“The “God of High School” tournament has begun, seeking out the greatest fighter among Korean high school students! All martial arts styles, weapons, means, and methods of attaining victory are permitted. The prize? One wish for anything desired by the winner.
Taekwondo expert Jin Mo-Ri is invited to participate in the competition. There he befriends karate specialist Han Dae-Wi and swordswoman Yu Mi-Ra, who both have entered for their own personal reasons. Mo-Ri knows that no opponent will be the same and that the matches will be the most ruthless he has ever fought in his life. But instead of being worried, this prospect excites him beyond belief.
A secret lies beneath the facade of a transparent test of combat prowess the tournament claims to be—one that has Korean political candidate Park Mu-Jin watching every fight with expectant, hungry eyes. Mo-Ri, Dae-Wi, and Mi-Ra are about to discover what it really means to become the God of High School.” – MAL Synopsis
God of High school is a Crunchyroll licensed, MAPPA Studios anime based on a webtoon of the same name. The show aired a few months ago, not so soon after the smash hit that was Tower of God. With them both being webtoon adaptions licensed by Crunchyroll, GoH kind of got some of the hype off of Tower of God ending right before this aired. In the end, did it live up to the hype? Well, kind of.
First things first, MAPPA doesn’t miss. I mean they really don’t miss. From all of the MAPPA projects I’ve watched, I have nothing but the utmost confidence in their skills to adapt this final Attack on Titan season. Visually this show has a pretty standard animation with some unique animation quirks, like all the characters having a red nose like they’re Rudolph. From everything I’ve seen, the red noses are a product of the source material being Korean. Other than that, animation-wise, this show is top tier for what it does. There’s at least one fight scene every episode, with most having multiple, and every single one has top-tier animation and choreography. Not one fight left me wanting more in terms of that, but some other parts of the show left a lot to be desired.
Moving on to the story. Well, to be frank, it’s kind of all over the place. On top of that, it feels really really rushed. Everything moves at a breakneck pace. There are so many villains and separately acting parties that, while they are cool, their motivations are sparsely explained. The main antagonist Nox has a pretty straightforward bare-bones motivation, but the motivations of the tournament organizers aren’t explained. There is a group that we are introduced to that is affiliated with the tournament organizers but their origins aren’t delved into either. Honestly, this can all be rectified with a second season (which hopefully comes out sooner than later), but that doesn’t excuse the lack of build-up that all of these groups have during the series. A lot of plot points feel very rushed. There’s a wedding episode that just feels like a waste of an episode, so maybe it was for the best it was super rushed but that doesn’t excuse it. This show would have fared a lot better from more episodes. I can’t help but feel it was hindered by its 13 episode length in terms of storytelling.
Our main character group is great and has really good chemistry together, they have a lot of heartwarming moments and feel like great friends (even though they just met in the first episode). The actual main character Jin Mori is the generic shounen mc type. He wants to get stronger and fight stronger people and he has a big appetite, he’s not as dumb as other shounen main’s are but he is a lot smarter when it comes to combat. His main motivation is to get stronger so he can find his grandpa. I loved Jin despite him being kind of generic, he just had a great personality and his fighting style being taekwondo is cool. Now the second person in the group we are introduced to is Yoo Mira. She’s a headstrong swords-woman with a kind heart. Her main goal is to revive and continue her family’s sword style. She’s one of the only sword users in this show, on top of that her sword fighting style is the Moon Light Sword Style. The last member is Han Daewi. A quite lazy-looking man with a giant heart. I love Han. His main motivation (slight spoiler) is winning the tournament so he can use his wish to heal his best friend. We get a lot of Han’s back story early on, which ends up making some events sad. You end up feeling for Han early on in the show.
As for side characters, there are all of the early contestants during the first tournament. None are note-worthy (except for maybe Kang) but they all have their unique martial arts style that gives us some really good early fights. There are the Judges that are hosting the tournament. Only Judge Q and Judge T are given any real-time to show off their character. Judge Q has a very arrogant personality, which leads to some badass moments and also leads into the running gag of him constantly getting his pay cut. Judge T (or Shim Bongsa) is caring. Another group in the series is the Six, a group of very powerful people at the highest level of skill in their respective fighting styles. A few of them get screen time, but the main one we see throughout the series is Park Mujin. Park Mujin is the one who started this tournament and the head of all the Judges. A very powerful man, with a seeming sort of sinister ulterior motives (that hopefully get explored in a future season). He’s a cool character with cool powers and a nice character design. Not to dwell on the rest of the side characters too much longer. There’s Nox, a group which only worships one god and its goal is to resurrect that god and restart the world. Then we have the second half of the contestants. The only two of note are Jaegal Taek. A very strong and sinister person, who’s goal is to just be the strongest. He seriously does some messed-up stuff during this series, but he also gets some semi-redemption at the end. Then finally there’s Ilypo Park. A very strong fighter who met Jin when he was just a baby. They come to have a brotherly relationship and also give us one of the best fights in anime this year.
The main selling point of this show that makes any of its shortcomings passable, is the fight scenes. As I said earlier in this review the fight scenes always come to play and never disappoint. Whether it’s just one in an episode or multiple, the animation and choreography are always on point. Added to that, this show knows how to build hype for a moment, using music and past character interactions and flashbacks to build up for an amazing fight. The fights in this show start as over the top martial arts fights, which is all fine and dandy, but it quickly transforms into very unique supernatural fight scenes. With characters boring abilities from the gods and using them to fight each other, the show turns its fights up another notch and while yes it may be disappointing to some that the over the top martial arts got abandoned so quickly, BUT despite that the fights only get better after the switch up.
Overall, God of High School has an underwhelming story most likely due to its short episode length. A lot of episodes feel rushed as the series goes on and a lot of acting parties’ motivations are left to be seen or just sparsely explained. Every single fight scene is top tier. This gives me a lot of hope for upcoming MAPPA Projects (especially Attack on Titan). This show is a solid turn your brain off a watch that will hopefully get more fleshed out with upcoming seasons that I strongly hope have more than 13 episodes. If anything (just like this year’s Tower of God anime) this show has made me interested in reading the webtoon, as I see a lot of potential in this universe. Also as a last note, this show’s opening song is a banger, definitely added to my playlist.
God of Highschool – 6/10