Do you like tournament arcs? Did you wish that an entire anime could be one giant tournament arc? Do you wish for nothing but fight after fight after fight to grace your television screen and/or computer monitor? If so, then I’m sure that you will love The God of High School as it is, essentially, just that. However, a show can’t just rely on being a tournament arc on its own. It needs to have some sort of story to go along with it otherwise it would be senseless fighting. The God of High School does have a story but does it come in too late to save this show from just being about people punching and kicking each other?
The God of High School is actually the name of a tournament. The people who participate in this tournament are said to be those who borrow power from God. The winner of the tournament will have one wish granted as a reward for making it to the end and winning.
Enter Jin Mori who has a strong sense of justice. He can’t let anything nefarious go unpunished as this is evident from the very first episode where he chases down a purse thief on his way to school. This chase ends up introducing us to our other main characters, Yoo and Daewi.
With the crime thwarted, they arrive at school and this is where we realize that the tournament has not yet actually begun. They have to make their way through the preliminary rounds in order to actually get to the real deal. Of course, what kind of story would this be if they didn’t make it through? Once they get to the national stage, we actually learn of this show’s story. A group going by the name of Nox believes that the God that they worship is the one true God and their goal is to wipe out anyone and everything that doesn’t align with their beliefs… and also destroy the world because what evil organization would you be if world destruction wasn’t on the docket?
However, despite this group’s efforts, there is someone else who has a personal vendetta that he wishes to settle… a man by the name of Jegal. The second half of the show really kicks things into high gear as we learn more about God’s power, those who borrow it, Jegal’s plans, as well as Nox’s attempt at world destruction. In the middle of it all, we explore Jin Mori and the mysteries that surround him as a character.
The issue I had with the story was that it felt like it was slotted in too late. Being a 13-episode series, I would have that that they would have paid more attention to the main story from the very beginning. Instead, they focused on character development for the first half by giving us the backstories and reasons why Jin, Yoo, and Daewi wanted to fight and claim the prize of the tournament. While that isn’t such a bad thing, it made the main story feel like an afterthought because everything just seemed to escalate once you hit the half-way mark. It kind of gave a sense that they were making this show and completely forgot that there was an actual plot so they rushed to fit it in before the series came to an end.
I think some better pacing could have been had here to help ease people into the notion that we went from fighting in the tournament to suddenly trying to save the world from an actual God descending from the heavens. It was quite the extreme swing for the amount of time they had to get everything set up and executed.
The series focuses on three main characters and about as many side characters with only a couple playing an important role.
Jin is our starring main character who seems to be pretty lax and carefree. He is insanely strong and wants to enter the tournament in order to become even stronger. He’s always up for fighting strong people but when he’s not doing that, he’s just being your average, everyday happy-go-lucky teenager. Of course, Jin also takes family very seriously, especially when it comes to his grandfather, Jin Taejin, who he respects for his strength. Jin’s abnormal strength isn’t a coincidence; however, I don’t think I’m going to spoil that for those who haven’t seen the show.
Yoo is the 25th master of the Moonlight Sword Style. She was invited to participate in The God of High School tournament and her wish, should she win, would be to have the world recognize the Moonlight Sword Style once again and bring honor back to its name. Yoo is a bit of a tsundere at first as she takes issue with Jin being too friendly with her. She finds him annoying but as the series goes on, she really warms up to Jin and ends up becoming good friends with him. Yoo was a pretty enjoyable character when she was going through her development but after she ditched her tsundere ways and just became friends with Jin, she kind of became a bit of an afterthought. Sure, she was there for all of the big fights but you could tell that it was painfully obvious that all of the attention was meant to be placed on Jin.
Daewi Han was a part of the legendary duo, the Mad Cows. He is a highly-skilled fighter and was also invited to the God of High School tournament. Daewi is the more level-headed and disciplined one of the three but he’s not very stern. In fact, he’s pretty laid back most of the time. However, there are times… especially during the tournament… where his calm composure erodes and he becomes extremely fierce. This is because he has something that he wants to fight for but when that something is taken away from him, he loses all composure and goes berserk. Of course, thanks to Jin, he is able to reframe his purpose and carry forward with a new goal. Putting things into perspective and pressing forward in a humbled manner is the mark of a true martial artist and those qualities really shine through in Daewi as a character!
Ilpyo is introduced in the second half and a man who can rival Jin Mori in strength. In fact, they end up going against each other in the tournament and it was a spectacular fight that needs to be seen! The fact is, this isn’t the first time Ilpyo and Jin had met each other. Jin was introduced to Ilpyo when his grandfather came by to pay Ilpyo’s training grounds a visit. After meeting Jin’s grandfather, he had such a profound respect for him, that he embroidered Jin Taejin’s tiger symbol onto the back of his coat. Ilpyo was a really cool character; however, there are certain aspects to him that are revealed but the reasons as to WHY he was any of those things didn’t really get explained all that clearly. All we know is that Ilpyo is a certain something and that’s pretty much it. He is; however, so strong that he was able to stand up to Jegal Taek.
