The popular webtoon Tower of God is getting an anime series in April, but what is it? Heck, what is a webtoon? Let’s dive into the future of comics!
What is the Tower of God?
The Tower of God is an ongoing story that began life as a webtoon in 2010, created by Lee Jong-hwi (aka SIU). In it, Bam enters the titular Tower at the lowest level, in search of his friend, Rachel, who dreams of reaching the top and seeing the beautiful starry night sky from its summit. If only it were so easy: you have to fight your way to the top of the tower, one level at time, each bringing with it a massive learning curve and life-threatening tests.
What is a webtoon? Is it like manga?
Webtoons have their origins in South Korea and if the Tower of God is anything to go by, they are like manga in the sense that they are visually inspired by the aesthetics and storytelling of manga, but whereas manga is conceived to be a physical, print media first, webtoons are designed for digital readers.
Practically, what does this mean? Well, webtoons are published in long vertical strips that constantly scroll down. This makes them perfect to read on mobile devices and tablets.
They are also said to include short animated sequences and sounds, but I’ve only read the Tower of God so far and that’s been static images only as of episode 30 (another thing: webtoons have ‘episodes’ rather than ‘chapters’).
This is, in many ways, how I’ve always wanted to consume manga. Webtoons are a glimpse of a bright new future, created by the next generation of authors, born to publish their works online.
The popular medium for publishing webtoons is Line Webtoon and, crucially, all of the webtoons (including Tower of God) on their platform are (legally) free. They have excellent apps for iOS and Android devices, which, given what I’ve outlined above, are a perfect way to experience this new medium. I’ve spent the weekend reading Tower of God on my phone and iPad, and loved every minute of it. Pretty damn exciting, right? Please do recommend me some other webtoons!
Is Tower of God any good?
As of episode 30, yes, the Tower of God really good. What gets me first is that initial hook: Bam enters the tower at the lowest level and has to fight his way to the top, one level at a time. Each level brings with it its own set of challenges, be it a brutal battle royale (the first test is simple, out of 400 hopefuls, only 200 will be allowed through to the next stage, therefore they fight until only 200 are left alive) or a strange mind game (each team is placed in a room with 12 doors, of which only 1 will lead to the next level, the other 11 leading to certain death.)
As we travel deeper though, there’s a lot more to the Tower of God than just tests. Bam begins all of this to chase after his dearest friend, Rachel, who enters the Tower of her own free will because she dreams of seeing the beautiful sky at its summit. Yet Bam wants nothing more than to be by her side, no matter where that may be, even if that means never seeing the sky and living in abject poverty.
Is it better to reach for the stars, to set out to try and achieve your dreams, or to stay humble and to live out your life in obscurity, surrounded by friends and family? Such is the conflict at the heart of Rachel and Bam’s relationship, such are the questions we all face in our lives at some point: to dream, to aspire, to be happy.
What do we know about the Tower of God anime?
On the 6th of February, it was announced that the Tower of God would have an anime adaptation and that it will begin airing in April 2020 (that’s right, the forthcoming Spring season!). Other than that, all we know right now is that it will be streaming in Japan, South Korea, and the US. Whoever is behind this project, they did a great job of keeping it secret for so long!
No doubt, more information will be revealed as we draw ever closer to its debut, and I’ll endeavor to keep this post updated. In the meantime, why not read the webtoon?