Fame. Glory. Power. Anything in your wildest dreams is possible when you reach the top of the Tower of God. Those lucky enough to be chosen by the tower ascend each floor in hopes of fulfilling their dreams, but to succeed, they must complete dangerous and deadly tests along the way. But there are others who can enter the structure on their own free will; these "irregulars" are feared by many and are said to leave chaos and change in their wake. Twenty-Fifth Baam is one such irregular who begins to climb the Tower of God in hopes of reuniting with his childhood friend Rachel, but as he soon discovers, this perilous path will put him in the crosshairs of fierce competitors, untrustworthy rivals and terrifying monsters, and he might not make it out alive...
3/400 (Three Four-Hundredths)
The Correct Door
The Green April
The Crown’s Fate
Lunch and Tag
The One-Horned Ogre
Beyond the Sadness
Underwater Hunt (Part One)
Underwater Hunt (Part Two)
PREAIRING HYPE Tower of God was heavily marketed as the first Korean webcomic adaptation as well as the beginning of a new era for anime. It wasn’t, but we were constantly told that we HAD to support it, so they can make even more Korean webcomic adaptations. Consume product and be excited for next products. Well let me tell you the results. Aside from being from Korea there was nothing special about it, as an adaptation it was below average, and aside from the three Korean adaptations they shoved out close to each other no other webcomic was adapted for years to come. It was all a scam for Crunchyroll to make a badly adapted infomercial for promoting the webcomic, as well as for selling subscriptions to easily impressionable buffoons who would love to be part of a supposed new era of anime… that never came. It was also just another case of the rather large fanbase that was reading the webcomic hyping it up as the best shit ever and that somehow explaining the quality of an animated adaptation they hadn’t even watched yet. That is how it managed to be the most popular show during the season it aired in and was made to come off like a modern classic in the making. In reality, there wasn’t much competition during that season, thanks to all the far more famous competitors like Sword Art Online, Oregairu, and ReZero getting postponed because of the pandemic and leaving only Kaguya Sama as the only actual threat. Basically, it wouldn’t have made such a splash if Covid-19 did not sabotage the competition. Not many care about Korean webcomics, and the tv airings in both Japan and Korea were fairly low. And now here is a list of issues it had that prove the crap it was all along. 1) The production values are mostly mediocre This alone will make 90% of everyone to drop it in a couple of episodes. The fanboys will insist it looks fine, but they are fanboys so they obviously like everything about it. For a show that is supposed to be the beginning of a new era for anime, it received a subpar director, clucky animation, unappealing artstyle, and is in general way worse than run of the mill shonen like Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen, which do not reinvent the wheel. 2) The protagonist is piece of white toast Easily the weakest in characterization character. They try to make him seem like a victimized fake underdog in an unfair world that took the love of his life. Unfortunately he has the personality of a boy scout and that makes him boring right away. Hell, he doesn’t even have a backdrop story because he has amnesia. He’s left blank so anyone can self insert easier. 3) The training is meaningless Although the premise is a typical ‘starting from the bottom and gradually improving until you get to the top’ in practice all of the training and slow level up the character get become meaningless very fast. All you need for winning is to be born with broken powers and to betray everyone. The protagonist for example is a super special chosen one who gets more powerful a million times faster than everyone else, everyone around him loves him right away, he is constantly being plot armored, and he is given hax powers he did not earn just because he is cute. Essentially you never feel like this guy deserves his victories, since he didn’t do anything to earn them. As for the others who were not born as special chosen ones like him, they just pass the tests by betraying everyone. 4) The support cast is weak There are dozens of peers who are training along with the protagonist which seem to contribute something to the world and the plot. But eventually they don’t, they became obsolete in a few episodes. They are not posing any threat, because he overpowers them all without even trying. They all get instantly surpassed because he can copy every special attack they have in a second. For this reason, there is no rivalry or sportsmanship going on. He doesn’t need anyone’s help for progressing through the tests. There aren’t even any mentors for giving him a few important life lessons. All they are doing is giving him extra abilities. 