Jegal is one of two main antagonists for the series. He has his own personal goals and had aligned himself with the group Nox in order to gain information from them. Once he got what he needed, he severed his ties with the group and went rogue to fulfill his goals on his own. Jegal is extremely powerful and seeks something called The Key. While Nox wants to destroy the world, Jegal wants nothing but power and feels The Key is what is needed to obtain all the power he craves. Due to always being taught to not end up as a loser like his mother, Jegal refuses to be just that. That is why his thirst for power is so great so that nobody will look down on him and consider him a loser ever again. When it comes to Jegal… all I can say is yeesh… that’s some teenage angst he has going on for him there. I guess being considered a loser is a massive deal to people in Korea because that was a pretty odd reason to want to obtain massive amounts of power. I would have hoped they had a better reason but, alas, we work with what we are given. Jegal was insanely strong and worthy of being a main antagonist… plus, he’s voiced by the ever-awesome Kenjiro Tsuda. How can you not love him?
Manseok is our second main antagonist and the leader of Nox. By now, you should know that he wishes to destroy the world so that his God can be recognized as the one true God.
Yep. That’s pretty much it.
In fact, when the focus and attention was put on Jegal, Manseok really, REALLY took a backseat in this series. He became such a huge afterthought that I questioned why he was even in the story to begin with. You could have taken Nox and Manseok out of the equation completely and just made the story about Jegal and things wouldn’t have ended up any differently. The only real difference would be the fight against the actual God coming out of the sky. Maybe if the story was arranged differently, they could have saved Manseok and Nox as new antagonists to take the place of Jegal in an eventual second season.
Outside of that, we had some pretty cool characters such as the members of The Six, the commissioners of The God of High School tournament, and some of the supporting characters that ended up grouped together with the sub-main characters. All of which played their parts to advance the story when needed.
Art, Animation, & Sound
The artwork for The God of High School was pretty standard fare. They used a lot of flat colors mixed with CG to bring the show to life and while that sounds like it would be an out-of-balance experience, it actually was the opposite. I think that the CG and ‘traditional’ animation fit in well and nothing really felt out of place with the exception of one thing… I did not care for the red ‘blush’ marks on everyone’s noses and ears. I thought that was a rather weird touch and was a bit distracting. Minor gripes but still, the show could have done just as well without that little touch.
The animation, on the other hand, was pretty darn good. Sure, it wasn’t movie quality 60fps animation but every fight throughout this whole series was choreographed and animated beautifully. It did an incredible job pulling you into the action and hooking you. The fights weren’t all that short, either. Sure, there may have been some ‘highlight fights’ for some of the supporting or background characters but when it came time for the main cast to step into the ring, a lot of effort went into their battles and it paid off!
If you’re going to have an anime that’s all about fighting, you’re going to need some amazing fights. No matter if it was the preliminaries or the main tournament itself, every fight that was highlighted was given special care and attention and it made for an incredible experience!
The soundtrack was also a banger and a half… especially with some of those insert songs in the final episode. Being a show that is mainly about action, one would expect the soundtrack to enhance your viewing experience and The God of High School’s OST accomplished that in spades. When the OST releases, this is one you’re going to have to pick up. Not only that, but the opening song by KSUKE and ending song by CIX are both really awesome in their own rights and I could listen to those on repeat all day long!
Let’s be honest here. This is the kind of anime that you turn to when you’re sick of watching everything else and you just want to see two people beat the crap out of each other. If your favorite anime is lagging in getting to the big fight you want to see and you’re craving some well-animated action, then you stop watching your favorite anime and you turn on The God of High School. That’s just what you do. At least, that’s how the show felt in the first half. Once the story was added to the show, there was still a lot of great action but now you had something else to invest your time in. Even if the story felt a little rushed, it added that something extra that was sorely needed from causing this show to be dubbed ‘that fighting anime’
As I said before, I felt the story could have been truly epic had it been introduced a lot earlier and given proper time and attention to develop. The characters were well-developed, though and I did enjoy each of them… even if Jin kind of took the spotlight later on in the series.
All in all, the show was pretty good from top to bottom. The fights will probably be what this show is remembered for but with the way the final arc shaped up, I’m pretty sure it will also be remembered for its crazy plot twist! Either way, check this show out if you’re craving a ton of action because in that regard, The God of High School will not fail to deliver!
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Until next time,
The God of High School
The God of High School is not short on action but is short on an overall story. While there is one present, it doesn’t kick in until the half-way mark of the series. From there, things escalate pretty quickly; however, if you watch this show for just the action by itself, you’re going to have a fantastic time
- Amazing fight scenes
- Well-developed main cast of characters
- Phenomenal soundtrack
- Good story with some twists and turns
- Story comes in too late and not given much time to breathe
- Wasn’t a fan of some details on the character art
- Overall Score