Last week, I noted that the Tower of God anime now finds itself at a crossroads. Not only is it about to embark on a brand new arc, but it is also about to undergo a fundamental transformation in the way that it functions, as its power and battle system get fleshed out. Inevitably, this will require explanation and exposition, which was the main hurdle that Tower of God episode 6 had to overcome: how do you keep viewers engaged while feeding them a boatload of plot information? The answer, apparently, lies in how you tell it.
Lero Ro’s explanation of the five key battle roles is by far the most important part of Tower of God episode 6, but I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t realize. This exposition is sandwiched between a bunch of different story elements, including some development for our supporting cast, which serve to distract the viewer from what is essentially a PowerPoint slide show. At least the amount of explanation given on the different roles – Fisherman, Spear Bearer, Scout, Light Bearer, and Wave Controller – is drastically lower and much easier to parse than it was in chapter 28 of the original manhwa!
Moreover, the tertiary story elements that surround this exposition are comparatively much stronger than they were in the original manhwa, which slowed down considerably to deliver them. Firstly, in terms of our supporting cast, instead of following the structure of SIU’s original story, Tower of God episode 6 immediately jumps in with the scene between Rachel and Bam from chapter 28, before looping back to cover Anak and Shibisu’s conversation (chapter 27), and then forward to the Scouts’ ‘friend-making’ mission across chapters 30 and 31. All of these beats are delivered quickly and efficiently, keeping things moving along at a nice pace instead of grinding to a halt.
Secondly, several narrative elements are established in Tower of God episode 6 that were either implied or not present in the original manga, such as Khun’s desire to protect Bam from making the same mistakes that burned him in the past. This is why he is willing to go along with Rachel’s selfish request, which was always something that was simply taken for granted in the original manhwa. Furthermore, Rachel’s self-loathing is much more apparent in this portion of the story than it ever was in the manhwa, as she lies on her bed in the darkness, surrounded by candy bar wrappers. Here, we see the benefit of hindsight – the team over at Telecom Animation Film has clearly read ahead and seen how best it can link together the current narrative with later developments, which is a very thoughtful approach.
All of this comes to a head in the final climax of the episode, wherein Anak and Endrossi (not Androssi in the subtitles, for some reason) duke it out. This conflict has been brewing for a while now, ever since the beginning of the Crown Game in episode 3, but it is great to see that Tower of God episode 6 delivers on this moment with frightful ease. Instead of taking the more segmented approach of the manhwa, we take the viewpoint of Khun as he surveys the various battlefields in his Lighthouse, which leads nicely into the Fisherman test. Here, Anak and Endrossi clash in a sequence somewhat marred by rough animation, but more than made up for by Kevin Penkin’s epic soundtrack. Some of Anak’s past also gets brought forward from chapter 33, which finally gives some answers as to why Endrossi has been calling her an ‘impostor’ all this time.
It may surprise you to hear that Tower of God episode 6 covers seven chapters of the original manhwa, which is the same amount as the comparatively disconcerting first episode. That speaks to the fact that the anime makes sure that several scenes do not outstay their welcome, as well as altering the structure of the story to keep things engaging. That does mean, however, that some things get left on the cutting room floor – Bam being able to form a ball of Shinsu at this early stage being a big one – but, as they say, you do have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.
You can watch Tower of God episode 6 via Crunchyroll.