Hey guys, Josh here, back again with another episodic review of King’s Game: The Animation. I know you guys are probably sick of me saying this, but dawg gone it, I’m going to because it’s true. Thank you all so much for checking out my reviews and giving me feedback! It really encourages me to keep writing, even though this show is…well…crap. It’s for you guys that I write, and I truly appreciate all the love I’m getting.
So yeah, we’re on Episode 6, and I think we can now safely call this show a failure. I thought Episode 5 was the breaking point, but it looks as though NOW, at the halfway point, it can be said that this show did NOT live up to the hopes I had for it and it will not get any better. While other episodes were bad enough to really sink the show, it was THIS ONE that did the deed. This episode was like a “Greatest Hits” of what made the last 5 episodes bad: flashbacks with characters that we don’t know or care about, stupid plot holes and lapses in common sense storytelling, poor and inconsistent animation, stereotypical characters…you name it, this episode has it. There were several times when I just had to pause and rewind just to make sure I actually did read the subtitles correctly and that the show REALLY was that stupid. IT WAS.
Let’s not delay any further. To quote the OP from the anime Planetes, let’s soar higher and higher to a frontier of limitless dreams. I’m Josh, and this is Episode 6 of King’s Game: The Animation.
Last time out, still in Better Class Land, more shenanigans ensue. Ria tazes Nobu-Kun and tells him that she is the King. She then pulls a “Just Kidding, LOL” and says she’s NOT the king, and then proceeds to taser Nobu-Kun when he pushes her to the ground. To quote “Last Surprise,” he never saw it coming! Later, Naoya tells us that a teacher told him off-screen that several other students in the class died due to some weird Text Messaging shenanigans. Speaking of text messaging shenanigans, the King’s next order is to not do “Anything Unnecessary.” This unnecessary thing turns out to be crying. More students die including a boy named Yousuke, who had been doing research and discovers information about Yonaki Village, the site of the first King’s game. With his dying breath, Yousuke tells Nobu-kun to go to the village to find clues on how to end the game. While waiting on a train, Nobu-kun is knocked out and tied up by Yousuke’s childhood friend and secret crush Kaori…who doesn’t do much except die when she finds out her crush was crushing on her. Caught up? Good. Prepare for the foolishness.
We pick up where we left off, with a mysterious figure picking up a cell phone. Of course, it’s Ria, and she confronts the still tied-up Nobu-kun about Yousuke’s research involving the king’s game. Cut to OP!
Seriously. That’s all there is to the teaser. Just 30 seconds and cut to the song. Why even have the song in the first place? Just cut the OP and give us a little more time with Ria and Nobu-Kun. Have her explain EXACTLY how she knew where Nobu-Kun and Non-Important Girl were…ESPECIALLY since you’re going to cut the ending at the end of the episode. Just roll the credits over the action and the dialogue.
ANYWAY…we cut back to the present with Nobu, Kenta and Mizuki, who just got her new phone activated to continue in the King’s Game. Later, during a taxi—
WAIT! HOLD UP! Who decided THIS…was acceptable?! This is almost worse than the train! This cab isn’t driving down the street, it’s FLOATING! I’ve seen 90’s PC video games that have better graphics than this show! Studio Seven should be ashamed that this actually made it to air, and I am not kidding. This studio has done some great works in the anime industry, and to have this mess associated with them is borderline criminal. And should you think that my blind rage about this show is making me biased, allow me to introduce a third opinion–my bro DigiRanma.
…that can't be from an anime…that's…that's some student's art camp project two weeks before a class on rendering…right?
— DigiRanma (@DigiRanma) November 10, 2017
We’ll come back to this cab ride later, because there’s one other thing that needs to be addressed outside of the stupid animation.
