「ご飯と鬼ごっこ」 (Gohan to onigokko)
“Lunch and Tag”
We’ve now passed the halfway point with Tower of God. And while I knew the anime wasn’t going to attempt anything like a comprehensive adaptation, on the whole the pacing is more measured than I expected. There are certainly some details being glossed over and some exposition has been nudged from implicit towards explicit (including this week) but on the whole that seems to be happening as a result of transitioning from manhwa to anime as much as to speed things along. When the anime ends it will have adapted something under 20% of the source material anyway, so not rushing things too much (which would have been largely fruitless) was the right call.
One of those nudges was the explanation of the princesses of Jahad, which took on more of an infodump character in this version than in the manhwa. But it’s necessary information, and it does frame the actions of Endorsi and Anak. As we now know, the princesses are chosen, not born into their role – “shoes on display”, as Endorsi puts it. The cardinal rule for these women and girls is that they must remain celibate and childless – which explains what happened to Anak’s mother. And why she resents a “legitimate” princess like Endorsi. But the irony here is that Endorsi resents Anak just as much, because she came by her powers in what we would call the traditional way – she was born with them.
The fierce rivalry between two leads to their literal fall from grace, with the serious but non-fatal injuries the examiner promised. That proves lucky for Shibisu and Hatz, who are two names short of the ten-friends quota and at the end of their rope. While it’s Bam who pleads with Khun to assist, Khun is the one who comes up with the plan to get them across the finish line. With the princesses being a captive audience, the practicalities of daily life outweigh their pride (you can’t eat pride). And chicken pie holds a special prominence in Anak’s heart…
Meanwhile, Hoh seems to be growing increasingly resentful of the ease with which Bam is mastering Shinsu (though he got an assist from Laure for replacing his soiled pillow). Hoh comes to the attention of someone who sees his growing desperation as an opportunity. And Rachel is eating nothing but overripe apples on closeout and her room is turning into a disaster area, and she doesn’t take kindly to Endorsi’s questioning of her motives where Bam is concerned (especially the remark about whatever she’s chasing at the top of the tower being more important than Bam).
The next stage? A game of onigokko – with the erratic Quant placed in charge (to Lereo-ro’s horror). With the exception of the few (including Rak) who have already passed, everyone’s survival in climbing the tower depends on the results – which presents a conundrum in Bam and Khun being on opposite teams. If Bam’s team (featuring Quant as “it”) loses, he’s out. This plays into the message that Khun has been trying to impart to his young friend – climbing the tower is a zero-sum game, and you succeed at the expense of others’ failure. But is Khun really so willing to cast aside his friendship (or his curiosity) with Bam so easily?