If what movies have taught me is true, fights are standard fare at any high school. Be it a disagreement about money, an insult directed at a friend, or an attempt to prove one’s toughness: somebody is going to get hit. However, such paltry altercations have no place in an anime such as this—no, this is where the fighting gets serious. Suspend, if you will, your disbelief regarding the legal ramifications of allowing high schoolers to perform violent martial arts on one another. Have you done it? Have you suspended that disbelief? Good, because what follows is the beginning of a story in which it is apparently possible for a bicycle to keep pace with a motorcycle; a tale where normally fatal injuries are naught but an inconvenience; a show where nanomachines are used to gamify violence. So, you know, an anime.
So, cards on the table, I’ve been excited for The God of High School since I saw its trailer. Smooth visuals, a badass soundtrack: what wasn’t to love? And, one episode in, I have to say that I’m still amped to see where this series goes. Though this is most certainly an introductory episode—what with it being the first one—the pace never slows down. Our protagonist, Jin Mori, awakens late—having unwittingly crushed his alarm clock—and from then on the episode carries the frantic energy of rushing to make an appointment. Throughout the establishing of his character and his meetings with other prominent characters, Mori is slowed only by crashing his bicycle…like, hard. And even then he doesn’t stay down for long. This passion is also not unique to Mori, as Yoo Mira—one into whom Mori crashed his bicycle—is immediately inclined to aid him. You see, Mori witnessed a motorcyclist take off with an old woman’s purse, and—having invented a story in his head about the plethora of important/sad reasons she needs that money—made chase. Though the chase is a visually exciting event, its reasoning shows us that Mori is compassionate, reckless, confident in his own abilities, and an idiot. Sure it’s not the most original personality for a protagonist, but damn if it’s not introduced in a compelling way. Oh, there’s also a brief flashback before Mori wakes up that hints towards a sadder childhood, but I’m sure we’ll learn about that as the series develops.
Rounding out who I assume to be our main cast—given their presence in the intro and outro sequences—are the aforementioned Yoo Mira and the not-aforementioned Han Daewi. Having been dragged into the chaos of Mori’s anti-theft bike chase—literally in Mira’s case—we see that these two are also of the just persuasion. Also, we learn that Mira is a badass swordswoman and Daewi can punch a man off a motorcycle speeding in his direction with no ill effects…to himself, the motorcyclist gets messed up. And so, the day is saved and friends are made. Apart from this display of goodwill and violence, Mira is shown to be fawning over some muscly martial artists who she asked for directions and Daewi is seen leaving his shift at work. So, I’m sure those traits will factor into things as the series develops. I’d also like to make it known that the buff guys Mira was ogling shredded their own clothes by flexing and they didn’t make it into the God of High School Preliminaries—that’s the level of skill we’re dealing with here. Heck, even the background characters show off some well-animated, well-performed moves. With that in mind, I should probably mention the actual premise of this series…so I will.
The God of High School is a tournament in which, you guessed it, high schoolers are pitted against one another in a display of martial arts. The only rules of said tournament are that victory is achieved by KO’ing your opponent or if they surrender. This also means that any fighting style is allowed, regardless of whether or not weapons are utilised. For example, Mira wields a wooden katana and a man can be seen wearing boxing gloves in the initial group of entrants. Whilst this would mean certain injury and/or death in our reality, anime allows this to be an exciting turn of events. How does an unarmed combatant take down a sword-wielding opponent? Well, so far they don’t…Mira smacked a lot of people up. At least, until the possible convict caught her sword with his toes. You know, because of reality-be-damned, rule-of-cool logic—which I appreciate. God of High School also doesn’t seem to follow its own rules, as the audience was shocked when all participants were told to just start beating each other up: battle royal style. In all honesty, the tournament just seems like the Hunger Games with better publicity…and also nanomachines that stop the contestants from dying. Regardless, if I baulk at every human rights violation in this series then I’ll never have any fun. So screw it. Let’s watch people beat the tar out of each other with punches, kicks, grapples, swords, gloves, nunchaku, bats, and whatever else they’ve become proficient in using to dole out violence. Disclaimer: I do not condone the doling out of violence in reality, because stuff hurts in our reality an nanomachines are not readily available…but I guess go for broke when they are.
Before I leave you to spend your time doing anything other than reading the ramblings of a person who is me, I would like to skip back to the beginning of the episode and talk about the elements of political intrigue. Though we start the scene with three corrupt-looking guys on an island resort, we end with—how do I put this?—the Hand of God flattening the entire island. Though clearly performed by the person they were trying to extort, the how remains a mystery—one I feel will become relevant as the series progresses. I mean, you rarely introduce a character who can violently alter geography through a phone call without developing them somehow. Also, I’m pretty sure their attack on those politicians resulted in the death of the two masseuses who were on the island. Maybe they escaped…but they probably didn’t. Maybe they were evil? Like, a pair of evil masseuses who had alluded justice all these years? Maybe the phone call and extortion was a ruse to kill the two evil masseuses and stop their reign of relaxing terror? Or maybe, just maybe, I’m an idiot. Regardless, The God of High School is down one island; but, up one intriguingly hand-shaped landmark. So, it’s not all bad…unless you were one of the masseuses. Oh, or the politicians…because they also died. By being crushed. By the Hand of God.
Long story short: The God of High School is fun and I intend to keep watching it. I also intend to keep writing about it; so, you’ve been warned. Though we have on ly seen a snippet of the action sure to come, it was enough to whet the proverbial whistle and inspire interest in what comes next. I mean, the very least this series could be is a mixture of exciting visuals and cool music—which is pretty darn good. And if the baseline is good, then there’s nowhere to go but up. Unless this episode was setting up for a massive twist and this turns into a slice-of-life about a guy who doesn’t watch the God of High School and wants to be, like, a banker or something. I mean, I’d probably still watch it out of sheer curiosity; but, I’d much rather the story about the punching, and the kicking, and the tournament that can grant the winner a wish, apparently. Oh, and I also want to find out about those masseuses. Just what did they do? How many lives did they ruin? How much stress did they relieve? Did they appreciate the irony in being murdered by what was, essentially, a full-body massage? Probably not, what with it resulting in their death and all. So…what the hell was I talking about? The God of High School? It’s good. You should watch it.