Battle Game in 5 Seconds Series Review – Preposterous Excuse For a Super-Powered Smack-Down

Battle Game in 5 Seconds Series Review

When I initially wrote my watch or drop post for Battle Game in 5 Seconds after viewing the first three episodes, I certainly acknowledged that this anime wasn’t shooting to become a work of art or even break free of its own genre trappings. That said, I was vaguely optimistic about it delivering at least a decent amount of entertainment within those genre constraints.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Alas, by mid-season it became clear that generic was the best Battle Game in 5 Seconds was going to aspire to and by the end of the season not only were the characters and plot disappointing but even the visuals (which weren’t ever amazing) seemed to take a decided dip in quality. Seriously, the final battle of this series is almost unwatchable and most of the characters look like they are barely moving.

I actually wouldn’t have minded this anime never rising above being a generic survival kind of game. There’s certainly fun to be had with that particular genre. However given the story is incomplete, character motives feel shallow at best, and the central gimmick of only being able to use their battle abilities five seconds after the fight starts and they are released is cast aside for most of the second half of the series, there’s very little left to recommend even starting this anime when it is in such an over-crowded field.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Battle Game in 5 Seconds feels like a good idea with no direction.

The basic set-up of Battle Game in 5 Seconds is actually pretty interesting. While Akira isn’t the most original protagonist, his obsession with games and winning means he doesn’t waste too much time whining when he’s whisked into the death matches and uses his head to fight. That could be interesting enough even if he was a bit on the bland side.

The use of the wrist bands to restrain their powers and only releasing them after 5 seconds meant that characters weren’t just able to go power crazy and were more or less forced to follow along with the games and that was enough to keep this feeling like it had its own identity.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

The early set-up with each character spending time in their room before being moved to the site of the next ‘game’ worked well enough even if it didn’t feel terribly original, and you could kind of buy that some secret organisation had built this facility, kidnapped all these people, performed some kind of experiment on them to give them powers, and you know the talking cat-girl who seemed to be in charge could have just been an anime quirk.

But the plot quickly veers away from this set-up. After the first few rounds and the introductions to a handful of characters, Akira, Yuuri and others move into this massive outdoor zone where three teams of players have more or less formed and are fighting each other. What makes it a bit odd is that the notion of Battle Game in 5 Seconds kind of falls away here with characters seemingly using their powers whenever they want.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Throw in that any plausibility of this game and experiment goes out the window when you see how many characters are here and the size of the space they are in, plus there’s no longer any kind of controlled experiment going on here, this is just a power free-for-all, and it kind of means you just watch the second half as characters smack each other around, make plans, prove themselves smarter or tougher than other characters, and a series of events leads to a resolution of sorts but the overall plot is still completely unresolved.

Of course, Battle Game in 5 Seconds is listed as a supernatural anime and it is very clearly drawing influences from games and the super power genres so the lack of credibility of this scene change can be excused. However you end up with a very different type of story from Akira taking on the game makers and wanting to beat them at their own game to the usual kind of brawl between over-powered characters, most of which don’t get anywhere near long enough to really be established or sympathised with.

That and some of the powers are just plain ridiculous.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

I’d love to discuss the characters of Battle Game in 5 Seconds but outside of Akira and Yuuri, most of the others barely get an introduction and basically boil down to simple descriptions. The shy girl, the cocky guy, the sadistic murderer, etc. Naturally Akira and Yuuri, being the protagonists, team up with the leader who tries to protect the elderly and children who end up in the battle zone so I guess they are the ‘good’ guys whereas the other team are lead by those who extort and enslave other survivors (clearly they are evil and must be destroyed).

It’s all a bit simple and immature in how it is set up. Even the final fight of the series ends up being a bit of a fizzle. Despite having a huge range of interesting and unique powers inevitably the story comes down to two guys punching at each other.

Of course, if done well and with enough energy and bombast, Battle Game in 5 Seconds could have still been a highly entertaining romp despite all these short-comings and yet by about episode 5 I felt this one was dragging. It actually ended up being a chore to finish and my response to the cliff-hanger at the end setting up another season that I don’t believe will ever occur (or potentially a read the source nod) was more or less to roll my eyes and just be glad that I was done.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Basically I can’t recommend Battle Game in 5 Seconds.

It isn’t done well enough to actually be good. It isn’t high energy enough or over-the-top enough to fall into the so-bad-it-is-good category. None of the characters ultimately amounted to much and the plot is a bit of a tone shifting mess. Visually it deteriorates as the series continues and nothing else really stands out enough to recommend it.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts so if you watched Battle Game in 5 Seconds be sure to leave me a comment below.

Images from: Battle Game in 5 Seconds. Dir. N Arai. SynergySp and Vega Entertainment. 2021

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Watch or Drop? Is Battle Game in 5 Seconds Worth Watching?

Battle Game in 5 Seconds - Watch or Drop?
Battle Game in 5 Seconds - Mion

Here we have Battle Game in 5 Seconds which is pretty much as it sounds. Characters have been kidnapped, given super powers and are now being matched off against one another for purposes as yet unknown. But, is it worth watching?

