The God of Highschool ep. 1 – Anticipation

The first episode of GOH aired yesterday and here I am with a review already! Are you impressed? Don’t be it’s mostly pictures and I really don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up this schedule. But I was this week! Hourray for small victories.

I gotta say, last season’s Tower of God introduced me to webtoon fandoms and I am a little…intimidated at the thought of reviewing this series, as the following seems even more…passionate. Still we’re all friends here so let me tell you what I thought of the first episode of The God of Highschool.

I have to admit, tis series was pretty highly anticipated and after reading a whole bunch of tweets about how much better this adaptation was than Tower of God, my expectations were pretty high. And they got readjusted really quickly. The best way I can summerize my thoughts for those first few seconds is: I thought this show would have had a better budget. It’s not that the art is bad but it’s fairly traditional and pretty simple. It looks much more like an old school anime if that’s what you’re into but it’s not very detailed and light and shadows are rather dull. Also the CG is just not very good. Mostly obvious in the water but also noticable in background building during city chase scenes.

I will say this though, the art style and designs are way more faithful to the webtoon than ToG was, so there is that. But odly, the narrative isn’t exactly, I’ll get to that later, you’ll see what I mean.

We didn’t get that much in the way of exposition. A few short scenes tell us we’re in a world similar to ours but there something more going on. Something very powerful, I could even say godly! We are then introduced to main protagonist Jin in a short dream/flashback that shows us he had a somewhat sad past were he was isolated. Also known as standard shonen protagonist childhood. I should say that dream sequence was more visually interesting than the rest of the episode to me.

 We immediately learn that Jin is a spunky young man with a string sense of justice who will come to the aid of those in need (cough) when he decides to take a detour, despite being in a rush, to hel an old lady who got her purse stolen. In short order, we get a brienf introduction to Mira, an innocent looking youg lady who is actually a powerful swordswoman with a bit of a temper (i.e. main female supporting chara) and Han who is a very strong and stoic fellow with a good heart (i.e. sidekick). I know how snarky this sounds but these ae really the most common shonen archetypes out there. I’m going somewhere though, please bear with me.

You gotta understand that although episode 1 of The God of Highschool was giving me all sorts of déjà vue all over again (I had not read the webtoon but I did read all the way to the events of episode 1 before writing this review, out of curiosity) because of how many tropes it was embracing whole heartedly, I was still enjoying myself if a little mindlessly. The art wasn’t rally my cup of tea and the opening sequence reminded me a lot of Pet. I think I’m the only one who saw that show. But it was o.k.

And then that chase scene hit and I thought to myself, Oh hey there’s the budget!

It seems that detailed designs and seemless CG may have been sacrificed a bit in favour of high speed animation and considering just how much mouvement there was just in this episode, I gotta say, it was probably a good initiative. Once things got moving they hardly stopped and they moved a lot! I think I may have noticed a bit of jegged mouvement here and there, where it seemed like they may have skipped a frame or two but it was rare and considering how much action was present I can’t really blame the show. Besides, it really doesn’t matter as the camera work and framing during these dynamic scenes was just plain fantastic. Possibly some of the best motion framing I have seen in the past 5 years. It made the simplpe experience of watching a chase scene so exhilirating that I completely forgot about any misgivings I may have started with.

Also I laughed at the blatan product placement (lower right screencap above). It was just such tacky fun that I couldn’t help but admire the self aware nature of it.

Now when I say that the narrative of this first episode of The God of Highschool is less faithful to the webtoon that Tower of God was, what I mean is that the first episode of Tower of God was pretty much chapters 1 to 4 (I think maybe 6) of the webtoon. There was a bit of added material but it followed the narrative beats pretty closely. Whereas, just like the visuals of this first episode of God of Highschool are favouring action, so is the storyline. The webtoon opens with a lot more situating exposition and bacgrounds for the main characters, which have completely been skipped over in this first episode. I assume that it’s just a matter of reordering the narrative and we will get back to them in the coming weeks. And once again, I think that was a very smart move on the part of the adaptation. It really thre us in the thick of thngs and it makes me want to know what happens next much more than an establishing episode would have.

I should also say, the first few chapters of God of Highschool that I read were very well written. I can’ speak to how the actual story develops or anything like that but as an opener, this was some impressive stuff.

So sure, the designs aren’t really my thing. Backgrounds and mob characters are sort of boring. The colours are pretty average but none of that matters because the series abosultely shines once it’s in high mouvement and it’s almost constantly in mouvement. And yes both the characters and the establishing plot seem to be classic shonene tropes so far but that also doesn’t matter, because classic shonen tropes are super fun.

