What’s The Game?
Darwin’s Game, after having a week off, has returned and in honesty this episode is actually relatively solid. At least by the standard so far set by this anime series. For once the pacing feels like it fits the episode, Kaname only makes one blindingly stupid decision, and most of the interactions between characters feel at least like someone has had a conversation with another human before writing them. Throw in the built in tension of them being half-way through a match where they might die and things just kind of come together in episode 5 of Darwin’s Game.
We learn that the field of 300 players is almost halved and those still in the hotel are preparing for another clan to attack. A short cut over to the clan in question and we learn that they are calling in outside assistance so prepare to attack at night. This gives us a bit of time for some other drama to unfold before we get back to the basic tower fight.
There is a weird bit at the beginning of the episode where we see Kaname’s two friends who have both died playing the game in a dream sequence. if they wanted this to have some kind of impact they might have given us a few more scenes of them together as a close group of friends prior to knocking them off in episode 1, but then they couldn’t have opened with a panda killing a school boy and Kaname getting drawn into the game.
However, a bit of the episode is also given to Shuka who is still on route to the hotel and ends up in trouble. I’ll put this down as my least favourite part of the episode. Not so much because it was bad but more because of my usual issues with characters being drowned and basically this sequence had me on edge. It doesn’t dominate enough of the episode that I felt the need to skip forward but I did have a few fairly uncomfortable moments.
However, by far the best part comes from Rein. As the boys are scrambling about and making questionable decisions, she’s calmly analysing the rules for this match and realises something hasn’t added up. Through further investigation she discovers a code on the rings they’ve been collecting. While we don’t get an answer this episode, it does make me wonder what game the characters are supposed to be playing if the ring collection is really just a means to an end.
With Darwin’s Game pulling itself together and finally settling some of its pacing and character issues, what we’re left with is something that is bordering on intriguing. It still hasn’t quite crossed into being good, but it certainly remains watchable and may end up feeling quite worthwhile depending on where they go next with some of the questions the audience has been left with.
Darwin’s Game is making all the wrong moves, but if you want the episode reviews here they are.
Images from: Darwin’s Game. Dir. Yoshinobu Tokumoto. Nexus. 2020.