5) The explanations only manage to further confuse you The whole show is basically a tournament arc with rules that not only change all the time, but are also never followed through. Everyone constantly ignores or breaks them. Imagine how dumb it is to pay attention to super long infodumps that explain how the power system works only to be proven it was a waste of time. Imagine how bizarre it is to be told there will be wild boars, but you never see them. Or to see a seal and to be told it’s a dolphin, or to see a tentacle monster and to be told it’s a bull, or to see a sword and to be told it’s a needle. It’s needless renaming of things; they are just using different words for describing classic videogame terminology. Calling them positions instead of character classes, and light bearers instead of mages is not creative. Add to the confusion how a lot of things don’t act or behave as the explanations implied. All of a sudden, a character uses healing magic without first establishing that she could do it. A guy who was chewed alive by a monster, appears in the next episode completely fine, like it had never happened. Someone says he will become an administrator, and ends up only getting the administrator’s approval. It’s impossible to follow what is going on with the way everything is cryptic and eventually not followed through since everyone either lies or cheats or the translators have no idea what they are doing. 6) Character interactions all over the place One moment the characters are killing each other, the immediate next they act all friendly to each other, and then they are shocked for being betrayed when they were killing each other not long ago. At one point they go to the funeral of the guy who they consider being a friend, although they hardly knew a guy who went insane and tried to kill everyone. A character who was ruthless enough to murder all the people she grew up with just so she would have better meals, for no reason risks her life to save a girl that hates her throughout the whole show. Friendship and teamwork make little sense, because none of the characters actively chooses to make friends or allies. It’s always something imposed by a test. One moment they say ‘kill each other’, the immediate next they say ‘befriend each other’, and the characters do so in an instant, and in a way that feels like they don’t have free will and act however it suits the plot. Basically, they are all plot devices and whatever they do feels artificial. Nobody is a friend or an ally. They are brainwashed to act as if they are. In one scene the protagonist befriends someone by jumping onto him and claiming they are now friends, even if the other guy doesn’t want to be his friend. That’s not how teamwork works. And that is why there is no actual betraying going on in later episodes. In order to betray someone you first need to be a friend or a teammate. And the characters are neither; they just call each other friends because a previous test told them to. And even if they were friends, can you blame them when a following test tells them to betray their friends in order to pass? And I am saying this last part because Rachel, the protagonist’s main waifu, is universally hated for betraying him, when in effect she is doing the exact same thing everybody else was doing. Hers was the fourth betrayal in 3 episodes and nobody was complaining about the previous three, although they were equally vile. It’s almost as if they hate her because she’s the main waifu, and the only one who hurt the empty husk of the self insert that is the main character, and that ruined the power fantasy they were getting up to that point. 7) The world building is dull Despite the setting having a lot of space for adventure and discovery, it does very little with it. Nobody explores or even interacts with his environment, because they are busy passing tests inside a building. Whenever something new is brought up, it’s only because it’s part of the upcoming test, and it disappears from existence as soon as the test is over. 8) The pacing is super fast The plot speeds through every event without allowing you to like anyone or anything before it’s over. And the reason for that is because the director of the anime decided to remove a lot of the talking, which would make the anime very boring to watch. Because in case you didn’t know, the webcomic is heavy on dialogue and infodumps. 70% of its duration is people explaining what is going on in a confusing way instead of showing it. And you need to add to this ridiculous amount the long blog posts that SIU, the creator of the webcomic, wrote outside of the webcomic for adding details he couldn’t fit somewhere in the actual plot. You are mostly reading about the characters and the rules instead of actually seeing a damn thing, because SIU was completely incompetent at delivering exposition by showing things instead of having a character saying it, or even worse, by writing blogs that you read outside of the webcomic. Do you believe that this guy is hailed as a genius writer when he hardly shows anything? There is a part where he turns a huge alligator into a tiny chibi comic relief, because he got bored of drawing him and wanted more space for filling the pages with huge speech bubbles that infodump the story instead of having to actually show a damn thing. Anyways, by removing all the terribly handled infodumps, the plot moves very fast and it’s mostly action about stuff you were never given much context to give a damn about. 