And that’s realy what my take away was from this first episode. I was fun! I don’t think I can ask for anything more. Did you guys watch this first episode? What did you think?

God of Highschool ep1 (33)

Irina

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

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17 Responses

  1. Enjoyed this more than I expected to. I also took a peek at the webtoon (just ch. 1) before I began with the anime and even with just that, it’s obvious things were omitted, but I think all the changes so far were for the better.

    Fun fact: I wasn’t sure whether “Mori” or “Jin” was protag’s first name – apparently Korean is annoying that way – so I went to the wiki (as you do) and…turns out that thing on his head isn’t a pair of glasses. It’s a sleeping mask! (By the way, his first name seems to be “Mori”. It was a bit of a pain to keep calling him “Mori Jin”, though, despite how short his full name is.)

  2. otakudreamnation says:

    I really liked the episode because it really made me feel like I was in their world watching the tournament on my TV just like them. That was a very cool feeling. Especially since the Olympics have been cancelled for this year… eh can’t be helped

    i’m hoping this trend of adapting manwha keeps on going. Perhaps my favorite one: Sweet Home will come someday.

  3. Yualexius says:

    I seriously had a headache following those fast movements the first time watch it until I got used to it. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the first episode. They had skipped some scenes from the webtoon, but maybe it is in order to gain the hype and eventually reached the fight scenes for the first episode. Hoping, we’ll have some of those skipped stories via flashbacks though. I did enjoy the humor there, and while the overall production seems like any other shounen anime that we had, in terms of satisfaction, I had enjoyed it. Plus, it reminds me of Tenjho Tenge too. Oh dear, I love those type of fights.

  4. ManInBlack says:

    As you know, I live outside of the online anime bubble so I knew nothing of the show until it appeared the other day, this had no expectations. i thought it was fun though the red noses were a distraction.

    Otherwise a good start to what has been a VERY slow new season.

    • Irina says:

      I’m not sure this one was very “anime community” centric. It’s based on an online korean webtoon that’s mostly popular in Europe and the US from what I gathered. I myself only learned of it when I looked up what was scheduled for the summer 2020 season and thought the key art was cool so I asked google about it. Otherwise I had never heard it mentioned. This said I’m probably even less aware of the anime community than you are so you shouldn’t go by me…

  5. It’s good to see GoH getting an anime adaptation. The original art lends itself doesn’t need to be modified as it’s pretty clean, and the action in just gets better. trust me, as a person who has been reading this for years, action only gets better and better. The story does take a hit, because it becomes pretty weird and dramatic later on.

    I would say that I wouldn’t recommend GoH to people who have high story expectations, but if you like amazing fight scenes, I’m pretty sure a lot of good ones will be coming up mid-way through.

  6. Kryptonitezz says:

    Since I’m a webtoon reader, I don’t have much to say about story but anination.

    I don’t remember if I ever watch such fast animated action with such impact and camera movement. If MAPPA can keep this up for entire season then I’m sure that it is easily going to be in too 3 anime of the season or even better.
    It’s perfect cup for those who are up for action.

    • Irina says:

      It’s a good start and MAPPA is a seasoned studios with plenty of high action and occasionally downright stunning anime to their name. I have faith they know what they’re doing.

  7. Dawnstorm says:

    Okay, the character designs are mostly servicable, but those noses (and sometimes ears) really bother me, and I’m also not fond of Jin’s starry eyes; they don’t look like the usual intrusions – I always wonder if he’s got two glass eyes?

    The characters themselves are lovable dorks, but they won’t be able to carry a series for me, and if the action is the focus… well it’s just over-the-top enough to be silly and dismissible, but not over-the-top enough to be great. In any case, I tend to drop shows that focus on fighting, so there’s that.

    That opening scene was somewhat intriguing, but doesn’t by itself make me curious. It’s just that the show might not be all about fighting all the time, which would be nice.

    As it’s a rather empty season, there’s a better than usual chance that I’ll finish the show, but it’s almost certainly not going to be my top show this season.

    (I was way, way, way more intrigued by Tower of God’s first episode.)

    • Irina says:

      Oh I also preferred the first episode of ToG but I quite enjoyed the action n this one as a fun distraction. And I stand by the fact that the camera was wonderful when the characters were in movement.

  1. July 14, 2020

    […] It is not perfect, the backgrounds are not the most interesting, pretty dull to look at actually. There is plenty of “bad CG”, mostly cars which are known to be an eyesore, so no surprise there. A fellow awesome blogger called Irina pointed out a few graphical grievances I shared in her review. […]

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