I never intended to write episodic reviews of any of the shows I’m watching this season, but after seeing episode four of God of High School, I couldn’t help myself but come on here and comment on what a weird, out of left field episode this ended up being. So I feel like this post is going to descend into more of a rant than proper review. So if you adored “marriage/bonds” for some reason, prepare to be triggered.
The premise of this episode plucks us out of the preliminaries of tournament we’ve spent the past three episodes following and instead focuses on the character of Mira and her goals that led her to joining the tournament in the first place. Y’see, Mira is the last remaining practitioner of her families sword style. At least, she’s the last one strong enough to use it properly.
Thus, her goal is to live up to her father’s last wishes and find a way to continue the tradition and prevent the sword style from dying out by finding a way to pass it on. While originally joining the tournament with this as her wish, an alternative solution presents itself.
She is approached by a famous professional fighter who proclaims his love for her, and asks her to marry him. He calls her a diamond in the rough and is enamoured by both her and her sword style that he promises to make into a practice known around the world, so much so that it’ll become an event in the Olympics.
This seems like a perfect solution for Mira. She’s going to get exactly what she wants. She might not love the guy, but he seems genuine enough, and she might learn to love him down the road. But in the end, she’s found a way to do exactly what it is that’s most important to her.
So why the hell does everyone around her insist on butting in and trying to get in her way. This feels like a plot from a late arc Harem Romance story. Except the main difference being that this is the 4th episode in a series, Mira and Jin have displayed no romantic interest in one another, and in fact barely really know one another.
So why is Jin so interested in getting in her business like this. I know this is an anime, but political or marriages of convenience happen all the time in the real world. And at face value, this marriage seems perfectly beneficial for both parties in their own way. Sure, the guy turns out to be evil in the end, but he betrays absolutely nothing of this to anyone, not giving anyone a genuine reason to interfere with the marriage when they do so.
Like I said, this feels like an arc that would take place much later in a story. Jin really doesn’t have any reason to butt in like he does, he claims it’s because her progress in the tournament would go to waste. But this is serving the exact reason she entered the tournament in the first place; plus she’s like three fights into it. And she didn’t break a sweat to get that far, it’s hardly like she’s throwing away some massive achievement. Jin seems like the selfish on at face value to me here.
I spent literally most of this episode wondering why the hell everyone was getting up in Mira’s business. She made the decision to do what she felt was right by her goals and honouring her father, yet everyone was trying to butt in with no consideration for her own agency over her own life. Jin hasn’t know her long enough to “see the truth in her heart” or some anime nonsense like that, nor does the blue haired groom-to-be betray any of his true intentions until the wedding is called off.
If anything, Jin stumbling on the truth from the beginning would have been perfect justification for him to get involved at this point in the story and would have blown almost all my problems with this episode out of the window.
Almost all anyway, because after Mira wraps up her little story and gets her moment of growth in letting go of her father’s wooden sword and learning to grow without it, we get a massive bit of tonal whiplash to end the episode on.
Daewi, the big guy whose friend is dying of cancer, gets accosted by some of the scummiest bullies I’ve ever seen in media, mocking him because their classmate is literally on death’s door from very aggressive cancer and he cares about him. What a loser! Understandably, and justifiably, he beats the every loving crap out of them.
And then we cut to his fight with Mira in the next round of the tournament… already in progress. Like Jin, we’re late to the fight and see him beating Mira near to death like he did the bullies from the scene before.
I’m sorry, what?
So we just went through an entire story focusing on Mira growing beyond her attachment to a symbol of her father and growing as a result. An event Daewi was present for and played a major role in, and minutes later we see her bloody and half dead and him stood over her looking like a different person.
I’m sure he has some justification and stuff. But it’s the total undermining of the entire episode focusing on Mira by having her rolled up and tossed aside, essentially off screen. Talk about some major tonal whiplash.
Right now, I’m two for two when it comes to these anime based on comics from Webtoons where I feel they totally suck at story pacing and structure. These events out of context from one another are fine, as problematic as I did find Mira’s part of the story. But when put together in such close proximation, in the same episode no less, it feels like it totally undermines Mira as a character the trial she had to go through.
The show didn’t even do her the honour of drawing the fight out into some tragic act of betrayal. It might as well have just smash cut to her in a hospital bed right after having her say her father’s spirit lives on inside her. And as a consequence, I find have zero interest and investment in the fight between Jin and Daewi coming up in the next episode.
As of right now, I feel pretty down on God of High School. Sure it looks nice, but at the moment I’m annoyed enough with it that it feels like a weak justification to keep watching it. I am going to keep watching it, but I’m doing so from a place needing it to prove itself.