It wouldn’t be a true final test for the series if it didn’t contain an overly complex, near impossible to follow situation. One which is in actuality a smokescreen for some other nefarious undertaking going on underneath the surface. That’s the series I’ve come to know and love and why would I expect anything else.
One of the things I’ve realised I enjoy about Tower of God over the course of this season is how this series doles out its lore. Slowly giving you bits and drabs of information, while also continuing to obscure the actual nature of the world(s) this series is taking place in. As well as what exactly passes for normal within it.
Through the eyes of our point of view character in Bam, we get the perfect introduction into this strange and foreign world. With Bam also from a world different than the one the rest of the characters inhabit, he is wonderfully wide eyed and innocent to the ways of the world he now finds himself in, fumbling through each challenge as he encounters it.
We only really know what Bam knows, although as the story has progressed, we’ve been given hints and clues to the grander world of the series; a world ruled by a regency, one in which personal strength seems to be the be all and end all, full of animal hybrids, monsters, guys with wings and relatively normal people thrown into the mix too.
On top of that, we’re thrown into this extraordinary circumstance in which we follow a character whose not only challenging this life or death bid for power, but now adding an extra layer of difficulty to it by now taking the administer test instead of the normal one.
All while some agent of the king conspires with the director of the tests to forward their own agenda, to the detriment of those risking their lives for whatever personal reasons they have to climb the tower. The fact that we don’t actually know why anyone would want to take this test in the first place is yet another air of mystery about the series.
For a good while, I was frustrated by this obscuration of information regarding the world, combined with the obvious cuts the series had to make to fit the story it wanted to tell into 13 episodes. At a point the show’s intentional withholding of the nature of the world started to mix in my mind with the choices the writing team had made to cut length which actively hurt the series’ storytelling in my opinion.
It doesn’t really help that I always seemed to watch this show half asleep. But since then I’ve made the conscious effort to force those two aspects of the show apart again and just focus on what is important about Tower of God, and that’s the characters.
At this point, this final set of episodes has begun to set up the conclusion of the coming together of the final group of characters around Bam as a focal point. What began as a collection of strangers and rivals have come together and forged some kind of bond thanks to Bam’s seemingly infectious good will and gentle personality.
It’s already shown that the characters we care about are more than willing to follow Bam, despite knowing they’d most likely become pariah’s of sorts for following him. This final exam looks like it’s going to cut the rest of the fat, shore up the characters who remain and set us up for whatever lies ahead when Bam & Co actually start climbing the tower.
But to actually touch upon this episode itself, we’re thrown into the final exam, where the group, now fully embodying their roles, all set up to defend a group of seal-dolphins while they hunt. Bam and Rachel are essentially sitting out the exam, being stuck in a bubble and acting as the target that the seal-dolphins need to feed to their queen.
While everyone else has to fend off goblins, their big cattle leeches and some big gangly monster called the Bull. So the obvious play would be for everyone to split up as far from one another as possible and then get overwhelmed individually instead of working as a team. Of course.
Things go poorly for pretty much everyone. As Endorsi is beaten near to death by the Bull and Anak is targeted by the agent of the king who conspired with the exam director to take the two swords in her possession. I don’t want to dig too deeply into the events of this episode right now, because I feel like this is the typical low point before things start to turn around in the next episode.
We are introduced to the concept of being an “anima” though, an ability to control other beings through use of Shinsu. As the young looking scout girl uses a flying fish she’s been carrying around to aid Khun in tracking what is happening during the test underground.
Sorry if this was less of a review and more a bit of rambling on my feelings towards the series, but I really want to see things turn around before I dig into the action and I hope Bam and Rachel are a little more active in the exam than their position currently would lead us to believe.