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I was surprised that this series added a pretty simple twist to standard setup to make things seem very different. There’s nothing particularly special about a class having to work together to survive a death game. But what happens if one of the students has gone through the game once already? It’s not a bad twist, but I’m honestly not sure it was handled well.
What does this change accomplish? Well, it adds an extra point of tension to the game. The class wants to know who is behind the Ousama Game, and they suddenly have a suspect who conveniently knows a little too much about the game. Plus, Nobuaki even admits that he’s the only survivor from the previous game, which is pretty suspicious. As such, I’m still not sure whether I liked the death of the “bully” character at the end of the episode, because it partially exonerates Nobuaki.
My biggest hope for the twist is that it lowers the learning curve for the game. The class naturally has to figure out this game, but having someone with experience should make that a simple question and answer session rather than a series of trial and error. Nobuaki can tell everyone what kind of orders to expect, how many come at a time, and what the progression of the game is.
I’m pretty sure his name isn’t “Tubasa”.
The main criticism I have for this episode is how…dumb the characters seem. I wonder if this is foreshadowing of the kinds of deaths we should expect to see in this series. For example, Natsuko’s friend claims to have some special knowledge that Natsuko is interested in Nobuaki, which is something that should have been incredibly obvious when Natsuko didn’t object to the kiss.
In another scene, Nobuaki says that his girlfriend is “very far away”, and then immediately asks Natsuko whether she believes in heaven. Maybe Natsuko was being polite, but that seemed pretty blatant to me.
Anyway, I think this series seems curious enough from this first episode. I’m interested enough to want to see where it goes. If I go by my standard rule, the first target is always the culprit, meaning it’s either Nobuaki (which would actually make for a pretty cool twist) or Natsuko.
And…protagonist desk: check.