Welcome to Anime Rants’ review of the summer 2020 anime The God of Highschool. I’ll offer a quick synopsis and then launch right into the review, which goes over the usual five categories. These are visuals, audio, story, characters, and personal enjoyment.
The best highschool martial artists from around the country gather and fight in tournaments in the competition known as God of Highschool. The winner will have any one wish granted. Jin Mori wants to win the tournament to get stronger and reunite with his missing grandfather. As he and his friends Mira and Daewi fight side-by-side, they learn there’s more to this competition than meets the eye. Be prepared for bombastic battles with supernatural powers at play.
The art and animation in GOH is excellent, although not all of it was particularly enjoyable to me personally. An interesting and unusual art style is used, with characters having slightly wider bodies, reddened noses and ears, and pointy features in general. I applaud an anime for using a new style, but it wasn’t really to my liking. I just couldn’t stop wondering why everyone looks like Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer. The character designs were not very impressive, and the colors were a little too dull and dark for a shounen fighting anime.
Now that we’ve got the bad stuff out of the way, let’s look at why these visuals deserve an 8/10 score. Throughout the show there are really great combat scenes for martial arts and fantasy fighting. For these battles, the animation is smooth, and excellent use is made of creative shots and camera angles. I think my favorite fight was Mori versus the awakened Ilpyo in episode 11. You’re sure to be entertained by the fantastic visuals of the tournament fights. Face expressions were good in this anime too. These reasons prove that GOH deserves an 8/10 for visuals.
The opening song, “Contradiction” by KSUKE featuring Tyler Carter, was no doubt loved by some viewers. It’s catchy, exciting, and memorable. There’s nothing wrong with the song, but it really isn’t my style. As for the ending song, “Win” by CIX, it’s honestly very forgettable. The instrument scores are fine. There are some nice fast, inspiring pieces great for action scenes and important battles. Other than that, there’s not much to say about the music. Ordinarily I’d give this category 6/10, but it deserves a little better because of the voice-acting.
Some good seiyuu appear in GOH, such as Daisuke Namikawa (Mujin Park), Kouki Uchiyama (Ilpyo), Tomokazu Seki (Announcer T), and Kenji Tsuda (Jegal). It’s nice to hear veterans like these. I was also impressed with the performance of Tatsumaru Tachibana as Jin Mori, since this is his first time as the lead character in an anime. It looks like he’s starting off well. I’m fond of the seiyuu for Mira (Ayaka Ohashi) because I loved her when she played the main character in Sabagebu! Her performance wasn’t especially amazing, but it was still alright.
For a story that is simple at its core, it was poorly presented and executed. There’s so much wrong with it that I don’t know where to begin. But here are few things. First, the story lacks any sense of originality or creativity. Boy fights battles to become stronger. Boy has good friends. Boy must face a cruel antagonist and awaken to astounding power. Ok, so that pretty much describes every shounen anime ever made. It’s true that I’m not much of a fan of shounen, but GOH is poor even by shounen standards. That’s because there’s nothing quirky or special about any of it to set it apart from scores of similar shows.
Elements such as themes, humor, and emotional moments also factor into my analysis of story. Well, the humor in GOH is inconsistent, being a primary part of the first two episodes and then disappearing almost entirely. The first episode’s bike chase was a lot of fun, and they should have incorporated more of that kind of comedy in the show. Speaking of inconsistencies, the realism of violence is all over the place. Mira’s stab wound in her side was fairly realistic, for example, and kept her from fighting well in her match against Daewi. Then we have a man who got chewed apart by Jegal’s giant shark power, emerging with only one wound on his torso.
Then we have themes and related interesting elements. Motifs of friendship and good sportsmanship in GOH are strong, and they’re good themes. But they are widely overused in shounen anime. Jegal’s theme was the opposite, that he must be the only winner and crush all opposition. He must be better than everyone else. There were no other substantial themes, and no noteworthy aspects of skilled story-crafting (foreshadowing, irony, etc.) I’m disappointed by the lost opportunities to explore mythology. The only thing we got was the story of Kyubi the nine-tailed fox god. None of the other gods or their myths were highlighted.
There’s never enough explanation for what’s happening in the story. When things are finally somwhat explained, it’s done in a sloppy manner. An example would be the explanation about Nox and their motivations. In addition to all these issues, things were too rushed. There really isnt much to redeem the story category in GOH.
The characters in GOH are mostly simple and one-dimensional. Mori is the spunky main character lookng for his lost relative. Mira is the typical girl character trying to bring back her family’s dojo. Deawi is the stoic guy who’s fighting to save his best friend. Ilpyo is the myserious and intense heart-throb. And so on. Of the main characters, the one who got the best development was probably Mira. She had most of episode 4 for her own side story. It was good to see her choose to respect her own wishes as well as pursue what she views as her duty.
Jegal was a weak and uninteresting antagonist. The agents of Nox were a bit better, but we still weren’t given enough information about them. But Jegal, it’s a pretty childish motivation for a villain to just want to be the very best and destroy all those beneath you. It’s mundane, too. And in addition to weak characters and lack of character development, there are just too many characters. There are all the opponents that the main cast fights, the various commissioners, the members of The Six, and several Nox agents. As far as I can tell the character category is mediocre.
Personal Enjoyment: 5/10
There wasn’t much that I enjoyed, but the exceptions are the comedy in the first two episodes, some of the audio, and the awesome tournament fights. I did also enjoy Mira’s character development in episode 4, and I the design of Ilpyo when his Kyubi powers are in use.
Overall Score = 5.8/10.0 Average
The overall score is calculated by taking the average of the numbers for the five categories discussed. Scores in the 5s range are considered average/mediocre, while the 6s are fine/satisfactory. For me, GOH is right on the borderline of these two. It’s a shame that this hyped up anime turned out to be nothing noteworthy at all.
That wraps it up for today. Thank you for reading! Take care and stay awesome.