Darwin’s Game

May 3, 2020

Finally! A survival game that has actually some people die!!!!! Heh. Forgive me if that sounded very cruel but that’s only because I was tricked, trolled and frustrated by the previous survival game anime, Nakanohito Genome [Jikkyouchuu]. Yup. Nobody died in that one and everybody was like happy-happy helping each other to solve puzzles to go onto the next stage. Yeah, that was a bummer. Enough to make me forget that there were so many survival animes in the past that actually had characters dying. Ousama Game, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, Juuni Taisen, Btooom and Gantz to name a few. So with a name like Darwin’s Game, I wasn’t putting my hopes up to it until a few episodes in, I realized that death really do happen here. Yay! My bloodthirsty darkness has been satiated! And just like the name suggests, it is a mobile app game in which people kill each other for whatever (and no, it doesn’t take place in a capital city of an Australian state!). Uh huh. The handphones that we are so dependent on nowadays are taking a step further. Instead of just watching ultimate big army fails and future Darwin award recipients on YouTube, let those dumb enough to play, fight and kill each other to the death! That’s the real value of entertainment, my friend!

Episode 1
In this hour-long special, Hamada is out of options. He is running for his life. His only hope left is to call for his friend, Kaname Sudou and hopes he will come in time. Unfortunately time runs out for him as he gets killed. In school, Kaname is looking at the recent news of pixelated body outlines littered throughout the street. Is this some sort of new graffiti? Hiroyuki Kyouda then comes in and is worried about Hamada absent. Kaname didn’t think much about it but shows him an app called Darwin’s Game that Hamada sent to him last night. Before Kyouda could warn him not to launch the app, Kaname’s finger is faster. A snake pops out and bites his neck. Kaname passes out but when he wakes up, he is in the infirmary and feels fine. Though, he wants to go home. Kyouda will talk to him later about this game at home. On his way home, Kaname launches the app again and is puzzled of his avatar and other details. Then the game starts. Kaname vs Banda. This local baseball panda mascot? Well, he is sitting right in front of you now. Banda approaches him and tries to kill him. Kaname runs for his life. He tries to get help from the police but Banda kills the officer! Lucky for Kaname, Kyouda is here to shoot his crossbows into Banda. But Banda uses his Sigil which is invisibility. Which is easily detected by Kyouda’s Sigil, infrared visions. Both wound each other as Kaname takes Kyouda to run and hide. But due to a search app, Banda is able to look for them (although not pinpointing their exact location). Kaname wants to call for help but nothing connects and a girl named Shuka Karino that she might help. Kyouda tells Kaname to run and leave him behind since he is targeted and hence Kyouda can’t be detected. Also, he needs to survive until the time limit is over to win. Kaname does so and will come back for him when this game ends. Kaname taunts Banda and fights him. The surprise attack worked at first but how can you kill someone who is invisible? Thankfully a car bangs into him. Oh sh*t! With time is up, Banda loses since he receives more damage. It is then his body starts disappearing in chunks of blocks, leaving behind a pixelated body outline. When Kaname returns to Kyouda, he is saddened he is already dead. Yup, that pixelated body outline. Kyouda left him a final message to survive. Thanks to his first win, he ranks up and receives a mysterious box delivered to his home. A gun. Wow… Is this game great or what?

Kaname needs to find out more about this game so he agrees to meet up with Shuka at the factory area. He asks how to quit but she already told him then you can’t. The only way is death. She will cooperate with him if he tells her his Sigil. Unfortunately he doesn’t know what that means. It should be something natural but he still doesn’t get it. Even his profile status listed it as error. She wants him to show his bag because if it contains weapons, the deal is off. While Kaname is glad he left the gun back home, inside the bag contains other survival weapons. His hesitant has Shuka irked. She calls off the deal and will kill him. Battle start. Kaname blinds her temporarily with his flashlight to run. But apparently she has control of the lights in the factory and has locked all exits. He runs for his life from her snake-like chain as he laments about this Sigil thingy. As he won’t give up and wishes for a weapon, now a gun materializes in his hand. This allows him to give him some breathing space. He then thinks of how this could be his Sigil and recalls the process of doing this. Shuka returns to hunt him but this time she gets fooled by his decoy. The gun shoots out the electric box and takes out all the lights. Because Kaname’s eyes have been adjusted to the darkness, he barges towards her until he pins her down and materializing another gun to checkmate her. She warns him to kill when he has the chance but he is adamant he has his own way in dealing things. She is now convinced he doesn’t know anything about this game. She cancels the game by admitting surrender. This means surrendering her points to her as well as her obedience. Kaname is so relieved they both get to live that he collapses on her. Just like that? Maybe she took it the wrong way because when he wakes up, he is sleeping in her bed. Naked. She is also naked and all over him. What’s this request? She wants to make a family with him???!!! Is this part of the game?! Since when Darwin’s Game is some dating sim too?!

