English Dub Review: Tower of God “Underwater Hunt (Part Two)”

 

Overview(Spoilers Below):

Tower of God heads into its endgame as “Underwater Hunt (Part Two)” reveals the dark continuation of everyone’s tests and trials. Anaak and Endorsi are pushed to fight together against their most difficult opponent yet and when the tide begins to turn there’s an unexpected source of support by their side. Khun’s efforts to ace his Administrator duties also get shaken up in a major way that will have serious consequences. Finally, as Bam and Rachel optimistically head towards peace and happiness, a new obstacle grows between them that may be impossible to overcome.

Our Take:

As Tower of God prepares for the end of its season, “Underwater Hunt (Part Two)” feels like the most chaotic episode of the season yet. There’s a lot going on in this episode and basically every character is stuck in the middle of some life or death situation. All of this action helps make “Underwater Hunt (Part Two)” an absolutely thrilling episode, but it’s also easy to get overwhelmed by just how much is in play. There’s definite whiplash that occurs as the episode constantly jumps from one fight scene to the next. It can be hard to catch one’s breath through all of this, but the pervasive chaos at least helps the audience get in the same headspace of these characters who are on their last legs. It feels big and important in the way that the material leading up to a finale should be.

Of all of the fights that take place in the penultimate episode of the season, it’s absolutely Anaak and Endorsi’s battle against Ren that’s the most enjoyable. The gradual bond and tension between Anaak and Endorsi has been one of the greatest joys of Tower of God’s first season. This episode briefly toys with the idea that Ren will be able to make them kill off each other for his amusement, but the member of the Tower’s Royal Enforcement Division receives a rude awakening. There’s such a nice element of teamwork present here as both Anaak and Endorsi tee up Ren for the other to take down. It’s great to see both of their diverse abilities work in tandem and compliment each other and the visuals that accompany all of this are fantastic. Regardless of how cool the fight looks, it’s also just deeply cathartic to see Anaak and Endorsi working together in order to give Ren this temporary beat down. It’s such a strong way to show the growth of their relationship.

“Underwater Hunt (Part Two)” finds a way to make this fight even better when it also adds Yuri into the fray once Ren gets the upper hand. This battle becomes a glorious celebration of the Princesses of Jahad and it’s really touching to see Yuri come to their aid and just decimate Ren in the process. Whenever Yuri gets a chance to step up to the plate it turns out to be fantastic and her treatment of Ren here is one of her finest moments.

Everyone really gets to shine in this installment, but it’s satisfying to even see Rak get to kick some serious ass. His domination on the battlefield is visually amazing, but it also marks a strong turning point for the character. Rak has largely receded into the background through the course of Tower of God. He’s still been a valuable presence, but it’s in this episode that he re-commits to combat and puts on an incredible show where he takes on an entire army, while he also carries a helpless Paracule. It’s one of many strong action sequences and it’s nice that Tower of God can return to Rak’s usefulness and perhaps set up a larger role for him in season two.

Khun is mostly in Administrator mode and overseeing the action rather than directly engaging in it. Khun’s steely resolve also gets thrown off in a major way when he encounters a surprising face from his past. Khun is confronted by someone who appears to be one of his siblings and is eager to get him to reunite with Princess Maria.

“Underwater Hunt (Part Two)” only scratches the surface of this Khun family reunion, but this is likely to be a major arc for the character in season two. There’s a welcome level of symmetry here where this visitor for Khun shares plenty of parallels with Rachel’s first meeting with Bam. It’s a good idea for the show’s second season to shift its attention to Khun and his family life now that it’s played out Bam and Rachel’s relationship.

Around all of this rampant chaos, Bam and Rachel find themselves in an eerily peaceful calm. Their more thoughtful scenes are the only sort of pressure release from the rest of the episode’s content, but these moments are still steeped in tension due to the changes that Bam experiences. His hand begins to glow and he feels a large source of power that’s being channeled within him. As Tower of God heads into its second season, it’s exciting to think about the ways that Bam’s mastery over Shinsu will continue to evolve. His confusion in this episode feels like it will inevitably get resolution in the future.

Unfortunately, Bam and Rachel’s time of reflection gets rudely interrupted. Ren’s final wishes as he passes on are that Bam gets eliminated from the Tower and a grim series of events play out as a result. Yuri is eager to lend Bam a hand through this trial, but it will mean his disqualification in the process. This decision gives everyone an opportunity to reflect on how they’ve become a team and that they can’t let Bam lose, but that it’s also important to have faith in his skills.

Yuri and company’s decision seems like it’s set to culminate in Bam having the determination to keep him and Rachel safe. What follows is instead one of the most gutting and powerful sequences from the entire anime. In a moment of trust, Rachel betrays Bam and pushes him out of their bubble where he plummets to some unknown fate. It’s a devastating moment and it’s captured perfectly with the use of the show’s theme song and Bam’s slow descent. It’s a surprise that hits the audience just as much as it does Bam.

“Underwater Hunt (Part Two)” is an amazing episode to lead into the finale and its ending would be a lot more frustrating if this is how the whole season ended. Surely the finale will provide some answers in regards to if Rachel was always running a con on Bam, or if this decision was spurred by something else. This entry is a wonderful balance of action and emotions, plus it even manages to fit in a tiny bit of humor, like with Paracule’s brief confusion that he may in fact have psychic abilities. It’s an episode that accomplishes a ton and just flies by.

It’s unlikely that Bam will die from this tragic encounter with Rachel, but it does feel like his innocence perishes in this moment. Tower of God’s second season could feature a much gruffer and aggressive version of Bam as he prepares to conquer the Tower without any more distractions to hold him back.

 

 

Daniel Kurland

Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, and Bloody Disgusting. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and that Hannibal is the greatest love story ever told. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.

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