9) The cliffhangers are fake tension A lot of episodes end in a way that makes it seem like something crazy is going to happen in the beginning of the next episode, and nothing happens. It’s just lazy hooks for making you click on the next episode only to be disappointed. Character X is never going to die when the episode implies he did, and there is never going to be an amazing battle right around the corner. 10) Fake complexity The tests are pathetically simple and nowhere near as sophisticated as they make them seem to be when they explain the rules (very poorly). The show is constantly trying to sound smart in order to fool the audience into thinking they are watching something smart, but down to it, it’s a run of the mill fighting shonen with a lot of needless complications. There was no point in creating a fake crown for fooling the others, when they instantly defeat them all a few seconds later. There was no point in stalking goblins and running around like idiots when all it took was sabotaging the underwater canals. There was no point in fighting a monster that was holding back the whole time and which could easily defeat them whenever it felt like it. Same thing with the tests, which have a shitload of rules and yet there is no skill or tactics needed for passing through a water barrier, or opening a door. The protagonist passed half the tests by standing still and doing absolutely nothing. As for the other half of the tests, he just uses a new superpower that he either pulls out of his ass, or copies it in a second by looking at someone else using it. This is also why every test is ultimately a waste of time and by extension the entire series is a waste of time. They could simply have a typical battle royale on the first level and nothing would change. The strongest and most ruthless would be the last remaining ones, and that would be the end of the show. For all these reasons and even more if I was willing to nitpick further, The Tower of God is yet another show that does not live up to its hype, looks bad, is very hard to follow, has no tension, no logic, and nothing to look forward to.
After watching the Tower of God, I still don't understand what it's about and what the heck is the Tower supposed to be. While most of the characters have potential and are somewhat interesting. Something which cannot be said about the blank protagonist, who is the chosen one. Why and what for that hasn't been properly established yet. I can only speculate. Among his hidden super powers is luck. Good luck to make any meaningful non-comical story with that. The point is no matter how your characters seem intriguing if you don’t establish story and world for them, they are going to just hang in the air. Where the Tower of God is lacking most is the world building. It does not establish proper context for the story veiling itself in false sense of mystery. We have some scheming factions, organizational structures, races, series of haphazardly selected environments and tests … and Yes, the Tower itself. How does the Tower fits into this world? What role plays Jahad king in context to this world? Are there other “kings”? How about Jahad princesses? Even the whole deal with irregulars has not been explained properly. Yes, you may read the source and wiki, but then what is the point to making anime. It’s a defect, if anime fails to deliver without depending on external info even once. More so if it’s multiple times. The show tries to imitate Hunter x Hunter, but falls very short in every regard. Hunter x Hunter had a storyline, proper world building, meaningful goals established. In the Tower of God initial goal of main protagonist … how to put it without spoilers … does some story-line stunt, but in this stunt it’s completely crippled forever. So, now what to do? Whoever made this did mess up the story line in attempt to be original. It’s like people who can’t cook start by making something original and mixing things together. Usually things, which don’t go really well together to begin with. Adding insult to the injury or salt to an open wound the last episode pushes the story over a cliff. Making effectively any further storylines pointless as far as the main protagonist is concerned. What is goal of Khun the boy, who got kicked out of clan or wherever, who knows. I don’t know. Antagonists if one can speak of them in such term are not that all impressive either. In fact, there is just one truly bad guy and one interesting monster. Others are either kind of confused tragic characters, trolls or tacitly support the main protagonist. In the end victory is assured by plot convenience. The crocodile-man character is primarily for the comic relief. He is basically playing role of Leorio. The thing he has with eating chocolate is overused to the death. In a story, where a side character, who sleeps through most of the episodes and has more charisma than main protagonist, greatness is something you won’t find. It makes more sense to rewatch Hunter x Hunter. Overall impression is subpar. The only thing you are going to care about is which Jahad princess is the best.
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