Rating: R (17+)
Originally Aired: Autumn 2017
Genre: Seinen, Horror, Mystery
I never understood the saying “it’s so bad its good” until watching King’s Game. I have invested 12 weeks in watching this absurd horror anime but I couldn’t take my eyes of it. Every week I tuned in hungry to see what happens next. Like a train wreck where you want to look away but you just can’t as something is constantly pulling you back. I was really excited to watch this anime as horror is few and far between in the anime community and I adore the horror genre in anime (anyone else excited for Junji Ito’s Collection in January?). But this anime really failed to live up to my expectations. I watched a video by TheAnimeMan on YouTube recently that he made quite some time ago and he mentioned that he would love to see King’s Game get an anime adaptation. After hearing that and the seeing the adaptation I can say with certainty that it was a disappointment (personally).
If you aren’t familiar with King’s Game it is an anime adaptation of a phone game and manga. The basic idea of the show is a high school class start receiving text messages from a person who refers to themselves as “King”. These texts contain orders from the king which the students must comply with or they will be punish (results may vary but it usually ends in death). The main character Nobuaki Kanazawa has played this game once before and was the lone survivor and during his second time round of this horrific game he and his class are determined to put a stop to it.
Now I want to point out before I start my review that I was really looking forward to this series when it first started. The actual concept of the anime is awesome and seemed really promising but it just failed to live up to the expectations I had. My first problem with this series was the writing. The plot was poorly written as it was full of holes and lacked in proper explanations. For instance many of the theories that Nokuaki and the others had were just that, theories which were often pulled from no where such as when they visited the old village where it began in order to find answers. There was no concrete evidence that visiting there would bring them answers it was just some random idea that they came up with and decided would work for them. The actual concept of the King’s Game was very confusing to me. So we find out that this game is like a virus that somehow made its way into the internet and became a computer virus and infects the text messages that they received. Now, how on earth does that translate to real life exactly? Unless I missed something vital I don’t understand how a computer virus can affect human beings and make their heads spin around and come flying off or make them set on fire. It just baffled me that that was the reason behind the game to the death.
The deaths in this anime were pretty interesting. For example one character (I cannot remember anyone’s name except for Nokuabki, Chiemi and Natsuko) got they punishment of “decapitation” now in my mind I thought a scenario would now appear in which this character dies in this was like an accident or something. But instead by some bizarre logic his head actually starts spinning around by itself until it flies off. Another instances is the Ria (I had to google that) suddenly becomes engulfed in flames (again by some kind of mystical magic) and somehow she still manages to play it cool. I’m sorry but even the most cool characters would be withering around in agony for their whole body was on fire not just casually carrying on the conversation like absolutely nothing is wrong. I understand that Ria was abused by her father but that does not make her completely numb to pain. There were a lot of strange deaths in the anime that made me look questionably at my computer screen and I think could have been written in a better and more structurally sound way instead of making them happen by magic.
Seriously Ria playing it cool won’t stop the fire (get it? Sorry. Bad joke. I’ll stop now. I’m a blogger not a comedian.)
I also want to mention how random and often jumbled this anime was. When I first started it I ended up becoming very confused as the anime jumped back and forth between timelines. I was honestly so confused because I couldn’t tell what time period it was in and I would get used to some of the characters and then some other characters would suddenly appear leaving me very lost. Luckily this time jumping finally died down overtime and I could begin to match up with who was in which class. The fact that they skipped between Nobuaki’s old and new class didn’t bother me but the fact that there was no signal to say which was the past and the present did. I think even if they had just added some dates in or something it would have helped me understand everything better. One random thing I wanted to mention was when Teruaki (Google you are a life saver) suddenly takes Nobuaki off to the side and starts giving him a haircut in the middle of a field…what? What does that have to do with the story? I’m trying to enjoy a horror and they decide to take a peaceful moment from breaking fingers to give a hair cutting session. I really hope I’m not the only one who thought that was weird.
The last thing I wanted to talk about is the ending. It honestly took me by surprise as I didn’t expect the entire class to die. I think in many horror anime I am used to seeing at least one character survive but they took the route of having no survivors which I actually really liked because it doesn’t happen often. But (of course there is a but) I didn’t like the fact that after the credits you then find out that their deaths were in vain and the game is continuing on into a new class. It’s the sort of “plot twist” that I could see coming from a mile away and it’s just so unoriginal at this point that it isn’t shock worthy. They ended the anime with a “to be continued” but I think if they did do a second season it would probably be exactly the same and would just drag on and I wish the game had just ended with the class and concluded with Riona dragging an already dead Nobuaki (why?! Riona you weirdo.) into the ocean with her to drown together (how romantic).
I just want to say that normally if I don’t like an anime I will drop it after a couple of episodes so I cannot say that I didn’t enjoy this series. I mean yes it was bad. Very bad. But that actually made it good because it kept me entertained. It didn’t shock, scare or creep me out but it really did keep me entertained each week. I wouldn’t recommend this anime as a good horror but I recommend it to anyone who is bored and is looking for something new to possibly give them some entertainment (and maybe make them yell at their screen like I did).
I apologise if you didn’t like my rant like review which oozed sarcasm. I nearly scrapped this review because I thought I don’t want to bring such a negative attitude in to my blog but it was so entertaining and I had so much I wanted to discuss that I decided to keep it. So I hope you enjoyed reading nonetheless and look out for some more positive reviews that I am hopefully going to get out within the next couple of weeks!
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(All pictures are sourced from Google images)