King’s Game – Mid Season Anime Review
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)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: King’s Game, alongside Evil or Live, or perhaps even Juni Taisen, exists as this season’s B-Movie ‘shlock.’ There’s little effort to truly make King’s Game traditionally gripping with compelling characters, solid plotting, twists and even visually impressive animation. While other shows are losing their impressive visuals, King’s Game never bothered with them to begin with. Rather they’ve used their ho-hum quality animation to increase the absurdity, and hilarity, of the gruesome and over the top ridiculous deaths that make the series so memorable.
Linny: That ridiculously low quality animation should be an early hint as to just how low effort King’s Game is in general. Do NOT pick this show up expecting any sort of intelligent tale of intriguing horror because the second you give any thought to its plot, you’ll find it has more holes than Swiss cheese. A lot of the actions taken by the characters seem illogical or never get a proper explanation and when we do get explanations for certain things, they feel weak, haphazard and almost always, unbelievable.
Tom: Where as Just Because! tries in earnest to depict teenagers with honest realism, King’s Game is under no such pretense. King’s Game isn’t even trying to portray its various genre tags in earnest, existing more so as a cheesy replica of true horror. King’s Game is hammy from the get go, and only gets more so as we hit the mid season. Characters exude incredible levels of angst, making King’s Game more akin to an overacted production of Hamlet than truly scary stuff. As I said before, it’s B-movie shlock and not at all ashamed to be exactly what it is. Everything is to the max, from its angst ridden teens to the increasingly absurd twists and turns.
Linny: The reactions, punishments and deaths that occur in the story are always dialed up to eleven. If you are worried about the show being too gory, it might be if you are sensitive to any depiction of painful violence. However, for most audiences, the deaths are so over the top that you’re more likely to find yourself laughing at them than recoiling in horror. For example, one of the characters gets set on fire but they remain extremely calm the entire time, monologuing away as if their entire body isn’t, in fact, covered in flames.
Tom: As King’s Game! hits the mid season, and we bounce back and forth between the modern story of Nobuaki’s second attempt at surviving the King’s Game, and his original run in with the evil and murderous text messaging, things only grow more and more ridiculous. It only becomes more clear with each absurd development or ridiculous death how the author himself realizes this story isn’t truly meant to be taken seriously. It’s not a horror in the traditional sense, but more akin to the later Friday the 13th films, abandoning their efforts to scare you and instead tickle your ribs with ludicrous comedic versions of the violence we expect from horror.
Linny: King’s Game is best meant to entertain those who love tacky horror that often purposely crosses over to ludicrous and comedic. Anyone who’s truly familiar with and fond of the type of show King’s Game is should probably already know not to expect anything but cheap and illogical attempts at shock horror that often translates into comedy. For everyone else, do not pick up this show expecting any serious attempts to be scary or mysterious. Most of the content will come off as sleazy or extremely poorly thought out. Judging from all the absurd ‘explanations’ we’ve gotten so far, there’s a high chance that the show will end on an equally ridiculous, unsatisfying and unbelievable note. Pick King’s Game up if you want to have a hearty chuckle at the sheer stupidity and insanity of its cast and story, but stay away if you’re expecting any sort of intelligent, dramatic entertainment.
Tom: In a traditional review system I’d almost feel compelled to give King’s Game a low score. At face value, the series fails in its attempts to scare, to offer thrills, and unnerve the viewer as its characters collapse under psychological strain from the horrors around them. B-Movie nature, by definition, isn’t good. But here’s where our recommended/not recommended system shines. Because King’s Game is perfect for anyone who loves that B-Movie, angst to the max, violence spread across the walls feel that’s oh so entertaining in all the wrong ways.