Ranking of Kings
by Lynzee Loveridge,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Ranking of Kings ?
Community score: 4.5
I survived a whole week without an episode of Ranking of Kings, but it was difficult. My mouth was constantly parched. My crops died. My favorite shirt fit uncomfortably. I don't know how I did it, to be honest, but I'm grateful that the drought is over. Now that the series is streaming on both Funimation and Crunchyroll, viewers who were sitting on the sidelines can marathon the first half and join in on the best anime to premiere in at least the last half-decade.
This episode is a continuation of the ongoing setup for a multi-pronged confrontation between the multiple factions. We get a quick intro to the criminals that Miranjo spurred from Desha's prison, but both her and Bosse's motivations still remain murky. She claims to have no overall plan and instead simply wants to see Bosse's country decimated for reasons that we can only infer based on the hints of her backstory we saw inside Daida's mind.
The criminal posse is quick to show that there is no true allegiance among thieves, leading to one of the most disturbingly violent scenes in the series yet. Of the handful of criminals, three are highlighted prominently. The bandit leader Zokku is the most reasonable in that he puts his survival first and knows when he's in a losing situation. He's also skeptical of Miranjo because, likely via experience, he knows no one helps someone like him without an ulterior motive. The other two are Kingbo, who is shown said to be "fallen royalty", and the fully-armored Ouken.
Ouken is terrifying in that he has the demeanor of a child with seemingly no concept of morality. When Kingbo kicks him off Bosse's throne to declare himself the new ruler of the country, Ouken retaliates without a word. He first slices the tendons in his hands and feet to render Kingbo immobile before stabbing him numerous times in the back. He follows this up by squatting near Kingbo's face and, with body language that I can only describe as "curious," watches him die. He never talks or really exerts any other kind of emotion. He does it all in broad daylight. Zokku then tosses Kingbo's barely living body over the castle wall where it is retrieved by Bebin's snakes. This isn't going to be the last we see of Kingbo and it seems likely he'll be switching sides...because I have another theory.
We get a lot of flashback exposition for Kingbo while he's lying there on death's door. I'll be honest, it felt a little put-upon give we just met this character and don't have much of a reason to care one way or another about the circumstances that led him to his current life of crime. On a second watch though, I don't think this flashback was meant to simply show us the sad circumstances of his life, but rather to serve as foreshadowing for what's happening in Bosse's kingdom. What we see is Kingbo's dad who first reprimands him to become a more compassionate person. This was apparently during a Ranking exercise, as we see a guy in the same get-up as when Daida tried out. Then we see Kingbo's dad standing outside his kingdom, sword in hand, and the castle in flames. Last we see Kingbo discover that his wife and son were murdered inside the burning castle. It's implied that, for some reason, his father went mad and is responsible.
Then it clicked with me that his dad is the weird forest guy that taught Bojji to dance, sacrificed animals to the weird god-cloud, and maybe threatened to eat Bojji back in episode four. Knowing all of this now, part of me has to wonder if Kingbo's dad was also affected by Miranjo in some way. It might be less that she wants to burn down Bosse's country and more that she wants to destroy the monarchy system altogether. I'm just spit-balling here.
This was once again a stellar episode from start to finish, and the new opening sequence is no exception. I'm actually working on writing something (with a video to come) just about the new OP so keep an eye out for that soon! Here's hoping next week we see some more action from the smaller camps, including Despa if his horse can ever make it to the kingdom.
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