Episode 2
Shuka has a reason why she sleeps without clothes. Whatever. Thanks for the fanservice. Oh, that family thing? It’s like making a clan. A guild. A team. Hey, don’t blame us for thinking otherwise if she had better chosen her words! Shuka further explains some of the rules that one can avoid being challenge by taking their name off the list by paying points. However this does not exclude a direct confrontation when a challenger does so before the player. Kaname agrees to take up her offer to form a clan. However because of his low rank, he can’t. So why doesn’t Shuka just invite him straight? She wants a man to do the invitation. Sheesh. Work hard and rank up… Since there is going to be a treasure hunting game soon, Shuka has Kaname take her out shopping. Women need to buy clothes and more clothes, you know. Also she explains further players of Darwin’s Game cannot disclose this publically to outsiders. Violation of such rules means ‘ejection’ from the game. You know what that means, right? Meanwhile, Inukai buys info from Rein Kashiwagi about Kaname. He wants to get to him before others. So while Kaname waits for Shuka to finish her shopping spree, Inukai steals his handphone so that they could go talk. Inukai is interested in him because he ‘defeated’ Shuka who is known as the Undefeated Queen. She got to the top A Class without a single loss. So when she lost to him, he wants to ascertain this himself. Inukai instantly challenges him. Promising he won’t use his Sigil, his close quarter combat skills are still enough to take Kaname down. Over already? Meanwhile Shuka gets a call from Rein regarding some player she is searching for. Not much but at least Danjo’s Boxing Club has nothing to do with it. As for Eighth, their leader Wang seems to kill everybody he challenged. Oh, there’s something on Kaname too… Inukai is starting to get disappointed but Kaname fights back and uses his distraction to steal his handphone. The tables are turned. With Shuka coming to aid him, Inukai is forced to surrender. At this point, the treasure hunting game is about to begin. Everyone is teleported randomly throughout Shibuya. The goal is to collect 3 rings. Of course there isn’t enough rings. Those who failed within the allotted time will be game over. Yup, a scramble for survival. Wang likes this and thinks this is up his alley. A girl thinks she can take him out but unfortunately Wang uses his Sigil and before she knows it, she’s dead. One player out. 299 more to go.

Episode 3
More rules are explained that one cannot go out of bounds or it’s game over. One can also use the alternative camera to find the rings although it doesn’t pinpoint its exact location. Kaname is in a hotel room. He finds a ring nearby and the moment he steps out, damn, lots of body art everywhere! Must be his worst day since he encounters this death Nazi guy. This guy got a machine gun! He tries to run but the stairs exits are all covered with plants. I don’t think slamming on the elevator button will make the lift come faster. Confronted by that death Nazi guy, Kaname will give his ring in exchange for his life. However, Kaname is holding a gun and death Nazi guy is still wary. Luckily, his machine gun jams. Kaname points his gun but he is too shaky to pull the trigger. Death Nazi guy finds this match boring and lets him live as he enters the elevator. As Kaname rues this pathetic loss, he is about to take the elevator down when Rein advises him not to. Death Nazi guy is dead with plants all over him. Rein deduces that somebody’s Sigil of producing plants has locked all the players in this hotel. She suggests teaming up to survive. Meanwhile this game is being watched by wealthy influential people. We see Shuka in the lead with 6 rings and Wang right behind her with 5 although his clan has amassed 18 of them. Kaname is cautious about Rein but after she lets him know all the info she knows about him and his winning streak, Kaname feels his last one was pathetic. Rein explains in a battle royale, individual matches don’t count and points of dead players are distributed to survivors. Kaname agrees to team up since both of them have the same strategy of running away. Besides, Rein doesn’t find running away anything shameful. In fact, in this game it is considered artistic and creative. That’s why when a challenged player survives by doing so, he/she is ruled the winner. This is how Rein has been surviving. While Kaname notes his luck has got him this far, Rein points out that it is rather because he never gave up. Their plan is to make their way to the top. As they see more dead bodies, they realize the ones in the elevator didn’t turn into pixelated body outlines. Could it be that the perpetrator only known as the Florist has drugged them under his control? Better run because here they come. Even if they don’t have rings, how does he know where they are? The surveillance cameras. They realize he is in the control room. Are they going to shoot out all the surveillance cameras?

