WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The God of High School, Season 1, Episode 11, "lay/key," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
The latest trailer for The God of High School promises viewers a supercharged end to the anime's first season. Judging by Episode 11, "lay/key," the series is on track to deliver, as the history of Park Ilpyo's "Key" form is revealed; Jeon Jugok becomes a cannibalistic abomination and, after weeks of teasing, Jin Mori's true power is finally unleashed. With all the chaos caused, the tournament's organizer, Park Mujin, has no choice but to declare that "the God of High School is over," ushering in a whole new chapter for a story supposedly centered around competitive martial arts.
Is Mori's awakening worth the build-up? Well, if you ask his opponent in this episode, Ilpyo, the answer would probably be a resounding yes -- namely because the unlocking of Mori's latent power very quickly upstages Ilpyo's own.
In the last episode, Ilpyo was revealed to be the prophesized Key, someone whose power is great enough to challenge the vengeful God that Nox worships. Naturally, Nox want the Key gone while Mujin, who sides with the gods that Nox's diety wants to wipe out, hopes to use the Key instead. Episode 11 offers some backstory: "In ancient, mythical times, there resided in Heaven a nine-tailed fox spirit that attained immense power after a thousand years of training. It was appointed as the guardian of the God who ruled in Heaven, a position from which it repelled countless crises. But then, even God himself began to fear the fox spirit, until, at last, he ordered its execution. Outraged at this betrayal, the fox spirit used its power to destroy half of Heaven, then descended to Earth. Once it had exhausted all of its power, the fox spirit swore revenge on God, as it fell into a long sleep." That mighty kitsune that put the fear of God in God now resides in Ilpyo's body as he squares off against Mori in the semi-final round.
An unfair advantage? Yeeeah. But this is an "anything goes" kind of event, so Mori is forced to create some kind of defense despite the god-repelling strength of his rival. Mori puts on a brave a face as he can, but when Ilpyo shuts down his best move -- the Blue Tempest Dragon -- he literally has the wind knocked out of him. With Mori caught in the midst of a fiery tornado from Ilpyo's flaming nine-tails, the white-haired fighter sends fire in the shape of individual fox spirits in for the kill. As is usually the case, the stress of the situation is what induces the sudden transformation in Mori. With memories of what seems to be a past life flashing before his eyes, Mori centers himself and manifests a spiritual staff in his hand.
A blinding white light erupts from around the taekwondo-user, eradicating the fox spirits and blasting through Ilpyo's Night Parade of 100 Demons. Catapaulted beyond the clouds, a giant, bracelet-wearing hand extends from the Heavens to smack him back down to earth. The force behind it is enough to return Ilpyo back to his immobilized mortal form, and Mori is declared victorious.
Later, as the pair discuss their wild encounter on friendlier terms from Ilpyo's hospital bed, they shrug off their incredible new abilities as unexplainable. Though we know now precisely what Ilpyo's nine-tailed form is all about, the same can't be said for Mori's. The visual clues, however -- his staff and the beaded hand of a possible, unknown god -- reinforce the idea of it all having something to do with Sun Wukong, the Monkey King from Journey to the West. Surely, nothing short of Mori being the fabled antihero himself would explain his defeat of the kitsune. All the pieces are there, we just need The God of School to fit them all together for us.