English Dub Review: King’s Game “Friendship (Melting Emotion)”

Kenta, you freaking ROCK.

Overview (Spoilers)

Enter Kenta Akamatsu, a classmate who somehow has been unaware of what has been going on. He witnesses the grisly scene, with one mutilated body and one Nobuaki that’s been beaten within an inch of his life. As the class begins to protest that they believed he deserved it, Kenta shuts them down. Anybody that wants to continue the lynching will have to go through him, and he’s not a small guy. Natsuko immediately recognizes him as a threat, she turns to Misaki, trying to force the girl to use the King’s Game to kill the Nobuaki and Kenta. Nobuaki even offers himself up but says that the other text should be sent to Natsuko since it is obvious that she is off her rocker and thoroughly manipulative. Instead, Misaki throws her phone down, refusing to murder people. This breaks her phone, however, eliminating the possibility of ever sending the DIE text. That is a death sentence for her. Kenta picks Nobuaki up to take him to the hospital, and Misaki asks to join to get away from that scene. Natsuko, trying to stir up more trouble and find another way to kill Nobuaki, says she’s going, too. Kenta literally slaps her down. On the way to the hospital, everything is relayed to Kenta. In order to calm Misaki, he reveals his order from the King. He has to give a command to someone. He is going to command himself to protect her. That way, he has to give it all he’s got. Nobuaki, beating himself up over everything that has happened, explains thing he did in the last game he wishes he could take back.

After Daisuke died, everyone in the class understood the game was real. The new order came out. A popularity contest between Kana and Nobuaki’s pal Naoya. Campaigning begins immediately. While Naoya’s side fought using friendship, Kana got her way by being the class bicycle. At the end, however, Naoya won. Fearing her punishment, Kana threw herself out the window. Too bad, too. Her punishment wasn’t that bad. “She will confess to the person she likes.” Nobuaki’s gang waited in the hospital to see if she would survive, and Nobuaki revealed his dastardly trick to save Naoya. He lied to the whole class, individually through texts, telling them he found a way out of the game, but only for four people. If they voted for Naoya, he’d make sure they survived the game. He felt terrible, but Naoya reassured him. About that time, Kana dies. Since she couldn’t carry out the order, Naoya gets a punishment instead. He had to have sex by midnight. But, by the time they got it, it was a little more quarter to! The only girl nearby was Chiemi, Nobuaki’s girlfriend. He refused to do anything with her, so Nobuaki knocked him out, and told Chiemi to save him while he’s unconscious. Afterward, he held Chiemi in his arms, and they cried over what happened. She made Nobuaki promise that he would outlive her. After hearing that story, Kenta still doesn’t see Nobuaki as a bad guy and puts all of the blame on the mysterious King.

Courtesy: Funimation

Our Take

I have to say, this show has it’s thumb on the button to make me uncomfortable. Literally, every time Nastuko talks, it feels like nails on a chalkboard. Not from how she sounds, but from the gallons of vile that ooze from her. Normally, I am not one for hitting girls, but in the moment, Kenta gave the audience exactly what we needed. That was rather thoughtful writing. After building up our feeling of ire towards Natsuko to its upper limit, the writers diffused the tension by having Kenta slap her down and say exactly what we are all thinking: “I cannot deal with this chick!” There is careful management of the tension in the episode, making sure to not dial it up too high. After all, get too bad, and some people might overload and never come back.

I also like, although I hadn’t mentioned it in the overview above, that the jealous boyfriend has seen the error of his ways. He honestly didn’t believe Daisuke would die and feels terrible for having done it. It’s another part of the writing I do enjoy. The characters are behaving in a believable manner. They aren’t all defaulting to “evil mode”, and they aren’t all collapsing in on themselves. They each behave differently and respond to the ugliness of the situation with the agency. It’s one of the reasons I dislike Natsuko so much. Her personality took this situation and turned it into an excuse to witness as much death as she can. To indulge in her own fascination, which it seems she’s hidden all this time.

I have a beef with the King though, beyond tormenting a class of teenagers. He isn’t very original. He seems to have only two things on his mind: Death, and forcing teenagers to have sex with each other. Yes, the popularity contest was a bit different, but this King entity is such a focused pedo. Please, writers, give us some different scenarios. Despite that, I think it is cool that the punishments aren’t all deaths. It makes sure things don’t just snap to gruesome ends all the time.

On average, the art is great in this episode. Especially when we get close-ups of the evil chicks’ grills. Their evil makes them ugly. The art style knows how to tamper with these characters faces to evoke a feeling from the audience. Unfortunately, the animation is a bit inconsistent. There are some awkward bits with faces that aren’t always drawn the same. When Kenta reassures Nobuaki at the end, his face looks so stiff, and it snaps into some strange looks.

The voice acting from the cast was excellent. Really. I enjoyed every actor’s performance. They were full of emotion, tension, and intensity. There was a bit in the middle where I didn’t fully feel what Nobuaki (Coby Lewin) was saying, but it was brief. Everyone else brought their “A Game” to King’s Game.

Score

Summary

So, with incredible writing and voice acting, this show continues to be difficult, but rewarding to watch. I give this episode eight popularity votes out of ten.

8.0/10

Marshall Daley

One part best-friend/philosopher, one part creepy mad scientist. Shaken, and sprinkled with geeky factoids, quirky humor, and a major case of skepticism towards the world and you might just find a cocktail that changes the way you see... Everything!

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