Episode 4
Florist uses some tactic to search door to door on each floor to find them. But some rooms are auto lock and the duo are hiding in one of them. Of course they can’t rely on this trick as Florist will soon realize this. True enough, Florist senses something amiss. He then narrows down where they are hiding from the surveillance cameras they shot out. His zombies barge into the room but nobody is there. A loud explosion is heard. Rein trying to bomb to plants blocking the path but it didn’t work. The next step is a gamble as she runs to the top of the hotel with the zombies chasing her. Man, she can outrun the zombies? Anyway, at the top floor, they start shooting but how can they all miss? We hear her narrate her Sigil. Like that Laplace demon, she has the ability to infinitely process all data from every movements of every miniscule atoms. Florist then realizes something else amiss. Where is Kaname? A loud explosion is heard outside the control room. Kaname using Rein as a diversion has climbed down outside the window to the ground floor where Florist is. Florist comes out of his hiding. He claims he is playing this game for money. He needs the money. Because when someone dies, it helps someone else. Kaname doesn’t like this BS and fights him but his plant armour is hard to penetrate. Also, Florist has seen through Kaname’s Sigil. Although he can replicate any weapons he has seen, it is not unlimited as the more he replicates, the more it takes a toll on his health. Kaname gives all he has got but to no avail. Almost passing out, he hears the soothing sound of a blacksmith forging a sword. Don’t really understand the advice gave Kaname but it made him realize he needs to make adjustments to his machine gun weapon. So in order to make harder bullets, he shortens the lifespan of the machine gun. This time the bullets penetrate Florist’s armour. Florist admits his defeat and wants to die but Kaname won’t allow that. With Rein joining them, he asks Florist AKA Ichiro Hiiragi how many rings there are in this hotel. As she can tell, this treasure hunt is about to end and the strong players will be facing each other off. As Eighth is currently the most powerful clan, they need to form a ragtag clan to fight them. People like them are already exhausted so they have no chance of fighting them on their own. So either they survive by cooperating together or die separately.

Episode 4.5
Seriously?! Really?! REALLY???!!! REEEAAAAAALLLLYYYYYYY??????!!!!!! A RECAP EPISODE????!!!!! This show is going to be the first of the season to get a Darwin award…

Episode 5
Shuka is bored at killing camping snipers so she heads down to the subway. Isn’t that more dangerous? Kaname makes a deal with that death Nazi guy to set him free if he promises not to attack them. He even invites him to join their team but he disagrees because he doesn’t want to team up with Hiiragi who brainwashed him. As he leaves, he heard them formulating a plan to counter Eighth. That is when he changes his mind and wants to join. He’s got a bone to pick with them. Unmasking himself, he introduces himself as Ryuuji Maesaka. They discuss about the oddly valued gems (because some valuable ones seem to rank lower than those that aren’t) and the very vague rules. Meanwhile Shuka faces off with a psychotic kid, Souta. She thought his Sigil is only water but he can also freeze it into ice and this traps her weapons. She thought of running away but he sealed up the place and flooded it. Shuka going to drown? So when Kaname who is waiting for Shuka to rendezvous with them, receives a help message from her, he thought it was a joke. But he soon realizes it can’t be so he decides to go save her. Can’t leave a comrade behind. Ryuuji will also follow him while the rest stay back to hold the hotel as a fort in anticipation of Eighth’s attack. Ryuuji learns Kaname’s Sigil to create things but only simple and small ones. Ryuuji would love to trade his Sigil with his because he finds his own Sigil to detect truth or lie to be useless. The duo then encounter a young girl, Sui. Ryuuji’s Sigil comes in handy as he could tell she isn’t lying that she doesn’t want to fight. She tries to warn them about the subway but Kaname still wants to dive in and swim? Plus, so heroic this guy that he wants Ryuuji to return to the hotel if he isn’t back in 5 minutes and give his rings to Sui. Wow. After he dives in, Ryuuji notes Sui lied on one part and wants her to tell the truth. But she uses her Sigil to distract him and run. Ryuuji can’t kill her since killing kids are bad. Besides, he needs to extract info and so he goes after her.

