Hey guys, Josh here once again with yet another trip down the sewer shaped rabbit hole that is King’s Game: The Animation! As always, I want to thank all of you for checking out my reviews and giving me positive feedback, and I also want to apologize to you for the lateness of the Episode 9 review. It was TOTALLY my fault; I didn’t start the review until late because I had a few other things I needed to take care of, and by the time it was finished, it was much too late to post that Saturday. Again, I’m sorry for the tardiness and everything should be on time from here on out!
Anyway, with regards to Episode 10, this is a pretty boring and stupid episode. While the last couple of ones were somewhat suspenseful and even had some cool moments and mind games, this episode by comparison is pretty much the running scene from the movie Forrest Gump, just with Japanese high school students…and badly written. All the kids do in this episode is run…and run…and run…and talk…and talk…and talk. Heck, even Natsuko, the antagonist of the series, only appears in the first 2 seconds of the episode, and all she’s doing is running! What a villain! But how did we get here?
Let’s make like the One Tin Soldier and Ride Away. (Happy birthday, Greg Ayres, by the way). I’m Josh, and this is a review of King’s Game: The Animation Episode 10!
Last week, after giving our protagonist Nobu-kun a much needed haircut, Teruaki decides to sacrifice his left hand to boot Natsuko out the game, unless she gave up his and Nobu-kun’s phones. She relents and returns the phones, upon which Teruaki pulls an okey-doke and gives Natsuko negative points anyway, effectively condemning her, unless someone sacrificed their hand for her. After several of her classmates pass their turn, Natsuko attacks Aimi, her longtime friend, by smashing her hand and then coerces her to give up her positive points and ending the game with no deaths. Ah, the joys of friendship. After getting patched up at the local hospital, Natsuko has everyone meet by Yatsuhashi Bridge where it’s revealed that Natsuko blocked the King’s messages from Teruaki’s phone, causing him to unknowingly break the rule about backing out the game and resulting in his decapitation, dying in Nobu-Kun’s arms. And this is why you should always lock your phone with a PIN, a fingerprint, Irises, and a lock pattern if you’re gonna dip your pen in a crazy girl’s inkwell, fellas. The episode ends with Nobu-kun ruminating that everyone around him is on the train to the center of Loony Land.
This week’s episode starts us right in the middle of an order. Without using any modes of transportation, the remaining class members are to run to the top of Nuegakubi, which I can ONLY assume is a mountain or something as when I tried to Google it, I got bupkus. Anyway, the trick is, every eight hours, the class member that’s the furthest behind will get a punishment. The scene shows all the remaining classmates quite literally running for their lives. However, there seems to be several people missing. Speaking of people who are missing; one wonders what the TEACHER of this particulate class is doing now that NONE of his/her students are present. I mean, let’s think about this, the school sports festival was about two days ago. Maybe three. Even if you were to say that the sports festival was on a Friday–at the very earliest, it’s MONDAY MORNING. They should either be in school, or there should be some police around doing searches for these kids who are in a class that seems to have a problem with its attendees STAYING ALIVE! Sorry, guys. Let’s go to the Opening!
Speaking of the OP, maybe it’s because I’ve heard this song over and over and over again, week after week, but I think I’m starting to like it. I even found myself humming the song under my breath while at work. It’s odd. Ah well, credit where it’s due.
It seems as though Nobu-kun, Ryou, Aimi and Miss Perpetual Sand-Up-The-Vagina Riona are lagging behind, still at Yatsuhashi Bridge with Nobu-kun still mourning the loss of Teruaki, and Ryou still on the train to Loony Land. Eventually, Nobu-kun attempts to snap Ryou out of his stupor, telling him that he has to concentrate on accomplishing the next order and living for both himself and Teruaki. The rude awakening eventually works and Ryou breaks down and goes off with Riona. Well, I’ll be…she actually has emotions other than “Insufferable,” “Smug,” “Tsundere,” and “Know it All.” Who knew? Aimi seems to be completely defeated, willing to let herself die instead of going ahead. However, Nobu-kun decides to take matters, and Aimi, in his own hands and give her a ride by piggy back against her will, refusing to abandon his classmate to the jaws of death. Eventually, Aimi relents and runs on her own.
