Darwin's Game
Episode 4

by Lynzee Loveridge,

How would you rate episode 4 of
Darwin's Game ?

Shuka is still MIA this week as Rein and Kaname fight for their lives inside a hotel roaming with plant-controlled zombies. We learn a bit more about Rein and Kaname's Sigils and that no one named "The Florist" could really be that bad.

I thought that Rein's Sigil would likely relate to her job as an information broker, like maybe she could connect her brain to the internet or something weird like that. It turns out it's way more combat-ready that I anticipated. Essentially, Rein can predict the future. Her Sigil allows to know the speed and direction of all objects (likely within her immediate area) and adjust her own movements with split-second accuracy, letting her pull of feats like dodging bullets or avoiding falling debris.

This gives her a leg up against zombies who Kaname and Rein are able to evade due to the tracking app included as part of the game event. The zombies are carrying rings (which allow you to be tracked) and The Florist is unable to make them drop them since he can only make his zombies do things that are already within in their nature (I'm pretty sure this is also how hypnosis is supposed to work). His zombies want to defeat opponents but they also want to win. Rein and Kaname hole up briefly in a hotel room that was supposed to be locked and honestly I don't understand how they got in, it's waved away with a short talk involving a pillow but whatever, moving on. It's then that we learn that Kaname's "recreating weapons" Sigil gives him yet another advantage: he never has to restock weapons from the in-game store because once he's bought one he can recreate more at will.

Right, so the in-game store. Somehow you can just buy stuff via the app in battle and it digitally materializes in the real world inside a box labeled "konozama.com". It's obviously a play on Amazon, but I have no idea how (if they even will) explain how this works. No one seems the least bit surprised but it's weird given that this isn't a "trapped in a game" series...at least not in the usual sense. Anyway, Kaname can now add grenades, flashbangs, and a machine gun to his conjuring arsenal. Rein takes up the job of occupying the zombies by leading them up to the 40th floor while Kaname scales the side of a skyscraper to get to the lower floors. Our hero is suddenly very athletic.

On the ground floor he meets The Florist which turns out to be a middle-aged man in a scuba suit who needs to win at Darwin's Game to earn enough money for...either his daughter or his own health so he can stay with his daughter. His backstory might be rote but his powers are pretty neat. Controls plants isn't a unique idea but I haven't seen it utilized to create armor before, so that was neat surprise. Unfortunately the battle itself isn't given a chance to shine thanks to lots of cutaways and other animation saving techniques. There's one cool shot where Kaname gets punched through a door to reveal a...Christian church. This struck me as odd since I haven't come across places of worship in any of my stays at the Marriott. This is more like what I'd expect to find in an American hospital, not a hotel in Shibuya.

Kaname looks to be in a corner with no energy left to materialize weapons at will when he taps into an alternate version of himself. It's not clear now if blacksmith Kaname is a manifestation of his Sigil, consciousness, or something else but their discussion is able to reinvigorate Kaname and teach him that he can visualize tweaks to the weapons he knows before materializing them, finally giving him the firepower to defeat The Florist. Kaname's a nice guy though, he's not going to kill this dude when they could be bombarded by other high level players at any moment. It's time for him to recruit his enemy and add to his growing clan!

Darwin's Game is starting to show more signs of utilizing shortcuts, especially explanations of action that happened off screen instead of just showing it. The character designs also fluctuate in this weird space where the facial proportions sometimes go too small (or their heads are too long?). I'm hoping the production isn't heading towards a crash. There are plenty of silliness to the show as a whole but it could be an entertaining action series if it can keep it together.


Darwin's Game is currently streaming on FUNimation.

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