Episode 6
Souta is hiding from Ryuuji as he is communicating with his twin sister, Sui about killing this dude or else they won’t survive this game. Sui is against any killing but with desperate times, they need to take action. Luring him to a convenience store, Sui then uses her Sigil to turn all the water in the bottles to capture him. Souta still wants to kill him but Sui fights hard to prevent any bloodshed. Kaname has found Shuka lying at the bottom of the underground pool. So CPR is enough to bring her back to life?! Great reward for him because she gives him a proper kiss. I don’t know. I felt like she was just waiting for this moment to happen. Shuka also tells him her reason of playing this game. It is to find her parents’ murderer (a Chinese Freddy Krueger?) and avenge their deaths. Then another game announcement. A new ring pops up and the survivors are to look for it. Shuka hears out Sui and would have killed her had not all this event led to her being close to Kaname. Lucky kid. Sui explains Souta is her twin brother who died in an accident. However when she entered this game, she got her wish and his soul came back although it is inhabiting her body. Okay, we believe you he isn’t an imaginary friend. Rein has replied regarding the numbers on the rings. Hence Kaname tells everyone to toss away all the rings they have now and go for the real big treasure that will end this event. Eighth is starting to assault the hotel. Knowing they are outnumbered, Hiiragi tells Rein to get away while he sacrifices himself to hold them down. Hiiragi can’t throw away the rings as he needs the money for his daughter’s surgery. Rein advises him that if she was his daughter, she will be sad to know her father died in some weird game. Something that is worse than having any sort of disease. Eighth makes their way into the hotel. Led by Sig, he heads in first because he knows very well his fiery Sigil can burn on any plants. After riding up to the top level, the rest are waiting below. That is where Hiiragi comes to slaughter them all. Then he returns back up to fight Sig. Rein has gotten away from the hotel as she narrates about those numbers corresponding to the hardness of the precious stones. Arranging them together, it displays the coordinates which is the centre of Shibuya station.

Episode 7
Rein told Hiiragi of the men he needs to be careful in Eighth other than Wang. Keiichi Katsura whose Sigil allows him to crush others without using his fist and Sig who has fire properties. Thanks to this info, Hiiragi is able to escape death at Sig’s hands. However with Keiichi joining in and helping out, Hiiragi is dealt a fatal blow. But he isn’t going down without a fight so he uses his plants to crumble the entire hotel and take out everyone with him. Rein has reached the station but realizes there are more Eighth members here. She tries to get away but is spotted. As long as she doesn’t get in Wang’s way, she’ll be safe. But surprise! The big bad wolf pops up before her despite she is using her Laplace abilities. He breaks her arm and forces her to reveal info. Luckily she stalls for enough time for Kaname and co to arrive. Kaname wants to negotiate but Wang laughs at this proposal of theirs. You think they are equals? Eighth’s policy is to take and take! Negotiations break down so it’s a mad slaughterhouse. Rein thinks hard and deep and needs to go deep into her Laplace just to find the meaning and answer. So from what she found, the numbers correspond to the date when Charles Darwin published his The Origin of Species. This is where the real treasure is. Ryuuji observes Wang’s Sigil of being able to teleport and slice within 5 metres. As long as he stay out of that range, he is safe. But distractions from other Eighth members allow Wang to close in and rip off Ryuuji’s arm. Wang is going to show off to his men in killing Ryuuji when Kaname pops up and surrenders! WTF?! He claims he has the key to the real treasure and in exchange for this, he wants their lives to be spared. So consider give and take policy now?

