Ranking of Kings
by Lynzee Loveridge,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Ranking of Kings ?
Community score: 4.5
This was a weaker outing for Ranking of Kings as Bojji and Kage get put on standby for an ill-conceived redemption for Domas and some background on King Bosse's plans. Neither man makes it out of the episode looking too hot. It's always a risk to declare anything absolute about a character in this show, but for at least the next week I'm satisfied calling King Bosse a sociopath and Domas needs...some kind of intervention because that man is completely shattered inside.
I'm understandably disappointed that we have to wait yet another week to find out Bojji's weapon of choice, but I am elated to know that whatever he HAS done has shot him through the ranks into the "world's strongest," even topping the now King Bosse-possessed Daida. That's the gist we learn about Bojji this week; instead, we look back at exactly how Bosse came to be the #1 king and how his son was cursed. The answers, while including some moving emotional insight into Bosse as he has to reckon with choices, are still grounded in hubris and a shocking lack of consideration for literally everyone around him.
A giant, Bosse initially comes off very...let's say traditional as a young man. He's dedicated himself to be the strongest dude ever and like many fairytales, promises his first born to a supernatural being in order to obtain his wish. You see this same kind of trade in stories like Rumpelstiltskin, where the prospect of a future child is so far on the horizon and the desire to obtain what is needed is so immediate that the promise-maker follows through with the deal. Now, in that specific example (a story I never liked for the record), a young girl is locked in a room with straw and asked to perform an impossible task or else she be killed due to her father's big mouth. She was between a rock and a hard place (and still married the guy who threatened to kill her, wtf) whereas Bosse is simply trying to fulfill his own desire to be the strongest. Still, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt of being young and stupid here. It's later where he becomes openly deceptive and doesn't seem like he's learned anything.
He seeks out Bojji's mom, a giant and the strongest woman, specifically to conceive an offspring that will be the strongest possible – so he can absorb that strength for himself. Bojji's mom has no knowledge of the deal in play; she's an unwitting participant. When their small son is born, we see Bosse feeling remorseful as he lays down his arms for battle in order to build a kingdom. He declares that he will give Bojji everything, and there's an unspoken part of that declaration that implies it was because Bosse took everything from Bojji. It's enough to make you think he learned something, but then we have to consider everything going on with Daida.
Miranjo, Bosse, and the demon have been working together since before the princes were born and Bosse's current possession of Daida is just their latest endeavor. The details aren't laid out, but given how Bojji's own mother was manipulated, there's heavy implication that Hiling was as well and Daida's birth is just as likely to be orchestrated for Bosse's own ends. Further, Bosse has apparently promised Miranjo that they will assassinate Hiling for unknown reasons and yeah, I'm mad about it! What is this guy doing?! He got his turn to be big king on campus and now he's destroying everyone's lives, including his kids' own.
There's the possibility that it's a giant orchestration for Bojji's benefit; the mirror convincing Daida to have Bojji assassinated and Bevin working with Kage just so he'd find his way to Despa is possible, but somewhat convoluted. I don't think it was a "Plan B" based on whether Bojji was made king or not given that the mirror was pushing for Daida to be king before Bosse was even dead. However Bosse-Daida did seem pleased at Bojji's development. It's really hard to say at this point whether things are starting to get muddled due to Bosse's characterization or if we're just missing pieces.
The hardest part of the episode to swallow was Domas and Hokuro. Domas is an idiot if he didn't foresee his possible execution. There was no way he'd be able to walk into the kingdom, tell Hiling that Bojji is dead and live to talk about it. He can't push off the blame to Daida, so I don't know what kind of outcome he was expecting when he pushed Bojji into the pit. What we see in this episode is Domas wriggling to justify his cowardice (if the man had any honor left, he'd face his consequences), make one less hurrah to at least save Hokuro from an undeserved fate, and then be forgiven by everyone.
Bosse-Daida still using Domas is understandable given his alliance with the mirror and it supports the idea there will likely be some greater plan/revelation to explain Bosse's actions further. Hokuro, though? That duo needed to split. I just can't buy, given how strongly Hokuro reacted to Domas' attempted murder of Bojji, that he would put that aside. I don't think anyone would. I found it written as a matter of narrative convenience to keep both characters adventuring together when Domas did something that Hokuro saw as reprehensible.
Ranking of Kings is currently streaming on Funimation.
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