Miss my review of the first episode? You can find it here!
Tower of God is tons of fun, and an aesthetically unique thrill that you shouldn’t be missing. Episodes 2-4 help lay the foundation of an unlikely trio of heroes, while painting the broader universe with broad strokes and just enough mystery and intrigue to leave you hungry for more lore. With great music and some top-notch action, it’s the standout of the season.
Episode 2: Facing off against two seemingly formidable opponents, Bam is surprised to find an early ally in Khun – a blue haired boy with an exceedingly tough briefcase!
After having the participants whittled down, the secondary test is essentially forcing these warriors onto teams of 3. Rak – a large lizard warrior – is reluctant to join with a pair of weak “turtles”, but Khun and Bam are able to cling to him just as the timer runs out, and their unlikely team is formed.
The trio is then introduced to test administrator Lero Ro, who introduces the participants to Shinsu – a water-like substance charged with magical energy that is prevalent throughout the tower. The new challenge? To pass through the wall of Shinsu that he creates.
Strangely, Bam is already on the other side of the wall when he’s done explaining the rules. While other teams struggle to pass, Lero Ro allows Bam to question him about the process of climbing the tower. Bam learns a bit more about the structure of the tower, as well as some general idea of the political powers at play in the form of King Jahad and other powerful families that are housed near the top of the tower.
Eventually, Khun and Rak easily pass through the wall, and their team proceeds.
Episode 3: The episode opens with Khun seemingly remembering a mysterious woman named “Maria”. It’s implied that they are siblings, and a manner of betrayal had hurt Khun in the past. As he reminisces about this, the next test is happening in a not-too-distant room, where agonizing screams are heard intermittently. A balloon-looking creature suggests that based on when the tests start and the screams occurred, it appears that the test would have a 5 minute limit. Bam is thankful for the help, but Khun coldly dismisses the creature – until he infers Khun’s true identity and opens the wound of his betrayal. Khun isn’t a fan of this at all and pounces the creature, threatening him.
Eventually he calms down, and the trio is called in for their test.
Presented with 12 doors, the team is to pick the “correct” door within 10 minutes.
They are offered no additional clues, which bewilders and frustrates Rak. He has something of a temper tantrum, crawling about the room and yowling as Bam struggles to calm him down. Khun, meanwhile, puzzles over the door test. Just before the 5th minute, Rak throws a door open out of instinct and…they pass!
The real test was opening any door within the first 5 minutes, or any door opened after that time would be considered “wrong”.
Khun is annoyed by the test, and that his scheming mind wasn’t put to better use.
Lero Ro appears once more and offers a Bonus Test – there would be no negative penalty for failing, but succeeding would count as passing all of the other tests, thereby giving the team a green light to begin ascending the tower properly.
Dubbed “The Crown Game”, the test involves a last-man-standing style fight, where the objective is to obtain and wear the crown in the center of the room, and sit upon the throne. While wearing the crown/on the throne, the individual can’t leave that spot, and the other members of the team are to play defense and keep them safe. The Crown Game is 5 rounds long, which means being too eager or too reluctant could be equally harmful strategically.
The first team to head in includes the young Lizard-looking girl named Anaak. Wielding an odd green weapon that takes the form of an ever-extending whip, Bam finds that his weapon reacts to it mildly as she single handedly dispatches the first team to stand against them before taking the throne.
The episode ends with Anaak’s team eagerly awaiting their next challenge.
Episode 4: A fresh batch of teams enter the fray after witnessing Anaak’s impressive display. Rak is eager to join the fight, but Khun bribes him with candy bars to wait just a little longer.
Hatz and Shibisu square off against their own enemies, with Hatz’s swordsmanship taking center stage once again.
While they seem to be doing well dealing with their enemies, the often drowsy Lauroe, swaddled in his blanket, demonstrates his unique ability of being able to control Shinsu. He fires off a formidable blast at Anaak, rousing her from her own nap on the throne and incurring her wrath.
She activates a previously unseen skill of her weapon, The Green April, and her whip splits into numerous ends that seek out her opponents. Realizing he may have underestimated his opponent, Lauroe contemplates what to do next just as Anaak is distracted by the presence of The Black March – Bam’s blade – which has now torn out of its previous coverings as Bam struggles to control it.
As Anaak is on her rampage, we are able to confirm what was alluded to at the end of episode 3: Rachel is in the tower, and currently waiting with a mysterious pair in order to participate. We don’t know much about her teammates, except that this trio apparently killed everyone in the first test in 30 minutes – so they are obviously an intense bunch!
Meanwhile, with her enemies dispatched, Anaak demands Bam hand the blade over, but he refuses, citing Yuri placing The Black March in his care. She then decides to make a deal with him – if he succeeds at the test, he can take The Green April from her and keep The Black March. If he loses, however, Anaak will take The Black March for herself.
Unsure why he would accept such a deal to begin with, Anaak makes it clear that regardless of what he chooses, she intends to come after him after the test is over to claim the legendary blade. Looking to avoid further trouble, Bam agrees to her conditions. Anaak and her team are disqualified for entering another team’s waiting area, and this is when Khun decides that it’s a good time for them to start fighting.
In an impressive flurry, Khun instantly seizes the crown, and teases putting it on as a means of ending the game early.
Citing a lack of “fun”, he plays games with the other participants, manipulating them into fighting over what appears to be a fake. The episode ends with Bam on the throne and Khun ready to “crown” him, while one of Rachel’s teammates confirms that she can kill everyone. With a lingering gaze on Bam, Rachel confirms “Yes, everyone.”
It’s been a while since I’ve been properly invested in a seasonal series, but this romp through a massive and mysterious Tower has got me thoroughly hooked.
As I mentioned in my previous review, the show starts off with a strong opening theme, but the recent episodes have provided more opportunities to appreciate the music as a whole. We even get some smooth jazz in the closing minutes of episode 4, invoking memories of Cowboy Bebop.
It’s impossible to get started on any narrative journey without at least some connection to the cast, and the opening trio of Bam, Khun and Rak features a fantastic blend of charming naivete, reserved strategy and boisterous, often comedic, bloodlust. Rak is a fan favorite, and his antics never fail to bring a smile to my face. Yet, while the early gimmicks are entertaining, the real test will be seeing how the team evolves in their relationships as the series progresses. We’re not quite at that point where the evolution needs to be happening, but so far the indicators that Tower of God will be able to execute on this meaningful development are there.
I’m still thoroughly taken by the unique aesthetic of Tower of God as well. There’s a level of fluidity in the characters motions, especially in combat, that really draws me in. Hatz’s combat against the swordsmen and Anaak’s fight against Louroe and his team definitely stood out. The character designs are memorable as well. The main thing I’m missing (mainly due to circumstance) is scenic shots. I love wide angles of nature, and am interested in seeing more of this world in and around the Tower. I’m hopeful that I’ll be treated to more of this in time.
The story of Tower of God continues to tease a robust political drama, with more talk of the Princesses of Jahad, as well as an allusion to notable families in the upper levels – with Khun seemingly belonging among them. There’s still a lot left to uncover, and the foundation of good lore is to make folks hungry for it. Well, I don’t know about you – but I’m definitely ready for some lore!
Fans of the webtoon/manwha may have their own reluctance to welcome this new iteration with open arms. While the jury is still out, if you’re more familiar with Tower of God source material, you may find more room for critique – just a warning!
Overall, you should be watching Tower of God. It’s a fantastic series that entertains week after week, and is definitely on the top of my watch list.