This Korean Manhwa from Webtoon creator Park Yongje is a throwback fighting manwha with long drawn out battles, earth shattering techniques and godlike fighters. I say all of this in a good way being that I am a huge fan of this genre like many of us who grew up in the hay day of Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Kakushou, and Shaman King fandom. And if you too are a fan of manga like Dragon Ball Z then this one will re-light that fire and take you back to those days of watching Goku conquer impossibly insurmountable odds to win against unimaginably strong foes in battles that go on for tens of episodes. It’s straight up fighting at its best.
I don’t want to call this one a copy cat of DBZ. It isn’t at all. God Of High School has its own unique story line that narrates a different perspective on the Sun Wukong story. It just naturally shares a number of similarities with the show because both stories are loosely based on the mythology of Sun Wukong aka. the Monkey King of Chinese lore. For this reason Goku and the hero of God Of High School, Mori Jin share similar personality traits, weapons, abilities and basic history. Like Goku, Mori Jin is adopted by an old martial arts master and raised as a grandson. Mori Jin’s grandpa is not really that old though. Or his ages better, IDK… You will find the magical staff and the nimbus cloud in prominent use in GOH as it was in Dragon Ball and early Dragon Ball Z. The magical staff is used almost exactly as it is by Goku. However, the nimbus cloud is used to manipulate weather primarily to produce lightning at the command of Mori Jin. So. Mori Jin at this point is like Goku and Thor had a baby. Mori Jin’s personality will be extremely familiar to DBZ fans. He cares deeply for his friends and is generally care free. His appetite for fighting is just as voracious as a Saiyan but his appetite for food is not quite up to Goku’s measure. Instead, his greatest addiction is sleeping. At the beginning of the manwha he is constantly wearing sleeping blinders. He also passes out in the middle of battles napping like a narcoleptic.
Although on the surface of things there are obvious similarities between these two variations of the Sun Wukong legend, they stop at the superficial level. In fact the main character’s development is reversed in this story. Whereas Goku is developing new powers and gaining strength in DBZ to create his legend, Mori Jin is rediscovering himself to regain his lost powers. In God Of High School, Mori Jin is the legendary Monkey King but after a heavenly grand battle his powers and memories were locked away and he was reborn as a semi-normal human boy. God of High School therefore follows a story line that sees him rediscovering his previously god like powers. His also has additional powers like the ability to make clones of himself that can act according to their own will. It makes for quite an incredible story.
God of High School’s story goes far beyond just our main protagonists Mori Jin. Mori Jin becomes part of an extremely involved battle between a mysterious religious order known as “NOX” and a group of fighters called “The Six” who work directly under the President. Under The Six are the judges and on down goes an organizational chain paralleling that of the NOX organization. The story starts off with the tournament known as the God of High School which pits young high school aged kids from around the world in battle with one another to find a champion. The tournament is infiltrated by NOX for the purpose of finding “the key” and using one of the tournament participants in their plans of world domination. For his part, Mori Jin was just a regular participant until people found out that he is really the Monkey King which changes the entire dynamic of his involvement in the story. There is also the matter concerning his adoptive Grandfather who happens to be the person that the “King”, the leader of NOX, wants to become the new God of Battle. When the initial phase of the God of High School tournament is concluded, Mori Jin teams up with Han Dae Wi and Yu Mira to continue the competition. They all quickly become close friends in the backdrop of the intense fighting action. Han Dae Wi and Yu Mira are regular humans like the other people in the story who are able to fight alongside Mori Jin when his powers awaken with the use of “Borrowed Power”. “Borrowed Powers” are spirit like entities that are summoned to increase character’s fighting strength. While all of the fighters are great martial artists, the use of borrowed power allows them to compete with Gods, the religious order, Mori Jin and his adoptive human grandfather Jin Tae Jin. Mori Jin and his friends eventually join forces with the organization run by the leader of “The Six”, Pak Mu Bong, to combat the evil plans of NOX.
The story can be somewhat complicated in that not everything is explained linearly to the reader and the lines of good and evil are blurred until well into the story. However if you stick with it then things eventually make sense to you and you come to understand everything but its classic fight, fight, fight style is reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z and a lot of the old school manga which gives it a certain appeal. Well, it gives it an intense appeal to someone like me who loves good old battle heavy manga. And the battles deliver. They are on a massive scale. I am talking that DBZ geography rearranging stuff. It’s awesome. Also the characters are really interesting as well. The creator of the manwha is very heavy on relationships between characters and creating deeply involved backstories that intertwine with one another. Like Naruto, the backstories for the characters would make great manwha in their own right. A number of them are incredible.
The art is beautifully done as well. The creator uses vibrant colors and knows how to depict detailed action scenes with the proper amount stylized action and good old gritty punches. And once again I advocate for the way Webtoons are put online. That infinite page is really good for keeping the reader engaged when reading online.
This one is ongoing with no end in sight. It’s one of my top reads at the moment and if you are a fight heavy action lover then this one may be a good addition to you reading schedule.
Check it out @ WEBTOONS