REVIEW: ‘Tower of God,’ Season 1- A Journey That Never Ceased To Surprise Me

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Tower of God
Tower of God Season 1 is a fantasy anime based on the original manhwa published by Telecom Animation Film and released in the U.S. as a Crunchyroll Original.  There was once a lonely boy named Bam. One day, he is discovered by a girl named Rachel. Rachel took care of Bam, showed him kindness, and taught him a great many things. But one day, Rachel leaves Bam to climb the Tower of God. It is said that if you ascend to the top of the tower whatever you desire is yours. Not being able to resist this call, Rachel abandons Bam. Now, all alone, Bam’s only desire is to be reunited with Rachel. And if whatever one desires is at the top of the Tower, then that must be where he’ll find Rachel.

Tower of God Season 1 is one of those series that is hard to describe. Especially without venturing into spoiler territory. When I initially read the synopsis, I figured it was a straight forward fantasy tale where I would follow a group of heroes as they overcome monsters and obstacles to reach a mythical goal. And while that assumption isn’t wrong, it’s just not nearly all there is to it. Politics, class struggles, friendship, trust, and betrayal are all themes bound up in the series greater narrative. Just when I thought I had a handle on what this show is, another reveal would completely change my thoughts. And this stays true right up till the final episode.

Let’s start by talking about what I think some will say is Tower of God Season 1’s greatest strength, and others, its greatest weakness. Namely, world-building. Tower of God does a great job building out the aspects of its world that are pertinent to its story but leaves out anything that isn’t immediately important. This keeps the plot from getting bogged down in exposition, but also makes it so one must oftentimes accept whatever is happening at face value and move on. This isn’t a bad thing, but if you are the kind of viewer that doesn’t like not knowing details like, is this some version of Earth, or are these strange creatures aliens or mythical creatures, there is going to be lots that will frustrate.

While the general world is not truly realized the individuals and groups the story does explore are fantastically fleshed out. While Bam is obviously the most explored character in Tower of God Season 1 the story takes time to let viewers get to know several of the larger side characters. This expands the viewers’ concern far beyond just the main protagonist. The handling of the supporting cast is reminiscent of the way characters are handled in My Hero Academia. And I don’t make that comparison lightly.  And while the character exploration is great all around, the frequent show-stealers have to be the Princesses of Jahad.

Tower of God

The Princesses of Jahad are a group of women chosen by King Jahad for their skills and power to be his princesses. These individuals play a huge roll in the events of Tower of God Season 1 and the more I learned about them, the more I wanted to see.  The show reveals aspects and truths surrounding these characters at a perfect pace. While they are initially presented as a cohesive whole, the show quickly reveals that infighting is certainly a norm. I dearly hope that Season two further follows these characters.

Since I’m over 500 words into this review, I suppose I probably ought to talk about our lead character, Bam. First off are you a fan of sweet, naive boys who want to do kind things and make the world a better place? Are the likes of Deku or Tanjiro your preferred protagonist? If so, you are gonna love our boy Bam.

Kindhearted to a fault, Bam’s greatest gift is his genuine concern for pretty much everyone. As someone who had nothing, and then summarily lost what he did have, he never hesitates to reach out to others. Even those he is in direct competition with receiving no ill will from him. He wants to be happy again, but he has no desire to hurt others to get what he wants.

The last aspect of Tower of God Season 1’s narrative is it’s action sequences. I personally really enjoyed these moments. While not as action-oriented as I expected, when they come they hit great. With a huge diversity of abilities among the characters, every fight scene delivers something new. And while none of these moments reach the frenzied levels of some other animes, they are great for their uniqueness, if not their power level.

The visual presentation of Tower of God Season 1 is something unique as well. The character designs are fantastic, with each individual standing out in their own way. Also of note is the coloring in this series. Everything about this shows visual presentation feels less saturated than usual. While colors are still striking where intended, they don’t feel as hard on the eyes.

At the end of it all, I cannot recommend Tower of God Season 1 enough. It is fun, charming, surprising, heartwarming, and heartbreaking all in one. The finale delivers a twist that I never saw coming and looks to significantly change the show for its second season. If you only dive into one new anime over the summer I would definitely recommend Tower of God.

Tower of God Season 1 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


Tower of God Season 1
9.5/10

TL;DR

At the end of it all, I cannot recommend Tower of God Season 1 enough. It is fun, charming, surprising, heartwarming, and heartbreaking all in one. The finale delivers a twist that I never saw coming and looks to significantly change the show for its second season. If you only dive into one new anime over the summer I would definitely recommend Tower of God.