They say that all good things must come to an end. What they don’t say is how cataclysmic said end may be. Now, I’m all about reducing human experiences into easy-to-understand phrases, but maybe add an addendum or two: all good things must come to an end, but be sure to stand outside of the blast radius of the incoming ballistic missiles that are going to do the ending. Something like that.
So, it would seem we have hit the endgame of this series. Well, the part just before the endgame, since I believe there is still one episode left. I kind of hope there’s one episode left. Not because I’m champing at the bit for more God of High School, but because this particular segment of story is woefully underdeveloped—even by this series’ standards. I feel like such a jerk for constantly railing on this series, but it encapsulates my thoughts after walking away from every episode. And since that has been my experience every episode, even the apocalyptic stakes of this latest fight mean nothing to me; I have no idea who half of the characters are and even the ones I know something about seem entirely inconsequential. Would it even surprise anybody at this point that the day was saved by an almost brand-new character? Because apparently the grandfather of the guy Taek ate—whom we saw very briefly once (as he was telling his grandson to enter GOH)—is, like, the strongest dude ever. He transmutates hundreds of nuclear missiles into a giant, ornate spear (which is stronger?), and then summons a meteor to drive said spear into the back of God. Also, this blows up Seoul. So…good job?
Oh, and where did those nuclear missiles I mentioned come from? Remember that president guy from, like, the second episode? The one who looks like Robert Downey Jr.? Yeah, he dissolves his allegiance with Mujin and decides to kill God with missiles. Also, he had an allegiance with Mujin? Also, everybody was cool with him destroying Seoul? Also, he had that many missiles on standby? Also, what the hell? Honestly, when a series makes you say, “Sure, why not?” you know it’s jumped the shark. Wait. Taek is a shark. Is the bad guy of this series a metaphor for how bonkers everything is? Is this series actually self-aware? I doubt it, but it’s a fun thought experiment. Also, Taek isn’t a shark anymore. Yeah, his power is not called The Impoverished and looks like a bunch of creepy zombies…and he has a bunch of eyes on his actual body…and an extra mouth. Because why the hell not? Anyway, this all leaves us with a multi-sided war: Taek vs Mujin vs Nox. I guess we’re supposed to rally behind Mujin, but really only because being a jerk who willingly pits teenagers against each other in blood sport is a little less evil than trying to kill the world. Hooray for there being a lesser evil.
I suppose I should mention what our main characters are doing during all of this chaos, but, honestly, a great deal of it happens off screen. Daewi apparently has full control of his charyeok, which he uses to stabilise Ilpyo’s friends, and Mira can summon her charyeok at will as well. It doesn’t stop them from being pummelled by Taek off screen, but I guess it’s nice that they can do that. Also, there are so many cuts where these two are involved that it took me a second to adjust. After being warped to a new location/pocket dimension by Mujin—which I don’t even care to figure out—Daewi and Mira see and explosion; then, the episode cuts away; then, it cuts back to them preparing an attack; then, it cuts away again; then, Daewi and Mira are lying on the ground: defeated. Remember when Daewi almost fought Mori to a stand still? Because the series doesn’t. We’re firmly in only-the-protagonist-can-win territory now, folks. Also, Mori loses to Taek. Also also, Taek eats The Key—which he punched out of Ilpyo somehow—and becomes a baby; then an angel; then a demon; then basically Taek but with wings and horns. I think we’re supposed to be scared of what’s coming next, but when God was held at bay by a tournament organiser and a guy in a bucket hat—then killed by a magician with an actual wand and top hat—I really don’t have it in me to care.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that this episode gives us some backstory on Taek. Essentially, his mother was a scumbag who sold him off for money, and his “adoptive” father was a scumbag who taught him that failing at anything would make him a piece of irredeemable trash. Now, whilst that is a horrific upbringing that I would not wish on anybody, I find it hard to care about the guy who, at every possible opportunity, summons a spirit shark to rip people apart. And remember when he shattered that girl’s leg (while the tournament staff sat around and let him do it for some reason)? Honestly, the closest to compassion I can manage is hoping that Mori takes him out quickly; kicks his angel/demon head off or something. Still, my utter disdain for Taek is the closest to an emotional connection I have with any character in this series…which kind of sucks. I want to enjoy this series; I wanted it to be as cool as its fight scenes. But boy does this series make it hard to try.
One episode left…I think. I honestly have no idea, and I honestly don’t know where this story is going to end. Though I haven’t read the source material, I know it carries on beyond where the anime will end. How this will affect the final episode I have no idea. Is Taek to be defeated? Shall his reign of violence wash over the land like a scummy plague? Will Mori wake up and realise this was all a dream he was having from the coma he has been in since the first episode, when he pedalled his bike off an actual cliff? Probably not that last one, but why not at this point? To reiterate: this series showed God being killed by a spear made of faces and ballistic missiles that was driven into His spine by a meteor…and there was no emotional impact behind any of it. I honestly think I cared more about the grandmother who had her purse stolen in the first episode, and Mori made up the backstory behind that. I just…I guess we’ll just see how it all shakes out in the final episode, right? I mean, we’ve come this far; what’s one more?