The God of High School gets off to a fine start in “Set up/Stand up”, getting right into the action but teasing at bigger things to come for this Crunchyroll Original.
This recap of Crunchyroll original anime The God of High School season 1, episode 1, “Set up/Stand up”, contains spoilers.
It took the new Crunchyroll Original anime The God of High School only a couple of minutes to get my attention – and another 20 or so to prove there’s plenty more in store. But that opening is everything, especially in such a crowded anime climate. Speaking of climate, that’s actually a part of what “Set up/Stand up” suggests its nebulous string-pulling corporation can control; that, and apparently the granting of any wish imaginable for the winner of its titular martial arts competition, which protagonist Jin Mori races to in an excellent opening chase sequence through downtown Seoul.
An anything-goes martial arts tournament isn’t a fresh anime concept – Netflix’s Baki used the same one recently – but The God of High School episode 1, thanks to the potential of its weather-manipulating underpinnings, its strong characters, and its vibrant art, suggests that there’s plenty still to be wrung out of the idea. Joining Jin and rounding out the trio of central characters are Yu Mi-Ra and Han Dae-Wi, enticing fellows all, and with a distinctness that continues to be reflected later by MAPPA’s dynamic aesthetic design, even amid some chaos.
That chaos is teeming with game-y fixtures and fittings, like the participants’ level and HP displayed on little bracelets, and even a brief 8-bit pixel-art cutaway. The style is obvious to see immediately and comes through forcefully in these opening sections as the thrown-together trio prepares to compete. There’s a lot of storytelling economy in The God of High School, which is always a good sign, and it leaves the latter half of “Set up/Stand up” to be devoted to the late arrival of Kang Manseok, a fighter with a health handicap who nonetheless runs riot throughout the contestants – including Mira and Mori.
With its straight-to-the-point attitude, stellar visuals, and immediate action, not to mention a compelling high-concept context around the tournament, The God of High School season 1, episode 1 pulls no punches and suggests an impressive, stylish anime is in store here.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.