Hey guys, Josh here, once again bringing you my trials and tribulations with the series known as King’s Game: The Animation. As per usual, I wanna thank you guys once again for all your feedback and love. Watching this show has been a labor of love (especially at the time of this printing when I’m currently sitting in the dark due to a power outage) but knowing you guys are reading and enjoying it makes it all worthwhile, so again, thank you so much for checking it out!
So we’re now at Episode 7 of the series and I’m gonna shock you guys. You sitting down? Good. This episode…was actually TOLERABLE. I know, right? After 6 episodes of slogging through crap, we finally come to an episode that doesn’t make me pull out what remnants of hair I have left on my head. Oh yeah, there’s plenty of stupid that’s become a hallmark of this series, but on the whole, this particular episode, as compared to the others, was less frustrating to deal with.
In the words of Beat Crusaders, let’s “break into a world of perfect free.” Once again, I’m Josh, and this is my review of Episode 7 of King’s Game: The Animation.
So, last time out, Nobu-kun, Kenta, and Mizuki continue their voyage to Yonaki Village, with Nobu-kun once again throwing us into the world of “Better Class Land.” This time around a dice game and Mr. Old Navy Frost Free Quilted Vest (AKA Naoya) determines who lives or who dies. After about 10 minutes of farting around, hostage taking, yelling and screaming, best bro Naoya throws the dice and makes the decision who lives and who dies, after which he dies in Nobu-Kun’s arms. Then Ria comes in, does some things with the computer while providing exposition about the origin of the King’s Game. Seems that a virus from Yonaki somehow managed to find its way onto the Internet and infect others through text messages. Yes, really. Anyway, Ria thinks she can end the game by typing frantically on her laptop and changing red squares to purple. It looks like it works, but the King sees through this foolishness and punishes her through immolation. Before she dies, and before anyone could break out the obvious joke of “This Girl is On FIRE!,” Ria asks Nobu-Kun to beat the king. As the story ends, the group arrives at the walled in entrance to Yonaki. Yes, I know that whole thing sounded prodigiously silly. But so is this anime. Let’s get into it.
So our group starts off at the walled up entrance to Yonaki Village. Nobu-kun notices a hole in the arch and suggests that they climb in that way. Umm, yeah…if the creators expect us to believe that two teenage boys are able to squeeze through a hole that size, they’re going to be in for a rude awakening. Anyway, the group somehow makes it through and Kenta notices that he has no signal on his cell…stupid AT&T…”more bars in more places” my butt. Also, I found it funny that Kenta doesn’t have cellular service on his phone, but he is somehow able to get Wi-Fi. Dang. Yonaki is more advanced than I thought–I mean, anytime a BIOLOGICAL virus can get on the Internet…
Anyway, Kenta reminds us that Mizuki still has to send the “Die” text message to two people in the class. Nobu-kun replies that he’ll have Mizuki send the messages to Natsuko and Haruka; Natsuko because she may find a way to ‘eff stuff up later on in the game, and Haruka because there’s no way she can complete her order as Tsubasa, the guy who was supposed to touch her chest, died in the first episode. Admittedly I get Nobu-kun’s reasoning behind picking these two; Natsuko caught the cray-cray, and heaven only knows what she’ll do if allowed to continue on, and Haruka can’t complete her order because of a technicality. So best to sacrifice those two for Mizuki. Cruel, yes, but I get the reasoning.
After the OP, our group finally arrives inside the long abandoned village and they begin wondering around for clues. Nobu-Kun stumbles across a house with the name “Honda” on the nameplate. He goes in and discovers an old picture of Chiemi and her father on the table along with a note that says “I’ll follow my daughters from this cursed land. It’s the only thing your father can do to atone. I’m coming to apologize.” Nobu-kun ruminates about what this could possibly mean.
Meanwhile, Mizuki wonders off leaving Kenta to look for her, because it’s always a great idea to split up in an unknown village that was once home to a bacterial virus that could possibly kill you or make you kill others. It’s like an episode of Scooby-Doo…if the writers on Scooby-Doo were high. Kenta checks his phone and sees where he received a couple messages from the King. It seems as though a lot of things have happened while he was in the dead zone; seven classmates died by various means for not completing their assigned tasks. Wait—hold up. Seven NON-FLASHBACK characters actually died?! You mean…characters NOT part of “Better Class Land” are actually being killed off?! No way. Next thing you’ll tell me is that Pikachu is gonna up and start talking in the newest Pokémon movie, and we all know how silly that would be, RIGHT?
Meanwhile, Nobu-Kun arrives at the village graveyard and finds a small journal…along with a decomposing body. Nobu-kun deduces that this body is Chiemi’s father and he committed suicide out of guilt because he dragged Chiemi into the King’s Game. Well, aren’t we Conan Edogawa? Next to the body is a picture of Chiemi’s dad holding two babies in his arms with two names written on the back of the picture—Chiemi and Natsuko…which means that the two of them…ARE SISTERS. (DUN-DUN-DUN….)
