Kanazawa Nobuaki has transferred to a high school far from where he used to live. Due to an incident at his old school, Nobuaki is afraid of getting close to his new classmates and keeps himself at a distance, but he starts opening up because of a sports day inter-class relay. Then, a single text message from someone calling themselves the “King” is sent to everyone in class. Nobuaki’s classmates think it’s a simple prank, and don’t take it seriously–but Nobuaki knows that a death game is about to begin, and struggles to oppose it
– From Crunchyroll
It is very hard to judge a supernatural horror from a first episode, mostly because you can get something really lame and have it turn out amazing, or you can have something pretty decent that doesn’t manage to do anything with its set up. King’s Game definitely gave us the fairly decent beginning.
That said, it doesn’t do much to break from your standard horror tropes (which is probably why it works so well for me because this is very much slipping into comfortable viewing). Nobuaki has been through the King’s Game before and is traumatized so even before anything happens at his new school he’s on edge and trying to keep classmates at a distance. Already we know he’s going to give in and make friends and it is going to end tragically. The class photo more or less sealed that deal.
Though, I like that they return to this at the end to do the body count. And that is where this kind of deviated from the expected. It wasn’t just one dead in the first episode to prove the seriousness of the game. Ten die in the first episode. Which makes far more sense when they don’t yet know to take the game seriously (and who ever listens to the ravings of the one student who claims that it is real), and they don’t yet know the consequences. So it makes a lot of sense that they aren’t checking their phone and they aren’t taking the instructions seriously and the high body count (while clearly being played for shock value) automatically lets the audience know that we just shouldn’t get attached to these characters.
They also lay to rest the question of whether this is supernatural or a serial killer with that final death of the episode being unable to be anything but unnatural (if they try and explain that away later I’m calling bull on it).
There is however some fairly gory imagery and horror isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea so this isn’t going to appeal to everyone (plus they start the episode with my least favourite trauma as the main character dreams of drowning).
That said, I’m pretty sold on this for the season. Even if it derails, bad horror can still be entertaining and this was a pretty good set up. I’m in and if I change my mind later I’ll pretend I never said that.
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20 thoughts on “King’s Game Episode 1: This Could Get Interesting”
Felt a bit campy and the characters did some dumb stuff, so it felt like the Another guy was in charge of this, but I still liked it. Personally pulling for this one. I thought Zodiac was pretty worthwhile too.
I liked this one more than Zodiac. I kind of felt like they gave me a bit more reason to care about the characters here because they seem to care about the fact that they might die. Everyone in Zodiac is trying way too hard to be super cool.
That’s fair, I’m mostly just talking in terms of presentation. One was a bit more engaging than the other. Long term I think King’s is going to win out though, or at least I hope 🙂
Zodiac definitely had better animation and visuals. No doubt about it. And I know some people really get into that. However, I’m not that picky with visuals as long as they aren’t eye-hurtingly bad, and I feel more or less the same about animation. If I bother to criticise either element in a show it is usually because it was truly painful.
Yeah, that’s reasonable.
I actually didn’t like this first episode much.
I was actually looking for a good horror anime as I’ve hardly seen any but something about the way this show is executed turns me off. We get a lot of convenient exposition (like the two random girls talking about Honda’s dead parents) and attempts at being creepy through gore without building the general atmosphere. I think a lot of it was abated because the protagonist has been through it before, which is an interesting choice, but not sure it helps with tension.
Pairing the deaths with silly King’s game antics like “X and Y must kiss” just makes me feel like it will be hard to take this very seriously. Ah well, I’ll try a bit more before deciding.
The atmosphere was lacking a bit so far and characterisation in particular wasn’t great in this first episode. I don’t think any of my favourite horror anime are shaking in their boots worried that this will surpass them, but it kind of worked for me.
Hmmm, a horror anime series is something that I haven’t seemingly a while, and this sounds pretty cool😀 Okay, why not: wil; do a double watch a long…this one and Black Clover. 😊
Let’s hope both do soemthing good and neither one falls to pieces in a few episodes.
It’s good to see you’re sold on this! It’s definitely on my radar for this season and I can’t wait to actually sit down and watch it once I’ve completed everything on this never-ending to-do list of mine. ^^”
Yeah, it isn’t exceptional as a first episode but it does what it needs to.
honestly, im worried about how dumb the characters seemed because i feel like cheap horror tends to rely on that excessively. we’ll see…having someone who’s been through the game is interesting at least
Dumb characters are definitely an overused trope in horror so we’ll see if they manage to do anything better with these ones.
As usual, the teachers /school don’t know anything about this.
In fairness, it has been a day since it started and I’m guessing the school is going to know tomorrow what happened given ten students are dead. Though, it does seem to be the usual kids on their own with no particular parent or adult intervention.
That’s true about no school /adult intervention. Is makes people think , is that the real situation in Japan, and Korea ? Korean mahnwas are infamous for school bullying , and teachers are nowhere to be found.
OMG! Your review made me want to watch it right now but I can’t because it’s like 2AM here and my schedule it’s a mess like always.
Yeah, not perfect but still a good set up for a story and I think this one is exactly what I needed this season for stupid fun.