Ranking of Kings
by Lynzee Loveridge,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Ranking of Kings ?
Community score: 4.6
How would you rate episode 7 of
Ranking of Kings ?
Community score: 4.7
I was in New York City covering Anime NYC, so I had to wait a week to enthusiastically gush about Ranking of Kings. Fortunately, this shouldn't devolve into a 2,000 word essay as episode six ended up being primarily set-up/fake out as we discover Kage has taken Bojji to see the wrong king and instead they head out to find Prince Despa to train Bojji.
The Despa/Desha dynamic is actually pretty interesting and in some ways reflects the Bojji/Daida dynamic. King Desha has garnered respect for himself as the #2 ranked king, but still holds resentment towards his brother for the preferential treatment he received when they were children. King Desha was considered, let's say, unfortunate looking but he's become rather haughty in the mean time as a cover for his insecurity. I also don't think his dislike of Despa is 100% founded in jealousy; Despa himself is (humorously) insufferable.
Attractiveness aside, he's one of those people who is rather full of himself but hides it behind a clever way of speaking. However, it's easy to forgive Despa's greediness and vanity, since he is the first person to truly level with Bojji about his abilities and how he cultivated his own strength. We've known for a few episodes now that Bojji is cursed with abnormal frailty, but Despa is the first person to tell him up front that he won't be able to train his way out of it; he'll have to find a way around it instead. That's how Bojji gets his first training montage where we see him cultivating his agility, endurance, and...I don't know how the kid has done it but it's implied he's split a whole boulder in half.
Ranking of Kings might be the first shōnen battle show that I've become wholly invested in the development of the main character. I knew folks enjoyed these types of shows, but could never quite figure out the excitement of seeing a character unlock a new power-up outside of a few examples in the original Sailor Moon series. I'm sorry, I get it now. I want to know what Bojji's weapon of choice is, I want to see him throwdown with some monsters, and most of all I want to see his confidence continue to rise as he puts in the time and effort to earn those callouses.
While our cute prince is working his tail off, it's the big ol' plot twist with Daida that makes up our B plot. It serves as a good counter to the cheery exploits with Bojji as we see the darkness that forms the foundation of this kingdom. Apeas is pretty easily swayed by the entity in the mirror, who we discover is named Lady Miranjo. We know Miranjo oversaw some of Apeas training, and it's implied that he may have underwent a similar 'power up' procedure as we see with Daida. He honestly seems terrified of her (and if he was made to drink some monster slurry, who could blame him?) but she convinces him to assist her in what I can only really call a magical coup.
When they were making the smoothie in the previous episode, I thought it was going to imbue Daida with his father's strength or somehow allow Miranjo to possess Daida since her physical form appears to also be frozen down there. Oh, but it's actually worse and if I'm right, is going to require a whole different evaluation of King Bosse. We know, that like Domas, Apeas puts a lot of value on serving his king. It's the reason behind his intention to assassinate Daida and put Bojji on the throne. It was Bosse's wish after all. But now I'm starting to wonder if Bosse's desire to make Bojji king had less to do with his own belief in his son. Instead, I think he wanted him there so he could overthrow him.
After Apeas and Miranjo knock out Daida and force-feed him the remainder of his dad smoothie, episode seven ends with a rather ominous admission. Daida (but obviously not his consciousness) says that he has "once again" sacrificed a son. I think that the demon we saw before has been continuing to propagate itself as King by possessing its own descendants. There are still a lot of questions left to decipher, but if he always intended to possess Daida then he may have also always intended to overthrow Bojji. It would explain Miranjo's desire to cast doubt in Daida toward his own brother.
On a technical aspect, episode seven looks fantastic. Not only is the animation fluid, but the episode as a whole is also shot in a very dynamic way. Small instances like Daida sitting down on the throne, Bojji cooking horrible food, and a longer comedic bit between Kage and Despa are just as detailed and use interesting camera angles to infuse comedy and drama in places where you'd expect shortcuts. Visually and thematically, this show is setting the standard for the season.
Rating: (episode 7)
Ranking of Kings is currently streaming on Funimation.
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