Happy Belated Thanksgiving everyone! Josh here, with another episodic review of King’s Game: The Animation submitted for your approval. I hope you all had a great Turkey Day with your friends and loved ones, even if your loved one is just you. Sometimes it be that way. Anyway, thanks once again for all the love and comments you’ve given me for these reviews! It’s very much appreciated!
Guys, I never thought I would hear myself say this, but we have another tolerable episode this week! I know right?! This is the 2nd one in a row! It’s almost like the New York Giants win/loss record! I know I long since wrote this show off as being a failure, and I stand by that, but I have to say, these last two episodes are showing that this show may not be a COMPLETE and UTTER failure.
Anyway, let’s get on it. To quote the OP for the anime Aria: The Animation, “let us discover yet unknown treasures.” I’m Josh, and this is my review of King’s Game: The Animation Episode 8!
Last time, instead of going into “Better Class Land,” Nobu-Kun, Kenta and Mizuki stay in the present as they explore the secrets of Yonaki Village, the site of the first King’s Game. Nobu-Kun discovers evidence that suggests that Chiemi actually has a twin sister and…dun-dun-dun…it’s Haruka. You remember her, right? The Cray-Cray girl who was more worried about who was going to have sex with her? The chick Kenta smacked? Yeah, her. Anyway, shenanigans ensue, Mizuki catches the Cray-Cray, Kenta knocks her out, and uses her hand to send the “Die” text message. However, because the message wasn’t sent from her original phone which she broke some episodes back, the King decides that wasn’t good enough and exacts punishment on both Kenta and Mizuki—Mizuki for failing to complete her task and Kenta for failing to protect Mizuki per his self-inflicted order to protect her at all costs. And just as things seem bleak, things get EVEN BLEAKER as Haruka calls Kenta’s cell phone while riding Teruaki’s bologna pony. Caught up? Good. Let’s get into it.
We pick up where we left off last with Nobu-kun getting a call from Haruka, who has just finished playing on Teruaki’s flesh colored pogo stick. She asks if Kenta and Mizuki are still alive. It seems as though she was waiting to receive Mizuki’s “Die” text message and timed her sexual encounter, so the Obedience Confirmed message would be sent out to everyone, giving Kenta the illusion that he was successful. She then continues to toy around and crack jokes about how Kenta got what he wanted; the opportunity to die with Mizuki, which just absolutely infuriates Nobu-kun. When he lashes out at her, she reminds him that she still has his phone, and then hangs up. It should be noted that the whole time she’s on the phone, she’s playing with what could only be a used condom, flinging it over her shoulder at the end of the call. What in all of the hell was the point of that?! Did we REALLY need to see the used condom? Did we need her playing around with it?! I get that they want to make Haruka look twisted, but this is just sick! I’m not even going to get into the fact that the condom is ABSURDLY “filled”! Jeez, no wonder Teruaki tried to get it on with Haruka in the middle of the field; brother man’s testicles were probably as blue as Teddie’s fur in Persona 4: The Animation.
After the OP, we see Teruaki lock himself in a bathroom stall, freaking out over what he just heard. Apparently, he just learned a valuable lesson—don’t stick your penis in crazy. He then begins doing something we can’t quite see on his phone. However, Natsuko catches up to him and begins banging on the door and then reaches over the stall and grabs his phone. Glaring at him with eyes red, she tells him that she’ll kill him if he betrays her. While this goes down, a figure in the shadows overhears this exchange and looks absolutely terrified.
Later that morning, at the bus stop, Nobu-kun continues reading through a journal that he found in Yonaki Village which states the phenomena of a message with a single letter being sent to those who died in the King’s Game is unique to the modern version and did not occur during the first King’s Game. Nobu-kun remembers Ria’s hypothesis that the one letter message may be a mutation in the King’s Game “program” itself that the King didn’t foresee and could be a clue to ending the game. Nobu-kun then receives a phone call on Kenta’s phone from a girl named Riona…who insists on being called “Riona-San” and has a snobbish attitude that comes straight out the nearest garbage can. I’m not one for hitting females at all, but baby girl could use some face time with the back of my hand. There’s a thin line between being a Tsundere and being a “witch-with-a-B,” and she’s crossed it several times over. Anyway, when Nobu-kun asks WTF, she GRACIOUSLY offers to share her Intel with him and tells Nobu-kun to come to her house. They agree to meet around noon.
