First Listen: The music of The God of High School<span class="wtr-time-wrap block after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">7</span> min read</span>

As if an MMA tournament wouldn’t be enough to wow the viewers… The God of High School is spiced up with supernatural elements, a good amount of questions about the setting and some serious Dragon Ball influences. Yes, I used to watch Dragon Ball as a kid but I grew out of it soon enough (the games definitely helped a lot). So, what would the sound of Tae-Kwon-Do be, exactly?

DISCLAIMER: May contain spoilers ahead. May also contain eggs, milk, soy, nuts and the tears of your enemies.

The Opening Theme. An underwhelming commercial success. “Contradiction feat. Tyler Carter” by KSUKE

Watch the full song and discover more on KSUKE’s YouTube channel, Tyler Carter’s YouTube channel.

Dubstep. Obviously. IRL, when doing your Poomsae, the camera immediately starts revolving around you, showing all them extreme angles, the shots alternate between slow motion and fast forward and in cues some hot action dubstep music in the background. Don’t believe me? Give it a try. And no, I’m not making fun of martial arts. Why would I? It’s just that my feelings were hurt a bit…

male, gray hoodie, gray background, text "KSUKE" white aggressive strokes
DJ, composer, music producer KSUKE (source)

Now, isn’t this a westernized new-age OP or what? It’s definitely meant to create some hype, become an ear-worm and be accepted by all Webtoon fans as the sickest beat out there. And to that, I call success. J-pop wouldn’t do the trick with this one anyway, so the creative team thought outside the box.

I am approaching it the wrong way. But who would blame me? Just read the synopsis from LINE Webtoon. Where’s the supernatural element in the description? I had no idea we’re talking about forms of magic/energy and about different mythical races. So, I looked at it as some pure action, fighting, martial arts kind of deal. And that’s why I initially thought that the OP didn’t really fit the setting. But, if I compare it to Dragon Ball, realize it’s Korean and an American production, it only makes sense. They would have to create an opening theme that abides by the audience’s expectations and manages to exceed them.

male, beard, moustache, squatting on 2 chairs, orange background
Singer, songwriter, musician, record producer Tyler Carter (source)

From a music point of view, I find that the 15 second introduction is a bit too long. Not because it actually is, more because it could have something more to it than simply turning a knob a tad too slowly… Then we have another 15 second section, starting at about 00:30, strongly resembling MIYAVI and then the beat drops. Yeah, that octave play is great and all and it fits really well but only until we reach 00:59. I just find it repetitive and I don’t like the timbre of this specific digital sound in that specific part of the register. No matter how many times I listen to it, I just can’t help but hate it. I’m one of those people who can listen to a below average -marginally bad- song, only for a single bar of awesomeness. This is one of the cases that one full minute (out of the full duration of 03:22) of that whistly, bendy noise ruins it for me.

In the end, though, it’s the repetition that makes a piece of music memorable; you just have to find the right formula for it. To me, it was something along the lines of having the correct recipe, executing it well enough but not using the best quality ingredients throughout. Still though, pleasant to consume. An underwhelming -to me- commercial success.

Find KSUKE here:
Official Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // YouTube

Find Tyler Carter here:
Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // YouTube

OST first impressions. The very first anime soundtrack. by Okehazama Arisa

female, brunette, short hair, smiling, white top, over-ear headset, GOH background
Composer Okehazama Arisa (source)

So. much. action. There is this debate concerning music portfolios. Which one is more of a challenge? To create a collection of compositions that have a good variety of genres or to compose different pieces that belong to the same genre? Let’s say that the pros agree to disagree on this one, as both have different challenges. My opinion is that the latter is definitely more challenging because you have to maintain your identity as a composer as well as manage to create distinct and memorable compositions. Composer Okehazama-san seems to have brought closer the extremities. On one side we have the sound of traditional Korean instruments and on the other side we have the soundscape of modern genres (EDM, metal, etc). No doubt, the plethora of fight scenes featuring different opponents gave room for inspiration and creative freedom.

I would feel safe to assume that a good chunk of the soundtrack is pure action music (with a couple hints of suspense thrown every here and there to keep us on guard). And as we could tell from episode 1, the music has been well thought out. Not only because it’s Okehazama-san’s first time composing for an anime but because she expanded the soundscape of GOH into new, marginally uncharted territories.

NOTE: I was looking for Okehazama-san’s photos online and I couldn’t find any. Then, I came across Crunchyroll’s sneak peek video in which they had a panel with composer Arisa Okehazama and music producer Yoshiki Kobayashi. I saw how passionate she was when speaking about her K-pop inspirations and thought that a screenshot of her would be a good idea. It’s not an official photo but I didn’t want her to be left out, especially since GOHS is her anime debut.

Find Okehazama Arisa here:
Twitter

The Ending Theme. A K-pop comeback. “WIN” by CIX

Watch the full song, the full song (Korean Version) and discover more on CIX’s YouTube channel.
5 member boyband, CIX, light background victory sign, wearing two-piece suits
Five-member South Korean boy band (source)

And here it comes: K-pop. It’s the kind of song that manages to make you move along with the music, although it is based on more subtle, cleaner sounds, lighter beats and more silent, timid and round timbres. I like how its intro combines the traditional sweet sounding woodwind with the more usual K-pop/hip-hop beat and the ‘compulsory’ auto-tune/vocaloid type of vocals.

Find CIX here:
Official Website // Official Webpage (Korean) // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // YouTube

Generally speaking…

If you thought that I was a bit judgmental about the whole martial arts theme… it’s because I was. After all, I have trained for quite some time in the same martial art that’s featured in this anime. I have a 4th degree black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do. And no, I’m not sharing it with you to brag or anything; I just wanted to make it clear that I have some fundamental knowledge and that I’m not just an enthusiast. So, the prospect of having a protagonist kicking some butt and showcasing the martial art that I like made me psyched.

Although the first episode was full of action, I didn’t really see enough of the technique behind each and every martial art. Most characters seem to adopt a freer form. Legs are left behind, they are off balance, etc. Honestly, I craved to see some good technique and not seeing it left me a bit disappointed. But it’s not the anime that’s to blame, nor the source material; it was merely my expectations because I had no idea what GOH was truly about.

So, to wrap up my thoughts on this one, the actual reason I’m nagging about this is because my raw first impressions were based on the fact that I expected to see a martial arts anime, rather than a shounen anime with a supernatural theme.

TL;DR

  • OP, OST and ED that suit the theme and genres well
  • OP became popular very fast
  • Although the OP is meant to be a commercial success, there are some parts I don’t like
  • Broad soundtrack with traditional and modern elements
  • K-pop ending with light, soft and round sounds
  • Yes, it would have been a 4.5/5 if I liked the OP more

Score

8/10★


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