Meanwhile, the group that left earlier is fairing about as well as you would think. As they climb up a set of stairs, one classmate, Takuya, decides that Masatoshi was in his way and throws him down the stairs. Now, as many of you know, I’m a Louisiana boy; Born and Raised in Baton Rouge. So a few years ago, when I went to Washington DC for a little vacation (Back when I had money…ah, those were the days) I rode the Metro Rail quite a few times. The concept of an underground train system that could take you ANYWHERE you wanted to go enthralled me. But one thing I learned quick fast and in a hurry was that when it comes to riding on the many escalators, you stand to the RIGHT if you’re not actively walking down the escalator, and you leave the left side for those who are running or actively walking unless you WANT to get pushed over by rushing commuters. YOU DIDN’T JUST CHUCK THEM DOWN THE STAIRS! Takuya, brother man, if Masatoshi were moving THAT slowly, all you had to do was RUN AROUND HIM! Bump him out the way and keep it moving! You REALLY didn’t have to throw him down the stairs! And the fact that you stopped to actually gloat over it is not only cruel, it defeats the purpose of throwing him off by delaying you further!
Anyway, when Aya asks why he would do such a thing when they should be working together, Takuya pretty much says that he can’t play nice and runs off. Rina urges Aya to leave the unconscious Masatoshi behind, and continue on, but she wants to stick around and call an ambulance. However, Rina rightly explains that because an ambulance might classify as a mode of transportation, Masatoshi could very well be punished. However, Aya decides to stick around with Masatoshi, and the rest of the group runs ahead leaving her behind.
Meanwhile, Aimi and Nobu-kun catch up to Riona, who looks rather beat after having run so far. But, of course, she denies it. Nobu-Kun runs off, leaving Aimi and Riona to rest. As they wait, Riona explains that she’s done her own research into the game, but has run out of energy to continue on. Aimi states that Nobu-kun hasn’t given up, and states that while they were running, he was matching her pace even though he’s clearly faster, and that he continues to put his own safety above others. Riona admits that he’s been through a lot; more than they could ever imagine. Before she has the chance to ruminate further, Nobu-kun returns with drinks for the two girls. Riona forcibly tells Nobu-kun and Aimi to go ahead of her, saying that she will catch up later. Nobu-kun turns that into a promise before running off. As the two leaves, Riona smiles after them, then returns to her struggle of opening the soda can with her stupid nails. Oy.
Eventually, Nobu-Kun and Aimi catch up to the group from earlier. When Nobu-kun asks what happened to Aya and Masatoshi, Rina explains what happened earlier with Takuya. However, Nobu-kun isn’t angry, understanding why they did what they did. He tells the group to go ahead and to take Aimi with them as he has to go back.
Of course, he’s going back for Riona, who is pathetically running to catch up with the group. As she runs, she thinks about how Nobu-kun left her alone on the side of the dark road, putting her life in danger. I know this is supposed to be a tsundere thing with her, but come on! YOU WANTED THEM TO LEAVE YOU! Are you really that stupid to blame someone else for YOUR OWN DECISIONS?! Again, I know, this is a Tsundere thing, but this is played up to an extreme that is downright ridiculous.
Anyway, she trips, of course, and the can she was holding earlier, still unopened, rolls conveniently at Nobu–HOLD UP! WAIT A MINUTE!! Um…did the animators forget how Nobu-kun is supposed to look?! This looks like a completely different guy! And don’t think I didn’t miss the faceless characters from the earlier scene! Again, the animation is still disgustingly sloppy! Budgets are one thing, but at least make an attempt!
When Riona demands to know why he came back for her, Nobu-kun states that he figured she could use a hand opening the soda can she struggled with earlier. Of course, Rionna pulls her Tsundere act again saying that he should’ve realized that earlier. Hey, cow; here’s a thought—if you needed help with the can earlier, WHY DIDN’T YOU ASK HIM OR AIMI TO OPEN IT FOR YOU WHEN HE FIRST GAVE IT TO YOU? I swear, you are like Sakura Haruno from Naruto: Shippuden…a completely useless cow!
