Tower of God is a South Korean manhwa released as a webtoon written and illustrated by S.I.U. It has been serialized on Naver Corporation’s Webtoon platform Naver Webtoon since June 2010, and individual chapters have been collected and published by Young Com in four volumes as of June 2020. Since July 2014, Tower of God has received an official English translation from Line Webtoon.
Tower of God
Episodes – 01 – 13
Status – Completed
April 1, 2020 – June 24, 2020
The tower is a mysterious structure that is completely enclosed and contains many unique environments. It is laced with an element called “Shinsu”, which has strange properties similar to magic in other comics. It is inhabited by many different intelligent species. Living on the upper floors is associated with higher status in the Tower and better living conditions. This is due to the fact that climbing from one floor to another is allowed only after passing more and more difficult tests for strength, agility, and ingenuity. Regular players are any people from the Outer Tower chosen to climb the Inner Tower. Former regular soldiers who reach the top of the Tower are known as ranks and are usually much stronger than others. Ratings are often used to manage the lower floors. At the top of the Tower sit the “10 Great Families”, which form the governing body of the Tower. The figure known as King Jahad is the main leader of this organization.
Each floor consists of three levels: an outer tower that serves as a living area, an inner tower where people are tested, and a middle zone that acts as a network linking each floor. The occupants of each floor are given the opportunity to climb, provided that Hedon, the Guardian of the first floor and the Tower Keeper, deem them “worthy” to do so. In the “Tower of God” such people are called “chosen permanent”. The tower is closed from a huge, unknown “Outside” by an ominous impenetrable door. On rare occasions, unusual people can open doors and enter the Tower. In the manhwa, such people are called “irregular fighters,” and the main character, Twenty-fifth Bam, is one of them.
According to the author, each floor is the size of the North American continent. Each floor often has its own culture, language, and management system, and often people live in isolation and are not aware of the tower’s existence.
Only the irregulars are exempt from the contract that Jahad made with the Tower Guard, which made him immortal. Thus, only the Illegal can kill Jahad. This fact is at the heart of the “Tower of God” plot.
Shinsu, which roughly translates to “Divine Water”, is a substance that can be found in the Tower in varying concentrations on each floor. On the lower floors, Shinsu is blurry and inconspicuous as air. However, on the upper floors, Shinsu increases in strength and concentration and is said to be viscous and fluid like water. A high Shinsu resistance is required to enter these floors. Inhabitants of the tower must make a contract with the “administrator” of the respective floors in order to manage Shinsu. However, the man known as “Illegal” seems to be an exception to this case, with someone who even managed to kill the seemingly immortal floor manager.
Shinsu can be manipulated to improve physical abilities, powerful weapons, and even controls. Bang is the number of discrete Shinsu control units. The more punches someone hits, the better the ability to control the shinsu will be. The size of the units is called Myung, and the concentration is called Su. While it is used with varying degrees of clarity and even awareness, its use seems to be inseparable from the combat inside the Tower. Shinsu Reinforcement is a technique used to strengthen the body and is commonly used by casual players. For those who are strong in Shinsu, aging slows down to the point that they become immortal. It’s unclear to what extent aging is slowed down simply by living in a tower without knowing how to use Shinsu.
Shinsu does not have a fixed flow, but there is a temporary flow. Using this thread for an attack is called flow control. Thus, experienced wave controllers can destroy the village. Backflow control is used to retaliate in the direction of the flow and stop the enemy. They are sometimes used simultaneously, attacking with flow control and defending the body with reverse flow control. Flow control is a favorite technique of the protagonist, Twenty-Fifth Bam.
Most tower battles are fought in teams. Each person in the team plays a specific role in the battle, called positions. There are five main positions: fisherman, spearman, light bearer, scout, and wave controller. Fishermen are direct fighters, spearmen are combat support class, light-bearers provide long-range reconnaissance, scouts provide ground reconnaissance, and wave controllers control Shinsu. There are other positions, such as leadership, but they are rare.