The longer this series goes on, the more I feel like I’m losing touch with reality. When I first started writing about it, I mentioned that there was some dreamlike quality to the events of the first episode. After pulling back on that assessment for a while, I’m now fully back in the mindset that I’m in some kind of fugue state and barely keeping together in my head what’s going on in Tower of God.
The episode begins by throwing another pinch of lore in our general direction. Telling us that Jahad was the first one to climb this tower, and subsequently become its King, whether these actions are linked has yet to be determined. It also confirmed my supposition from earlier that the Princesses are all appointed ranks, rather than being daughters of the King. Also, part of the deal of becoming a Princess and being granted some of Jahad’s power is that they can’t ever have children.
Because, apparently this power has a tendency to pass generations, and like any good leader; Jahad wants to keep his subjects as controlled and under his thumb as possible. So what happened with Anak and her mother seems to be making a lot more sense now. Although I assumed she had been assassinated to begin with, but watching the flashbacks makes it seem like she took her own life instead.
Back the the present, we’re seeing the continuation of the fight at the Fisherman exam between Anak and the Horned Princess. One that seemed to be full of rage and a thirst for revenge previously, now has quickly turned into a less than serious game of pinching and underhanded tactics. So I guess there isn’t as much animosity there as I thought there was.
Meanwhile, Bam is going around being nice to everyone and learning his water magic, and helping Hanz and Shibitsu get the last couple of friends they needed for the Scout tests. It surprises me that Hanz is a scout and not a fisherman, considering he’s a badass on par with Anak. It’s cute though, they, Bam and Khun devise a plan to bait the two princesses with food to get them to sign the forms.
It works of course. The true path to any anime girl’s heart is through her stomach.
One interesting side note, on the forms we see Shibitsu holding, Bam signs his name as the “Twenty-Fifth Bam”. I’ve seen that written on wikis and stuff while trying to find character names online, but I thought that was a spoiler for things that were yet to come. It certainly adds to the “chosen one” type vibe that everyone around him seems to be picking up on.
After this we finally get back to the testing. And we hit Test 4: Tag. Although it’s not tag as you know it. It seems that everyone failed their class exams except for Rak and the big guy from Rachel’s trio. Thus they’re exempt from participating. For everyone else, they’re split into two teams, each of which has a leader bearing a badge.
The point of the game is to either get your team’s leader to their goal, steal the badge from the opposing leader or both I’m guessing. Doing either of which will award points, which I only just now realise are being used as currency to pay for food and medical bills between tests.
At this point, my already tentative understanding of what’s going on seemed to spiral every further from my grasp. The half-cocked, incompetent seeming examiner from earlier is allowed to run this particular test, much to Hisoka Blanco’s displeasure. Not only that, he announces he is participating himself and will act as the leader for one of the teams. So wait, how is this fair?
He’s a Ranker, presumably, and how is getting involved in the tests himself allowed? It’s almost like this entire thing is disorganised chaos and people just do whatever they want to at the drop of a dime. Like, wasn’t climbing the tower being painted as a life changing opportunity, so how is it that the people who have already done it can just swoop in and mop the floor with you?
Unless, of course, it’s all one big con and both teams are unaware that they’re actually competing with an examiner rather than each other.
The rest of the episode is the game, only seen from the side of Khun and Shibitsu. Bam is on the opposing side apparently. Although, this examiner seems to be ignoring the rules of the game in favour of breaking way from his team (who is supposed to be defending him) and going after team Khun on his own.
Once again, it feels like the show is just speeding past half of the plot points that a longer form shonen would be dragging out and explaining in mind-numbing detail. Not that I want that either, but there needs to be a happy medium I feel isn’t being reached here. I’m still not sure if that’s supposed to be the point though.
That we are supposed to be constantly swimming in this state of dream-like half-understanding. But even so, I ended this episode a little frustrated in that I have no idea why anything is happening on screen. Maybe I’m dumb, maybe I’m slow, maybe I’ve just become too used to anime having no concept of subtext. But I’m worried that in the second half of this series, things are only going to spiral more into chaos than reaching a form of coherence for the sake of a season finale.