Anyway, Nobu-kun throws us back in the land of Flashbacks. We see Naoya in his room (without his trademark Old Navy Frost Free) trying to contact Nobu-kun and he’s clearly worried. So worried in fact that when his phone rings, he answers it expecting it to be Nobu-kun, but is disappointed when it turns out to be another classmate. Naoya, brother man, you have Nobu-kun’s phone number programmed in your phone. ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS LOOK AT THE DISPLAY TO SEE WHO IT WAS! Man, the people in this show are stupid!
The classmate calling Naoya is Abe Toshiyuki, and he and his friend (or maybe his brother…it’s not clearly explained…) Fujioka Toshiyuki is anxious as hell. The next King’s order came through and it’s quite literally a roll of the dice. One student has to roll dice to get a number. The roller must then select that same number of students to be punished with the roller also being punished. If no one is selected, EVERYONE gets the chop. Naoya frets that Nobu-kun isn’t there to tell him what to do and hangs up on his classmates asking for time to think. Abe begins freaking out over who would get picked, as there are only 10 classmates left, and if a six should be rolled, there’s a very decent chance he’ll get picked for punishment. He then begins thinking about those who could turn against him, including a girl named Chia, who doesn’t like him because he keeps trying to water her to see if she’ll grow sprouts on her head. Meanwhile, Naoya gets a group text from Ria asking everyone to meet her at Sasakikubi Dam Park tonight at 10PM.
That night, the group gathers at the appointed place, with Abe getting more and more anxious. However, there are several classmates missing; Nobu-kun, Ria and a girl named Masami, who attempted to punch her ticket on the Midnight Train to Georgia early by slitting her wrists and is currently in the hospital. In desperation, Toshiyuki tries to convince Fujioka to roll the dice and make the choice. However, Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia chimes in stating that whoever does the rolling is more than likely to pick him first. The two sling insults back and forward to each other until Nobu-kun breaks it up. Chiemi is glad to see him…so glad in fact that she pointlessly trips over a rock and falls over for him to come over and comfort her in the corniest way possible. In what has to be the best moment in this episode dialogue-wise (which is saying something), Chiemi tells Nobu-kun that she knew exactly what he was trying to do in the previous episode, when he “broke up” with her. She knew that he was trying to protect her and was only doing what was right. I love me some continuity.
Meanwhile, Abe continues to become more and more irate, chewing out Ria for being late and then ragging on Naoya for being secretly relieved that his chances for survival have improved with Ria and Nobu-Kun’s arrival. When Naoya lashes out and tries to hit him in the most telegraphed way possible, Abe gets there first and decks Naoya. Sadly for him no sexual encounters occur after this knock out. When Fujioka comes over to talk sense into his friend, Abe once again asks him to roll the dice and save his life, even though it would put Fujioka’s life in danger. Keita almost gives in to the peer pressure, but Nobu-kun tackles him to the ground before he throws the dice. Faced with wall to wall opposition from all his classmates, Abe decides that this show could stand to be a bit crazier and he grabs Chiemi and holds her at knife point, threatening to kill her. When Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia states that he’s too cowardly to kill anyone, Abe stabs Chiemi’s upper thigh…for…REASONS, and then orders someone to roll the dice and call Nobu-kun’s name first. Nobu-kun takes the dice from Fujioka and is about to roll when Naoya takes the dice from him, stating that he’s actually glad to put his life on the line for him and Chiemi. He throws the dice and gets a 6. Almost on cue, the King sends a message stating that he has 10 minutes to say the name of the six classmates he designates.
After the break, Keita Yamashita, one of their classmates, suggests that since she tried to commit suicide already, Masami should be the first name he calls. When Naoya rebukes him by name…well…our bro Keita is about to make like the LL Cool J song and get Headsprung. However, it’s done in what is probably the funniest way possible (at least it was funny to me…heck, I need something to laugh about watching this show). His neck pretty much twists all the way around then springs back and pops off in a shower of blood. Oh, and he’s able to talk and scream this whole time because…REASONS!