Anyway, as Riona takes a drink, who should walk up but Masatoshi, sporting a makeshift headband that makes him look a lot like Klein from Sword Art Online. Nobu-kun is glad he’s safe and the trio begin running to catch up. With four hours and eighteen minutes until the first Death Checkpoint, Nobu-kun begins ruminating about his new travel companions; Riona being too out of shape with too little stamina to run for long periods and Masatoshi who is running on a limited amount of adrenaline. As he contemplates this, a mysterious voice rings in his head that he should just abandon them. The scene then cuts to negative to reveal Nobu-kun being mentally confronted by…umm…yeah, I don’t know guys. This looks like a Persona knockoff to me. And much like Persona, the Persona Knockoff removes its mask to reveal Natsuko taunting him to give up and leave the others behind to die. Masatoshi and Riona wonder what’s going on with their leader, and Masatoshi suggests that Nobu-kun may be worried too much about others and not so much about himself. He then runs ahead leaving him and Riona behind.
After the act break, Ryou gets a phone call from Nobu-kun asking for an update on their location. Ryou explains that they’re running along the industrial roads with the sun rising in front of them. When he asks Nobu-kun where he is, Nobu-kun refuses to say, instead telling the others “Good Luck” and to keep running. When Rina scoffs at how “Soft” Nobu-kun is, Ryou rebukes her, saying that he’s just as nice and strong as Teruaki and he aspires to be as strong as them. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.
Meanwhile, Masatoshi, Nobu-Kun and Riona run along a coastal road. They stop to admire the sunrise and rest for a few minutes, as Masatoshi is about to collapse from exhaustion. As they watch the sun come up, Nobu-kun hallucinates that Riona is actually Chiemi, his old girlfriend from “Better Class Land.” I’ll be dawg gone, we’ve actually gone about tr. When he reaches out to touch her, Riona slaps his hand away, stating that she won’t’ let him get way with mistaking her for someone else. PERPETUAL…SAND…UP…THE…VAGINA. Good grief, I get that you don’t want to be touched, but come on! You know he’s exhausted and you know he’s probably hallucinating. Do you have to keep acting like a petulant cow?! Anyway, Masatoshi, clearly thinking that death is better than dealing with Riona’s attitude, drops off the side of the road unconscious and unresponsive into the water below. Nobu-kun strips off and decides to dive after him against Riona’s pleas not to. He pushes her aside and dives in after him. Nobu-kun eventually catches up to Masatoshi and attempts to revive him by giving him mouth to mouth and pounding his chest…UNDERWATER.
Now, I’m no expert in CPR. I’m gonna tell you that right now. My late sister India was certified to be a CPR instructor. Me? I just fixed her computer when she needed me to. The last I checked, she didn’t mention anything about being able to give anyone CPR while underwater, and I’m sure if I had asked her if this were possible, she would just give me a confused look would say “My baby brother has lost it, bless his heart.” So, yeah. I call shenanigans on that! First off, Nobu-kun is breathing in the mouth of a guy who has been under water for quite some time. You have not cleared his airway because HE IS UNDERWATER! So you’re probably breathing any water in his lungs EVEN DEEPER IN HIS LUNGS! Also, you kinda sorta need that oxygen FOR YOURSELF! He then gives Masatoshi’s chest a couple smacks with his fist, which I can only assume is to try and restart his heart. Again, the effectiveness of this is next to ZERO. If you do get his heart restarted dummy, the first thing Masatoshi is going to do is take a breath…OF WATER! You’re essentially reviving him to kill him all over again. What a pal!
Masatoshi comes back to life just enough to get Nobu-kun to let him sink and drown. Nobu-kun then figures enough is enough and allows himself to sink down to his doom. However, Kenta, Mizuki, Teruaki and Chiemi come to him in a vision, encouraging him to keep living. He swims up to the surface much to the relief of Riona. Masatoshi’s makeshift headband comes up to the surface, causing Nobu-kun to grieve for his friend. Meanwhile, Masatoshi’s phone shows one character on screen. Later, lying on the beach, Riona comes up with his clothes, stating that she has to punish him later for what he done. Sitting next to him, she then suddenly reaches out and hugs him gently, stating in typical Tsundere fashion, blush and all, that she’s only warming up his body. She then admits that was both sad and afraid that Nobu-kun would die too and that he needs to keep his chin up for her. Nobu-kun agrees.
