After seeing himself almost caught by a strategy organized by the trainees in Team A during the Tag test, last week’s episode ended with Quant attempting to hold back his explosive anger. This resilient display of patience continues into this week’s episode, “Khun’s Strategy,” as Quant reins in his temper long enough to taunt the trainees by allowing them a 111 second head start in their escape. In the face of this threat from the powerful Ranker, Team A seemingly opts to retreat in defeat.
Unsurprisingly, as revealed by the sly smile that flashes across his face, the team’s retreat has already been factored by Khun into his strategy to win the game, directing the team to switch to “Plan B.”
Under Khun’s direction, Team A assembles in strategically scattered groups to attempt to delay Quant’s pursuit and buy Anaak time as she races towards the arena’s exit. Unsurprisingly, their efforts are futile as Quant speeds through their defensive lines with little resistance, leaving a trail of unconscious fighters in his wake.
As Anaak nears the end of a lengthy bridge leading to one of the game’s many exits, Quant quickly closes the gap between them. Arriving at what he assumed would be Anaak’s current position, he is surprised to be confronted by Khun instead. Khun informs the Ranker that Anaak is gone, having jumped off the bridge to search for an alternative exit in the darkness below.
True to his role of Test Administrator, Quant calls Khun’s bluff, grabbing the Lightbearer by his arm and flinging him into the abyss in an act of mutually assured destruction. As Khun loosens his grip on Quant’s arm, he is jolted back from the pitfall by Anaak’s Green April, leaving Quant to plummet alone to the depths below.
Anaak resumes her mad dash towards the game’s exit only to inexplicably find Quant waiting for her in front of the door, who proceeds to grab Anaak’s badge and hand Team A a decisive defeat.
At the conclusion of Team A’s round, Leero laments that the team ultimately failed to pass the test. In response, Test Administrator Yu Han-Sung states that Quant’s surprise return was no accident: Khun and Laroue offered to provide Quant a Shinsu-based return elevator to the exit bridge in return for a favor, an offer which Quant begrudgingly accepts.
Presenting Leero with the Scout’s ‘friendship logs,’ Han-Sung reveals that the true purpose of Khun’s strategy was for Khun and Laroue to present Team B, and their chosen group of friends, with clues to victory. As Team B enters the arena and splits into smaller groups, the core cast of characters begin to realize their roles in this strategy, with Androssi in particular closing the episode by knocking out the two members of Team B who followed her astray from the main group and exclaiming her excitement in executing her own plan.
The obvious strength of this week’s episode is the elaborate planning and writing behind Khun’s strategy. Shonen anime is at its best when characters fight using strategy and tactical thinking (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Early Hunter x Hunter) rather than by smashing together ever-expanding levels of raw strength (Later Dragon Ball, Toriko), and it’s even better when these strategies make logical sense.
“Khun’s Strategy” pulls through in spades, featuring at least five separate ‘twists’ which lead to the revelation that his plan was merely a demonstration for his friends. Though Khun has had moments of cunning in past episodes, his appearances thus far in the Tag truly allow for his Lightbearer qualities to shine.
While most of the episode focuses solely on the game of Tag, audiences are still given moments of exposition, revealing more about the past of the extended cast and presenting unsettling insinuations for future events.
Serena reveals that she had watched her friends get slaughtered by a Ranker immediately prior to arriving to the tower. Ho offers a cryptic yet threatening assurance to a scared Serena based on their shared past, and it appears that Khun’s deal with Quant will have some effect on Team B’s run next week.
These scenes, though they make up a small portion of this episode’s runtime, present the right amount of the series’ signature mystery to keep viewers watching.
However, there is one substantial aspect of this week’s episode that is both disappointing and lack-luster in quality: the fight scenes, or rather, lack thereof. During the confrontation of Quant by the members of Team A, the students are quickly dispatched by Quant in an overwhelming display of power.
Yet, little of this is actually seen, with Quant instead defeating his opponents during quick cuts or off-screen in the shadows. While these displays are meant to exemplify Quant’s speed and power, they fall bafflingly short of the quality of fight scenes that have been seen in episodes past. For a series whose strongest quality is its art and animation, hiding any potential display of these visuals just doesn’t cut it.
It’s unfortunate that the Crunchyroll failed to meet the standards for Tower of God episodes that they themselves set, though this glaring production cost-cutting measure is far from a death rattle for the series. Khun’s Strategy is still a solid episode, thanks mostly to its excellent writing. Hopefully Crunchyroll used the production money saved on this episode for next week’s entry in Bam’s journey to climb the Tower.
- The writing, particularly Team A's use of strategy and Khun's deception
- Ho's comments alone are enough to tune in next week
- Fight scenes are obscured or occur off screen, falling short of the quality standards set in weeks past.