Who doesn’t love a good survival story? I know I absolutely love survival stories and that’s why Battle Royale will always hold a special place in my heart. Ousama Game, on the other hand, resides in another special place: My Windows Recycle Bin.
The story of Ousama Game revolves around Nobuaki Kanazawa, an emotionless teenage boy who was the sole survivor of the King’s Game… a game of survival where you have to obey the King’s orders that you receive via text messages. Blocking the King, cheating or not going through with the orders results in punishment. 99.9% of the time, that punishment is death. When Nobuaki attends school and gets a text message from the King, the King’s Game starts once again and now his entire class has been dragged into it with him.
The first half of the anime bounces between the current King’s Game and the previous one that Nobuaki was a part of. What this does is it causes a TON of characters to be dumped on top of us with very little to no time to develop. This ends up with the characters becoming nothing more than meaningless afterthoughts. Despite this, Nobuaki’s history with the King’s Game is laid out clearly, but did we really need to see both King’s Games to get the point that he was a previous survivor? It’s kind of a moot point when two other characters were revealed as previous survivors as well without dedicating half of the series to explaining it.
Backstory issues aside, the main story was rather dry. Studio Seven tries to make it interesting by having Natsuko Honda be the sister of Chiemi… Nobuaki’s ex-girlfriend who died in the previous King’s Game. Instead, Natsuko just ends up being an extremely poorly written yandere. More on that in the characters section.
There is one major plot point that was revealed which, I assume, was supposed to be interesting, but instead, it was one of the most implausible plot devices I have ever had the displeasure of bearing witness to. I would label this as spoilers, but I feel as if I am doing humanity a favor here by spoiling this show for you.
In episode six, they reveal that the King’s Game is actually a biological virus that causes the cells in your body to destroy themselves under heavy stress or powerful suggestion. Okay… I’ll admit… that’s actually pretty cool and clever. I can get behind something like that. What completely sunk any and all suspension in disbelief in that is this BIOLOGICAL virus somehow adapted to technology and began spreading itself through the internet via text messages.
Go on.. I’ll wait for that to sink in.
I mean, I could analyze and split hairs here how text messages are sent via a cell network using different OTA frequencies and not actual data transmission signals found in your cable, DSL, or fiber optic lines, but I don’t think that’s needed. I think when they simply stated that a BIOLOGICAL (i.e. Ebola, Rabies, Smallpox, or HIV) virus integrated itself with an internet network and suddenly became the equivalent of ILOVEYOU, Cryptolocker, MyDoom, etc, all suspension of disbelief in this show’s story went right off the side of a cliff… much like Ria did when she spontaneously combusted and didn’t care one bit that her entire body was on fire.
How did she ignite into flames? She tried to kill a BIOLOGICAL virus with a fancy version of McAfee Virus Scan. She, therefore, broke the rules of King’s Game and was punished… by soothing, calming, non-damaging flames of wrath and destruction.
I wish I were making this up, but nope… this actually happened. They even go so far as to remind you of this plot point in the final episode. Also, the letters they were gathering the entire series, simply spelled out a sentence stating that as long as one person survives the King’s Game, it will continue until all of humanity is wiped out. The obvious answer here is to have all the players in the King’s Game die. So they do… and yet… another game started somewhere because the show was hoping that you would forget that there were multiple King’s Games, thus rendering all of their deaths a moot point. To put the cherry on top of this shit sundae we get a To Be Continued… at the end of the last episode.
Yep.. they are making a second season of this garbage town dumpster fire of a show.
Moving on before I get punished via putting my head through wall… willingly, might I add.
If you’re expecting a compendium of all of the characters, then I’m afraid I’m going to have to point you towards MyAnimelist, Wikipedia or some other form of database because 99% of the characters here can be described with three words: useless cannon fodder.
Our main protagonist who has survived a King’s Game before. He is an emotionless wreck and doesn’t want to get close to anyone… until he realizes that he can’t stop the King’s Game and he brought everyone into it. Normally, this would end up driving a person to madness or throw them into a pit of depression so deep that there is no escape. So what does it do to Nobuaki? It turns him into a magical shonen battle anime main character minus the powers… although powers would have probably helped this show a lot. Nobuaki becomes extremely optimistic… thinking that he can save everyone if we all just join hands, become friends and believe in nakama power. Outside of that… there’s nothing to his character at all.
