Nox has become more bold in their pursuit of the key, as they begin to make waves amongst the God of High School participants.
After last week’s episode ended with Jin receiving a mysterious letter concerning his grandfather’s wellbeing, this week begins with the Seoul team arriving to the stadium for their next match and finding that Jin is nowhere in sight. However, the show must go on, so despite Han’s disqualification and Jin’s absence, Yoo enters the ring to fight her opponent, the suntan-lotion covered athlete, Lee Marin. As Yoo has difficulty making contact with his slick body, Lee informs his opponent that he is now the wielder of her’s stolen sword, the national treasure known as Bongseon.
Meanwhile, audiences find that Jin has skipped the match to pursue his grandfather, racing off on his bike and finding himself flooded with fond memories of Jin Tae-Jin. Jin eventually arrives to the mysterious warehouse specified in the letter and finds his grandfather beaten and bloody on the floor, only to soon discover that the kidnapping was a set-up, as his grandfather’s body proceeds to detonate and cause a massive explosion that practically levels their surroundings.
Back at the arena Lee reveals that he and his teammates are actually impostors sent by Nox to infiltrate the competition and force the awakening of the mysterious ‘Key’, but as he breaks Yoo’s sword and backs her into a corner, the swordswoman’s Charyeok suddenly unlocks. Yoo is granted the powers of the historical Chinese warlord Lu Bu, and is able to overwhelm Lee and emerge victorious after unleashing an onslaught of sword-less Moon Sword Style techniques.
As Yoo’s body exhausts itself from the use of Charyeok, Jin makes a sudden appearance in the arena. As he steps up for his own match, it is revealed that Jin was ambushed at the warehouse by a Nox member whose abilities allow him to create ‘Doppelgangers’, the same man who created the replacement for Lee’s team in the tournament. After besting the Nox agent in combat and learning the nature of his powers, Jin rushed to the tournament arena to put a stop to the progress of the Doppelgangers. Jin then proceeds to unleash his own power against his opponent, delivering two giant energy attacks and a flurry of lightning-fast kicks that seemingly eliminates Doppelganger from the competition, much to the fear and surprise of The God of Highschool staff.
After weeks of build-up, Nox has finally begun to make moves, and in doing so provide the backdrop for an entertaining and action-packed episode.
One element of shonen-style tournaments that had been missing from The God of High School was the introduction of truly weird, eccentric characters. Before curse/cornered, most of the fighters shown have appeared as average humans, albeit some may have overly spiky or colorful hair. With the appearance of Lee and the ditzy, busty female fighter clad in Bruce Lee’s iconic outfit, as well as the growing emphasis on the concept of Charyeok, it seems the series finally begins to explore the weird-ness that such a setting could entail. Lee’s character was an enjoyable and humorous addition, though one hopes that future fights will continue this trend.
Past reviews have noted that Crunchyroll produces this series in a certain pattern, with each episode alternating between a focus on plot-heavy exposition and exciting action. While that trend does continue, the distinction is less apparent in curse/cornered, as events within the arena also provide important plot details. This is most likely due to each of the episode’s antagonists being members of Nox and the aforementioned Charyeok emphasis, as each new development slowly pushes the team and the tournament towards a confrontation with Nox.
This week, the award for ‘visual highlight’ goes to the Jin’s match at the conclusion of the episode. Jin’s fury is excellently captured by the use of scratchy, noisy ink brushed smear frames during his ‘power up’, while the animation does well to convey the weight and anger behind his onslaught of kicks, especially when his fight between the Nox agent and the Nox impostor are compared side by side. In particular, the energy rippling off of his final special attacks help to show that Jin’s power is volatile and has reached an eruption point.
With the Nox sub-plot finally joining up with the main plot, The God of High School seems to be building towards an explosive confrontation in the season finale, especially as the protagonists continue to discover their own Charyeoks and special abilities. Though the series has had some minor issues throughout the season, whether through special care or production happenstance, this week’s episode gives audiences a glimpse at the series’ true potential. One can only hope that this trend continues in the following weeks, as the effort put in by Crunchyroll could potentially lead to one of the most visually exciting climaxes in recent seasons.
- The character of Lee Marin
- Yoo's discovery of her Charyeok
- Jin's anger-fueled beatdown
- Lots of important exposition, little to move the plot forward