Read the full review for Battle Game in 5 Seconds.

Watch or Drop? Rules

Rules modified for the Autumn 2021 season.

  1. The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
  2. I’ll watch as much as it takes to make a decisionas to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
Battle Game in 5 Seconds - Fight

First Impressions of Battle Game in 5 Seconds

Battle Game in 5 Seconds has the unfortunate timing of coming out when I’m kind of over tournaments and death matches and the MAL synopsis more or less seems to indicate that this is what that is Darwin’s Game ended up being particularly disappointing and there’s been a range of other similar anime that haven’t really left much of an impression. So I really went into this one with low expectations.

Which probably helped because it isn’t great and even these first three episodes are loaded with tropes and clichés, and yet I will admit I was kind of drawn into these first three episodes. There’s the usual problems associated with this sort of story and I was getting serious BTOOOM vibes from the second episode where episode 3 had me more thinking High Rise Invasion so originality isn’t high on this series’ hit list. Also, the cat girl as the spokesperson (organiser?) of all of this I was getting a flash back to the llama headed guy in The One’s Within.

But none of that made me quit watching before episode 3. So now I just need to figure out if I’m going to continue watching Battle Game in 5 Seconds or not.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds Series Positives:

It’s kind of hard to really go through series positives with an anime that aligns so closely with so many others. Mostly because I objectively know these sorts of stories are pretty bad and trashy relying on shock, gore, at times nudity, and often tie themselves into convoluted narrative knots that can never actually be sensibly resolved.

That said, I do find this kind of story fun, when done in a fun way. So while you could pick at the problematic content presented in these first three episodes, particularly in Yuuri’s first match up against the perverted middle-aged guy and be perfectly justified in pointing out that this is not a positive representation for teenage girls, I’m pretty sure Battle Game in 5 Seconds doesn’t care because it isn’t trying to be a message. It’s trying, and so far succeeding, at just being a ridiculous excuse for a bunch of weirdoes to be forced to fight one another with ridiculous and over-the-top powers.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds - Akira

Sure it would be lovely if one of the female characters is in a match where they aren’t objectified or use sexual appeal to overcome an opponent but I’m thinking Battle Game in 5 Seconds knows that even if they had brilliant female characters they probably aren’t appealing to the audience who would take note of that. Rather than getting bogged down in trying to sell a message to an audience that isn’t watching the show anyway, this story really is just delivering what it wants to do.

Equally, it’s managed to keep things moving along. About the slowest moment in the story came in episode 2 where we had an extended flashback of Yuuri prior to her arrival where-ever they are and her crappy home-life. It just dragged on and on and particular lines and images were repeated more than once. All in an effort to establish her character and personality but really could have been done faster.

But honestly, that’s the only dragging moment I’ve noticed as we go from meeting Akira to seeing him be ‘killed’ to waking up and being told he’s now part of this research. We then have a couple of rounds of one-on-one battles before episode 3 sets up a ‘team’ battle that then turns out not to really be a team competition at all. And basically you don’t really notice the time passing because everything is just paced well so it flows from one event to the next without feeling slow or rushed.

Visually it is also a cut above the likes of Darwin’s Game or The One’s Within (at least so far) and I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t drop in quality as the season progresses.


Battle Game in 5 Seconds Series Negatives:

There’s plenty to critique if you aren’t a fan of what this anime is selling. Don’t like over the top and stylised violence with blood splatter? You will be out before the end of Akira’s first fight back before he even knew what was going on.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds - Blood splatter

Not liking a girl being put in the matches wearing a very skimpy outfit because that just happened to be what she was wearing when taken there? This one isn’t going to be for you. A middle aged guy stripping off his shorts while fighting a teenage girl? Yeah, you should pass.

It really depends on whether or not any of these staples of dark titles that try to be edgy (though most end up pretty funny) like to roll out. That isn’t necessarily a negative because some people will be relatively fine with all of the above (in a story at least) but it is worth noting that this anime won’t appeal to everyone.

Battle Game in 5 Seconds also currently has a problem with Akira as kind of the central focus. He works but he has such a generic and bland appearance remembering him is difficult and his personality is more thoughtful and considered as he weighs up options and plans strategy. It is effective within the story but makes him a less than dynamic main character. Hopefully the rest of the cast can keep picking up the scenes because Akira alone is not that compelling.


Karandi Excited Transparent

Battle Game in 5 Seconds fits a particular niche of story that I either like watching when done well or at least like to watch for a laugh when it goes horribly wrong so realistically now that I’ve started I’m definitely continuing.

On the bright side, this one has been far more compelling in its opening episodes than a lot of the other similar anime I mentioned so I might hope a little bit that this is one I end up enjoying just because it is enjoyable and not because it goes laughably wrong.

What did you think of Battle Game in 5 Seconds?

Images from: Battle Game in 5 Seconds. Dir. N Arai. SynergySP & Vega Entertainment. 2021

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James