Slightly longer post this week.
One thing King’s Game has never been is subtle at nowhere is that clearer than in the theme that has persisted throughout the length of the season. When the game first started, Nobuaki stated point blank that they had to work together and not turn on their friends. This instantly created a divide between Nobuaki and Natsuko as each have opposing viewpoints. Nobuaki, despite being mostly spineless and clueless, wants as many people as possible to survive as long as possible. This is deeply rooted in his own selfish desire not to feel the pain of having failed to save them, but is at least a useful in maintaining some kind of group cohesion.
Natsuko on the other hand has at every turn expressed a desire to be the one standing on top, the survivor. She’ll do whatever it takes, knock down anyone standing in her way, and ultimately has to qualms at all about walking over the corpses of her former classmates. What is driving her rigid desire to survive at any cost isn’t known yet as we’ve gotten almost nothing from her perspective so basically she’s just a pure survivalist who isn’t concerned about anything other than sustaining her own existence.
Neither character is likeable and as they are both former King’s Game survivors they both have a lot of skeletons in the closet. Where Nobuaki tries to draw a line between them is in asking if Natsuko actually killed anyone in the previous game to which she claimed with great glee she did. It is unknown yet whether this was actually just a front she put up or whether she did gleefully cut through the former class, but either way it is more or less irrelevant. Nobuaki’s actions killed people as well when he manipulated votes, allowed Ria to try to expose the King, failed to stop his friend rolling the die, and even in the most recent incident he didn’t stop Kenta from giving himself an unfulfillable order. So when it comes to body count and motive, to be perfectly frank you could claim these two are a match made in heaven.
Yet Nobuaki continues to strive to help others and protect the collective, as long as it doesn’t cost him too much. This episode he puts his trust in those classmates at their request and for the first time ever in this show, it seems Nobuaki isn’t going to be punished for basic human decency (though you have to admit, knocking his friend out to have his girlfriend rape him in the former game really doesn’t earn him many points as far as being a decent human – even if it did save his friend’s life). That said, the current game isn’t over yet and I’m wondering what further twists the game have in store because so far every glimmer of hope Nobuaki has found has been brutally crushed.
What makes this one different, is Nobuaki didn’t initiate this or try to convert the others. He made no grand speeches and didn’t try to control the game to ‘help’ others. He simply trusted in the others and allowed himself to be led by their collective voice. Whether that ultimately means anything I guess depends on what sort of show this is actually going to try to be by the finish. Are we going for a grand statement about how society needs to remove those who’s desires put them at odds with the collective? Is it a story about finding hope against impossible odds? Is it just a tragedy in the making where everyone will end up dead or broken with very little to say except that bad things happen?
I don’t know the answer to this yet, but I do know that the outcome of this game may very well tip the show’s hand in a more definite direction so I’ll be waiting for next episode with anticipation. That isn’t to say that anything about this show has improved. The story and characters are still a complete mess with poor animation not helping the viewing experience. And yet, there’s definitely something about this show that appeals to the B Grade Horror fan that lurks inside me.
Thanks for reading.
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