The God of High School Interview: Director Sunghoo Park Talks Adapting Manhwa, Fight Sequences, and Shonen Webtoons

The God of High School is the latest web-comic adaptation to be tackled by Crunchyroll, and it has amassed a large number of fans. Off the heels of Tower of God, this new shonen adventure tells a very different story of high school students dueling one another to become the so-called God of High School. The anime was met with praise from episode one thanks to its stunning animation, and director Sunghoo Park spoke with ComicBook.com about his work on the anime recently.

During our interview, the vetted anime director discussed the challenges of animating fight sequences and bringing traditional Korean music into the fast-paced series. Park also discussing his love for other Webtoon titles he'd like to work on, and if he can get MAPPA involved with the picks, then fans would never quit begging for such adaptations:

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Question: First, how were you introduced to The God of High School?

Sunghoo Park: Mr. Otsuka, CEO of MAPPA told me about the title and asked if I’m interested. I knew about WEBTOON, and it was a Korean title, so I read the original work after I decided to take this. I never imagined I would be directing such an action-packed anime...I regret that I took this offer (laughs).

Q: You've worked on plenty of anime titles before The God of High School. How did your team figure out the art style for this series? It has been received well by fans around the world.

Sunghoo Park: The essential part of the story is based on the original work, and the scenario team with Yoshimura-san worked on the anime adoption. After they added the fleshed out original elements, we reconstructed it in the form of the anime version of "THE GOD OF HIGH SCHOOL." But the core of this anime is the same as in the original work. I think this is a result of trying to make a stylish action anime.

the god of high school anime
(Photo: MAPPA)

Q: Action and fight sequences are a major part of The God of High School. Which battle are you most excited for fans to see? And how difficult is it to help direct your team on those scenes?

Sunghoo Park: As for the recommended scenes, I'll start with the battle in episode five. I can’t tell you who challenges each other, but it’s a great scene and I like this kind of rough fight since “Garo*.”

The other is the fight in episode 10. This episode is particularly focused on music with traditional Korean instruments, which have probably never been used in an anime. I tried to combine all of these elements. I think you'll immediately know when you watch the episode.

In the production of these scenes, the filming was indispensable. In the case of episode 10, we shot the motion capture with the action team, who we worked for “Garo.” As for music, we had an expert in traditional Korean music who played each instrument one by one and we recorded it. We were so particular about the music that we even went to Korea to record the sound that we were not able to record in Japan.

* Sunghoo Park referred to "GARO -VANISHING LINE-," his first anime as a director. In episode eight "Knight," the protagonist, Sword and his nemesis, Knight fought without their swords, but with their fists.

Q: Fans are very excited to see The God of High School get an anime. What do you think it is about this manhwa that makes it such a good shonen adventure?

Sunghoo Park: I believe this is a story about the growth of the main characters. Fans will feel the power of kizuna (bond) and friendship. It is the rule of any shonen adventure.

Q: The adaptation of manhwa into anime has been requested for years and is becoming mainstream. What are the challenges of adapting manhwa into an anime opposed to manga if any?

Sunghoo Park: Manhwa has a high degree of perfection because it is already in full color and includes visual effects. I have an impression that Manhwa is already close enough to an anime, I think the hurdle of adopting it into an anime is higher than that for manga. When we adopt Manhwa into anime, we are required to make it better than what it is.

Q: As manhwa continues to thrive in animation, are there any comics you would like to see animated? Or any that you would like to work on if given the chance?

Sunghoo Park: There are two titles. The first one is WEBTOON series, "Gosu," a story of a martial artist. The other is a comedy "I'm a pet." I like both and I'd like to work on them if I get a chance.

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Have you been keeping up with The God of High School since its premiere? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!

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