Given its popularity, I’m surprised that I hadn’t encountered mention of Tower of God before, yet here we are – face to face with the debut episode of Crunchyroll’s latest original series.
Tower of God focuses on a young boy named Bam. For reasons largely unknown, he formed a deep connection with a girl named Rachel. The relationship comes to an abrupt end when she shares that she’s off to “climb the tower” in an effort to “see the stars” – and dissolves into hundreds of red petals.
Distraught, he begins to cry…but is soon greeted by a mysterious voice and transported to the base of The Tower. A creature named Headon, who seems like Beerus and the Trix rabbit combined, with an extra dose of homicidal intent, serves as The Tower’s guardian and greets Bam upon his arrival. He explains that at the top of The Tower is “everything in the world”, and that anyone who makes it to the top can become God. Talk about a hook! Headon then presents Bam with his introductory challenge – shattering a black orb that just so happens to be guarded by a massive steel eel.
Expecting some hesitation, Headon is surprised when Bam begins to run straight towards the danger – only to be greeted with a foot-five to the face. Enter Endorsi Jahad – a boisterous Princess who chastises Bam’s reckless approach. She also attempts to lecture Headon, who reminds her of the laws of her Father, and that interfering could result in her execution.
It’s implied that there is quite a bit more happening behind the scenes socially and politically, a running theme throughout this opening episode that helps allude to the breadth of the world and potential for the series as a whole.
Citing Bam’s “handsomeness”, Endorsi hands over a legendary blade known as “The Black March” – capable of tremendous power…in the right hands. Bam takes it, charges in, and demonstrates amazing courage – cementing his worthiness to climb the remainder of The Tower.
Of course, that was just the start. The 2nd floor appears to be a battle royale of sorts, with 400 hopeful warriors fighting desperately to weed the competition down to 200.
Despite successfully warding off the eel, Bam is confronted with the very real and immediate threat of numerous, skilled warriors…and the episode ends with him squaring off against 3 of them.
With 10 years of material, Tower of God has the potential to morph into a sprawling shonen epic, and indeed, it does seem like the castle of Aincrad from Sword Art Online on steroids. The question is, will it be able to gain enough momentum to keep that dream alive?
As I mentioned earlier, the first episode definitely hit the ground running – with a unique aesthetic and style that helps it stand out against the competition…though some may not appreciate the rougher lines, and perceive certain sequences (such as the Princess’ backwards flip kick) as having a “lack of polish”.
Still, the cast of characters is unique – the various races displayed throughout the episode is yet another gesture to the overall diversity and broadness of the world – and definitely captured my attention as a viewer.
The opening theme is great, and likely joining my list of “do not skip” intros. In fact, on my second watch I gained a greater appreciation for the music – so definitely tune in and you’ll see what I mean.
Overall, I really enjoyed Tower of God’s first episode. It certainly is bursting with potential, though the execution is going to be key. Translating longtime webtoon success into an animated series isn’t easy…but the excitement from the Tower of God fanbase may help lighten that load.
You can check out Tower of God on Crunchyroll every Wednesday.