Prince Bojji lives in a beautiful world filled with all the mystery and magic of a classic fairytale. However beneath the enchanting veneer of his kingdom lies treachery, ambition, and a younger brother named Daida who wants to usurp his throne by any means necessary.
Can young Bojji survive his fate and inherit the Kingdom of Bosse?
Ranking of Kings Episode One Review
Bojji did it! He beat Daida in swordplay!
I knew he could do it! ☺
Oh man, I’m so glad I finally got around to checking out this anime. It’s been on my radar for months, but I haven’t really had time until now. Better late than never though, right? ☺
Oh my goodness, I loved every bit of this first episode! My initial impression is just…being blown away by the sheer beauty of this animation style! Wit Studio did a great job at making this anime feel like a moving watercolor painting.
I love that the main character, Bojji, is mute and deaf. Not in like a weird way, but I’m happy that for the most part – it’s not really a handicap for him.
Everyone in his kingdom thinks he’s an idiot.
It took Kage, a former member of the decimated shadow assassin clan, to realize his potential upon their first meeting. Besides – both young boys seem to be really lonely. I’m so excited to see how their friendship pans out – especially since it seems like everybody (except his father King Bosse) is against Bojji.
Subverting Fantasy Genre Tropes
Just like a typical fairytale, the young underdog prince has an evil stepmother, an ailing father, and a younger brother with a surfeit of ambition.
Domas, who I was truly hoping would be a sincere and loyal retainer to Bojji but seems to be masking his disdain for the prince – might end up becoming a problem. I understand the infatuation with Daida, the “able-bodied” golden-haired prince who has all the strength of his warrior father, and the cunning of his mother Queen Hiling – but they shouldn’t count Bojji out.
After all, he seems to know more than he really lets on.
He understands what is going on around him, despite everyone else labeling him an imbecile (well, except his father, Kage, and that one guard who saw him fight). And it seems that…there have been a few assassination attempts on his life?
In that flashback, Hokuro had while watching Bojji dodge the snakes…were those not Bebin, Dadia’s master swordsman’s snakes?
Do we know who Bojji’s mother is?
I mean, his father is a giant. He has to have some sort of latent powers, even if he is the ‘runt’ of Bosse’s children.
Either way, I am excited, impressed, and intrigued by Ousama Ranking.
On to the next episode!
(By the way – how about those opening and ending songs?)
Ranking of Kings Episode Two Review
Oh no, Bojji!
Man, I almost shed a tear.
Why Did Daida Try To Cripple Bojji?
Daida felt like he was being made fun of, and Domas signs to Bojji that dodging attacks is not the ‘swordsmanship of a king’. After Domas instructs Bojji to stop dodging, Daida unleashes a cruel amount of blows at Bojji.
It seems like Daida fully intended to kill Bojji, or at the very least cripple him out of frustration of losing the match and feeling like Bojji was making a fool of him by dodging.
Between Kage’s sad backstory, and Domas allowing Daida to beat the crap out of Bojji until Daida felt like he “won” – I’m sick.
But, in a good way.
Ousama Ranking Is A Gem In The Fall 2021 Anime Season
You know that Gordon Ramsay meme? Where he’s like “finally, some good f-ing food”?
That’s how I feel watching this anime.
I won’t lie – this fall anime season has been absolute trash.
I don’t know if it’s because of the whole “-” thing going on, but fall anime just is not what it used to be. Last year, and seemingly this year the winter cour will be where it’s at.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m enjoying Blue Period, but even as an anime-only I can tell that it’s extremely rushed.
Not to mention, the somewhat poor animation quality, lack of additional frames necessary for character animation fluidity, and hardly any hint of an OST make it a rough show to watch.
I love Ousama Ranking, though. I know it’s only episode two – but I love it, okay? ☺
I think I mentioned this before, but I am an absolute sucker for period dramas. Anything with medieval aesthetic, grandiose worldbuilding, and even a hint of magic? I’m there.
Aside from those elements, Ousama Ranking is right up my alley because it isn’t sugarcoating things.
This may sound bad, but I enjoy watching characters realistically suffer.
I enjoy tragedy. Cinema verite. Film noir. Psychological thriller.
I want to see the backstabbing and scheming – but I don’t want the characters to explicitly tell me their intentions.
I don’t need a 20-minute exposition where characters name their fears, dreams, and doubts in unnatural conversation to simply let the audience know what they’re all about.
That’s lazy writing. Spoon-feeding that after a while feels demeaning, to me at least.
Show me why a character is the way they are without a single word of exposition.
Kage’s Backstory Revealed
When we first meet Kage, he seems like a “somewhat” hardened criminal. But you can tell there is a soft side to him.