Nobu-kun arrives at her house, and she storms out complaining at how late he is…even though he explained to her that he was out-of-town and it would be AROUND noon before they met up. I swear, were it me, I would just leave this dingbat to her own devices and keep on my own way. Not worth saving at all. Anyway, Riona drags him off to a local park for privacy to talk about her own investigations into the King’s Game. Using her freakishly large tablet, she shows Nobu-kun that something like the King’s Game happened at another school, Shimon Academy. She also states that Natsuko’s name was found in the articles she researched along with Ria Iwamura and information about his old school. Riona presses Nobu-kun about information about Ria, and he confirms that they were classmates. He also explains about the letters and the journal he found in Yonaki. Rionna reveals that she had also been collecting the individual letters after seeing Haruka messing around with Yuuichi’s phone the night he died. You remember him, right? The guy in the first episode who had a severe case of high blood pressure and died in the middle of the park and was left to lay there while his classmates stood around and did jack squat? Yeah, him. Anyway, Riona also noticed there was something more to the game—the letters she gathered from the current game’s decedents and the ones Nobu-kun has are the same. Nobu-kun is emotionally relieved that the death of his friends was not in vain and is thankful to Rionna as he can now see some small light of hope
However, Natsuko comes up to throw a shadow on that light. She’s come to bring them to Shibafu Field where the others are gathered. Nobu-kun requests to speak with her in private and she agrees. Dude, don’t you remember the LAST time you spoke in private with this crazy whore? And now you wanna talk to her in private AGAIN? WHY?! Good grief. Anyway, in the sidebar, Nobu-kun confronts Natsuko and asks if she’s played the game before and did she get an order to kill someone. She unflinchingly confirms that she did and that she followed through on the order, killing as per the order, including people who were special to her. Nobu-kun then asks about Chiemi Honda, explaining that she was his special person. Natsuko blows this off, and once again tells him to come to the park as there is yet another order, and that her goal is to follow it and kill him. Gotta give Natsuko one thing—she’s a crazy ‘ho, but she got goals.
After the break, Natsuko and Nobu-kun gather at the meet-up spot with the remaining class sitting in a circle. The group then discusses the next order. In class seat order, you are to remove your fingers and assign them a numerical value (breaking also counts). Fingers on the right hand are worth a positive point, fingers on the left are worth a negative point. You can give your points to other people in the class with the object of the game being that you not have a negative score, lest you be punished. You also have the option to give yourself points and you can also opt to pass your turn. As Nobu-kun begins figuring out how the plan works, Teruaki stands up and suggests to that instead of playing this game, the group finds some way to work together to figure out how to stop the madness. Natsuko shoots down the idea and threatens Teruaki with his phone…which to me is an empty threat. The way I see it, the phones are there just to relay the messages. If Teruaki’s phone is destroyed, he can still get someone else to give him messages about any orders that come in, unless it’s an order that specifically requires his phone like Mizuki’s OR the King gives a new rule about providing information to another player.
Anyway, Ryou, the boy sitting next to Nobu-kun, states that he now understands what he was talking about that first night of the game and that they really should find a way to save everyone. Nobu-kun then realizes that the one way to save everyone is if everyone passes their turn. Before Nobu-kun has a chance to say anything, one of the students opts to pass his turn, even though there’s a chance someone could get a negative number and pass those points to him. The student, whose name completely escapes me because that’s what happens when you spend 6 episodes with a cast of students that DON’T MATTER AT ALL, reiterates that the group should spend less time fighting and more time working together. Ryou asks Nobu-kun to pass his turn, which he does. Ryou then holds Nobu-kun’s hand asking that he just watch all the way to the end no matter what.
Several other students including Nobu-kun pass their turns until it reaches Teruaki. He then stands up and…asks to borrow Nobu-kun for a few minutes. He then sits him down and start to give him a haircut. No, I am not kidding; Teruaki sits Nobu-kun down in a nearby chair, wraps a towel around his neck, and begins combing and cutting his hair. Yeah. Umm…that’s random. Of all the things I could think of that I would see in this show, a haircut isn’t one of them. But, there you go. Much to Natsuko’s chagrin, Nobu-kun is getting his ears lowered by Teruaki. When Nobu-kun asks why he’s doing this (Probably just like the viewing audience), Teruaki simply says he’ll explain later. As he works, Teruaki begins joking around a little with Nobu-kun, and tells him that he wants to be a stylist one day and go to a cosmetology school—
OH DEAR LAWD…a character talking about his hopes and dreams. RAISE YOUR EFFING DEATH FLAG!!!!
Anyway, the haircut continues and Teruaki reveals that the scissors he’s using cost 50,000 yen, which translates to $448.32 in US dollars at the time of publication. So, yeah, Nobu-kun is getting his hair cut by a pair of scissors worth more than the monthly payment on my Jeep. Good-effing-grief! For that price, those scissors had better be made of platinum, never need sharpening, and I had better be able to cut hair, cook and do surgery with those things. I mean, good LAWD! Do you KNOW what I could do with that kind of money? I could buy an anime box set from Aniplex…MAYBE even 2! Ahem, anyway, Teruaki continues cutting Nobu-kun’s hair, even with Natsuko pestering him to hurry up. He tells Nobu-kun that everything will be over real soon. Nobu-kun understands Teruaki’s dream to be a stylist, and wants to help make that dream come true. Nobu-kun, bless your heart…I doubt seriously that’s gonna happen, knowing your track record.