Later, Riona lays out the course they have to take to get to the top of Nuegakubi. Long story short—it’s a long, long way to Tipperay. As the group runs, Nobu-kun checks the time; 7:55AM –almost time for the first Death Checkpoint which means that either him or Riona are about to be punished. Nobu-kun realizes this and falls back under the guise of tying his shoe. Riona decides to wait for him. Nobu-kun decides that even after his ghostly pep talk, he just can’t bear to lose anyone else. A message from the king comes in, stating that eight hours has elapsed and the person farthest from Nuegakubi summit will die by suffocation. Riona suddenly realizes what’s going on just as the show ends. I thought you were supposed to be the SMART one, Riona-SAN.
22 Dead 10 Remaining…
Wait, what?! Last time I checked, Masatoshi died this episode—so he should be marked off the list! Maybe they’re only counting characters killed directly by the King? I don’t know…but it’s inconsistent!
Well, this episode was pretty boring. I mean, there wasn’t really anything for me to get interested in. All they did was just literally run around and have conversations between runs and the typical “Death of the Week.” While I’m not one that wants or needs Die Hard level action every single episode, a little something other than the status quo would be nice. However, it is cool that the class is getting away from just being in dark parks along riverbanks. I do like the fact that we’re getting a small fragment of character development, like with Riona in the last few minutes, but once again I have to mention the fact that we know NOTHING about these characters we’re following along. We have yet to form any kind of relationship with them. I actually had to wait around to hear the character names so I could accurately use them in the review, because I didn’t remember their names. While I admit I harp on this issue over and over again, I do it because it’s a prime failing with this series—we spent WAY too much time in “Better Class Land” and we became so invested in those characters, that when we get back to the real-time, we know nothing about the group and the individual characters, which is important now that the class is whittled down to a precious few. The only time we learn about any of the characters is when they’re about to die! Think about it, before episode 8, what did we know about Teruaki? NOTHING! What did we know about Ryou? NOTHING! What did we know about Rionna? NOTHING! But we know what Daisuke’s hopes and dreams were from Episode 2, didn’t we? We know how much Naoya cared for Chiemi and Nobu-kun, huh? And in the end, that really mattered huh? Oh, wait…no it didn’t BECAUSE ALL THOSE CHARACTERS DIED! Meanwhile, all the characters that we SHOULD be getting to know and growing attached to only get a few words about what their hopes and dreams are before they are killed off.
Also, let’s have a small talk about Riona. I’ve had a problem with this stuck up cow from the jump and this episode just drives the point of my hatred home. I find it hard to believe that a girl who is caught up in this game of life-and-death and is now forced to, quite literally, run for her life, would still continue to act so insufferable, especially to Nobu-kun, the ONE GUY IN THE WHOLE CLASS ASIDE FROM NATSUKO who knows what the King’s Game is all about, and is the LAST person you want to make upset. Hey, dingbat, Nobu-kun is your one best hope of getting out this game alive—CAN IT WITH THE FOUL ATTITUDE. Granted, the scene after Nobu-kun’s failed rescue attempt was kind of sweet and did redeem her SLIGHTLY.
At the end of the day, this episode just seems to have been mostly focused on telling the audience how good a guy Nobu-kun is; something WE ALREADY KNOW! We’ve seen just how good a guy he is—we didn’t need an entire episode of everyone telling the audience how selfless and awesome Nobu-kun is. We’ve seen the sacrifices he’s willing to make to get the job done. We’ve seen the fact that he is willing to lay his very life on the line in order to save those he loves and cares about. I get that the character is designed to be a self-insertion Gary Stu, but come on! Oh, and that cliffhanger at the end of the episode? Nice try, show, but we’re 2 episodes from the finale—we know you’re not going to kill off the male lead beforehand, and I doubt the writers are smart enough to pull a bait and switch.
So, yeah, for what it’s worth, this is a typical episode of King’s Game: The Animation, and I don’t mean that in a particularly good way. Whereas the earlier episodes were completely tolerable, this one is firmly entrenched in the mire of stupidity that we’ve come to expect from this show. Next week is the penultimate episode, and heaven only knows what kind of foolishness these writers can come up with. I would say that it couldn’t be worse than what we’ve already seen, but if I’ve learned one thing about this show, the creators, for better or worse, always find a way to turn it up to 11.
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.