Not even a month has passed since the release of Leveling only that another famous Webtoon (here our in-depth analysis) arrives in Italy in paper format: we are obviously talking about Tower of God, also known as TOG. We had already extensively described this title on the occasion of the release of the anime, which had caused a certain sensation, but now, with the serialization of the manhwa (still by the Star Comics), an increasing public will be able to appreciate this title which has not yet received the honors it deserved. Taken from the work serialized on the platform NAVER since 2010, based on the drawings and history of SIU (pseudonym of Lee Jong Hui), here is a short review of what, we hope, will be the first volume of a long series.
- Original title: 신의 탑 (Shin-eh tahp)
- English title: Tower of God
- Online exit: June 30, 2010
- Italian release: June 16, 2021
- Number of volumes: 6 (in progress)
- Publishing house: Star Comics
- Type: Adventure, Action, Fantasy, Powers, Psychological, Sentimental
- Drawings: Lee Jong Hui (SIU)
- History: Lee Jong Hui (SIU)
- Format: colors, paperback with dust jacket
- Number of pages: 288
We reviewed Tower of God through press volume provided to us by Star Comics.
The foundations of a colossal work
The first volume of Tower of God is just a small first step into the vast world of Talse Uzer, the dimension in which “the Tower” is located. Before discussing this number one, however, it is right to provide a brief smattering of the work, so that you are well aware of the length and the treasures that lie behind this magnificent journey. The initial volume of this paper series contains the first ones 11 chapters (from 1 to 11, excluding 0) of the work of SIU, which currently is already beyond the 490 chapters… if we hypothesize the same format, considering that the work is still far from its end, it will certainly take (and at least, I would add) more than 60 massive volumes to cover the whole story.
Not for nothing Tower of God is often compared to one piece due to its length, similarities that also extend to other factors that have largely contributed to its popularity: sublime details, an infinite network of links between chapters, well-defined rules and structure, peculiar characteristics of the characters, and finally a strong sentimental dose and a lot of psychology put in the middle in the flow of events. The first volume must therefore be evaluated from a specific perspective: it is a “preview” for this extraordinary world, an initial base on which the foundations of the Tower will be developed which, floor after floor, will collect more and more exciting adventures. Well, now that you know this, let’s go together to briefly analyze the plot, design, strengths and weaknesses of this first volume, and understand if it’s worth buying.
Like the top of a mountain
Tower of God is one of here titles that, while maintaining a continuous aura of mystery, immediately sets the record straight: there is an area, the Tower, where the story takes place; there are multiple floors, where to carry out tests; there is a goal, that of climbing it thanks to particular powers; and finally there is a prize, right on the top, which is nothing more than “whatever you want “.
With this simple premise you can understand why Tower of God has garnered good success among the Webtoons (described here, with some tips on which to read to get started).
The story that the first volume presents to us is however so full of small details, excursus and characters, that immediately the primary objective is enveloped by a series of other stories, starting with the incipit. The main character is Baam Twenty-fifth, a little boy unaware of the mechanisms of the Tower, who lives in the company of a girl named Rachel, and who embodies his whole world. However, one day the girl embarks on the path to the top, asking the boy to forget her: Baam, however, will not resign himself, and pushed by the desire to find her again he will find himself in turn climb the Tower. From here begins the story that sees the boy, apparently helpless, go up this particular world floor after floor, thanks to the help of numerous characters and through skills that you can only discover by continuing to read this exciting series.
Tower of God: Every climb starts from the bottom
We therefore have a well-defined “mission”, and even simple one could say: searching for a girl. Baam’s goal, however, is first wrapped up and then transformed (whoever follows the webtoon knows what I’m talking about) by a series of external factors, which are none other than the “wishes” of the other participants in the climb. One of the cardinal and “incorrect” teachings of Tower of God, already exalted in this first volume through words and fights, is in fact that not everyone has the same chance of winning, and indeed, that there are gods in the world. chosen.
One of the “administrators” of the Tower reminds us immediately with his iconic phrase: “God is really cruel, isn’t he? When he shows you the world for the first time, he makes you believe you can have everything without limits. But one day God suddenly appears and tells you “you get this far”. Even if the things you want true are still many. “ From the very beginning, this manwha therefore confronts us with the fact that someone’s successes are the defeats of others, and that the commitment to climb the tower is not enough, but talent and a considerable dose of what they call “fortune“Or predestination.
A hard start, raw in some points, but that exudes all the difficulty of the climb, so much so that those who continue reading will find themselves struggling to follow some characters and their choices, faced with more than realistic situations (for this world ) and difficult for anyone.
