Before we stat I just want to show you guys something because I attempted a thing and I kinda like how it turned out
Those are my titles cards for episode 13 and episode 1 of Tower of God. Because the series created a visual bookend bringing us full circle in a way, I tried to create similar effects with my titles cards. So I picked out screencaps from this episode which I thought would mirror those I had chosen in the first episode, using the colour scheme to create the visual bridge.
But I also tried to create contrast. Bam is huge and center as the story begins, a bright eyed protagonist ready to take on what may come. While in turn, Rachel is barely visible in the last episode, fraile, helpless, worned out by the events. Rachel looking up at Bam is uncertain and guilty while Bam looking down and forward is resolute. Rachel and Bam stand together after a touching moment, Rachel collapse alone after a horrible one. That sort of thing… I’m not sure how well I succeeded. try to tell stories through m title cards each week but it may not come through. Still I thought it was a fun exercise and it’s pretty much impossible to see unless you have the two cards one nest to the other.
And so Tower of God season 1 comes to an end. Story wise I thought this episode was fitting. The last two were probably my favourites in the series so I knew it would live up to that but it was a good way to cap off the season. Or rather, it was a very good way to get us interested in the next season (and or webtoon) as it ended on a timeskip and pretty much in the middle of the story.
It’s what I was expecting and I’m not ad about it in any way.
I have to say, Rachel’s treason is a bit of a disappointment. I have been seen some very outraged viewers both in the blogosphere and on social media but it all seemed fairly mild to me. First the Rachel betrayal had been pretty much spoiled by webtoon readers for most people and even if viewer avoided that, it has been foreshadowed since the first episode. In fact this episode made that all the more clear. So there wasn’t any real shock in the act.
I guess it must be something about Rachel’s character then. I find that people often are much more willing to forgive cruelty, selfishness or greed in fictional characters, than they are weakness. And in the end, that’s all Rachel is, weak. And maybe a bit too slow to come up with a better solution. But she isn’t uncaring, she doesn’t derive pleasure from hurting others and would rather avoid it. When you compare her to the rest f the cast, she’s pretty average as far as faults go, but she is much weaker.
I thought maybe it had been much worse in the webtoon and that’s what had fans in an uproar so I actually went and read the entire first season of it. That would be episode 1 to 78 (they’re really short it took me like half an hour). That’s equivalent to the entire first season of the show. If anything, I thought Rachel was made to be a tiny bit re sympathetic in the webtoon, showing even more remorse and being way more torn about the decision. I dunno, maybe she turns out more evil later on or something.
I’m also not going to read ahead, at least not right away. For me, the adaptation is just way more my thing. I really love how they fleshed out the story and I find the retranslated dialogue so much better and more nuanced. I’m saying that but I’m a curious person. If a season 2 doesn’t get officially announced in the coming months I’ll probably cave and read the rest.
I don’t really now where to put this but one moment that really struck me in this episode was Rak’s reaction to the loss of Bam. It was so visceral and uncomplicated. Just howling like that. I won’t go into the depressing details, but that’s pretty much how reacted to some of the worst moments in my life. I guess that says something about me. In any case, it was a very raw moment that didn’t feel too pandering and wasn’t dwelled upon so it hit me hard.
However, the technical aspects of this episode were some of my favorite in the series.
You may notice that I have comparatively few screencaps. That’s because, episode 13 manage to somewhat recontextualize the entire show, while using more than 50% reused footage. Nos that is impressive. Not only did it frame the opening sequence between Headon and Rachel (I hadn’t realized that I missed Headon) to parallel the one between Bam and Headon in the first episode, right down to the changing colour palette and mirrored camera angles and positions, but it cleverly weaved in previously seen images to reveal new information.
Both exciting and frustrating for me was how it hinted at an even bigger backstory for Yu Han Sung. I really like Yu and I want to know more abut what he is trying to do here. Those political intrigues are my cup o tea!
Another thing I have been thinking about is that Ba’s name is clearly supposed to have a symbolic meaning since they translate it in Japanese, so I think the subtitles should have called him Night. Night is such a cool name too. I wish had someone to name that. If I was the artistic sort I would write a story but even when I do write fiction, I pretty much never name my characters. We just took a little detour together there. Sorry about that.
So final thoughts on season 1. I really liked it. I liked the story and characters a lot but I loved the production and I think this is one amazing adaptation on a technical level which is exciting. The previous series I have watched from this studio were ok but noting on this level so I have to assume Crunchy may have helped out. Regardless of what I may thing about their choice in source material, the Crunchyroll licenced productions have been proficient made. I would watch a second season anytime!
And for the last time this season, let’s get a pretty eye close up: