Webtoons are digital versions of manwha, which are comics that originate from South Korea in the same way manga originates from Japan. They’re designed with an infinite canvas that can be read on your phone, tablet, or computer. While it’s not as big as manga, webtoons are starting to grow a global audience, especially in the West. The largest webtoon platform is Line WEBTOON, which has announced a partnership with Crunchyroll last year to produce anime adaptations of their catalog. This brings us to today’s subject matter, which was from a webtoon written and illustrated by S.U.I. and was released in spring of this year. This is Tower Of God.
A boy named Bam spent most of his life living under a tower with his friend Rachel. When Rachel disappears, Bam enters the tower, where he must participate in a series of tests and trials in order to get to the top of the tower, where any wish could be granted. Like most anime series, I’ve seen a bunch of people talking about this on social media and I was curious to see what the hype was about. So I binged the whole series in a week, which was tough for me because the first episode didn’t really hook me. It starts with our protagonist being at the first floor of the tower and the caretaker of the tower expositing about the rules of the tower and the numerous trials one must go through. The rest of the series is Bam and other participants going through a series of tests and battles to get to the top of the tower. It’s almost a bit like Hunter x Hunter, but not as compelling or good. In terms of characters, I wasn’t really invested in any of them because they were either bland, one-dimensional, or annoying. Bam is pretty much a simp whose only motivation of climbing the tower is finding Rachel. There’s a white-haired kid named Khun who’s the typical stoic badass and a lizard guy named Rak who calls everyone a turtle.
And then there’s Rachel. Alright, let’s talk about the main thing people talked about from the anime. At the end of episode 12, at the end of a trial that both Bam and Rachel participated in involving them being in an underwater ball, Rachel pushes Bam out of the ball. This made her one of the most hated anime characters in recent times. I saw a whole lot of people, especially webtoon readers, express their hatred of Rachel before I even got to the episode. The next episode goes into flashbacks explaining Rachel’s motivation and show her in a more sympathetic light, but the damage was already done. I honestly can’t muster up the energy to hate this character because I didn’t care about anyone in this story. And while we’re on the story, it’s kind of a mess in terms of pacing. It’s either moving too slow or too fast, there’s never a sweet middle ground. I heard that they cut a lot of scenes from the original webtoon which further expanded the story and characters, which makes sense when you think about it. Another issue with the story is that it’s over-complicated with subplots that doesn’t gel well with one another. Aside from Bam simping for Rachel, there’s also a royal family feud involving princesses and widespread conspiracies that aim to sabotage the tower climb and assassinate certain contestants. On the more positive side, the animation’s pretty decent even if it is a pretty simple style for anime and even though I’m not too big on K-pop, I really enjoyed the opening and ending songs, both performed by K-pop group Stray Kids. That’s the most enjoyment I got out of the whole series, which is not a good sign.
And that was Tower Of God. Man, was I not a fan of this. The animation’s alright, but the characters were flat, the pacing was uneven, the action is pretty standard, and aside from the twist in the second-to-last episode, I didn’t remember much from it. This is just a mid anime series. If they ever do a season 2, I would still check it out, but I’m not excited for it. If you’re interested, all 13 episodes are on Crunchyroll right now. Next time, I’ll be talking about Neon Genesis: Evangelion. This will be fun.