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The Summer 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Tower of God Season 2

How would you rate episode 1 of
Tower of God (TV 2) ?
Community score: 3.8



What is this?

tower-nd3.png

Ja Wangnan can't seem to pass the 20th floor. Even after failing time and time again, he refuses to give up. On his journey, he meets a mysterious and powerful character named Viole. Wangnan invites Viole to join his team of Regulars. Their journey continues with new challenges at every turn.

Tower of God Season 2 is based on the Korean comic series by SIU. The anime series is streaming on Crunchyroll on Sundays.


How was the first episode?

tower-nd1.png
Nicholas Dupree
Rating:

Up front, I was not fond of the first season of Tower of God. Like so many of the WebToons that have gotten adaptations, it felt like somebody trying really hard to imitate their favorite anime without any of the storytelling skills to fit all those various influences together or make something unique. Suffice it to say I wasn't looking forward to this sequel much, and my low expectations were met, for better and worse.

The “worse” comes from what I can only call a total visual downgrade from season one. While that series' art style took some getting used to, it had a ton of character and charm that kept this title stirring around my brain far longer than the story itself. To see that tossed out for a much more generic aesthetic is pretty sad, and it doesn't do the original character designs any favors. Any non-human characters look really awkward now, and even the humans don't look great. There are some solid cuts during episode one's fight scene, but overall the presentation looks significantly weaker on all fronts.

So how about the story? Surely we're in for something exciting after that big twist at the end of season one, right? We're going to dive back into Bam's story of betrayal, or explore what Rachel has been up to since she tried to kill him, or at least start revealing some of the countless mysterious forces using the two for their ends, right?

Nope! Instead, we get what is essentially an exact retread of season one's first arc. The setting has moved up to the 20th floor, but the game is the same: endless exam arcs where the rules are made up and the points don't matter. Only now, Bam is a moody loner who isn't here to make friends, so Ja Wangnan takes up the mantle of our determined shonen protagonist, and he's much louder and more comedic. That's at least a step up from the bland earnestness of Bam Mk.I. The rest of our newly introduced Regulars are pretty forgettable, filling out their designated archetypes but not offering anything approaching engaging chemistry. Together they'll presumably go through more convoluted tests and fights, perhaps even have run-ins with Bam's previous team members. For these two episodes, however, it's all introductions and petty squabbles.

It's a frustratingly slow and tepid return, even for a show I don't really like. If you are invested in Bam's story, then perhaps the mystery of how he ended up the long-haired, brooding anti-hero is enough to pull you along. For me, the only real bright spot is that the criminal syndicate that's taken Bam in is called FUG, and seeing characters solemnly exclaim “FUG!!!!” was really funny. Otherwise, I don't think I'll be sticking around to see a repeat performance from Tower of God, so kindly let me off on this floor.


tower-nd2.png
Richard Eisenbeis
Rating:

The first season of Tower of God ended with one hell of a betrayal. From the start, it was clear that Rachael was Bam's only reason for climbing the tower. He'd do anything in his power to make her dream come true. All he truly wanted was to be with her.

Of course, therein lies the issue. She was told she would have to defeat Bam to climb the tower—to prove she was special. As his death would mean he couldn't be by her side, this was likely the one request of hers that Bam wouldn't accept. Thus, she played the long game, waiting for a chance when he was injured and they were alone to finish him off. With his death, Rachael gets everything she could have possibly wanted in a group of powerful, fiercely devoted followers determined to make their dead friend's dream come true by taking Rachael to the top of the tower.

There's just one issue, Bam isn't dead. However, as we see in this episode, he might as well be. Gone is the innocent boy full of love, eager to make friends with everyone. What's left is a dark shell, willing to do anything for the power to get one question answered: “Why?” And to get that answer, he needs to climb the tower.

Yet, we still see inklings of Bam inside FUG's Jyu Viole Grace. In Ja Wangnan, Bam sees something of his old self—an innocent drive to climb the tower. However, this new Bam sees this as a weakness shared by all the other test takers on the 20th floor. Better they fail here than climb and lose their innocence—or worse yet, become seen as his companions (and thus members of FUG by association).

But while this is Bam's story in a greater sense, these first episodes are mostly about introducing us to Ja Wangnan and an entirely new cast of characters—Rachael absconded with Bam's entire friend group after all. The good thing is that all of these characters seem fresh and new rather than repeats of his old companions. We have a spoiled crime lord prince and a noble who can't control her powers; a deceptive lair always eager to take advantage and a giant guy with a soft spot for cute things. We even have two girls who look useless—but they managed to get to the 20th floor somehow, didn't they?

All in all, this is a solid start to a new arc. We're introduced to the new Bam along with the other characters of the new main cast and get a few flashy fights to spice things up. Also, we get an extended scene with Yuri—objectively the best character in the show. I've got no complaints.


tower-of-god-3
Kevin Cormack
Rating:

When Crunchyroll first began streaming the inaugural season of this South Korean webtoon adaptation as the vanguard of their “Crunchyroll Originals” campaign, I initially really enjoyed it. I watched weekly with my three kids, and we liked the unusual thick black line art style, the large cast of strange characters, and the vividly-realised mysterious fantasy world. Despite later episodes losing my attention as the world's complexity increased, character motivations became inscrutable, and story concepts went ill-explained, I was still keen to see a second season.

That was four years ago. In the interim, I've become totally disinterested in following this story any longer, and my kids have forgotten about it. I was willing to give the second season a chance to rekindle my past fascination, however based on the dull blandness of this first episode, I think I'm probably better off not wasting my time.

It doesn't help that the unique art style has been completely dropped and replaced with the most generic and boring, flat character designs possible. The animation quality itself seems at best workmanlike, with even the climactic fight scene merely coasting by without producing any truly exciting or inspiring visuals.

I enjoyed the first season because of its weird fantasy setting, grand adventure story, and sense of mystery. So far in this second season, we've mainly focused on a new character who lives in a generic apartment, taking baths and eating ramen. This isn't what I signed up for, and even when the new guy attends some vague examination to allow him to become a tower explorer, it's conducted in the most boring-looking corridor. Although this gives us an opportunity to catch up with an older, edgier Bam (presumably still smarting from the terrible betrayal he suffered at the end of last season), considering the sheer dullness of this episode, I don't think I'll be sticking around.



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