1. is reminded of himself in Bojji, or
2. Grew up too fast and is just being a petty thief to get by.
Bam! Kage’s backstory – he was a sheltered boy who finds out his family is a clan of assassins, and thieves. His mother acknowledges it’s “wrong”, but that they make a living by using the gifts they were born with – hiding in the shadows.
Just before he has a chance to make up his mind about joining the family business, his clan was seemingly double-crossed by the Geslan guy.
Evidenced by Kage’s reaction last episode when Bebin mentioned that the shadow clan was extremely loyal to their king, and then all of a sudden murdered him.
Before Kage’s mother was murdered, she hinted that Geslan had words with the king, and could have murdered him in a fit of rage. Then pinning the blame on the shadow clan, thus wiping any opposition Geslan could have faced over a power grab now that the shadow clan’s king is dead.
If the shadow clan really was a bunch of turncoats, why on earth would Countess Poise hide Kage? She potentially risked war with that kingdom by harboring a fugitive.
- That kingdom where Geslan is from is an enemy of Poise’s kingdom.
- Geslan and Poise both find each other repugnant, based on his words calling her “creepy” before politely asking her where Kage went.
- It was obvious bullshit, and Poise and her retainer knew the shadow clan was innocent and decided to help Kage out.
Kage Adopted By A Thief
Kage is taken in by a low-brow thief who uses him (remember Kage’s mother’s words about how their clan uses their abilities) and the thief ultimately gets murdered because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Despite making tons of money for the thief, Kage was left destitute by his selfish employer. Kage uses the only gold coin he had to buy a tomato, and is disrespected and looked down upon while attempting to purchase it.
Slowly, as the seasons change the light behind his eyes dims and Kage becomes hardened against the world – only focused on his own survival.
Until Kage meets Bojji, who reminds him of himself and how he was living barely two years ago.
Is Domas Loyal To Bojji?
Domas is the greatest swordsman in the land with a questionable loyalty to Prince Bojji.
Assigned by King Bosse himself to teach Prince Bojji the art of swordplay. While at court and in public Domas presents himself as the ever-dutiful retainer to the Bosse’s heir apparent, Bojji but in reality, it seems like Domas resents Bojji.
Despite always signing to him with a smile, and appearing taken aback by the Queen’s harshness toward him – the incident in the courtyard during Bojji’s fight with Daida signifies that Domas may secretly Bojji.
Yes, Domas says he pities Bojji, but Domas also despises that he has to focus on the “weakling” prince when he’d rather fight with and train the swordsman prodigy and favorite to become king, Prince Daida.
After an incredible swordplay session with Daida, Domas had to go back to training Bojji – who can barely lift a small sword.
By conventional standards, Bojji is a hopeless failure, and a waste of time to “the greatest swordsman in the land” Domas.
Why Didn’t Domas Stop Daida And Bojji’s Sword Fight?
Domas allows Daida to injure Bojji “to the point of no return” so that he has an excuse to no longer train the prince.
Apeas, who has a seemingly higher rank than Domas and was watching from the ‘heavens’ on a (morally) high tower, clearly disapproved of Domas’ actions.
But, Domas does not care.
Which may eventually lead to a division between the “Big Four” in the Kingdom of Bosse. Even Kage makes a remark that Domas is untrustworthy, and the shadow decidedly pledges his loyalty to Bojji.
All of this amazing characterization, depth, and visual storytelling with barely any exposition! Simply amazing!
Daida And The Mirror
We even got a hint of the source of Daida’s arrogance – some sort of Snow White-esque magic mirror.
I don’t know if he’s talking to a bad spirit, a sorcerer from another kingdom, or someone who is poisoning his father to play kingmaker and control the fate of the lands through Daida – but I’m intrigued by how this individual is controlling his judgment.
Queen Hiling tells everybody with ears that Daida is going to be the next king, but will he really be?
Bebin seemed to think the spar between brothers would go Daida’s way, but Daida’s brutality even swayed the guards who thought Bojji was “playing dirty”.
Daida’s arrogance failed to let him see that everyone around him was disgusted by his actions – including own his teacher. Yes, Bojji wasn’t fighting “with honor”, but beating and maiming your opponent without dignity just makes you seem like a monster.
So Bebin’s face when Daida asserts that “everything is going according to plan” is just the cherry on top of a complete ‘wtf is wrong with this kid ‘cake moment Bebin was having.
Wow, if I keep going along this train of thought we’ll never see the end of this review.
So, tell me your thoughts.
Do you think the shadow clan was framed?
Why does Domas resent Bojji so much?
And…who on earth (or what on earth) is Daida conversing with trapped in the magical mirror?
次のエピソード: Journey to Experience Death
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