Episode 8
Ryuuji can tell Kaname is lying. But will Wang fall for it? He is not like other members who are out for the money. Flashback shows Ryuuji wants revenge on Wang because he killed his brother. Ryuuji continues to hear Kaname lying from one BS to another about the key and the real treasure. Although Wang plays tough, Ryuuji can tell he is also worried. Wang finally agrees but will still kill Ryuuji since he is already halfway through his execution. Kaname doesn’t care. They just formed an alliance out of convenience. Kaname throws him the key and after Wang catches it and realizes something is wrong with it, before he could order his men to kill him, Kaname keys in the code to the locker he is standing next with and it opens. The game is over and Kaname is declared the winner. All the gamblers watching this are thrilled with this unknown Kaname as the winner. But there is one who bet on him and won… Inside this locker is a handphone. Answering it, it is the voice of the host and game master of this game. Naturally Kaname is angry for being dragged into this but the host just explains the points and rewards he will get. But here’s the best part: As the winner of this treasure hunt, he will be granted a special privilege. Of course a privilege must be something the host can grant. So too bad Kaname, can’t quit the game yet. The host then reveals 2 ways to exit this game: Either you complete the game or you kill the host and destroy the game system. Kaname thinks hard for his privilege… The host also gives him a new Sigil called Fire God of Iron. 2 months down the road, the hotel is sealed off and the reports say it was the work of terrorism. Shuka discussing with Sui of buying a house to serve as a base for their clan. Hey, she’s a rich girl. But can’t they just use her own house? Maybe she wants some privacy? Hideaki Kanehira from the insurance company sees Suzune at the hospital to pass her a cheque over her father’s death. She doesn’t take this ‘joke’ likely and kicks him out. Rein is waiting outside and is the one responsible to see Suzune got the money. Hideaki wants to meet Kaname but Rein isn’t his manager or anything. Later Suzune bumps into Rein and they become some sort of friends. But Rein gives her contacts in case she wants to find out the truth about her father. Ryuuji is finally healed by Kaede who is a member of Danjo. Of course he is also friends with the big man, Danjo himself. Inukai has been training Kaname and it seems he is all buffed up and ready! Kaname wants to form an alliance with Danjo but Danjo wants to see if he is worthy of that alliance. So an all-out fight using their Sigil on the cards, right? Meanwhile, Kaname’s friend, Shinozuka tries to look for him at his place but he is not around. But a member of Eighth is… Oh sh*t…

Episode 9
In this no holds barred match, Kaname goes all out against Danjo and despite all the weapons he conjure, he has to keep Danjo at bay or else getting to close means game over. That is all Kaname has done using his Sigil but Danjo has used none of his. Just when Danjo gets close enough, Kaname drops his grenade in an apparent suicide move. But the bomb is a dud and it was enough for Danjo to turn his body into steel as anticipation. Though Danjo acknowledges him, he wants to fight Kaname longer. Unfortunately the match is interrupted when Liu Xuelan (the top Darwin’s Game player) interrupts to kidnap Kaname. Shuka is of course angry to hear this. But it’s not like everyone else just stood there and do nothing. They couldn’t do anything at all. They felt they were killed but once they come to, their bodies are still intact and Kaname gone. It is believed that is not Xuelan’s Sigil but her ancient Chinese energy art. As Kaname is their leader, they’re going to get him back. Xuelan tells Kaname that she comes from a line of assassins. She wants him to work for him. She has observed him and found that his style is very suitable for war. Also, she wants to ensure an heir and doesn’t mind bearing his child. Geez, this is getting weirder! Soon their car is being chased by Shuka’s group. Xuelan wants Kaname to tell his group to back off but instead he tells them to do whatever it takes to stop this car. Then he throws down a challenge to her that if she can beat his clan, Sunset Ravens (?!) without killing anybody, he’ll join her and even be her husband! That’s a promise. Xuelan puts up a formidable fight and even Shuka’s sweating. In the end, it is Kaname who helps out in the distraction for the rest to put the car to a stop. Xuelan doesn’t admit defeat but her driver, Ximing does so. Considering their situation, Sunset Ravens has got the capacity to get away clean unlike them. He advises to make allies than enemies. Xuelan admits defeat but refuses Kaname’s offer to be their ally. However she will join his clan to see for herself if he is worthy to be her man. Everyone objects. Especially Shuka! Kaname accepts and has seen for himself Xuelan keeps her word. No doubt she can betray them anytime but makes a condition for her to join Sunset Ravens: If she is going to betray them, betray him first. Betraying other members is unforgiveable. With that, Xuelan is now part of the clan. Meanwhile Wang and Eighth have tortured Shinozuka and cutting all his fingers! They send a video message to Kaname and wants him to come here or else more misery for his friend.

