The God of High School
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 9 of
The God of High School ?
Watching The God of High School can be downright exhausting, even when it's serving up some of its most spectacular action cuts yet, like here in “curse/cornered”. As annoying as it is for everyone on all sides of the audience spectrum, certain complaints are going to come up again and again with shows like GoH that have fundamental flaws baked into their very DNA, So, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I must once again report that The God of High School dished out some truly excellent servings of delicious action hype, and all of it basically amounts to nothing by the end of the episode, because the show's writing is just awful.
What little plot that can be deciphered from “curse/cornered” is that, while Mira has to duke it out with the buff and nearly butt-naked Lee Marin, Mori is off looking for his missing grandpa, and Daewi…well, he gets stuck in a bathroom fighting some random girl from the South Gyeongsang Team. You know, the one Jegal is from? Jegal is the guy who almost killed that other guy with the Jaws Charyeok. You know what? Daewi's subplot literally doesn't matter, and I mean more than the rest of the plot already doesn't matter, because Daewi's restroom ruckus doesn't go anywhere. At all. He fights a girl in a bathroom for a few minutes, the fight stops, and that's it.
So really, the plot is truly limited to Mira's fight with Marin, and Mori's fight with an evil Nox agent whose name I didn't catch even after scrubbing back through the episode a few times, so I'm going to call him Doppelganger. That's either his name, or the name of his power, which is to multiply a whole bunch and also make imitations of other people, so either way, I won't have to keep calling him “evil Nox guy.” This is especially useful since we later find out that Marin is also an evil Nox guy, except he's maybe either another one of Doppelganger's doppelgangers, or just another different evil Nox guy, since the real Marin (and the rest of the Jeju team) has been murdered. Mori finds this out when he goes to rescue his grandpa, who isn't actually his grandpa, but rather another doppelganger made by Doppelganger. The Grandpa doppelganger explodes, Mori fights Doppelganger's doppelgangers, and then later he makes it back to the fight just in the nick of time to put on his serious face and fight one of those Jeju doppelganger/zombie/replicant guys.
Are you with me so far?
If not, too bad, because Mira has her own episode-long fight scene for once, where we find out that Not-Marin got his hands on the sword that Mira lost back when she had that terrible wedding (Remember that? Good times). Marin reveals that her sword is really a capital-N, capital-T “National Treasure”, which is apparently a magical MacGuffin that is altogether different from the Key/Charyeok stuff that Nox and Mujin are fighting over, except also maybe not? Not-Marin transforms the sword into its real, non-wooden form called Fengxian, which, according to him, means that the sword has now recognized him as its master, except Mira gets visited by a comically voiced vision of herself that unlocks her hidden reservoir of Charyeok power, which manifests as the spirit of famous Chinese general Lu Bu. This gives her a huge power boost that also reclaims her ownership of Fengxian, though Not-Marin has his own Charyeok that isn't related to Fengxian, which manifests as…the mythical Kraken.
You see what I mean when I say that this show is exhausting? To even attempt breaking down an episode's plot involves completely forsaking storytelling fundamentals like “cohesion”, “structure”, and “basic logic”, never mind the plethora of concepts, powers, and characters that just get tossed at us for absolutely no reason. This is normally the part where I go into detail about the good animation and choreography and stuff, but I honestly cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone would be parcitularly invested in whether or not the fights look good when the story has become such an utter quagmire of meaningless noise. Mira's discovery of her Lu Bu powers just happens for no reason, Mori's sudden ability to do the chi-unlocking techniques correctly just happens for no reason, whenever any character does anything, it just happens for absolutely no reason.
I'm sorry, but we're well past the point of “turn off your brain and enjoy the action” with The God of High School, because there's absolutely no reason to do so when one fight scene is just a devoid of meaning and context as the next. There's no difference between watching “curse/cornered” than skipping to any past or future beatdown from any other epiosde of GoH. Hell, you could just type “best anime fights” into the YouTube search bar and slap together a playlist of whichever random clips you find, and you'd end up with a similar experience to what God of High School offers. At this point, I might even prefer just killing time with the YouTube playlist, since that wouldn't make me suffer through the filler that is destroying all of the goodwill that I might have ever had for this show.
Odds and Ends
• Far be it from me to hold GoH's feet to the fire for having a less than believable setting, but wasn't a big part of the show's setup the international conspiracy that Mujin and Nox are embroiled in? I seem to remember a scene where the U.S. government was getting all suspicious of whatever supernatural shenanigans are happening. Isn't the GoH tournament a worldwide entertainment phenomenon? The stadium sure is filled to the brim with civilian audience members. Does all of this magical Charyeok insanity happen in everyday life just…all the time? Our heroes sure seemed surprised by the spooky ghost jesters and evil Shark stands that were popping up all over the place, but you'd think that by now someone in the outside world would have started asking questions…
The God of High School is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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