After a few more minutes, Teruaki finishes the job and admittedly, Nobu-kun does look a little nicer with his hair cut short. However, before Nobu-kun gets the chance to pay up, Teruaki suddenly bends one of his fingers backwards, breaking it in a shriek of pain. Nobu-kun goes to his side, where Teruaki tearfully asks what he thinks about his haircut. Nobu-kun says that it’s awesome (even though he hasn’t looked at it in a mirror at all…) and he pleads with Teruaki to not break anymore fingers or else he’ll never be able to hold a pair of scissors again. Teruaki quietly tells Nobu-kun to keep his cool; he’s just playing up the pain he’s feeling as part of a plan the whole class is involved in, to get their phones back. Teruaki then pushes Nobu-kun away, grabs a rock and moves to smash his left hand, saying that he’ll give all his negative points to Natsuko. Heck, he already gave her the flesh-colored heat-seeking missile, why not give her a hand too?
We’re still holding at 21 dead, 11 Remaining…
See what happens when you actually get out of flashbacks and tell your own story? You actually churn out a decent episode! THIS is what King’s Game: The Animation should’ve been—a story focused in on one set of characters playing the game that we can come to know and grow attached to. If this anime would’ve done this from jump, then I wouldn’t have had to spend 6 reviews railing on it! We are now following characters that matter! However, this carries its own problems as we now have to remember just who these characters are. Remember, we haven’t seen most of these guys since the first episode. We haven’t had the chance to form any sort of bond with them. Heck, most of the time, I had to go back and look to see who these characters were. I still don’t remember Ryou at all, and I can’t quite get a feel for his relationship with Nobu-Kun or Teruaki. He looks like a very interesting character, and I wish we had a chance to find out more about him…or any of the others instead of going back to “Better Class Land” every episode. This show can stand on its own with the non-flashback characters, as the last two episodes have proven.
This show still has a problem with its female characters. With very few exceptions, I can’t find a single female character that I actually like in this show. They’re either all too crazy, too wimpy, or have zero personality. The writers just can’t seem to get it right. I mean, think about all the female characters we’ve seen that played a prominent role in some episodes up to this point: Haruka is crazy as hell, Chiemi is okay, but she has a personality like plain oatmeal and her memorable moment was that she was a Convenient Vagina, Kana was the class ‘ho, Mizuki was another sheepish girl looking for her Captain Save-a-‘Ho who then turned out to be crazy as hell, Nami just wanted Sempai to notice her, Ria was your typical stoic character who was only there to provide exposition and BDSM fan-service, and Riona “witch-with-a-B” Perpetual-Sand-Up-The-Vagina, “Call me Riona-San” chick. Seriously, this show just doesn’t know how to write standard high school girls without taking them from one extreme to another. It really takes me out of the show.
But on the whole, this episode was downright decent! There were moments in the pre-credit sequence when Haruka is talking on the phone with Nobu-kun while toying with Teruaki that was downright creepy…condom play not included. I was also was somewhat anxious during the bathroom stall scene when Haruka reached over and grabbed Teruaki’s phone and threatened him over the top of the stall. The haircut scene was out in left field, but on some odd level, I actually liked how quirky it was. I mean, here we are, watching these characters about to play a game that will mutilate their bodies IF THEY’RE LUCKY, and all of a sudden one of the characters jumps up and says “Hey, lemme go give this guy a haircut right quick.” It’s so weird, but in some part of my mind, it works. Speaking of Teruaki, I’m glad that we got to know a bit more about him. He’s definitely redeemed himself from the last time we saw him, and part of me hopes that the obvious death flags he was putting up earlier were just red herrings.
So, yeah, Episode 8 was yet another decent episode. Does this make up for all the other bad ones? Absolutely not. Does this change my overall opinion of the show? Absolutely not; I still believe this show is a failure. As I said last week, I can’t in good faith tell someone “Oh, this show is good, but you just have to get through the first 7 episodes.” That’s almost half the series! As I’ve said countless times before, watching an anime should not be a chore. It should be something you watch because you WANT to. Being forced to sit through 7 episodes in the hopes you MAYBE find something you’ll like is just misguided at best. If you want to do that, then by all means, go for it. Maybe King’s Game: The Animation is the show for you. Otherwise, if you want something consistently good, you’ll be better served going somewhere else. But for now, at least with this particular episode, it looks like the show is starting to do something…crying shame it’s the 4th Quarter with 5:00 on the clock and the show is down by 30 points.
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.