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.
- The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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