The God of High School, a Crunchyroll Original anime based on the WEBTOON of the same name by Yongje Park focuses on three high schoolers, Mori, Mira, and Daewi as they compete in an eponymous “The God of High School” tournament. Over the last four episodes we’ve seen glimpses of growing friendship and character development but in The God of High School episode 5 we see the most emotional depth the series has shown thus far. While last episode felt anticlimactic in a way, seeing Daewi injure Mira to the point of bleeding out hit hard. His strength and resolve was apparent while we also learned his friend in the hospital was getting closer to death.
Now, The God of High School episode 5 we learn that Daewi’s goal is to get money to help his best friend, Woo Seungtae, who suffers from an incurable disease. After showing that he won’t be holding back, in his fight with Mira the stage is set for a large battle between him and Morin in the finals. For his semi-final fight, Mori handily defeats Brazilian jiu-jitsu user Byeon Jaehee. Angered by Daewi’s method of defeating Mira by targeting her injuries, Mori holds nothing back. But, Daewi learns that Seungtae has taken a turn for the worse and this strengthens his resolution even further.
While the last episode told Mira’s story by focusing on her family and the man attempting to marry her, The God of High School episode 5 is Daewi’s episode and every instance that explains his background includes him directly. In fact, the opening of this episode is not only well done from a storytelling standpoint because of how much background was given in minutes, but because of how emotional it was. Beyond the opening, the fight between Mori and Daewi is the longest we’ve seen in the series so far, taking up the majority of the episode. And yet, even with high octane action, there are moments that cut to Daewi’s motivations that make his ruthless drive all make sense.
The emotion is one of the components of The God of High School episode 5 that easily makes it the best of the bunch so far, but the other components are score and dynamic fight animation. For the score, the fight isn’t as bombastic as the last ones which were quick and backed by high energy music. For Daewi versus Mori, the fight has a somber feeling with strings setting the atmosphere, letting the audience know without a doubt that this fight isn’t just physical, but emotional as well.
To the second point, the fight animation sequences in The God of High School remains one of my favorite elements. While some fans have taken issue with the way that Mori’s triple kick is animated, and understandably so, the rest of the animation choices specifically in Daewi and Mori’s fight adds more character and emotional investment to it. Instead of showing to characters from a third-person view battling, we get first person perspectives that allows the audience to jump into their favorite character’s shoes and understand how close they are to a loss or how close they are to a win.
Additionally, as punches and kicks barely miss connecting with their targets the animation team shows the rippling effect the power behind them has which makes for a visual representation of how evenly matched the two characters are, at least in the beginning. Finally, this fight also uses different art techniques from thick black ink outlines to a style reminiscent of the webtoon itself.
Finally, the other element of The God of High School episode 5 that I fell in love with is how this episode builds out Daewi as tsundere type character. But in addition to that, it evolves friendship between him, Mori, and Mira by having certain events mirror his relationship with his hospitalized friend. In fact, this episode does heavy lifting both in action and emotion that it’s hard to believe that both elements are executed perfectly. For Daewi we learn about who he is, how he builds bonds, and ultimately his motivations which are rooted in friendship. And for the fight, we see some of the most brutal action and equally matched opponents since the series started.
Overall, The God of High School episode 5, “Ronde/Hound” is phenomenal. It’s everything that anime should be and ultimately brings enough heart to rebuild my interest after a lack luster fourth episode. It’s also clear who the creator’s favorite is among our three protagonists.
The God of High School is available only on Crunchyroll every Monday.