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?