The God of High School – First episode comes out swinging

A new martial arts anime in the form of an ONA has recently aired as part of the 2020 summer season lineup. The first episode hits us with a good impression that will have many new fans tuning in for more. This article will contain spoilers for the first episode of the anime adaptation but will not mention anything included in the original webcomic.     

The God of High School, a South Korean webcomic by Yongje Park has finally been adapted into a 13-episode anime. The debut episode launched on July 6, 2020 as a Crunchyroll original and has many fans hyped to see the long-time Webtoon hit the big stages.

After watching the first episode, there is no surprise as to why this particular series has garnered quite the attraction from both Asian and North American fanbases. The characters are distinct and the fighting styles, though limited in the first episode, are flashy yet graceful at the same time. Not much is given regarding character backgrounds or story context, but timing is, of course, of the essence and it looks like The God of High School will give us the information we need piece by piece. Although we only have the first episode to work with, it gave the viewers enough of a preview to get a feel of what the God of High School is all about.  

The Gods of High School

The show starts off with the main character, Jin, waking up late for the preliminaries of a martial arts tournament called ‘The God of High School.’ Although he wakes up from a dream regarding his grandfather, not much else is given about that relationship. On his bustling commute to the arena, he unfortunately witnesses a robbery, much to his dismay. Despite already being late, Jin, like a true selfless hero, decides to retrieve the stolen purse from a man riding away in a motorcycle. Equipped with only his bicycle, it would appear to be quite the uphill climb for Jin to apprehend the robber. Thanks to two others who were coincidentally caught up in the incident, Han Daewi, and Yoo Mira, the robber was stopped and the purse was retrieved. As the strings of fate would have it, Han and Yoo, the two people who assisted Jin, are also contestants in the martial arts tournament.

Even though we don’t know much about our three protagonists, it goes without saying that we can assume they have a strong sense of morality and righteousness. In no way did Jin request for aid, but everyone stepped up to the occasion to apprehend a suspect they were not involved in at all. Many would-be inclined to simply stay out of trouble, or perhaps let someone else more capable help in the situation. But Jin, Han, and Yoo all decided to put it on themselves and help out when no one else would. They all have reasons to fight and participate in the tournament, but this selfless act of vigilance implies that all three compete for reasons beyond the satisfaction of pummeling the opponent into smithereens.

As the story develops and we learn more about the characters, it would be quite the delight if they were to retain these kind personalities all throughout the season. As mentioned before, we know very little about our heroines. However, one thing is absolutely certain. Jin is as hilarious as his star-shaped eyes would suggest. Only someone who enjoys humor in all of its forms would pants his opponent just to check the type of undergarment they’re wearing. Despite being a fun person Jin is more than capable of handling his own in a fight, even when outnumbered. Han and Yoo have also shown a great amount of skill when it comes to combat, Han with this thunderous punching power, and Yoo with her precise swordsmanship. Hopefully, they’re all fighting for a noble cause and not simply because they enjoy being involved in violent battles.

0 to 100 real quick

The first episode throws world-building out the window and it surprisingly works. Instead of gradually introducing us to the characters and the setting in which they must interact with, The God of High School quite literally puts a bunch of fighters in an arena for them to beat each other into submission. Apart from the motorcycle theft incident, we don’t know anything about anyone. Apparently, this martial arts tournament is extremely popular and instead of the contestants applying directly to compete, they are hand chosen by recruiters. The administrators are donned in black suits and appear to be quite the shady organization on the surface.

The winner of the tournament is said to have their wish granted, but that sounds unbearably vague and unachievable. Despite all the signs of a business having somewhat of an ulterior motive, hundreds are seen participating anyway, only for most of them to get beaten up. The anime is far from what you would call slow-pace, in fact, it’s moving at a rather absurdly fast pace that may end up being detrimental to the plot. Regardless, it still remains to be an interesting anime with much to be discovered.

Fighting tournaments are not overly complicated. Two or more people fight on a platform, and the one who remains standing is the victor. However, fans should expect the show to have a supernatural aspect later down the line. Superpowers and elements beyond any form of martial arts are definitely hinted throughout the show, especially at the beginning when an entire island is crushed by, what appears to be, a human hand. The heightened abilities from fighters will either enhance the show’s fighting scenes or blow it out of proportion with ungauged power levels. From the looks of it, The God of High School looks to take an old format and add a touch of razzle-dazzle to it that no one has seen before.

The first episode was well done, despite taking a very different approach from most openers. It has a ton of action scenes but with much of the story to be told. This mysterious martial arts tournament, combined with several characters that look interesting on the surface is a certified recipe for a worthwhile watching experience. From just one episode, we can tell that The God of High School is more than just a fighting tournament anime. Fans will just have to wait in suspense for the show to naturally unfold every week. If patience is not something you can endure, The God of High School can be read on Webtoons here. The anime is expected to air until its season finale in early September.

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