After the act break, Mizuki and Kenta are reunited, but it doesn’t feel so good as Mizuki says she’s come to say goodbye. Baby girl decided she’s going to protect Kenta by sending the “die” text message to herself and to Natsuko, stating that because Natsuko tried to hurt Kenta, she could never forgive her. She then makes a last request; that Kenta tells her she’s cute, even if he doesn’t really mean it. At first, Kenta is embarrassed to do such a thing, but after Mizuki confesses that she likes him and other random shenanigans that just seems out of place in this show, Kenta eventually comes around and kisses Mizuki. This, understandably makes Mizuki happy…
…and this also flips the crazy switch in Mizuki as she then states that she wants Kenta to die with her as continuing the game would only cause him more pain. Geeze, talk about commitment. Most girls want a ring on the finger…baby girl here wants a brother to literally DIE for her. Jeez, how about you go on a date first? While Kenta is understandably shocked at this, Mizuki reminds him that as part of his earlier self-inflicted order to protect Mizuki at all costs, he’ll end up dying when she does. Kenta is understandably not on-board for this Romeo and Juliet crap and knocks out Mizuki with what has to be the softest punch in all of anime before she has a chance to run off to a place that has cell signal. Seriously, the punch Kenta hits her with wouldn’t knock out a fly much less a teenage girl. Anyway, Kenta carries Mizuki up to a nearby road… and using her hands, sends the “Die” message.
Meanwhile, the writers remember that they actually have another cast of students to write about that are not in “Better Class Land.” With 5 minutes remaining until Midnight, we find Haruka in the hospital morgue straddling Tsubasa’s dead body with her shirt off, desperately trying to use his hand to try and grope her breasts. So much for that whole “respect for the dead” thing. Just climb on top of the corpse, grab its hand and put it on your breast. There’s NOTHING wrong with that, right? But alas, getting groped by a corpse doesn’t (AND SHOULDN’T) count as Haruka doesn’t get the “Obedience Confirmed” message. I would ask how a high school girl was able to make it to the morgue and get that far in the first place, but then I remember that this is King’s Game: The Animation–a magical place where adults and common sense are as rare as a Ging Freecss child support check.
Meanwhile, Aya, the girl who got the “Lose something important to you” message is having a rough time of it. Much like Nobu-kun did in an earlier episode, she decides to start breaking everything in her entire house. HOWEVER, baby girl takes it one step further and murders her parents. Dear old dad get stabbed in the back, and mom gets an entire bookshelf dropped down on top her. Well, you can’t say she wasn’t through. The family dog, Choco, which is probably the ugliest dog in anime, strides up to Aya and licks her hand. Seriously, this dog is downright creepy—it never blinks the entire time we see it. It just stares with those blank lifeless eyes. Anyway, Aya decides to pull an End of Evangelion and choke the dog like Shinji choked out Asuka. However, one small bark snaps her out of it and she cuddles Choco saying that he’s the one thing she just couldn’t kill. So, lemme get this straight—you destroy your house, viciously stab your dad in the back and crush your mom under a bookcase, but you won’t kill the dawg gone dog? I love dogs, don’t get me wrong, but SERIOUSLY!? Good grief…
Anyway, Nobu-kun catches up with Kenta and the still unconscious Mizuki on the side of the road. Kenta confirms that he sent the message to himself and to Natsuko, but it seems as though Natsuko was telling the truth earlier when she told Mizuki that sending the message from another phone wouldn’t work. Nobu-kun is initially relieved, but he then realizes that because Mizuki didn’t complete her mission, she’s going to be punished, and because he in turn didn’t save her, he’s going to die too. Almost on cue, Kenta collapses from…well…it’s not specifically stated how he’s being punished, but I think we can assume it’s asphyxiation. A tearful Nobu-kun tells Kenta how much he means to him, but Kenta wants to be left alone wtih Mizuki for the final curtain call. With his last, Kenta struggles to Mizuki’s side as she finally wakes up. However, her moment of consciousness is short lived (nyuk-nyuk), as her asphyxiation punishment comes down. She dies before she has the chance to reach out
to the truth for Kenta’s hand. I have a question–why did the King wait until she was awake before killing her off? We’ve already established that the King has ZERO qualms about killing people in their sleep; see the first episode. Why would the King wait until Mizuki was awake before killing her? Personally, I think this is the creators wanting to go for a whole corny romantic Romeo and Juliet kind of thing where Juliet comes back to life as Romeo dies. Honestly, that’s cheap and lame. Breaking established norms and rules for a cheap moment like this is pathetic.