We then go back to the cab momentarily where Nobu-Kun explains how each one of the classmates died. Let me repeat that again: Nobu-kun, Kenta and Mizuki are riding in a taxi cab…WITH AN ADULT DRIVING…and Nobu-kun is just casually telling the story of how SEVEN TEENAGERS IN HIS CLASS DIED! Why is this cab driver not freaking out?! Why is this cab driver not pulling over to the side of the road demanding answers?! He just heard a story about SEVEN TEENAGERS DYING IN HORIFFIC WAYS and he just continues driving them to their destination like it’s nothing?! For all he knows, he just heard a murder confession! But, of course, this is King’s Game: The Animation, adults are nonexistent, and those that do exist are either comically inept, it’s a wonder they are able to dress themselves in the morning, or they just can’t be bothered with the murder of teenagers.
Anyway, back in Flashback land, Masamai (the girl in the hospital), Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia and no-name girl are killed off, leaving two more names to be called. Chiemi, still being held at knifepoint, begs Naoya to be punished, and Nobu-kun also begs to be named off to save Chiemi. Before Naoya makes his decision, Fujjioka decides to take matters in his own fist and clocks Abe to free Chiemi. He then asks Naoya to say Abe and his names to end it all. Abe threatens to kill Naoya…which has to be the emptiest threat in the world. When he says your name THAT’S IT. You’re DONE, Abe! Besides, Naoya is gonna die anyway, so what are you going to do? Bring him back to life and kill him again? Stupid. Anyway, our bro says eff that noise and says Abe and Fujioka’s names, causing them to die by…well…BLOOD SPLOOSH!!!
As Abe and Fujioka flop around on the ground like a Magicarp, Nobu-kun goes to Naoya’s side as his punishment comes down. It looks like bro is getting his limbs ripped off one by one. Through the pain, he reiterates how happy he was that he was able to save Nobu-kun and Chiemi, and he once again confesses his love for the two of them. As Naoya loses his arms and legs, Nobu-kun picks him up in his arms and Naoya asks what he thinks Heaven is like, tearfully ruminating with his last breath that it must be awesome as nobody ever comes back. He then dies with a slight smile on his face and the typical anime sunbeams shining on him…in the middle of the night while Nobu-kun screams in anguish. “Obedience Confirmed.”
Rest in peace, Naoya…you were probably the most likable character in this entire anime for me. Which is a crying shame as you are a flashback character and will have next to nothing to do with the present plot. But hey, at least you got laid before you died…even though you were technically unconscious at the time…which could technically be considered rape as you didn’t give consent…bummer. Ah well.
The Death Toll Remains: 10 Dead, 22 Rema—wait, what? Oh, right. We still got about seven minutes left. And HOO BOY…here’s where the stupid comes along.
Ria comes from the shadows and pulls Naoya’s cell phone from his pocket and then reaches under her sweater and produces a laptop. Yes, really. Ria was hiding a laptop under her uniform sweater. WHY?! What was the point of hiding her laptop?! Nobody was going to steal it, nobody probably would’ve noticed it considering what was going on! Why hide it?!
Anyway, she then goes on to explain that she combined her data with Yousuke’s to find out about the origins of the King’s game. She then goes on to explain that the first game was played in Yonaki Village 30 years ago, and that it decimated the population. She does go on to add that scientists determined that the deaths may have been caused by a virus coupled with hypnosis. Whenever a person in the game receives a cue, the power of suggestion is pushed to such a limit that the human body would damage or destroy its own cells. This…actually makes some sense. It is documented that some hypnosis can have some side effects that can be detrimental and COULD, if applied correctly, make someone react in a way a-typical to their better judgment. If the show had stopped there, this would’ve been a pretty decent explanation. However, Nobu-kun rightly asks how a virus could be transmitted through text message. And it’s here where things get stupid.