Episode 10
Rein sees a friend, Kotori to get more info on Eighth. In exchange, she wants to join Sunset Ravens (despite she herself is in a clan of her own). Rein can’t guarantee anything but will pass that message to her boss. Meanwhile Kaname is mad. Please don’t take it out on the wall… Ryuuji calms him down that they can ask Kaede to heal him and at the same time they can kill this Wang piece of sh*t. After he calms down, they devise a strategy to rescue Shinozuka. Based from the video frame, Rein could tell they are in some port warehouse (seagulls!). First they call the police to surround the place. They will be the distraction they need to sneak in to rescue Shinozuka. But only Inukai is available to help them as the rest of his clan members are busy fighting off another clan, Uroboros who is believed to have ties with Eighth. Wang didn’t like the police showing up before his playtime with Kaname so he has Keiichi (yes, this guy survived) blow off one of their heads! Then the rest proceed to slaughter the rest of those useless cops. Meanwhile, Shuka manages to sneak in a handphone to Shinozuka (is her chains not strong enough to carry him away?). Kaname talks to him and wants him to become a participant in Darwin’s Game. Just click the link. It’s going to be hard without fingers… Shinozuka wants to survive so he uses his tongue to become a participant. With that, his Sigil seems to be some sort of telekinesis, shoving things away with great force. Like this new skill, huh? Until he faces off with Wang… Meanwhile Inukai fights off Keiichi so the rest could sneak into the warehouse. Inukai knows all about Keiichi who was a karate sportsman and could have been a great one had he not accidentally killed his opponent during a match. Keiichi elaborates he regretted it since everyone since then viewed him as the enemy. So while he was depressed, Wang came to save him. So to get over his depression, just kill more people!!! OMG. That’s the extreme version of fighting fire with fire. Well, sad to say it worked for Keiichi. Kaname and Ryuuji come face to face with Wang. Kaname will fight him so as to release his friend. But Wang corrects him that he doesn’t to fight him. Just to see his despair face. Because he cut up Shinozuka and put him in the box!!! OH SH*T!!! Kaname now in despair!!! Wang then blames it is all Kaname’s fault that because he tricked him and made a fool out of him, some innocent guy had to die. Wang orders his men to kill them. But you can see Kaname is John Wick dead serious mad. An accurate shot right in the forehead of one of Wang’s men. No more nice guy.

Episode 11
Kaname invokes his special privilege and starts a clan battle. Damn, a perfect headshot into all the Eighth’s goons! When Wang targets him, Kaname lets Shuka fight him while he and Ryuuji dispose the rest of the trash. In a different warehouse, Shuka taunts Wang like hell. But when Wang attacks, he realizes his foot got cut off! He tries again, this time from behind but now his hand is chopped off! With Shuka continuing to taunt him, Wang then realizes the entire place is covered with thin wires. But is that enough to cut off limbs? As Shuka controls them, she can make them vibrate and turn into some mean saw. Wang is now scared and tries his final trump card of switching pace with Shuka (since he is tied up by the wires). However this failed and he loses another feet. Now he is begging for his life and tries teleporting away to escape. Too bad he landed outside before Kaname and Ryuuji. Not wanting to die, Wang surrenders. Sunset Ravens wins but Kaname views the rewards obtained from Eighth not enough. Considering how much Eighth took from them, it’s never going to be enough. Apparently this is Kaname’s privilege. Some winner takes all strategy by betting all his chips and his opponents must bet the same. So if the opponent has less chips, they lose. Hence Kaname can bet as many points he wants at the start of the game to increase his points. Wang realizes his reign as king is over. He accepts his loss and impending death but warns Kaname that he has become just like him and many others will die at his feet. Kaname pumps a few bullets into him before he disappears. Yeah. STFU and just die. Kaname now sets his sights on the game master and will put an end to this game. This is the goal of Sunset Ravens. Meanwhile we see the game master contacting another bloodthirsty killer, Oboro. As the game will move on to the next phase, he warns Oboro not to engage with Kaname yet as he is putting him on special observation. Just like Wang whom he thought would become the eye of the storm, this led to the creation of a more powerful player AKA Kaname. Until the next phase, Oboro must steer clear of Kaname as they will have a big role to play then. We see Sunset Ravens owning anybody trying to be funny. It seems they have invoked a special rule: A ban of Darwin’s Game on their turf. Anybody defying this rule will pay the price. It’s effective quite effective and they’re expanding their territory…

Natural Selection: May The Odds Be In Your Favour
I don’t think it will turn dark but there could be a possibility. What I mean is that Sunset Ravens becoming the new group of villains! You see, some of their members really will stop at nothing to teach non obedient players a lesson (although short of killing them but that itself is still a last resort), they now have a ‘uniform’, all dark and grey garb that makes it look like as though they are attending a funeral, they have a badass clan logo to boot, and they are muscling and expanding their territory like some new yakuza clan on the rise. Don’t they just look like bad guys now? While the possibility is miniscule, the chances are not zero. After all, Kaname might lose sight in his bid to find the game master but I’m confident with his members by his side, they’ll bring him back to the right path.

