Tower of God – 1st Episode Review
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Synopsis: Reach the top, and everything will be yours. At the top of the tower exists everything in this world, and all of it can be yours. You can become a god. This is the story of the beginning and the end of Rachel, the girl who climbed the tower so she could see the stars, and Bam, the boy who needed nothing but her. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Tower of God is one of those series that grabs your attention immediately by offering up unique visuals. The anime does a great job of adapting and preserving the original content’s rough, indie art style, helping the show to stand out while also maintaining generally captivating animation. Good looking visuals will often net a series a ton of attention and fans even when other elements might not hold up and in that regard, Tower of God is off to a good start. However because it has such a signature art style, there’s a possibility that viewers who prefer more traditional aesthetics will find it off putting.
Tom: Tower of God’s more stylistic visuals are definitely a huge boon as the story itself borders on bare bones. Bam, our hero, is a young man chasing after a girl named Rachel, someone who he became wrapped up in after a fateful encounter. She’s headed into the Tower in order to achieve her dream of seeing the stars, but Bam can’t bare to lose her and thus rushes after her. It’s nothing original, or unique, but Tower of God’s stylistic visuals, coupled with a narrow focus, make it feel grander and more mysterious than it’s all likely to be. We keep our attention fixed solely on Bam and the start of his quest, leaving the world vague enough that there’s an air of mystery about the setting, including the Tower itself, begging for answers. Even more typical/standard shonen-esque developments, like Bam displaying some surprising special abilities, feel engaging because we learn only enough to intrigue, never over explaining these concepts with superfluous details. It’s this pacing of information, and expertise at keeping the audience in the dark, but not too in the dark, that makes Tower of God such a captivating watch.
Linny: I have to agree with Tom that the show’s biggest draw is its mysterious setting as well as the end of episode reveal of a battle royale like set up. As the show gives you just enough info to be able to grasp what’s currently happening, it reserves the freedom and ability to introduce all sorts of amazing and unusual challenges for our protagonist to encounter as we venture further up the tower. A battle royale setting is one that’s almost always bound to provide plenty of actions and thrills, meaning plenty of opportunity for the show to keep the audience on their toes and entertained. If Tower of God is able to build up these two elements and churn out new and interesting twists through their use, it’s likely to garner a fan following.
Tom: Bam himself though is likely to be the series weakest link. For as intriguing as Tower of God is with a distinct lack of answers and only the hints of world building, Bam himself feels all too thin. Namely his dialogue lacks personality, making him feel like a bog standard/self insert/undefined typical battle shonen lead. But to be fair this episode is plot heavy, pushing the audience forward at a quick pace. There’s always the possibility that if we slow down Bam might become a more fleshed out lead, particularly if we can delve deeper into his past, but right now he feels like the least interesting aspect of the show.
Linny: Bam indeed feels like the weakest link of the show so far. He is already giving me strong vibes of being yet another pure hearted yet secretly overpowered/special MC who will win this competition more through plot armor, inner goodness and inborn ‘special’ skills than his own active wit, planning or personal struggle. Of course it is too early to dismiss the show over mere speculation but if this turns out to be true, the show isn’t going to win over anyone sick of the above tropes. And given how much time is spent showing him mourning/bonding with his now lost friend/lover makes him feel even more generic, similar to almost every single Shounen hero who has lost a loved one and now uses that as their sole motivation and obsession. Out of the two shows debuting today though, Tower of God is hands down the one to watch out for and as long as the story starts to inject some actual personality and ingenuity into its lead, instead of relying on plot armor, this may prove to be one of this season’s more interesting titles.
Tom: Tower of God is something to keep an eye on, and I’m recommending it for that fact alone. Its success, in my eyes, will largely depend upon if the mystery of the Tower proves intriguing, and the hints of world building gradually get expanded upon. It’ll also depend on if we can start to craft compelling characters, as what we have now with Bam is workable, but hardly worth sticking around an entire season for. If nothing else Tower of God seems poised to be Spring’s looker, offering stylistically rough visuals with smooth, impressive animation where it counts.
Tower of God is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com