Ria states the virus was never eradicated and that with the advent of computer networks the virus began moving and spreading through text messages. Let that sink in. A BIOLOGICAL virus that can move through computer networks. A BIOLOGICAL VIRUS…THAT CAN MOVE THROUGH COMPUTER NETWORKS. This show expects us to believe…that a BIOLOGICAL VIRUS…somehow found its way from a rural village in the country…into a computer network…and over time found its way into a cell phone network…and then spread through text messages?!
This is BEYOND stupid! I mean PRODIGIOUSLY BEYOND STUPID! WHAT THE HELL KINDA SCIENCE IS THIS?! If that’s the case, then I need to take my PC into a Walgreens for a Flu Shot! I may need to call Cox Communications and get a technician out here to check my cable internet lines for measles! Heck, some of you guys out there may need to have your PC’s checked for STDs depending on what websites you visit! This is by far the stupidest thing I have ever heard uttered in an anime in quite a long time. VIRUSES…Transmitted through Computer Networks. THIS IS NOT DIGIMON ADVENTURE! BIOLOGICAL VIRUSES DO NOT TRAVEL OVER THE INTERNET! This is STUPID! Hey, King’s Game: The Animation; I hope you had an epidural, because that was one HELL of a butt-pull you just did!
…I'm sorry, I thought I heard "Stupid, stupid, and STUUUUUUUUUUUUUPPPPPPPPPIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIID," what?
— DigiRanma (@DigiRanma) November 10, 2017
Anyway, remember those one-letter text messages mentioned in an earlier episode? Well, forget about that because Ria said she couldn’t make a sentence out of it, but she was able to make an anti-virus to exploit a bug and eradicate the King’s Game “program.” Dang, Malwarebytes ain’t got nothing on Ria. She can make an antivirus program that can scan the ENTIRE Internet to find the ONE program and eliminate the King. And unless the translators made a mistake, there’s more than one King as Ria states shes’ going to eliminate all the “Kings” on the network. When was there more than one King? Ria never stated there was more than one involved until just now. What evidence does she have that there’s more than one person (sorry, program) giving the orders? We just keep going deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, aren’t we?
Ria starts the anti-virus program and a montage starts of her erratically typing on a keyboard while red squares turn purple on her screen and a percentage meter counts down. Because THAT’S how computers work! There’s NO code on the screen, no evidence that her keystrokes are actually doing anything…it’s just her fingers flying on the keyboard. And the creators tried to make it look like she was doing something intense by showing close-ups of her eyes, her forehead sweating. It would be comical if it wasn’t being played completely straight. The LEAST they could do was show her actually coding something on screen! This is just stupid and the little “Mission Complete” on the screen afterwards just makes this whole montage all the more pathetic.
Just when our group thinks that it’s all over, the computer beeps and shows a message from the king. Apparently the King didn’t appreciate Ria hacking all in his business and decides to punish her by immolation. A few seconds later, Ria’s entire body spontaneously catches on fire. LITERALLY. Baby girl is on fire from head to toe…and she seems completely fine by it. She just continues typing on the laptop like it’s nothing. She whips off her burning sweater as she works, leaving her in bra and panties…and fire. She then begins talking about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, and how she had found a reason to keep going because the King’s game gave her a purpose and a goal to strive for; something to win. Before jumping off the dam, Ria asks Nobu-kun to beat the King in her place. She then plummets to her doom, smiling as the ending song plays.
Back in the present, Nobu-Kun, Mizuki and Kenta finally arrive at the walled off entrance to Yonaki village.
And once again, The Death Toll Remains: 10 Dead, 22 Remaining…
So, yeah. This episode was absurd. There’s no other way to say it. It’s downright comical how far downhill this episode rolled. I mean, there were parts in the beginning that looked like it could be SOMEWHAT decent…or at least tolerable, but then the last couple minutes with the “Imma go crazy and take a hostage!!” thing and the “biological virus in the computer network” thing and the “Oh, look, I’m on fire. Meh.” thing punted this show into a new end zone of badness. And did we REALLY need yet another moment of crazy when someone in the class decides to lose their marbles? It’s happened SO MANY TIMES BEFORE and it’s telegraphed so much that there’s no surprise when it does happen. Also…yeah…BIOLOGICAL VIRUS OVER THE INTERNET AND TEXT MESSAGES! Good effing grief.
