Tower of God Ep.3 – Rak the Genius

There’s a novella by Isaac Asimov called Nightfall. It’s about this planet with three suns so one is always shining and then for the first time in remembered history, all three suns set at once and it’s night for the first time ever. I always really loved that concept. What does the night sky mean to people that have no conception of it. I thought back on that story when Khun was explaining that the sky is a projection.

There’s something delicately sorrowful in the idea of people that have never seen the sky. Of course this was just a random line in an otherwise action packed episode. Nothing to get hung up on or anything. Probably something the author threw in for some extra sci-fi dystopian flavour. But still, there’s a little edge of pain under this story, and I don’t hate it.

Last week I went on and on (that review was probably way too long for just one episode) about how purposefully mysterious the characters were. How great it was that they had such solid presence with little background and just organic in context development. So naturally half of episode 3 of Tower of God was dedicated to specifically fleshing out Khun’s character and giving us his backstory.

Let me try something out: Tower of God is not the type of show to send out free merch and cash rewards to all its viewers! Now we all wait a week….

So what about Khun? As mentioned, he’s probably the most standard anime archetype and likely the fanservice character (not for the sexy stuff…) but I’m a simple soul and it works on me. I like Kuhn. His backstory is still pretty murky, something about betrayal and potential half incest… You know, the usual. To me though, the reveal was much more about world building than character building. Sure we learn that Khun had some type of tragic past that has turned him into an extremely calculating and suspicious young man but honestly, it’s not like we hadn’t figured out those character traits in the first few minutes we saw of him and to me, a Freudian excuse was unnecessary.

On the other hand, the fact that his sister failing to become a princess somehow led to the downfall of his family in general and him in particular raises a whole bunch of interesting questions. How does one become a princess if they are not born a princess? Did she have to marry a prince? Why would failure to do so have consequences. The universe of Tower of God seems to be “enclosed”. A limited space with actual edges in which everything exists, and a rather small one at that. How does one get exiled in those circumstances? So far the series has been mostly action with little touches of sci fi or fantasy mystery, but this would seem to indicate that the narrative will eventually include some political intrigue! Let’s hope it can handle it.

Oh and Khun also thought it was a bit odd that Rachel left Bam behind! Great minds!!

Tower of God cleverly managed to do some double duty by using the time devoted to Khun’s development to also shine the spotlight a bit on Rak. I’ve avoided talking about the character because I’m just not sure how I feel yet. I don’t by default dislike violent or combative characters and I do think he is a good foil to the other two as episode 3 drove home. But he’s also loud and the vehicle for some classic shonen humour that’s not always my cup of tea. A bit like the elements I liked least in Demon Slayer.

Still, there’s a certain joy to be found in a simple character. One that is what they seem (not saying it’s the case here but I wouldn’t be mad). For instance, I was really amused by the fact that at some point both Khun and Bam got comfortable enough with the big guy to just sit on him. Literally use him as a chair. It’s such a weird visual to have one main cast character just casually sitting on another in a scene without any explanation or acknowledgement and it made me smile. I also think that Rak had the best line of the episode : “I hate thinking and needles”. Great line!

Great, this review got long again. I’m going to blame the fact that I take too many screencaps and that’s why I need all those words to break them up!

I really enjoyed the episode. I thought it flowed well, it was over before I knew it and I found both the timed test and the game of crown fun to watch. The series does a good job roping me into the action on screen. Of course the biggest reveal this week is the apparent return of Rachel (and the suggestion that she may be some type of elite killer but then again, maybe she’s just good at hide and seek).

I gotta say, I’m really surprised we get to see Rachel in the flesh so soon! I was entertaining some wild conspiracy theories that she may not in fact exist. Like she might actually be Bam’s imaginary friend or something. And I liked that crazy theory! I’m not sure how to feel about the last few minutes of the episode. Of course the show could pull a bait and switch and once the hood comes down it turns out it’s just some girl who vaguely resembles Rachel. Or, my current and pretty much guaranteed to not come through theory (because I’m so attached to the imaginary friend thing), is that maybe Bam isn’t supposed to exist! He’s Rachel’s imaginary friend! She was just a poor girl in a difficult situation that dreamed of escaping and finding a better life by climbing the tower and she created herself a friend who she could take care of and would love her in order to distract herself from the situation. That’s why she didn’t take him with her. There was no one there…

Like I said, there’s next to zero chance that this is really what’s going on. Still I think it would be kind of cool. What do you think is going on? Are you happy to see maybe Rachel?

 

 

 

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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2 Responses

  1. Dawnstorm says:

    The sky thing is great in concept, but I feel there’s a missed opportunity in the execution. I mean, nobody has seen an actual sky, so why does it look “correct”? They should have made something more idealised. Maybe more regular clouds (imagine clouds that all actually look like object, because there’s a legend that people recognised things in clouds?) Something. I mean, I know a sky isn’t that complex an object, but I’m sure there’s things you could get wrong; if you’re really, really good at animation you might find a way to make it look… off before you notice.

    I’m pretty much with with you on Rak; he serves a valuable role on the roster, but he’s also a little annoying for too often. (Also, I wonder what bag that is, Khun is carrying around: so far he’s taken more chocolate bars out of it than should fit in there. Maybe it’s a magical carry-all?)

    And as for my wild theories that are never true: Next week we learn that Rachel and Maria are the same person, and her hobby is ruining guilless boys. (They do appear both to be blonde, unless I have an embarassing memory malfunction; I didn’t really remember how Maria looked by the end of the episode, sad to say. My ability to pay attention is slipping…)

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