The overall premise may look like some simple survival game. Kill your opponent to survive or at best make them surrender. As we can see, it goes beyond that and it is a shame that for the time being it doesn’t have further episodes to flesh out the development and other potentials. I’m sure that many of us would be asking who the organizers and host of this game, their intentions of having such a bloodthirsty game. It could be for just entertainment purposes but my guts tell me it is more than that. A hidden agenda. But then again, sometimes my guts could be wrong. But I don’t think so. Maybe. Heh. Even this season’s story of introducing our main character into this death game, showcasing the main event and finally ending with a somewhat clan war outside the game itself, the plot itself is still engaging from start to finish and you can’t help feel wanting more of it or can’t wait for the next episode to roll out. At least, that’s how I felt. This season again like I’ve said may not be much but it does enough to help establish Kaname and his Sunset Ravens as formidable players-cum-survivors, which I feel is the main element of focus. Considering Kaname’s no-kill policy, he might end up recruiting a hell lot of people. Just saying…

Action wise might not be a masterpiece but it is still engaging. After all, this is the main draw of the anime, right? As long as people die, blood spilled and at least limbs are coming off left and right, what is there more to complain? Having the participants possessing a unique Sigil makes the action sequence a bit more exciting and adrenaline pumping. But there are limits using them so they can’t spam us Sigil moves all the way. That’ll be no fun. Otherwise, Kaname could have just materialized tanks and outrageous guns from video games to just blow away the competition. Can’t have our main character to do something so easy if we want to at least support this guy, no? Since this show isn’t some mystery puzzle, I thought the treasure hunt riddle was a let-down. I was expecting something more out of it but the solution turned out pretty meh. Like as though plot convenience was the main key here.

One of the ‘scariest’ things about this series is when a participant dies for good in the game, his/her body would disappear and leave behind a pixelated body outline. For me, the caved in contour of blocks looks pretty scary. I don’t play Minecraft but those blocky leftover blocks also look like they came from that video game.

Though character wise, I feel it is somewhat lacking in this department. I’m not saying it is the worst but it leaves more room for improvement. As I mentioned, this season feels like introducing Kaname’s clan. However we hardly know anything more about the characters in Sunset Ravens than what has been minimally revealed in the anime. Everyone has their own reasons and circumstances to play this game but aside Shuka and Ryuuji wanting revenge and Kaname wanting a total way out as well as burying this game for good, there is nothing deeper about these characters. Maybe in the future they will be fleshed out better but for now, it just seems that they’re part of Kaname’s group because he spared them and also they aren’t the worst sh*t characters in the game and hence share a somewhat common goal to work together and survive this mess.

Kaname is your typical underdog main character. A wuss who gets dragged into something he doesn’t want to get involved but thanks to luck (which I feel it is a big factor) that has him stand out and survive this long. We see his character grow from a puny high school student to become a respectable no-nonsense leader of a small clan. With all his high school friends dead, you bet he isn’t going to take their deaths lightly. His no-kill policy might be a no brainer in a game that commands death from its participants but so far it is working out for him. And for the better. Hey, if something works, it cannot be entirely stupid, can it? Though, his 100% clean record is now shattered because he made his first kill on an Eighth member. So don’t f*ck with this guy now. And especially don’t you dare f*ck with his comrades. Hey, even Batman has killed people despite his no-kill policy. Though of course, this is only applicable to real scumbags but it still sends a message not to mess with them because they really mean business. Sometimes you have got to be cruel to be kind. So if you find Kaname’s serious face now scary, until this crap game is destroyed, no time to take it easy.

The rest of the other members in Sunset Ravens, well, I thought Shuka felt lacking ever since she fought Kaname the first time. Ever since she voluntarily became subservient to him, it’s like she tamed down a lot. Remember how she was almost killed once during the treasure hunt? Yeah, why do my guts tell me it is the feelings of love that got in the way? For now, she is painted as some waifu material for Kaname. If that didn’t convince you, now we have Xuelan joining in to ramp up the rivalry for Kaname’s chastity. Maybe all she wants is to play family and this dysfunctional family in the name of Sunset Ravens is just fine for her as long as Kaname comes home. Food for thought: If Xuelan is the top player in Darwin’s Game, does this mean she is the stupidest player???!!! Oh sh*t! Please don’t cut me!!! Okay, okay, I get it. Xuelan is the top player means she is the best survivalist. Period.

