Original Run: October 5, 2017 - December 21, 2017 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Horror, Mystery, Supernatural Based on the Series Created By: Nobuaki Kanazawa
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Ousama Game The Animation. Reader discretion is advised.***
- All students in the class shall participate.
- After receiving an order from the King, the order must be completed within 24 hours.
- People who do not complete their order shall be punished.
- Withdrawing from the game midway is not allowed.
These four rules have been ingrained into the consciousness of Nobuaki Kanazawa (voiced by Mamoru Miyano). Ever since he looked upon these words in an innocuous group text, his life has been nothing but a nightmare.
Nobuaki was the sole survivor of a sadistic game that claimed the lives of his dear classmates. Then, the unthinkable happened. The game followed Nobuaki to his new school and has started up again. This time Nobuaki swears to save his new friends and put an end to the deadly curse known as the Ousama Game.
Ousama Game was a horror story about a high school class tormented by a vicious curse that slowly killed off students one at a time. These students’ deaths ranged from tragic to Oh-My-God that was brutal. Finding the source of this curse and discovering a way to get out of it alive became the single goal of the entire class.
Hmm, that sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?
To give Ousama Game some slack, I am not going to spend this review comparing it to Another. In case you are unaware, Another is one of my all-time favorite anime.
I went into this series, as I do with every series, wanting it to be great. But to add a little salt to this optimism, this is the same expectation I have when I go to Vegas. I always want to hit the million-dollar jackpot and retire early, but I know the odds are never in my favor. Therefore, I at least hope I can get a fun time out of the experience.
Too bad even that is never a guarantee. Sometimes you crap out, and other times you crap out hard. And then, sometimes, you get Ousama Game.
To put it as simply as I possibly can:
THIS. SHOW. WAS. BAD.
And before I can go off on this series, we need to take care of some housekeeping.
- “Ousama” is the Japanese word for “King.” As such, the English title for this series is The King’s Game. Therefore, when I use the word “King” throughout the rest of this review, I am referring to the entity giving the orders to the class.
- Ousama Game had two stories, and I will be mentioning them quite a bit. To avoid confusion, I am dubbing them the Past Storyline and the Present Storyline.
- Past Storyline: Nobuaki’s first experience with the Ousama Game and how he survived.
- The Present Storyline: The current Ousama Game and Nobuaki attempts to save his new classmates.
Can all this substance work? Absolutely, but there needs to be organization, purpose, and thought. Or, at the very least, a show needs to let its audience know what it’s doing when it’s doing it.
Guess what Ousama Game didn’t have. Time’s up – ALL OF THEM.
I know this is supposed to be the Series Positives section, but I’ve got so little to work with.
For starters, it didn’t help that the locations and characters of the two storylines had few discernible features. Each segment had its three to four critical characters which helped keep things in somewhat order. Too bad the bulk of the Past and Present Storyline’s casts were nothing except cannon fodder who were only around to die.
However, Ousama Game having two sets of characters shouldn’t have mattered, since we knew the outcome of the Past Storyline – Nobuaki won. That meant no matter who we met in the Past Storyline, their fate was already sealed.
The reason this did matter had to do with the fact that this setup gave Ousama Game a massive handicap.
Why should we bother caring about characters that are for sure going to die? There is an answer to that question, and that answer was one of the many tragedies of Ousama Game.
The Past Storyline, and the Past Storyline alone, should have been Ousama Game in its entirety.
Let me make this clear, though. The Past Storyline was less bad, but it was still really bad. Nevertheless, if the Past Storyline of Ousama Game wasn’t burdened by the Present, the potential of this being a decent horror series wasn’t zero.
A great tool in the horror-genre toolbox is the element of the unknown. The mystery, the confusion, the what-the-hell-is-going-on aspect of a horror story can be frightening. Ousama Game took that away.
Because of the two storylines, we had a couple critical details that shouldn’t have existed:
- The Osama game wasn’t an isolated incident. There must have been some sort of condition that kept the game alive.
- There was someone who knew the rules of the game from the get-go – Nobuaki. He was a reliable source of information. Why would you ever give that kind of power to the main character?
If we were to take the Present Storyline away, both points would be gone.
In the Past, nobody had any information at the start. Imagine if Ousama Game was just this. Not only would the characters not have known anything, but we also would not have known anything. We would have been as in-the-dark as everyone else. We would have been learning alongside Nobuaki and his friends.
