Following the strong showing by Tower of God last season, webtoon adaptations appear to be the way to go – and God of High School is a superb addition to that lineup. One of the most highly anticipated shows of the season, God of High School kicks things off with a bang, with superb visuals, standout characters and a high-octane take on the classic “Tournament arc” trope.
Synopsis (SPOILERS AHEAD)
The series opens with a relaxing beachside scene, though the subject matter is far more sinister. A presumed criminal offers threats and plans on ruining a young “upstart” politician named Park Mujin. While the criminals appear to have the upper hand, a mysterious storm appears out of nowhere and appears to smite the criminals with a massive cross-shaped icon.
Back at the office, Park alludes to the plans being “in motion” before revealing an elaborate fresco…and a cross pattern on his palm.
Our central protagonist, Jin Mori, awakens from a flashback with his grandfather, and just so happens to wake up late for something very important: the God of High School Seoul preliminary rounds!
The massive tournament known as The God of High School brings high schoolers from around the world to determine the strongest. This regional competition is intended to weed out Seoul’s representatives for the broader competition.
En route to the preliminaries, Mori spots a purse-snatcher taking off on a motorcycle after stealing an old woman’s purse. Moved to tears by the misfortune he assumes will befall her after becoming destitute, Mori takes off after the thief.
Meanwhile, sword-wielding tournament hopeful Yoo Mira has a problem of her own – she’s lost! After encountering a group of rejected fighters, she’s on her way to getting back on track when Mori comes crashing in – literally into her face.
Though incensed at the start, Mira joins Mori on his righteous pursuit and the pair nearly captures the criminal before Mira finds herself flying face-first into a freeway sign.
Thankfully, a new fighter enters the arena! A stoic grocer named Han Daewi launches the criminal into a nearby truck with an earth shattering punch.
The trio return the old woman’s purse before getting the chance to connect briefly and get acquainted with one another.
As the preliminary round is getting introduced to the audience, it’s revealed that things would begin with a massive battle royale – last man standing style! While run-of-the-mill goons are dispatched readily, we get an overview of some of the more skilled fighters, including a bubblegum popping woman with debilitating wrestling moves, a bat-wielding academic and a more refined martial artist exhibiting equal parts power and control.
Our main trio showcase their own abilities, and things are going well until a last minute contender arrives to stir things up. After a brief clash with Mira, Mori challenges him to a proper duel…and the episode comes to a thrilling conclusion.
After watching the first episode of God of High School, I’ve only got two words: LET’S GO!
I had some pretty high expectations for this show going into it, and I’m happy to report it largely met or exceeded all of them.
The animation has a great aesthetic to it, and has a spectacular fluidity when it comes to the combat. Once the battle royale kicked off, we really got a chance to see how various styles would be brought to life, combining elements of airy movement and bone-crunching levels of power.
The characters are also striking – both in design and the execution of their varying personalities.
I was pleasantly surprised by the humor integrated into the series as well. From Mori’s tearful motivation for stopping the thief to the Twitch streamer rapping on the streets.
Whle the pacing is understandably fast, it can be jarring at times – especially the early flashback scene with Mori’s grandfather.
Ultimately, God of High School feels like Food Wars meets martial arts, minus the eye-rollingly bad fanservice. The premiere episode is a high-octane thrill ride that keeps the hits coming.
Watch. This. Show.
You can catch God of High School Mondays at 7:30 AM PDT on Crunchyroll.