Episode 2 – Renewal/Soul
The second episode of The God Of High School just dropped and I’m glad to see that the episode delivered on my expectations.. to a reasonable amount. Although the structure of the two episodes have been kind of disoriented, it’s managed to keep all the important bits and pieces in the right order. The previous episode was quite hectic and didn’t leave much room for dialog so I was hoping that this episode would allocate more time into developing the characters. I’m happy to say that it did just that, while also giving enough screen time for some action and battle. Here’s my first impressions review for episode 2 of The God Of High School.
Although we only get glimpses of their backstory, it was enough to get the gist of why they’re participating in the tournament. Mo-Ri wants to fight strong opponents and become more powerful, Dae-Wi wants to earn money to save his mother (maybe), and Mi-Ra wants to revive her family’s sword dojo by finding a successor. While Mo-Ri appears to have the most carefree reason to participate, I feel as though there’s something more than meets the eye. Surely there’s a reason he wants to get stronger, maybe it’s a promise he made to his grandpa?… or, maybe he’s just another Goku type character who enjoys fighting strong opponents. The episode gives Mi-Ra the most spotlight and explores her personality, a devoted and disciplined individual who chooses family duties over friends. I’m glad that the episode chose to focus on just Mi-Ra because it left more time for the fights scenes in the latter half of the episode.
I’m still left confused by the structure of the tournament. In the pilot episode, the rule was a battle royale so shouldn’t just one person be advancing to the next round? It seems that they’ve just decided to ditch what happened after ending on a cliffhanger. Now it’s a 1v1 tournament in which the winner will advance to the next round after defeating each opponent one by one. The winner of this tournament will receive permission to fight in the finals against participants from all over the country.
In the preparation stage, we’re given some great feats for Mo-Ri. He ends up protecting the Tai Chi martial artist Go Gam-do, and in doing so it’s obvious that he truly devotes himself to martial arts, even when he’s asleep. He’s really not as dumb as he looks. The Tai Chi guy ends up having to fight Man-Seok Gang (the guy Mo-Ri was fighting on the cliffhanger of the last episode) and while in the beginning he landed some good hits, he ends up getting absolutely clobbered.
This is where I had problems with the episode. It felt as though the episode wanted me to care for the martial artist by showing how much of a goody-two-shoes he is, but that just doesn’t work here. I wasn’t emotionally invested in him enough to care about what was happening to him. Couple that with the fact that any injury can be fixed instantly completely ruins the stakes of the situation. Also, why’s this guy hating on Man-Seok? What’d he ever do to him to deserve to be called “unworthy”?
I did find myself laughing uncontrollably when Man-Seok gets kicked out of the ring at the beginning of the fight and asks the two guys to lift him up. Like why? Just use your f**king hands man. It’s so over the top but not in a bad way. I actually found myself rooting for the juvenile.
The choreography of the fight scenes are definitely worth mentioning. Every punch and kick feels as though they have proper weight behind them and the camera angles are always shifting to keep the fights interesting throughout. That way, it managed to keep me engaged while also avoid becoming one-dimensional.
The pay-off was kind of weird with Mo-Ri stepping into the tournament and putting an end to Man-Seok’s torture which left me wondering, did the Tai Chi guy surrender since we saw him getting taken away or did he get knocked out? Hopefully this’ll get answered in the next episode. Another thing to note is that Man-Seok gets a backstory so it’s safe to assume that he’ll be someone important later on.
Other than the plot, the animation and music’s still solid and I’m still looking forward to finding out more about our heroes. So far Dae-Wi is the most interesting character to me so I’m hoping that the next episode will choose to focus on him.