And the word “friends” is crucial because it was the strength of the Past Storyline.
In the first Ousama Game, Nobuaki watched on helplessly as the people he had known for years died right in front of him. This included his girlfriend and best friend, both of whom he loved very much. This level of comradery did not exist in the Present Storyline.
The Past Storyline could have had a chance if Ousama Game had given its entire attention to it. Would that have fixed all the problems? I doubt it because there was still a lot of stupidity here. Nevertheless, had this series decided to focus its efforts in a single direction, we wouldn’t have gotten the Ousama Game we did.
Where should I even start?
How about the time when a character used her temporary King powers and gave herself a roll-of-the-dice chance of finding the real King. Not a six-sided die mind you. It was a one out of one thousand – at best – chance of success, and it was taken because the temporary King foolishly believed Nobuaki’s gut feeling.
Or, how about the instance where the King decided to be suddenly vague. Although the orders the King gave were brutal, there was never any need for interpretation. That was until the King ordered everyone to not take any “unnecessary” actions – whatever the hell that means. If the King wanted to play dirty, why not order everyone to not breathe?
OR, why don’t we talk about Ousama Game’s second hardest kick to the nuts – the truth behind what the Ousama Game was. It’s not often I run across something so mindbogglingly stupid that it throws me into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
And do you want to know a secret? All those examples were from the Past Storyline – a.k.a., THE BETTER ONE.
Take the positive aspects of the Past Storyline and flip them. Then take all the negative aspects of the Past Storyline and multiply them. You have just created Ousama Game’s Present Storyline.
What madness did I watch?
In fairness, though, at least there was Natsuko Honda (voiced by Yui Horie). Natsuko was the “villain” of this series, as well as its best character. She was the only person who made sense. She also was responsible for the only chilling moment in this supposed horror anime.
Other than giving Ousama Game its due credit, I bring up Natsuko because she was a critical component in the scene I am about to describe in its entirety. Here is but a taste of the infuriating nature that was this series.
One of the orders the King gave Natsuko was for her to have sex with a specific classmate. Natsuko, being the villain, might have been faking her hesitation. But faking or not, that didn’t stop the other half of this equation from losing it.
In front of the entire class, the guy the King ordered Natsuko to have sex with threw Natsuko to the ground and got on top of her. The whole time this was happening, she was struggling. Not a single person moved to help Natsuko who was, no joke, in the process of being raped.
REMEMBER THAT DETAIL.
Natsuko managed to get away and decided to go all-in with her true devious personality. Natsuko went from a caring mentality to her actual insane survivalist logic. With the cat of the bag, Natsuko turned the situation around and was more than willing to forcefully fulfill the King’s order.
It was THIS which prompted Nobuaki to speak up and stop Natsuko from proceeding. Nobuaki did this while completely ignoring the fact that no more than a few minutes before this scene, he was ready to give in to the Ousama Game. Had he gone through with that, not only would he have died but Natsuko as well; a result both were quite aware of.
Regardless, the entire class could see that the once happy-go-lucky Natsuko was not the Natsuko in front of them. This Natsuko was cruel and dangerous. They also saw this new Natsuko walk up to Nobuaki and pull him off to the side for a chat.
When Nobuaki decided to be even more of a jackass, Natsuko, in response, screamed for help. When the rest of the class showed up, Natsuko claimed that Nobuaki had attacked her.
Do you want to know what happened after that?
The same class that stood by as a RAPE was about to happen in front of them, and who had not seen a second of Nobuaki and Natsuko’s discussion, turned to Nobuaki and tried to beat him to death. And the entire time they were doing that, they were deaf to Natsuko’s unapologetically vile call for Nobuaki’s murder.
This group was nothing but a bunch of idiots and this happened in episode two. Can you see why I might be a little peeved?
I can’t bring myself to detail another instance of this show’s idiocy. But there is one more thing I must talk about.
Remember when I said the true nature of the Ousama Game was the second hardest kick to the nuts? The hardest came at the end of the show. The last middle-finger this series gave came in the form of three simple words:
To Be Continued.
Is this series among the worst I’ve reviewed?
This show was incompetent. The writing was atrocious. The characters were insufferable. This story took a fascinating idea and pounded it into the ground. And I never even mentioned how subpar the animation was. So yeah, this is among the worst.
Were you expecting a “but?” There are no but’s. Not with this one. Ousama Game The Animation is a series you should go out of your way to avoid.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Ousama Game The Animation? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.
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