Preparations begin for the next round of the God of High School tournament, and as the Seoul regional comes to a close, a sudden rule change and the summoning of an elite team of fighters seek to make the next set of fights even more intense and deadly than those that came before it.
Following a brief consolation match between Yoo and Byeon in which Yoo easily emerges victorious, a broadcast featuring everyone’s favorite high-energy nurses announces a surprise rule change: Instead of a single fighter moving forward to the next round, each regional tournament will now see the three top-place finishers advance and fight as a team in the next round.
With Yoo joining Jin and Han on the Seoul team, it is soon revealed that, unbeknownst to the trio, the organization has implemented this new rule in order to further assess a larger group of candidates in an attempt to find a special individual known as the Key.
Between last week’s explosive match between Jin and Han and the preparations needed for the tournament’s next round, it should come as no surprise that the main focus of this episode is exposition by the way of numerous character introductions.
From the opening moments of the episode, several new characters find themselves preparing to engage with the mysterious machinations of the God of High School tournament. Among those introduced are Jin’s grandfather Jin Taejin, the villainous organization Nox, Park Mu-Jin’s elite team of fighters known as The Six, and a pair of teenagers with supernatural abilities.
However, with the exception of the quick displays of power seen by Jin Taejin and Park Mu-Jin’s master, these introductions are rather brief and do little more than set the stage for future events.
The episode’s main conflict comes from the happenstance public meeting of Yoo and the tournament’s eccentric announcer, Shim Bong-Sa. Yoo admits to Shim that she feels as if her advancement to the next round is a sham, having only been possible because of the sudden rule change.
Shim, himself blind, reveals that he was blinded by the Moon Light Sword style and encourages Yoo to believe in herself and to draw out the true power of her family’s fighting style.
As Jin, Yoo, and Han prepare for the start of the next round, Yoo notices that a new announcer has replaced Shim in the God of High School ring. To the audience’s horror, it is revealed that Shim has been brutally murdered by an assassin at the behest of Nox.
Yet, Shim is not the only member of the organization to meet his end in this episode, as the episode ends with a man cackling in victory over the bloody corpse of a freshly stabbed Judge before cutting to the killer’s laugh echoing out as the scene fades to black.
The main purpose of this episode, as mentioned above, is to metaphorically clear the stage from the preliminary tournament and prepare it for future plots and fights. Thankfully, unlike other instances where the show has abruptly and awkwardly moved away from the titular tournament in order to provide exposition, this episode’s ‘downtime’ feels like a natural moment in the cadence of the series’ storytelling.
This lack of action does not necessarily mean the episode was a bad episode, but it does mean that there is not much to discuss outside of speculation or introducing each character individually.
Of course, what would a review of a Crunchyroll-produced series be without praise for its art direction? Even without the smooth and well-choregraphed fight scenes, the production team continues to reinforce the prestigious and mystifying nature of the tournament by using different art styles to punctuate a scene.
Notably, both the giant and intricately detailed painting of the ancient Gods and the brief watercolor battle fight between two silhouettes, present viewers with a sense of awe in the face of what, on the surface, appears to be nothing more than a standard martial arts tournament.
Ultimately, fear/SIX is a quiet expositional episode that, while lacking the series’ signature action scenes, still delivers a solid episode that’s sure to intrigue audiences and hold their interest going into the next round. The exposition, while extensive, is intriguing in its set up of future events, and leads to the façade of the God of High School tournament beginning to fade. With more powerful opponents lying ahead of them and a plot moving against them behind-the-scenes, Jin, Han, and Yoo will have their work more than cut out for them when they next enter the ring.
- New characters provide variety in fighter-types and design
- Art direction experimentation is restrained, but used effectively
- Lots of set-up makes it difficult to properly explore each new character or element of the tournament