The God of High School ‒ Episode 13

2 months ago 26

Whenever a series finale comes up, it's easy to give in to the temptation to fall back to old cliches, like “This is the way The God of High School ends: Not with a bang, but a [Insert Comically Specific Deviation from the Poem Here]” or “God of High School ended as it began: Flailing dangerously in every direction while screaming incoherently.” Even that level of standard snark feels too put-together for something like GoH though, too considerate of conventions and audience expectations. This is the series that named its season finale “GOD/GOD” after all, which might literally be the silliest title for an episode of anything that I've ever seen in my life, so let's not pretend that either the show or those of us in the audience who somehow got suckered into sticking around for this long still give a damn about common decency. We're living in the anime wasteland of the end-times, baby, racing through the desert in a busted up Interceptor while the ruthless Immortan Jin Mori and his gang of chrome-painted Daewis and Miras give chase.

That analogy might not even make sense to anyone other than me, but The God of High School has long since established a precedent of simply not caring whether or not it can be understood on a basic, practical level, so I'm just meeting the show on its level. More than every episode before it, “GOD/GOD” commits to GoH's foundational principle of throwing enough crap at the screen in the hopes that the audience won't ask too many questions — though since any anime-only viewers absolutely will be ridiculously confused by everything that has happened over the last dozen episodes, there's always an online manhwa reading app that you can spend some money on…

In short: Taek kills God, because Taek is a Bad Guy. Mori punches Taek, because Mori is a Good Guy. Taek punches Mori a lot. Mori awakens as a living incarnation of Seiten Taisei, the legendary Monkey King from Journey to the West, and uses his magic pole to punch Taek a lot. Taek dies, but then he un-dies into a giant, hideous flesh blob. The God of High School turns into a K-POP AMV for a few minutes while Mori/Monkey and Co. use the power of friendship (and punching) to murder the new Evil God. A woman named Kim Ugnyeon comes out of nowhere, announces that she is the mythological Eve that birthed the whole of the human race, and uses her magic powers to grant Mori's wish of healing everyone's terrible punch-inflicted wounds. Then Eve turns into a toddler, while Mori and his friends set off on a journey to learn more about The Monkey King, get stronger, and maybe rescue Mori's grandpa, who is being held prisoner by Nox. Remember Nox? They're still around, I guess. The end.

Is the fight animation good? Sure, but the stakes have simultaneously become so preposterously large and so pathetically meaningless that it is impossible to care about any of the action. The God of High School also commits the cardinal sin of any supernatural action anime, which is pulling its hero's Super Mega Awesome Instant Win Powers right out of its ass at the last possible minute, which completely drains the story of any possible tension or drama it could ever have. At no point in the entire run of this story has it even been suggested that Mori would not succeed — and no, that stupid joke where he blocked his own chi and threw a match doesn't count — so why did the poor animators at MAPPA have to put so much time and effort into animating such a pointless grand finale. You could have had Mori and Taek's climactic battle be a high-stakes round of Duck, Duck, Goose, and the results would have been identical.

Then, the show has the gall to keep going after Taek gets naked, shrivels up like a raisin, and is devoured by a demonic blob of teeth. We're introduced to this immortal Ugnyeon woman with five minutes left to go in the story, all so she can grant Mori's lame wish to undo any of the potentially meaningful ramifications that follow from surviving the complete destruction of the largest city in South Korea. I'm not even mad at The God of High School being so willing to brazenly rip off Dragon Ball; I'm just irritated that it rips off even the bad parts of the DBZ mythos, like the bad habit it eventually got into of using the Dragon Ball Wishes as a permanent Get Out of Interesting Consequences For Free card.

So yeah, this anime really did amount to little more than an unreasonably long and incredibly expensive commercial for a comic, and that's too bad for the comic, because I'm probably not the only one who has been convinced to stay far away from any other GoH media that comes my way. I'm sorry, but good production values don't automatically give a show a pass for having a script that would get mediocre marks if it came in as a rough draft for a high-school writing class (and I've personally read plenty of more interesting and creative stories that have come from students who aren't even old enough to drive). Whether you're a fan of straightforward action spectacle, a fan of anime in general, or simply someone that enjoys any kind of entertainment, you deserve better than The God of High School.

Rating:

The God of High School is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.

Read Entire Article