The key to crafting an effective conflict—much like slaying a vampire—is stakes. For an audience to be emotionally invested, they must know what is on the line. If the heroes lose, the world ends—or something to that effect. It also helps if the audience knows both sides of a conflict. True, mystery can increase the threat of an opponent, but that still leaves one side that must be thoroughly explored. Without any of these factors, simply put, nobody cares.
If there’s one thing The God of High School loves, it’s avoiding consequences. Throughout its entire run, every time a fight would have a solid impact on the story, it is side stepped. This week’s juke sees us learn of Ilpyo’s motivation for joining GOH. Long story short, Taek busted up the leg of one of Ilpyo’s friends—preventing her from ever fighting again. So, Ilpyo wants to win and wish her back to fighting form. Simple. Unfortunately, he is fighting Team Seoul (a.k.a. our protagonists). So, how do we root for our leads when their victory means preventing someone from ever regaining their ability to perform martial arts (their passion)? Easy: just have said injured girl turn up and say she doesn’t need Ilpyo to fight for her sake. Now it doesn’t matter if Ilpyo loses, and we can feel fine cheering on Mori. See the pattern here? Anytime Mori might come across as a jerk for preventing people achieving their non-evil dreams, some outside force removes their need for victory. Hell, the series killed Daewi’s friend for the same reason. Seriously, plot convenience is the most dangerous foe in this series.
Speaking of Ilpyo…I guess he’s The Key? Also…I have no idea what The Key is. Ballpark guess, Nox needs him to free their evil god—what that has to do with him now being a fox boy I have no idea. Mira also reacts to Ilpyo’s awakening, as it makes his GP become -1. That’s cool…I have no idea what GP is. The series mentioned it way back in the first episode as being a way to determine a fighter’s power, but there’s never been a clear scale on what the number means. Regardless, Ilpyo is super magic now and is probably going to beat Mori six ways from Sunday. But hey, just like I mentioned in the last paragraph, the series still gave itself an out: Mira. She hasn’t fought yet; all she has to do is win and Team Seoul still moves on: conflict averted. That being said, Mori could awaken his charyeok and become The Double Key for all I know…it’d make just as much sense as what’s already happening.
And how about those Nox cats? What a crazy bunch of folks. Their leader is out and about now (whatever that means). The dude took off his hood and tried to destroy a town with a giant sword (and/or maybe God?). Luckily for everybody in said town, Mujin held the sword at bay with his magic, unexplained hand, while one of The Six destroyed it with a crate of National Treasures. If any part of that sentence confused you, welcome to the club. Did I mentioned the musical troop that accompanied the member of The Six? Because their was a musical troop that accompanied the member of The Six. The Commissioners also fought…I don’t know any of their names…we also haven’t seen half of them fight. They all looked cool flipping around; I guess that’s something. They also beat Nox…so, hooray?
Oh, if I could focus on Mori for a second…it’d be about as in depth a look as we’ve gotten. Look, I don’t mean to sound perpetually mean, but man does this series make it hard to be positive sometimes. As we begin this episode, Mori is understandably furious about recent events. With Mujin finally giving them some information regarding Nox, Mori is driven to victory under the pretence of finding out even more. This set up would lead one to believe that Mori is about to go through a brooding phase, focused solely on victory and rescuing his grandfather. Nope. One quick nicety from Daewi and ol’ Mori is back and jazzed to fight Ilypo. Where was the brooding? Where was the time spent watching Mori’s spiral? I don’t wish pain on the guy, but we need to see a little darkness before his friends drag him out of it. Again, the only consequences of any actions are washed away immediately. Even Mori’s tactics for surpassing an opponent stronger than him occur after, like, two seconds of losing. Had Mori begun his fight against Ilpyo mired in fury, then his discovery that his allies’ tactics can fill in his own weaknesses would’ve actually had an emotional impact. Instead, having Mori use both Mira and Daewi’s fighting styles didn’t feel earned.
I feel like these Writings have devolved into me ragging on The God of High School in the same way every week…probably because they have. I feel bad about it, I really do. I want to like this series; I want to care, but damn does The God of High School fight me on that every week. This episode featured a troop of super-powered folk in snazzy suits fighting a group of evil cultists, all while a sword wielded by God (?) hung overhead…and I didn’t care in the slightest. I don’t think I knew the name of a single character in that brawl except for Q and that’s only because I looked up his name to use in a previous Writings. And if this cult can already summon God (?), why do they need The Key? Why does anybody? What is The Key? Why should we care about The Key? Will The Key change anything about this series? Can everybody see charyeok? What happened to those two masseuses from the first episode? How many more episodes will it be until I have any idea what’s happening in this series? Unfortunately, the answer to all of the above is: I dunno.