Episode 1 – set up/stand up
The God of High School is originally a webtoon written and illustrated by Yongje Park. The series was adapted by MAPPA and licenced by Crunchyroll with the first episode airing on the 6th of July 2020. The anime appears to be fighter-comedy esque genre with the premise to become the strongest fighter in all of Korea or, at least the strongest high schooler. It has some of the most visually appealing, fluid action sequences and animation while the stylised artistry makes the show really stand out in a heavily saturated genre. Here’s my first impressions…
The first episode really doesn’t do much to flesh out the characters since the majority of it is plot driven. We aren’t even given the protagonist’s name far ’til the last quarter of the episode. The show basically starts out with the most clichéd introduction to an anime ever where the protagonist is late for school and now has to race to get there on time. He runs into a sequence of events which leads him to his destination where we find out that his destination was actually the God of High School preliminary tournament. The God of High School is a martial arts tournament in which any school and practice is allowed. There’s no limit to the type of weapon they can use and the only way to win is to knock out the opponent or get them to surrender. The winner has their wish granted by the tournament administrators.
There is quite a lot I like about this anime and not a lot I don’t. Other than the generic introduction, there’s nothing to complain about here. The visuals, music choice, and fluid animation all helps construct a beautiful stylistic version of Seoul and uniqueness I haven’t seen in other anime before. I didn’t even know I was into dubstep until I listened to the opening (I guess I never listened to good dubstep). The speedy music choice fits perfectly thematically as the episode itself feels very fast paced and compressed much like dubstep.
Considering that the tournament allowed any martial arts, I was fully expecting it to showcase a wide range of fighting styles and I was glad to see the episode deliver on my expectation. If the viewer is simply looking for pure fast-paced unadulterated action combat then this anime would fit the bill perfectly. It wastes no time getting into the meat and shows us glimpses of the badassery that’s about to come. Each important characters seemed to have their own unique abilities and signature moves which will hopefully be explored further in the later episodes, along with much needed character development.
Character design choices were good but a little inconsistent. Many characters looked incredible and unique while a few looked downright awful. I’m not sure what they going for with this announcer’s nose but it just doesn’t fit well with the style and breaks immersion. There were a few moments where the show tried to be comedic and while they didn’t exactly fall short, nothing particularly stood out. Another thing I’m confused about – some character in the tournament look 30, so does that mean this tournament isn’t limited to high School kids or is this simply another case of anime doing anime things?
With most anime, in the first episode we usually get a short backstory about our protagonists with a long monologue of how they came to be. However, it was refreshing to see this anime flip that pattern and just have fun with it. I’m really looking forward to the next episode to learn more about our heroes and their specific abilities. There were also glimpses of some shady figures that weren’t given a limelight so I’m looking forward to that as well. If you’re a fan of shounen or even just martial arts in general, then you should definitely give this anime a chance.