The other survival game we might or might not want to see… This one I feel is going to get bloodier… Then we have a pair of loli girls, Rein the info master and Sui for who knows what. Whatever the latter, I guess her split personality with Kouta comes in handy sometimes for battle purposes. So as not to make this look like a harem, that’s why we have the other guy, Ryuuji. I thought Hiiragi would have been a great edition to the team but I guess if they want to satiate my bloodlust of body count, somebody has to die… Ah well, it wasn’t a big surprise. After all, his character wasn’t part of Kaname’s gang in the opening and ending credits… Big hint… No wonder his character gets the most fleshing out especially something about his hospitalized daughter. Characters who are going to die get the sort of privilege and make peace with whatever before they go permanently.

You got to agree with me in some ways that Wang is one of the most despicable characters ever in all of series villains. I believe they really want to make his character that way and they did a pretty good job in that. This guy could be the devil himself reincarnated as he is merciless, ruthless, cruel and just pure evil. If you are afraid of Eighth, that’s because you are really afraid of only this guy. Because the rest of the punks in Eighth are just pretty meh. Even Keiichi and Sig couldn’t match up to Wang’s cold blooded lust. It’s the reason why Eighth has got a fearsome reputation and I believe it is only thanks to Wang. So when Wang was being tortured and killed in the finale, we didn’t feel any pity for him and just glad he bite the dust. Good riddance. No love lost from us. Live by the sword, die by the sword. He got what he deserved. Eighth could just be a drop in the ocean as it is hinted there are other fearsome clans out there. Uroboros could be the umbrella group for Eighth and other ‘evil’ clans. Well, both clans have a snake eating its own tail as its logo, right? So Eighth is just the tip of the iceberg for Sunset Ravens as there will be other even more psychotic groups out there.

Art and animation are okay but sometimes I feel the overall tone of the visuals is somewhat a little bland. I don’t know, I just feel like the colours are a little dull and blunt. Especially some of the dark scenes. I only want to comment on Wang’s character design, the more I look at him, the more he starts looking like some snakey devil. Honest. Like I’ve said, they want to really paint this guy to be the embodiment of evil so he has got to look the part as well. Don’t stare too long or he might steal your soul! Yikes! And also Danjo… Is his character taken after X-men’s Colossus?! See the obvious similarities: He is Russian and a strong guy who turns into steel! OMG… This anime is produced by Nexus. They don’t produce much anime (average an anime a year) and the other shows they did lean more towards cute girls such as Comic Girls, Granbelm and Wakaba Girl (Shuka, Rein and Sui are cute but not as anime moe cute as these girls). So doing Darwin’s Game as their first serious title may be the reason they want to do something different.

For the voice acting, you got to agree with me that the best one goes to Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Wang. If you think voicing the gruffy scruffy uncouth Inosuke of Kimetsu No Yaiba was his best non-Kirito-like characters, you haven’t seen anything yet. As Wang, he takes the cake trying to really make his character sound very despicable that you would love to hate. Kudos and hats off to a voice acting job well done. The other recognizable seiyuus are Takhito Koyasu as Hiiragi, Ai Kayano as Xuelan and Akira Ishida as Oboro. The rest of the other casts include Yuusuke Kobayashi as Kaname (Shin in Kenja No Mago), Reina Ueda as Shuka (Akane in SSSS.Gridman), Taku Yashiro as Ryuuji (Ebitani in Chuukan Kanriroku Tonegawa), Nichika Oomori as Rein (Yurine in Jashin-chan Dropkick), Yumiri Hanamori as Sui and Souta (Seth in Radiant), Junya Enoki as Inukai (Hiro in Kuutei Dragons) Shunsuke Takeuchi as Danjo (Seba in W’z), Konomi Kohara as Suzune (Chika in Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai) and Masaya Matsukaze as the game master (Suiryu in One Punch Man S2). The opening and ending themes are rock based, Chain by Asca and Alive by Ayano Mashiro respectively. They suit the pace of the series well but they’re not my cup of tea.

Overall, not the best survival themed anime out there but it is still a lot entertaining and interesting. It just needs another season to develop the story and characters more. And more blood and deaths altogether! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Oops, sorry. I hope people wise up and learn at least something after watching this anime. Don’t simply click on suspicious app links! But then again, have humans ever learnt throughout the course of evolution? Probably not. That’s why we’ll get more Darwin award recipients in the futures to come. Evolution or devolution, Charles Darwin would certainly turn in his grave. And to think that they would name a death game after him… On second thought, it couldn’t be more of an aptly honour in his name. It’s not how evolution really works, but whatever. Okay people, let’s go for Da-WIN!

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