Oh, and you thought I wasn’t going to mention the whole foolishness about how Ria just sparked on fire? Oh yeah, let’s talk about that. That scene was the epitome of foolishness. So Ria catches on fire, and the only expression of surprise she has on her face is related to the fact that the King actually beat her to the punch! She just stands there typing on her laptop like it’s nothing. No expression of pain or suffering! I don’t care how badly she was abused by her father–BEING BURNED ALIVE IS STILL A PAINFUL EXPERIENCE! By the way, that is the most fire-retardant laptop in the known world! Ria types on it and there’s NO damage whatsoever!
Also, I would be in dereliction in my duty if I didn’t mention the fact that while Ria is burning alive, she is also talking about how she was abused by her father and there’s a shot showing the…ahem…implements of that abuse. Because in this show, you just can’t talk about someone being abused–you actually have to drive it home by showing the objects used in that abuse, along with a naked, kneeling Ria just for seasoning. Subtilty is not this show’s strong suit. Finally, I can’t help but notice that among other things, Ria seems to have been abused by a couple of Fidget Spinners.
This show still has the problem of making dramatic moments WAY over the top. The whole hostage scene with Abe and Chiemi was just too much. Why was he carrying around a knife in the first place? Was he that paranoid about the game? I mean, I gave Ria a pass with her taser because she’s a survivor of sexual assault (must like everyone else these days), but I don’t see why Abe just had to have a knife! Also, Naoya’s death scene had potential to be touching, but it was played so corny and over the top, I found myself almost laughing. It was like watching a bad drama–oh wait…
Speaking of bad things, the English dub for King’s Game: The Animation is starting to sink into the mediocre category, which is honestly surprising me. Funimation is known for putting out solid dubs, and as of recently, they’ve been batting a thousand! Maybe because this is the 2nd String production staff working on a mediocre show…I don’t know. But this dub is not that good. Natsuko’s V/A puts on a good enough performance, playing the duality of the character very well. Everyone else…yeah, I’m not going out of my way to buy this one if it comes out on home video. The SimulDub is currently on Episode 3. Yeah, that episode. And the moment when Nobu-kun, Chiemi and Naoya are arguing over the whole “have sex before midnight” order is actually HILARIOUS when heard in English! The V/A’s play it WAY over the top!
Honestly, this show has hit rock bottom. While the optimist in me says that the show couldn’t possibly get any worse and can only get better from here as it looks like we’re approaching the end of the flashbacks, I’m going to deck my optimistic side like Nobu-Kun decked Naoya that one time and remain pessimistic so as not to get my hopes up. It’s rare that a show gets better at the halfway point, and there’s NO WAY I could ever recommend anyone stick around with an anime for six episodes in the hopes that it gets better. Especially when the show is only 12 episodes! The only thing I can hope for with this show is that the Yonaki Village stuff doesn’t ruin the original manga for me. Pathetic isn’t it?
I’ll let Kadeem have the final word today, as he just started watching the other day, bless his heart. I think he sums it up quite eloquently and beautifully.
— The Guy Who Is Known As Cedric AKA King Meow (4-4) (@cedric_alpha) November 9, 2017
Just a reminder that King’s Game: The Animation is currently streaming on Crunchyroll with new episodes every Thursday at 11:00AM. Funimation is currently doing a Simul-dub of the show, with new episodes premiering on Saturdays at 3:00PM CST.
You know what? Do yourself a favor–find a better way to spend your Thursdays and Saturdays. I recommend The Orville on Thursday nights at 8PM CST on Fox and Toonami on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network) at 10 PM CST on Saturdays.