2 out of 5
Directed by: Tadayoshi Sasaki
Covers season 1
Oh yes, King’s Game The Animation is absolute trash; any review that you’ve read – as I did, after watching an episode out of curiosity – will likely tell you as much, and it’s not wrong.
When a high school class is beset by group texts from ‘the King’ which has them performing various tasks or being punished – the punishment often resulting in someone exploding after making many screaming and choking noises – several students drop immediately into the most obnoxious every-person-for-themselves tropes, with one in particular going all out evil and one – our lead, natch – vaingloriously trying to save everyone. As a Saw variant without any promise of escape – every ’round’ of the King’s game requires someone to die – this is already dumb enough, and the completely unreal ways in which people perish (i.e. out of the blue, simply from a text that says ‘now ya’ dead’ or some such) removes any real need for an explanation, although the show wheezingly offers some form of that eventually, so it’s all too clear that we’re just in this biz for some sweet, sweet anime torture porn. But what makes it the type of garbage that I imagine triggered leagues of horrible reviews is that the games are ‘designed’ by the same, chuckling teenage mentality that would come up with a concept like this which feels lifted from creepypastas and feeling like downloading ransom software makes you a hacker: if X doesn’t touch Y’s boob, YOU DIE. If you two don’t have sex, YOU DIE. Chuckle chukle.
It’s painfully immature.
…But… not that this is a huge redeeming factor, but it’s at least enough to make it two stars – that does pass after a few episodes. It doesn’t get any smarter, mind you, but the games turn in to variations on just, like, injuring another person instead of rubbing genitals with them, and at that point, the show becomes ‘enjoyable’ for how over the top bad it is, and how poorly constructed its attempts at narrative are – trying to fill in ‘gaps’ in the story with characters remembering other King’s games they’ve played; or the aforementioned ‘explanation’ of what the King’s game is.
Absolute trash. But if you can harumph your way through its initial grodiness – which is on par with hundreds of other animes’ fan service bullshit, it must be said… – there’s almost a B-movie level of appeal to how overwrought the remainder of it is.