– Spoilers Below –
“Well it can only get better from here.” It feels like the show heard someone say that and took it as a personal challenge, because this episode takes the series from “okay at best” to “barely watchable.”
I won’t lie; this episode started out decent enough. Nobuaki finally gets his classmates to understand the gravity of the game by relating his own experience from the previous game. After following an instruction of a sexual nature from the King, Nobuaki’s old friend Daisuke gets in hot water with another guy in the class, who wields the King’s power to command Daisuke to die. Unsurprisingly, and thanks to yet another incorrect clock, he dies, despite Nobuaki’s efforts otherwise. Nobuaki and his super best friend whose name I will probably never learn finally understand the situation they are in.
It’s really a shame that Nobuaki cuts his story off after Daisuke’s death, because his retelling is infinitely more interesting than the current story. From what I’ve read, Nobuaki’s first King’s Game is the actual manga story, and it really shows that there’s a lot more thought put into that story than this second game. While it’s still nothing to applaud, there’s some actual heart to the flashback, and at least everything makes sense, aside from how in the world Daisuke managed to hang himself so quickly from nowhere but a ceiling animated as black nothingness. I suspect we’ll see more of the past game in future episodes in a sort of weaving narrative, but really I would rather the show just scrap the current story and solely retell the manga. It seems more promising.
Back to the present, Teruaki and Natsuko must do the nasty in order to survive the king’s judgment, making this game seem rather like a repeat of the last. Anyhow, let me break down what happens, nice and slow. Teruaki tries to force Natsuko to have sex. Natsuko begs Nobuaki to have sex with her beforehand so that someone she likes will be her first. Nobuaki refuses. Teruaki forces Natsuko to the ground. Natsuko screams out as Teruaki continues to assault her and another student. Natsuko reveals her true nature, a sadistic selfish side, and violently kicks Teruaki away. She asks Nobuaki to go talk with her in private. They have a disagreement after Natsuko accuses him of sacrificing his friends in the past game, and Nobuaki ends up pushing her to the ground. Natsuko shouts out that he is attacking her, calling their classmates to them. The classmates, including Teruaki, accuse Nobuaki of trying to rape her and once again physically assault him almost to the point of unconsciousness. Natsuko tries to persuade Mizuki to send Nobuaki a text telling him to die, since her instruction is to act as the King.
Did ya get all that? Now, let’s see how close you were paying attention.
- Teruaki tries to force Natsuko to have sex, but chastises Nobuaki for it.
- The class barely bats an eye when Teruaki assaults Natsuko, even if it is life or death.
- No one believes Nobuaki DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE LITERALLY SAID JUST FIVE MINUTES BEFORE HE WOULD NOT HAVE SEX WITH HER EVEN WHEN SHE OFFERED IT.
- Literally no one comments on Natsuko’s jarring personality shift before she goes and talks with Nobuaki, despite Teruaki clearly being terrified of her.
That’s some solid writing, I tell you what.
Seriously, I was contemplating being generous but the more I write about it the more I just become frustrated at how unconcerned this show is with logic.
In all honesty, I actually think Natsuko’s reveal of her true self would have been a good twist. Just. Not in the second episode. There was no time to get to know her before dropping this bomb, so it instead just feels like a really forced exposition point instead of a defining character moment. These kinds of twists work best when you get to know a character for a long time and are just fed subtle hints until the big reveal.
Really, if this genre isn’t just your absolute favorite genre and you don’t have a compulsive need to consume every title within it, I encourage you to not bother any further with this show. The only things it has going for it are actually well-animated facial expressions and a comparatively decent flashback narrative. Nothing is gained or lost this week other than Natsuko’s reveal, thus leaving behind the bitter taste of a hollow episode that spent most of its time unapologetically skirting around molestation and rape scenes. It’s hard to imagine the show getting much worse, but from what I’ve seen, I’m sure it’ll find a way.
King's Game - Episode 2
- Nobuaki's retelling of his past experience is infinitely better than the current storyline
- Facial expressions are surprisingly well animated
- Natsuko's reveal is just too extreme
- Everyone in the class is a complete moron
- Show cannot get from Point A to Point B without making a mess of things
- Much of the episode spent on sexual assault scenarios