WHY THE GOD OF HIGHSCHOOL’S ANIME WAS SUCH A BAD ADAPTATIONJuly 5, 2021
The God of Highschool is undoubtedly one of the biggest comic series on the webtoon platform. This can be attributed to a lot of things; the great art, amazing fight scenes, fantastic characters and even the incredibly enticing plot.
Sadly, just because something sounds good in concept, it doesn’t always mean it’ll turn out well. This is exactly what happened with Studio MAPPA’s adaptation of the popular webtoon series. While many would say the anime is quite a good show, albeit with a bit of a confusing plot, most readers of the webtoon will tell you that the anime a blunder of an adaptation on par with that of Arifureta’s.
I don’t wanna rant too much, so I’ll just give you my take on what made the anime such a bland adaptation.
THE CHANGES FROM THE SOURCE MATERIAL
Before I elaborate on this point, I’d like to point out the fact that this isn’t a rare occurrence in the anime industry. Often times minor things are changed to keep up with the times if the source material is old. At other times, its to fix things that were badly done in the source material, but it doesn’t always sit well with fans.
The God of Highschool takes this to another level by changing quite a lot of moments that were symbolic in the webtoon, making them what one would call “anime clichés”. A good example is how all members of the main cast unlock their “borrowed power” mid-fight as opposed to the their training before the finals. It also also makes unnecessary changes to the story that end up making no sense in context and refuses to deal with the aftermath of such choices.
Another example of this would be Mori’s fight with Ilpyo in the tournament; in the webtoon, Mori experiences a one-side defeat. This is used as a means to show his overall skill level compared to Ilpyo at that point in time. In the anime however, the fight is changed to make Mori win in a way that can only be considered an ass-pull, as the power he uses doesn’t even exist nor has it ever been referenced to in the source material. The use of the Level system was also mishandled, mostly by being introduced only to end up being totally irrelevant.
THE CHARACTERIZATION OF THE CAST
Another thing that could be said to be an issue is the way the characters differ from their original Inceptions. Certain characters who will become important later on have their development skipped entirely, which will make it very confusing when they appear later in the story. Amongst the main cast, Mori has also been made more of an idiot than he was in the webtoon.
Notably, while characters like Daewi and Jin Pumgwang have their beautiful development uncut from the series, it doesn’t do much to fix the problem the series will have you face later down the line if they choose to proceed with a second season.
Let’s get this straight, Studio MAPPA to is one of the best anime studios in Japan and are very well-respected in the anime community. They’ve shown us their capabilities, and were even able to simultaneously produce two high quality shows (Jujutsu Kaisen & Attack on Titan Season 4). However, this doesn’t mean they’re above making mistakes.
As a studio that is know for their stunning animation, whether it be traditional 2D or a blend of hand-drawn and CGI. This was the case for both Jujutsu Kaisen and Attack on Titan Season 4. However, the animation quality in God of Highschool could be described as “Lazy”. Sure, the sequences might look cool, but its actually just a bunch badly drawn frames that look good moving. This might look good to an average viewer, but is basically cancer to those with sharp eyes. While one or two instances of this might have been passable, this is something that I caught onscreen quite frequently. This ended up ruining my immersion and dragging the series even further down on my ratings board.
Contrary to popular belief, The God of Highschool’s popularity isn’t solely due to the insane action it has, but is also partly due to its incredible storytelling and art. A lot of characters get their own arcs and the world is really well fleshed out with fantastic panels. Unfortunately, the anime made the awful decision of skipping certain arcs and plot points, making the plot confusing to follow. What I believe could have solved this issue was just simply bumping up the episode count, which would give the show more time to establish certain plot points and flesh out its characters a bit more.
I’ll not dispute the fact that the show is quite enjoyable for casual anime viewers. This however doesn’t mean that the show wasn’t without backlash. Majority of the show’s fanbase is made up of the webtoon readers so naturally a lot of the above mentioned problems were brought up in the community on social media. Overall, the GOH anime ended up as a lackluster adaptation when compared to Tower of God which aired a few months earlier.
Well, these are just my views, and I can’t say I speak for everyone in the fanbase. I just wanted to point out what I believed to be the reasons for the disappointing adaptation that we received. It really makes you question whether or not webtoons are ready to become “anime”.