Nobu-kun comes back and sees the two faux star-crossed lovers dead and gone. He then decides to amp up the corniness by sitting up Kenta and Mizuki’s bodies and putting their hands together, thanking Mizuki for coming with him despite her fears and telling Kenta how he gave him hope and how much he’s learned from Kenta. Mmmkay…WHEN? You two have been together for 24 hours–maybe even longer if you count the time before the Sports Festival. The only interaction we’ve seen between the two of you have been you telling your story about your time in “Better Class Land.” When did he give you hope? What did he teach you? Why didn’t we see this? If you’re going to tell the audience how much a character means to another character, let us SEE that instead of having the main character TELL us. Look back at Episode 6; did Nobu-kun tell Naoya any of this? NO. Why? Because we already knew–we were shown just how much Naoya meant to Nobu-kun as the show went on. We saw that Nobu-kun really loved Naoya and would sacrifice everything to save his friend. We didn’t need a tearful, sappy final goodbye speech to know that. But here, because we didn’t see any kind of real bonding or conversations between Nobu-kun and Kenta, we have Nobu-kun talk about all Kenta has done for him…but we never see it. It’s a crying dawg gone shame.
Anyway, Kenta’s phone rings and the caller ID shows that it’s from Nobu-Kun’s phone. See, Naoya–you CAN look at the phone caller ID and see who’s calling. Don’t think that even though you’re dead, I’m not going to hold you to task for your stupidity. In any case, It’s Natsuko, and she’s still in full on cray-cray mode. Wanna know how you can tell she’s in full on Cray-Cray mode? Baby girl is in the school storage shed with Teruaki, the guy who tried to rape her in Episode 2, straddling him having sex…while she’s on the phone with Nobu-Kun talking as though she wasn’t riding on Teruaki’s flesh colored, heat seeking, guided missile. Teruaki, for the most part, looks like he isn’t really enjoying the whole process, but hey, rape sucks. I would feel sorry for him, were it not for the fact that he tried to rape Natsuko IN THE MIDDLE OF AN OPEN FIELD IN FRONT OF THEIR CLASSMATES (ONE OF WHOM LYING DEAD ON THE GROUND) EARLIER THAT DAY! Anyway, our episode ends with Natsuko asking joyfully if Kenta and Mizuki were still alive. Because that’s the BEST time to make a phone call–while riding a bologna pony, if I may quote Amanda Winn-Lee.
Oh, my gosh…I actually get to update this…21 dead, 11 Remain
So, yeah, this episode…was not THAT bad. In fact, if you look at the episodes we’ve seen so far, this is probably one of the better episodes. Oh yeah, there were many stupid moments, like Mizuki’s crazy switch being flipped, the necrophilia groping, the “I’ll kill everyone in my family except the doggo because REASONS,” the faux Romeo and Juliet death between Kenta and Mizuki, and the wild and raunchy sex in the school shed while on the phone, but on the whole, this episode was tolerable. It felt real good not be in the flashback world, and to see how our non-flashback characters play the game, albeit briefly. The story finally feels like it’s progressing now that we’re not stuck in “Better Class Land.”
That being said…I think it’s too little too late. After six episodes of being with the flashback class, we’ve formed little to no attachment with the group of kids in the non-flashback. And when you consider that a large group of them were killed off camera before we could form any kind of opinion of them, I don’t think we were ever meant to form an attachment, which if that were the case, begs the question…WHY PUT THEM IN THE ANIME IN THE FIRST PLACE?! Honestly, I would’ve preferred it if the show were about the flashback characters, as we’ve gotten to know them more than we gotten to know the non-flashback ones. We know more about the relationship between Naoya, Chiemi and Nobu-Kun, then the young romance between Kenta and Mizuki. Why establish us with a cast of characters only to set them to one side and devote six episodes to a group of characters that get killed off and bring little if anything to the plight of our original group? It makes little sense to me.
And yes, I know there’s a manga that probably explains all of this, but you know what? I don’t care. I shouldn’t have to do research and read a manga just to understand an anime. If you’re going to make an anime, it should be able to stand on it’s own without needing supplemental reading. If you want to explain why characters XYZ act the way they do, then find a way to put it in THE SHOW. Don’t try to tell me “Oh, it’s all explained in the manga, if you go and read that you’ll understand.” That’s BULL. If the writers are too lazy to find a way to put that information in the story, guess what? I’m too lazy to go out and do research.
So yeah, after 6 episodes, we finally got one that’s actually worth something. Does it change my views that this show is a failure? Nope. One passable episode does not forgive six episodes of mediocrity. As I said before, I could never recommend anyone sticking around with an anime for six episodes…especially when the series is twelve episodes long. However, maybe this show can manage to throw something together in the Garbage Time it has remaining. Heaven knows the creators of this one threw everything ELSE together.
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.
Oh, and before I forget–Christopher Ayres, the voice for, among other characters, Frieza from the Dragon Ball series, is going through some real rough medical problems right now. There’s a YouCaring page open for him to help with medical expenses, so if you feel lead to do so, please donate to this cause. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.
This review is dedicated to Hiromi Tsuru, the Japanese voice actress for Bulma in the Dragon Ball series. She passed away on Thursday at the age of 57, and the outpouring of emotion online has been prodigious. Rest in Peace, ma’am.