If the plot already looks a lot chaotic and messed up, with an uncertain goal almost like that of the possible ONE PIECE ending, the underlying structure is solid as never before: a schematic vision of the world for clearly defined levels, of interesting and outlined characters both in terms of design and psychological (even secondary ones), mysteries in succession, extravagant settings and shots worthy of the best films. All things that can already be seen in this volume and that will become predominant in the following, as we had already anticipated in our review of the animated series, which we remember is available exclusively on Crunchyroll, belonging precisely to the line of Originals. An important note, especially for those approaching this first volume (perhaps after reading the first of Solo Leveling), it must be done on the drawings: we are not faced with perfect graphics right away, on the contrary, the characters appear rather rough, almost sketchy, with careless details (great for memes!) and backgrounds that are often absent or blurred. Although the “heavy and dense” atmosphere of each chapter is already perceptible, and a virtuous use of colors, the evolution of SIU will only happen in the following chapters, visibly, up to the levels of the best webtoons in circulation already towards the second narrative block.
The strengths and weaknesses of the first volume
With this volume the Star Comics he played another good Homework. No changes, no botched removals or relocations, but a good job of layout and subdivision of the various parts of the webtoon. The format is the one already used by Panini for the new high-quality Ultimate Deluxe Edition of Fullmetal Alchemist, perfect for giving greater relevance to images and colors, with the layout that probably required a considerable effort anyway: despite the intact order, as well as the contents, it was necessary for the volume to cut out more than one vignette and relocate the many writings (located in the original work between one figure and another) within them. This strenuous work of “compression” of spaces, with many reduced or cut images, however, is not annoying in any way, and indeed, in certain points it also helps the reader to devour the story without pauses, while eliminating one of the characteristics of the work, namely that of large spaces.
It is said that whoever makes it to the top of the tower can see any wish fulfilled. Rachel is a girl with a big dream, and in order to make it come true she is willing to do everything, even to abandon everything and everyone – including Baam, a boy who had always lived in total solitude immersed in darkness before meeting her, and who sees in Rachel not just a friend and confidant, but a real light. When the girl decides to aim for the summit and disappears, Baam follows her without hesitation in the hope of being able to meet her again. But the ascent to the tower is littered with difficulties and deadly trials to be sustained and overcome: only those who prove themselves worthy will be able to continue. Between ancient secrets and frightening monsters, Baam’s journey begins as an irregular – that is, a candidate not “chosen” from the tower but entered with his own strength – in search of his dear friend. Whether it’s money, power, glory, revenge or reuniting with a loved one … only those who make it to the top will be able to fulfill their wishes.
Purchase the first volume of Tower of God following this link at the special price of 12.25 (instead of € 12.90). Release scheduled for June 16, 2021. Support Akiba Gamers by purchasing manhwa on Amazon through this link!
Despite this, probably in anticipation of the duration of the work, many pages and a dimension were necessary that perhaps is excessive for those who, like me, are used to reading them lying down and after hours find themselves with mason’s muscles (as well as with dread of creating creases or tears). Finally, in the midst of all these positive notes, perhaps two small flaws can be found: the first concerns the translations, which, although well inserted, sometimes give different impressions, also due to the insertion in the images when perhaps they served as a separation; the second refers instead to colors, where there is a slight decrease in print quality, especially for darker images, which remain opaque (as for close-ups on faces), but totally negligible overall. Considering all this, the price of 12.90 euros is certainly excellent, while some recriminations could be made on the print runs, especially for the variant by Giacomo Bevilacqua (designer from Attica) which practically disappeared on the day of its release.
I would say that Tower of God it is for many, but not for everyone. The reason is simple: it is one of those works that catches you, that constantly improves and that knows how to capture interest and leave room for the imagination, but managing its length is not easy, especially for those who are used to reading all the titles. ‘a breath, or does not have a memory to appreciate the references scattered myriads of chapters away. In short, it is one of those titles where you have to be patient, but if you can keep up with the pace (at least until now) you will not regret it. However, if you need patience to continue, reading a volume does not take too long: take it, it’s advice, and you will understand for yourself whether or not you want to continue.
A universe that will accompany us for a long time
At the exact moment this paper version of Tower of God I have built a new shelf for the bookcase: on the other hand, a true manwha enthusiast cannot miss this title, so rich in merits and originality that it will hardly seem like one of the many stories from “one read and go”. A compelling universe, a full-bodied and curated story, twists in succession, a well-balanced mix of action and psychology, with lots of ideas for the imagination, and a continuous suspense. You will love and hate with all your heart the characters in this series, without ever forgetting them, from the protagonist to the extra who seems most insignificant. Follow Baam as he climbs the tower, and you will share a bit of this adventure with him!
In one word: irresistible!