The God of High School
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 6 of
The God of High School ?
You know, it takes a certain amount of confidence for an anime to wait until half of a season is already done to (kind of) start explaining what its plot is going to be, and I can respect that. God of High School has made it clear that its first priority is to deliver fast and furious action sequences that have been crafted with skill and enthusiasm, but every story has to have, well, a story, and so God of High School is once again setting aside its spectacle so it can start to put the pieces in place for the next phase of the tournament, which has higher stakes than any of our heroes probably ever could have guessed. The good news is that, unlike the last episode that focused on story over action, “fear/SIX” isn't quite as irritatingly stupid as Mira's unfortunate wedding adventure. The bad news is that instead of being stupid, “fear/SIX” opts for being utterly incomprehensible nonsense instead.
To describe this episode in a linear fashion feels fairly pointless, since the episode itself seems to lose track of time constantly. We begin in the forest, in the middle of the night, where Jin Taejin (Mori's grandpa) is being accosted by that cult group that has been doing…something all season. This cold open is completely ignored for most of the episode, though, since we cut back to The God of High School tournament in the middle of the day, where Mira is competing for the chance to be the 3rd place preliminary contestant that will go on to team up with Daewi and Mori in the next phase of the tournament. It's a complete waste of time since Mira beats the guy without even trying, because GoH isn't about to write Mira out of the tournament on a technicality (even as it refuses to do anything interesting with her character). The team walks off to go do whatever in between fight scenes, and we move to an entirely unrelated scene where Mujin and the commissioners reveal that the cult is a group called “Nox”, who is working against Mujin to harness the power of the Key, and that this is somehow all related to the Charyeok powers responsible for those Stand-like things that have been popping up all over.
Later is when we finally cut back to Taejin and the Nox cronies he kicked to death, though it's night again, and before you have time to ask whether or not Mori's grandpa has just been standing next to that pit of bodies he created for a full day and night, the Nox summon a giant sword out of the sky, complete with an ominous engraving about God, or whatever. “Man, that sure was a weird and divergent way to set up the basic info needed to understand what was happening in the pre-credits scene!” you might have found yourself saying.
None of this is ever referenced again in the episode.
Instead, after leaving to go speak with his old teacher, who is one of The Six that get name-dropped in the episode, Mujin goes back to his headquarters, seemingly within the same day, in order to spill a bunch of exposition to Daewi (because they're friends now, I guess?) about how the GoH tournament is all about unlocking the secret power of mystical gods, or some such. This all feels like pretty important information that we probably should have gotten earlier, but it's too bad if you wanted to learn more about it, because the episode instead wastes time cutting back and forth between Mori and Mira's time off, which are also spent getting exposited at by characters nobody knows or cares about. Well, in Mori's case, he just ends up meeting Mujin's teacher, Nah Bongchim, who has some desire to take Mori on as a pupil, apparently? Who knows; the scene just stops in the middle of their introduction, and we don't meet up with Mori again until what I presume is the next day.
Meanwhile, Mira has a pointless shower scene where she muses about feeling useless compared to Daewi and Mori, and though I don't know why she should care that much about her relative strength compared to the two guys she has had all of three meaningful conversations with, that doesn't matter either! Her scene is actually all about randomly running into the announcer from the tournament, of all people, while grocery shopping. His name is Sim Bongsa, and it turns out he's blind, and it also turns out that he lost his eyesight because of someone wielding Mira's Moonlight Blade technique, though he's sitting down with Mira to give her some advice on how to be a better fighter because…we don't know! After taking all of that time to introduce the character, GoH immediately kills Bongsa off in between scenes. The murderer is a guy dressed up in a pink mascot animal costume, who lights himself on fire and transforms into some dude we've never seen before.”But wait!” you might have found yourself asking around this point. “I thought this episode was all about introducing the Six warriors that Mujin used those tarot-card looking things to summon?” And you might think that The God of Highschool is finally getting around to introducing them when a half-dozen men and women that we've never seen before start popping up in random montages, seemingly because they're going to be important. Except those aren't the Six at all! They're just other people that our heroes will have to fight at some point, I guess. The real six are characters called THE GREAT MAGICIAN (Jeon Jaesan), THE LOAN SHARK (Kim Dooshik), THE HULK (Seo Hallyang), the aforementioned THE DIVINE DOCTOR (Nah Bongchim), Re Birth (Kim Ungnyeo), and TIGER CUB (Park Mujin himself). What do these characters have to do with the GoH tournament, or the fight against Nox? What kind of personal motivations or characteristics do they possess? I sure hope you've learned better than to expect answers to questions like that, by now. We meet this Six in a different random montage, so all you get are their names.
Oh, and when the the trio arrive at the GoH stadium in the morning, Mira realizes Bongsa is dead, and at the same time Commissioner O realizes that Commissioner Q is also missing, and then we cut to a scene at night, which isn't presented as a flashback even though it has to be, where we learn that the crazy guy that killed Bongsa also broke into Commissioner Qs apartment and kills him. He has a Joker card, on account of being so twisted. Who is he? Why should we care about either of the murders he has committed? What the hell is even going on in this story? I don't know, and it's terribly difficult to convince myself to care, either. God of High School clearly doesn't. Whatever answers we get in future episodes, I'm sure the end result will be the audience begging the show to shut up already and get back to the action, please. It's really the only thing God of High School knows how to do without falling completely on its face.
Odds and Ends
• We now know that this world is filled with gods and magical powers straight from myth. We've also learned that Mori is a naïve imbecile who loves nothing more than fighting people for sport and bragging rights, and he also lived most of his life with his grandpa in the mountains. He also loves eating bananas. Gee, I wonder what all of this incredibly subtle foreshadowing could possibly building to?
The God of High School is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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