Overview (Spoilers Below):
Bojji is the eldest son of the king, but he’s not exactly your typical prince. Being deaf and mute means he gets made fun of a lot, and not many people in the kingdom think he can fulfill the duties required of a future king. When he meets a shadow creature called Kage, he’s eager to make a new friend. But Kage isn’t exactly your typical BFF, either, and the two of them should face many challenges on the road ahead.
I haven’t heard too much talk about Ranking of Kings, but apparently it’s based on a manga and is being created together with Aniplex and WIT Studio. Those companies have some impressive credits between them, and the premiere is definitely a step above your average medieval fantasy story in some aspects. But despite doing some new things, it’s just kind of boring—at least right now.
The story follows Bojji, the son of the King and his first wife. He’s deaf and mute, which makes him stand out in a sea of similar shounen protagonists. He’s also very undersized, because he’s supposed to be the eldest son but he looks like a toddler? And his younger half-brother, the son of the second wife, looks five years older, so that’s kind of weird. But Bojji is a likable enough character, even though we don’t get to know him too much in this first chapter. It’s worth noting that he does use sign language, but in a kingdom filled with peasants who don’t seem to have much education anyway, it doesn’t do much good. His lip reading abilities appear to be top-notch, too.
Kage, the other headlining character, is member of the shadow clan of assassins. But the clan tried to assassinate the king they worked for a while ago, and were supposedly destroyed. That makes Kage a fellow outcast among society, and since he’s also supposedly a child despite his deep, SungWon Cho voice, the two of them are sure to be fast friends. He’s the typical grouch with a heart of gold so far, and even does a bit of bullying of the young prince himself when they first meet.
The story is basic so far. The young prince is more capable than everyone thinks he is, and now he’s trying to prove it. The only one who believes in him is his father, so he’s got his work cut out for him. That’s basically it in the first episode. We learn he gets laughed at a lot, he makes friends with Kage, and then he challenges his half-brother to a duel that’s sure to be quite shocking in the ending for those who thought he’d get demolished.
WIT Studio’s animation is cute and colorful, and definitely pleasant to look at. The dub is okay. It’s kind of a strange bird since the main character doesn’t really say much, but Emily Fajardo does a fine job with Bojji’s non-verbal dialogue. The writing is pretty simplistic and matches the story so far.
At this point, I can’t seriously recommend Bojji to anyone unless they’re after something really different. The animation is pretty, but it’s not enough to make up for the pretty low-key story so far. Hopefully in the future, Bojji can come into himself more and become a character worth rooting for beyond his initial cute-ness.