughen up and get serious. Still, even in the direst situations, he was, at heart, a goofball. In a strange, but amusing circumstance, this allowed Mori’s immense power to be nerfed in a natural, non-forced-because-of-story kind of way. There was an instance where he straight up screwed up a move so severely that he became a human punching bag to an opponent that he would have otherwise destroyed.
In most any other series, this would have given the Mori-like character’s friends the chance to contribute to the story. Although that did happen here in The God of High School, Daewi and Mira were more than capable of handling themselves without relying on Mori’s occasional incompetence.
Daewi and Mira were among the most powerful fighters in the show, and both had their moments to shine. The God of High School wasn’t the Mori-solves-everything story. It was wonderful to see responsibility spread to multiple characters. In the long run, this will prove to be a benefit since it opens up so many possibilities that would have elsewise been restricted had this narrative decided to focus on a single character.
I suppose what I am ultimately getting at is, The God of High School was a fantastic start. I sincerely hope we will see a continuation of this series sooner rather than later.
Did you guys know Webtoons and Crunchyroll produced The God of High School? Well, you sure as hell can’t miss it.
The blatant self-promotion wasn’t distracting, but it was a bit much.
On a more critical note, The God of High School’s story was quite jumpy. Substantially, it was fine and straightforward enough. Instead, the issue was with the narrative’s pacing.
The series was fine during the titular tournament’s preliminary event. Here was where we got to meet all the principle characters and their personalities and backstories. This half of the series was spot on; I can’t find much fault with it. No, trouble began when the God of High School finals started.
Here, the show was in constant escalation mode.
Where The God of High School story started and where it ended up at the end of episode thirteen was very, very far apart. I’m willing to bet the source material has much more detail than what was seen in the anime because whole sections were just missing.
- Characters disappeared for episodes at a time.
- People suddenly had powers after no effort was put into obtaining them.
- Antagonists appeared out of nowhere.
- Big revelation moments were devalued since their significance was never established.
I will admit that my ancient Chinese lore is lacking, and it appeared as though this series referenced it a lot. To that extent, I do concede that The God of High School relyed on inherent knowledge. Nevertheless, I don’t believe that was the case one-hundred percent of the time.
For instance, Mori met an acupuncture master. Then in the next scene, Mori had a practical knowledge of pressure points and their effects. What happened in between these two events is anyone’s guess.
It felt as though this series was in a rush to get to its climactic final battle and set up the foundation for a possible continuation. Although I like the idea of The God of High School Season 2, I will always prefer a more complete story than a chopped up one.
It was a shame that this series was in a hurry to get where it wanted to go. However, if that means we’ll be getting more then you won’t hear me complaining too much.
For the time being, though, this show was great. With outstanding animation, a phenomenal soundtrack, and great characters, the resulting roller coaster could not have been more enjoyable. I am willing to bet this will become one of 2020’s biggest hits.
The God of High School has earned a recommendation.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise The God of High School? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.