This recap contains spoilers for Tower of God
Disclaimer: Pre-release screening and screenshot materials for this recap were provided for GGA by Crunchyroll.
Tower of God‘s fourth episode marks something of a minor turning point for the series. This is the first episode to focus entirely on a single test. It’s also the first to flesh out some of the supporting cast, and it drops a pretty big mystery on us. All this while adding intriguing little bits and pieces to the worldbuilding. All and all, it’s probably the best episode of the series so far. Let’s get to that mystery first, since it’s what I imagine will dominate discussion of this episode.
In last week’s episode, we were introduced to a team quickly climbing the tower after killing literally all of their competitors in their version of the battle royale game from the first two episodes. This team includes someone who looks an awful lot like Rachel.
Bam saw this cloaked girl at last episode’s end, but it was left ambiguous as to if it was actually her or not. Now? It’s, well, still a bit uncertain. It certainly seems to be Rachel, though. She’s currently palling around with a hulking creature totally concealed by its own cloak and a girl who seems to be pretty dead-set on murdering everyone she meets. It’s an interesting trio, to be certain.
We don’t get the why here. I expect that’s a mystery that’ll be solved slowly over time in the coming weeks. Bam himself seems to disregard the idea that it’s Rachel pretty quickly when she doesn’t respond to him calling her name.
The actual meat of the episode isn’t this lingering mystery for later on, though. The vast majority of this episode is essentially a single long fight scene broken up with some character comedy and exposition. The lizard-girl Anaak’s team take center stage in the episode’s first half. Continuing on from last time, she has to defend the crown and throne from all comers. One of the teams they fight is another B-team who get fleshed out a bit here. Serena’s team, consisting of herself, a boy with a horn, and a chronically-sleeping wizard, is pretty interesting in its own right.
The two teams are both pretty cool, and seeing them fight is a blast. Anaak herself is cute as a button but stomps a good chunk of the challengers without even leaving the throne. We also find out this episode that she’s another Princess of Jahad. We still don’t quite know how someone becomes one of those, but we can make an educated guess that fighting is involved.
This brings us to the other big revelation of this episode. Bam’s sword, the Black March, still on loan from Yuri, is part of a series of such.
They are perhaps unsurprisingly called the “Month Series” and it is from another of these swords, Anaak’s, that the episode takes its title. Important Swords are of course a time-honored tradition in fantasy literature of all stripes, but speaking personally I never get bored of it. We’re also told that there are 13 of these things. Will they all be important? Who knows! I’m willing to bet at least the 13th one will be though.
Bam’s sword actually starts shaking when Anaak uses Green April. It even comes out of its wrappings of its own accord! (He should really get a proper sheath.) This is all, again, nothing super new to the genre. We’ve even known since episode 1 that Bam’s sword is magic (there’s some kind of spirit lady living in it, for one thing), but a core part of Tower of God‘s appeal is how it takes old tropes and genre standards and puts its own oddball spin on them.
This is where Tower of God’s origins as a webcomic really shine through. Things like chronically-sleeping wizards (another of Serena’s teammates), tiny squirrel demons, and pink rubber people seem to serve no grander purpose beyond SIU thinking they’re cool or funny. I would argue this is a good part of what makes Tower of God tick, actually. There’s also Shibisu, one of Anaak’s teammates, who is just a guy in a purple tracksuit who knows judo.
The episode’s second half, in which we get to watch Aguero’s guile in action, is also great. Though revelations about the sword and the mystery about Rachel eclipse it somewhat. It ends on a cliffhanger, in fact. So what exactly happens in the rest of the Crown Game is an issue for next week. Still, this is probably the best episode overall of what has been a rock solid series so far. I’d go so far as to call it the most purely watchable of the entire season.
Until next time!