Fighting for sport is an interesting conundrum. Though the aim of the game is to see competitors go all out with their respective talents, the line of excess is much lower than in a real fight. You know, because you’re not actually trying to maim or kill your opponent. So, as pure a rule as “the match will not end until one participant is knocked out or gives up” may sound, it leaves a lot of grey area. Case in point: what happens when one fighter refuses to yield? Or worse, what happens when one fighter will not let the other yield?
As it turns out, the answer to my question is a lot of bodily harm—broken bones to be specific. You see—having comedically jumped past the climactic clash that ended last week’s episode—we are given witness to the next round of combat, and it is not exactly pretty. Though we blast through a few bouts featuring characters who will undoubtedly become important as the story unfolds—such as wrestling girl and glasses boy—our main focus lies on the clash between Go Gamdo and Gang Manseok. Though we only caught a brief glimpse of Gamdo last week, we learn that he is a practitioner of tai chi and devoted to a calm, peaceful development of his style—well, as peaceful as beating somebody up can be. Manseok on the other hand is our wildcard. Having burst onto the scene late, briefly stolen Mira’s sword, then clashed with Mori: he is a force to be feared. Though he seems to have a tendency to get blindsided, he is able to shrug of seemingly disastrous damage and continue fighting. The fact that he wears both restraints and weighted clothing also goes to illustrate his raw power. Said power is also illustrated when he pummels Gamdo into the ground and proceeds to snap his limbs like toothpicks. And I don’t care if we see glimmers of a traumatic past, that is not a cool move, Manseok.
Luckily for Gamdo, Mori is not too happy about this brutality and steps in to interrupt the fight…and by “step” I mean slam his boot into Manseok’s face. Much like last week’s bike chase, this turn of events not only illustrate Mori’s kind nature, but also his tremendous power. Once beaten into a corner—both physically and mentally—Manseok unleashes some sort of shadow energy, kicking a wave of it outward. Though summarily handled by the administration who step in due to Mori interrupting an official match, even they are startled when Mori counters Manseok’s follow-up attack. Judging by the fact that nobody is losing their mind that shadow energy appears to be a thing, I’m assuming abilities such as these are known to fighters of a certain level. I mean, mysterious government man returns to hold Jin in place—using the same gravity palm that can crush an island—so people have to know. In fact, a brief glimpse into the Pentagon provides mention of “charyeok” as the only possible cause of the aforementioned island crushing. Honestly, I have no idea what’s going on; but, apparently magic is real…so yeah. Anyway, Mori gets in trouble for interfering with a match and Manseok gets triple kicked into unconsciousness…but that magic thing is crazy, right? At least some of the losing fighters might feel better: like, “I was really upset that my boxing couldn’t carry me through the tournament, but freakin’ magic exists; so, all in all I think I made out okay. Like, I didn’t get killed by magic shadow kicks.” That’s what I’d say.
On a less world-rocking note, this episode also provides us the reasoning behind our three leads entering God of High School. Mori quickly reveals that he wants to fight strong people (especially “Blondie” from the administration), Daewi mentions money (though he omits that it is for somebody’s hospital bills), and Mira explains that she wishes to revive her family’s dojo. For this reason, she is insanely protective of her sword—interrupting Mori’s initial fight with Manseok by literally snapping his neck and then slapping him when he drops it in a river. Somehow, the slap is worse. Yes, she broke Mori’s neck and would’ve killed him had it not been for the nanomachines; but, the slap is just…real. There’s no humour, no quirky anime flailing: it’s just a slap. Though the entire affair of searching for her sword is rather brief in the scope of the episode, it is a quick way to show just how central this motivation is to Mira’s character. At the behest of her father/grandfather (I don’t actually know which), Mira shied away from the norms of school—devoting herself entirely to the Moon Light Sword Style. Though she claims it to be her driving purpose, the melancholy of her flashbacks present it almost entirely as a burdensome duty. I’m not saying I know anything about raising children, but maybe imposing upon a kid the duty of maintaining a legacy—that everyone else in the family had failed to—is a bit of a jerk move.
So yeah, another crazy week of The God of High School…and another week where God of High School was only a minor part. You know, as titular as the tournament is, there is some crazy stuff happening outside of the hexagon (the shape of the tournament ring). Like, the Korean official who walked into the Pentagon for a chat and who also flattened an island with his mind. Oh, and following on from that, the fact that magic is real. Like, that’s a little bit of a game changer. Sure the fighting animation showed wind pressure and speeds impossible for a human to achieve, but that was just flourish: this is magic. Manseok fired a shadow blast from his legs. A shadow blast. The dude was strong when he took off his weighted pants, and now he can fire shadows? Man, this series is going to keep escalating, isn’t it? I mean, I’m down for it—I’m just curious as to how far it’s going to go. I mean, shadow magic: that’s wild.