With incredible fanfare including high profile voice actors, music composed by Kevin Penkin, and popular Korean band Stray Kids performing the opening theme, Tower of God high expectations to fill leading up to its premiere.
For many WEBTOON fans, it’s a dream come true seeing their beloved characters Bam, Rachel, Khun, and Rak in an anime. For traditional anime fans, it’s the first time seeing a Korean webtoon getting animated by a Japanese studio.
With regards to the story, it’s relatively straightforward for a first episode. It does tease more about the “Tower of God” but the premise overall is sufficiently basic. The first episode does not shy away from the world’s cutthroat nature and the low weight that life seems to carry.
However, the wishes for the Tower don’t feel like they match with the heavy mood in the show. In other series with omnipotent, all-powerful wish granting objects, the motivations of the parties involved require world-distorting levels of power to accomplish. By comparison, the wishes of the Regulars seem a little like small potatoes.
The first episode stays faithful to the art style of the original source material. At first glance, it can feel rough and incomplete, especially the line art around the characters. However, it shows promise that the animation staff are respecting the author’s art style. The original source material has some moments of inconsistent detail, but fortunately the anime develops the moments up to the level of quality shown in the rest of the series.
Kevin Penkin’s music is a great fit for the series. It’s mysterious; it’s suspenseful; and Penkin has experience composing for dark fantasy, having written the scores for Made in Abyss and The Rising of the Shield Hero. Viewers familiar with those two works can hear traces of both shows’ scores. The soundtrack has floaty strings and reed instrument lines that sound like they could fit in to Made in Abyss, while the heavy distortion and more electronic elements are right out of The Rising of the Shield Hero. But Tower of God is more than just the two previous soundtracks put together. Taking the sounds of the other shows and adding in new colors like the choir is what separates Tower of God from its predecessors and lets it stand out.
Overall, the first episode fills the joys of those familiar with the source material and provides a delectable appetizer for anime fans abroad to stay tuned for more.
Tower of God is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.