Kami no Tou or Tower of God is a spring 2020 anime series based on a web comic by SUI. It’s animated by studio Telecom Animation Film and the music is by Kevin Penkin (who famously wrote the music for Made In Abyss). Takashi Sano was the director and although he’s worked on a variety of anime in different positions, this is my first time seeing him in command. Tower of God fits into fantasy, action, mystery, and drama genres. Presented here is a series review of Tower of God. Major spoilers will be avoided.
Note: I don’t know why, but Crunchyroll translates the main boy’s name as Bam, when everyone is clearly saying Yoru. I’m going with the sounds I hear, so I’ll call him Yoru.
I don’t understand what other people do about how to tell if art/animation is high quality or not. So, I just judge the visuals on whether I like them and think they look good. Tower of God has commendable and memorable art and animation. It’s not my favorite style, but I don’t dislike it. Everything including the character designs is simple but fun and colorful, and reminds me of pictures from a coloring book. The style also makes me think of anime like Katanagatari.
Tower of God also features a variety of really imaginative and impressive-looking creatures and monsters. The action and fighting scenes usually look great to me. There isn’t much for me complain about on this front other than wanting more detail and a cleaner-looking style.
The instrumental music all throughout Tower of God is great. I can’t wait to learn the individual tracks better. Opening song “Top” by Stray Kids has a style I don’t usually see so often in anime openings. However, it’s enjoyable and easy to remember the tune. I wasn’t quite as fond of the ending song, “Slump” also by Stray Kids, but it’s still good. Now on to the seiyuu (voice actors and actresses).
Of the leading characters’ seiyuu, the only one I’m not familiar with is Taichi Ichikawa, who plays Yoru. This was my first time hearing him and I think he’s doing a decent job. Nobuhiko Okamoto, voice of Khun, is one of my favorite male voice actors. I first heard him as Rin in Blue Exorcist but he’s been in many different anime including Haikyuu and BnHA. With Khun, Okamoto does a great job and departs from being type-cast as the crazy, reckless, or hyper character.
I immediately recognized that Rahel is voiced by Saori Hayami, another well-known seiyuu with great acting skills. It took me longer to realize that the voice of Rak was familiar. I didn’t make the connection until looking it up, but this seiyuu (Kenta Miyake) is famous for playing All Might in BnHA and Scar in FMA:B. He did a wonderful job with his character.
Many of the supporting characters were played by seiyuu that I know and love. These are the ones I’d recognize anywhere. They include Daisuke Ono as Laure, Hiroyuki Yoshino as Quant, Houchuu Ohtsuka as Headon, and Kenjirou Tsuda as Lero Ro. I also want to note that this was my first time hearing Akira Sekine, voice of Anaak. I’m quite impressed with her. She gets the mood right for all her normal lines, and in fight scenes she has the vocal power to yell and scream without sounding like it takes effort.
Early on, the story seems simple and not all that original. Reach the goal, become the best — just like thousands of other anime. Tower of God reeks of shounen tropes, but the story gets deeper and more nuanced as it progresses. There’s good action throughout and mostly adequate pacing and plot structure too. This series succeeds in creating excitement and suspense. There’s also some intrigue, with the different test administrators and their schemes and agendas. The plot twist toward the end was handled very well.
The show keeps up some mystery too, which helps. What is the Tower? Why does it have such a maddening effect on people? What does Rachel wish for and what are her true thoughts? There are also some fun brain twisters. The point of the red door test in episode 3 was to not overthink it. So, I failed. I thought really hard about it, haha. There is sometimes amusing humor, as well– like the dynamic between Shibisu and that woman whose name I forgot.
When it comes to universe and world lore, Tower of God presents something of a conundrum. On the other hand, there is much interesting information we learn, such as facts about Jahad Princesses, the magical weapons, the position/role system for those who climb the tower, and a little bit about Shinsu. On the other hand, this show only gives the barest minimum of information about the vast world behind it. This can sometimes be frustrating.
The main themes so far seem to be chasing your goals, friendship, and betrayal. Another is how the individual’s background and past effects who they are now and the nature of their goals and dreams. These themes are common enough in anime and in young adult media in general, but they are presented subtly and originally enough that they don’t seem stale at all.
The character concepts, presentation, and development are good overall, especially considering this is only a 13-episode first season. They could have been better in my opinion, but I didn’t dislike them. Some are stereotypes but they really didn’t bug me too much. Another plus to Tower of God is that is has so many strong women characters with varying personalities and abilities.
There are slight complexities to the main characters that make them less boring. For example, Khun has his determination against going with the flow of the Tower’s system, Yoru has his mysterious past and lack of memories, and Rak with his subtle but growing attachment to creatures previously viewed as “prey.”
I think Khun was my favorite of the main “good guys,” but I also had a lot of understanding when it comes to Rahel and all that we learn about her. I like the way the series gives many insights into Yoru’s personality and how he is who he is because of Rahel’s teachings. It was easy for me understand both Yoru and Rahel, the devoted one and the one pursuing personal goals.
Enjoyment and Total Score
I had a great time watching Tower of God and I have already recommended it to a few friends. I love the potential it has to expand and explain about its colorful world. Some of the characters really spoke to me, and the music and high action mixed with intrigue made things even better. The performances of the seiyuu were great. It’s exciting to think about what comes next. My enjoyment level for Tower of God is 8/10.
Total Score = 7.6 / 10.0 Good
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Image Credit: Tower of God. T Sano. Telecom Animation Film. 2020.