Our other main protagonist who is also a survivor of another King’s Game. She plays the part of the girl who is madly in love with Nobuaki, but that character disappears within 15 real life minutes and she turns into a poorly-written yandere. Of course, you wouldn’t have known she was a yandere at first because she didn’t even show any signs of loving Nobuaki. The show portrays her in such a way where her love for him was just a ruse and when she couldn’t get her way, she simply turned into a ruthless bitch. It isn’t until the very end that she admits that she loved Nobuaki completing that yandere circle making you wonder just what the point in all of that was. The problem is that if you even survived long enough to see the final episode, then you probably just didn’t care and rolled with whatever punch they threw at you.
Oh.. on a side note… one of the supporting characters who gets next to zero development, Riona, falls in love with Nobuaki just based on the fact that he’s not willing to give up. In fact, I think she fell in love with him when he came back and opened her juice can for her because, you know, opening a juice can is very hard. I mean, it has that flimsy aluminum tab that can break off, but the tab teaches you that applying minimal pressure can open the can so even if it breaks off you could use like.. a very long fingernail to do so. If only Riona was a girl who had long fingernails… oh wait! She did have them because she said that’s why she couldn’t open the can! So big strong Nobuaki came running back and cracked that cold one (or lukewarm since he has been a while since she received it) open! When he displayed his manly skills of can opening in front of her, she instantly became moist and wanted to bear his children.
The rest of the characters don’t even matter. No… really. I will link you to the MyAnimeList page for this show. Go ahead and look for yourself. You’ll notice something missing next to about 90% of the characters… a picture. Each one of those blank pictures contains a character page that says “no biography written.” That’s how important they are. Here’s the link… enjoy.
Art, Animation, and Sound
Okay.. so we have a terrible story and terrible character development… surely Studio Seven can get one of the three facets to making anime correct, right?
The animation and art was ATROCIOUS. This is the era of digital anime. Everything is created by computers nowadays. Pen and paper have been replaced with WACOMs and Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop and yet… they still made a show that could have passed as an extremely low budget show in the 80s. Some of the scenes were animated so poorly, you could easily harken back to the days where you could tell that a single animation cell was being dragged across the lens of a camera. Some scenes even looked like they were missing a few key frames as everything was even more jittery than normal.
Add in the fact that facial expressions rarely ever matched the voice acting. In one scene, Nobuaki was yelling in angst yet the expression on his face showed like he was excited. Not “I’m about to murder you and I have a screw loose” excited, but more like “Oh boy, the chopped cheese is only five bucks today AND not made with week-old meat” excited. I don’t know about you, but if I’m emotionally charged and on the verge of tears, I’m not going to have an expression on my face as if I realized I banged the prom queen after 27 other dudes and I didn’t get an STD.
Speaking of the art… the characters didn’t even retain their resemblances throughout the show! Hell, in one episode, Teruaki looked like three different people between scenes because the artists couldn’t even stay consistent for 20 minutes of television. Rockman.EXE, whose art style is akin to “baby’s first anime lesson,” looked like a masterpiece from CoMix Wave compared to this show.
So.. did this show do ANYTHING right? Like… at all!??
Yes… yes it did! It hired Coldrain to do the opening theme song.
“Feed the Fire” is the name of the song… just in case you were confused. I know a lot of people were because the titular lyrics only appear in the bridge. The chorus simply repeats “This is the end… this is end, you’re not alone in this, my friend. This is the end, this is the eeeeeeeend” over and over again, leading you to believe that the song is actually called “This is the End.”
Despite the fact that the opening song can’t even clearly identify itself, it’s still an amazing song because, let’s face it…. Coldrain is an amazing band. They previously lent their talents to shows like Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger and RAINBOW.
Can I drag Ousama Game through the mud even more? Doubtful. The only way to do that is to recommend that you go watch it for yourself, but even Charles Manson wouldn’t have deserved such a fate. (Incoming moral hate mail in 3…. 2…. )
So I’ll just leave you with this.
Actual footage of me when seeing To Be Continued at the end of this “show”
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Until next time,
Let’s be honest… Ousama Game only gets one star because Coldrain did the opening song.