King’s Game – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Kanazawa Nobuaki has transferred to a high school far from where he used to live. Due to an incident at his old school, Nobuaki is afraid of getting close to his new classmates and keeps himself at a distance, but he starts opening up because of a sports day inter-class relay. Then, a single text message from someone calling themselves the “King” is sent to everyone in class. Nobuaki’s classmates think it’s a simple prank, and don’t take it seriously–but Nobuaki knows that a death game is about to begin, and struggles to oppose it… (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: King’s Game starts off rather chaotic and a little abstract as it includes events and characters from past entries in the King’s Game franchise. This violent beginning should let most viewers catch on that we’re seeing the nightmares of our protagonist who has had to play the titular King’s Game before. In fact, the King’s Game kicks off so quickly in this premiere, with a lot of deaths and developments happening at break neck speed, that I’m led to believe, as someone who has read the other manga iterations, that King’s Game the anime expects you to come in with prior knowledge about the franchise.
Tom: As someone unfamiliar with King’s Game, I actually found myself having few issues with the presentation. While it’s clear we’re jumping into a story that’s in some ways already begun, it offers a history that can be divulged over the course of the anime’s run. So while King’s Game the Anime might be an adaptation of a sequel to the original, throwing us in the middle, I didn’t find it confusing. Some trouble may arise once King’s Game introduces its “do as I say or die” mechanic. Characters are sent text messages instructing them to do various tasks or face a penalty (usually death.) The anime rushes through this initial round of tasks ‘kiss this person, lick this gal’s foot’ etc. But this isn’t a huge sticking point and I didn’t find myself terribly confused while watching.
Linny: King’s Game is clearly aimed at fans of trashy horror movies and similarly styled horror manga and anime where the goal is to try and get as over the top, even hammy, as possible. Less effort is put into actually ensuring that the character and plot are convincing and airtight. You watch these works of fiction for the shock factor, and never to assess or enjoy how well written its plot is.
Tom: I have to entirely agree with Linny on this. You’re not watching King’s Game for the clever character writing, or deep connection you’ll build with any of them. These teens are distant, paper thin realizations. They’re B-Movie characters and that’s what King’s Game really is. And that’s great if you’re the kind of viewer who wants to see vaguely, or extremely, idiotic characters get dashed in the most horrid, gradually increasing in the extreme, ludicrous ways as possible.
Linny: Of course this B movie vibe means that the drama in the show can come off rather forced. In fact, it can be a bit too obvious about some of its possible big twists, like how this very first episode will make it obvious to many that one of the cast members is clearly hiding more than they are letting on.
Tom: Another detractor is the animation. Frequently the quality drops, offering scantly detailed models of the characters. This can make certain scenes look unappealing, under detailed and off-putting. With this already happening on the first episode, it’s very likely King’s Game isn’t destined to be this season’s ‘looker.’
Linny: Are you a fan of low grade horror movies that offer cheap thrills, poorly written characters and plenty of shocking and gruesome deaths? Then King’s Game is probably going to be a fun time for you. It’s not a great show by any means, the animation is poor and the plot is ridiculous. But if you ARE the intended audience for this show, you should be able to tell that right away from our descriptions so far.
Tom: King’s Game isn’t likely to be good by the conventional sense. Its characters are thin and its animation already faltering. But it’s great for anyone who wants a B-movie slasher feel. It gets gruesome as characters are offed by a maniacal force bent on screwing these kids over as hard as possible. It’s looking like dumb fun, and that’s the best way to watch King’s Game.