Welcome to the gradual and inevitable intellectual death of this blog. So then why am I here? Why not just call it quits for good? Well, blogging about anime is kind of like that old relationship that I just can’t quite let go of even though the romance has run its course a long ass time ago. There were good times, right? And who knows? Maybe if we go on that vacation, we might even rekindle the relationship. Maybe?
Not with these shows. Time for some stream of consciousness blogging if only because it’s 2 am in the morning, and I’m still kinda tipsy from my dinner earlier tonight.
I mean, what is Darwin’s Game? A bunch of high schoolers roped into another life-or-death thing? From just the premise alone, I’m reminded of Ousama Game, which sucked. And immediately, I assume that Darwin’s Game is an adaptation of a cell phone novel. But no, it’s originally a manga if that makes any difference (I don’t think it does).
The first episode opens with some kid frantically running away from something before hitting a dead end. So with nowhere to go, he decides to stand his ground and fight. He ends up dying to some…
…I dunno, translucent and fluorescent bear thing. Fluorescent probably isn’t the right word. The thing looks like one of those oil grease that you see in puddles of water on the road during a light drizzle. I guess this sequence is supposed to draw the audience in, because oooh, blood, action, death, yadda yadda yadda. But all I did was sneak glances at a Twitch stream of some cute girl playing Dark Souls 3 before I finally realize that this episode is 48 minutes long. Aw man, I don’t have the attention span for that. And that’s what happens nowadays. My mind wanders. Darwin’s Game, huh. I can’t help but think of the Darwin awards where people are posthumously awarded for dying in the dumbest ways possible. Maybe an anime about that might be funny, but I don’t think that’s what we’re getting.
666 means evil! But what does 666 even mean to Japan? Like, I live in a Christian nation and I don’t even know why 666 represents the devil (I’d have to read a Wikipedia article to find out why, but who wants to do that?).
So the next day, we meet the main character. All I can think is how it’s 2020, but the animation quality still sucks. But then I feel bad because I know these animators are probably paid next to nothing to churn these shows out. Man, what a life.
Our hero has been invited to play Darwin’s Game, which is supposedly free-to-play but we all know that this is nothing more than a honeypot. Maybe this show is a warning to kids all across the country to stay away from predatory cellphone games like Fate/Grand Order. You don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.
(“So wait, Mordred’s father is Artoria who is actually a woman?”)
Man, cellphone tech in Japan is so sick.
Oh look, a girl. Probably the main heroine. I say main ’cause like a potato chip we can’t have just one. Yeah we got our waifu but what about second waifu?
Some boring scenes follow. I look at the runtime, and I’m sadly only eight minutes into this 48-min episode. This is torture. I have nothing to write about. I’m scratching my head idiotically. What am I even doing? Maybe I’d have more fun looking up Fate/Grand Order lore.
So we see the main character sitting on the train, reflecting on the strange events thus far. He takes a look at his phone and sees that he’s about to enter a match against that evil 666 bear thing from the intro. And of course, I’m not really concerned about the plot. Instead, I’m sitting here thinking about cellphone apps in Japan. I actually don’t know what OS they run. Is it still Android and iOS? What language would I have to learn to code a Japanese app? Well, if it’s Android or iOS, you don’t really have a choice. You got either Java or Swift. Plus, for better or worse, everyone uses Java. I’m trying to Google for the answer, but I keep getting recommendations for apps on how to learn Japanese (which I should do but… eh). God, this show is so interesting.
The MC finally notices that the evil bear is on the same train with him. How nice that the rest of the train is completely empty. Wouldn’t want all those people in Tokyo getting caught up in our little Darwin’s Game. But do you suppose Darwin’s Game releases updates of their app on a weekly schedule? Actually, could you imagine what it’s like to QA for this game? Oh man, we keep losing testers every regression cycle! But what can you do! The only way to QA the app is to play it! It’s okay. Everything is automated nowadays. Even testing is automated. Imagine what the unit tests are like. Or hell, the grooming meetings. If product managers are insufferable in general, imagine how dreadful they must be for an app that kills you.
The main character finally realizes that he’s in trouble. He escapes from the train and tries to run away from the evil bear, but the first cop he sees is immediately killed.
That’s when a classmate shows up and shoots the bear with a crossbow. The classmate gets stabbed in the gut, but he and the main character escape. I’m surprised that the former hasn’t bled out. I’m also surprised that he’s still quite lucid. But of course he is. Also, they can’t call for help because you just can’t.
(Hm, the Twitch streamer has been stuck on the Dancer of the Boreal Valley for like an hour now. I one-shotted that boss, but then again, I was stuck on Aldrich for a super long time so I can’t judge. Though really, I think she just stays too far away and isn’t playing aggressively enough.)
Nothing’s really happening right now. The MC is freaking out, wondering why he’s in this mess, the heroine contacts him, so on and so forth. I’m wondering why this had to be a 48-minute episode. I’m only 18 minutes in. Y’know, the bear really should’ve been a chameleon instead since he can blend into his surroundings?
Eventually, the match ends in the MC’s favor simply because he ran out the clock. Even though he lost, the bear starts going on and on about how this is at least better than his shitty job. So is that the social commentary du jour? We are enslaved in a system that crushes our dreams, so we seek out technology that facilitate our self-destruction for cheap thrills? Why not just play Fate/Grand Order? Look at all the waifus you can have. Even Jack the Ripper is a waifu. No death required, bro. Eventually, the bear dies because I guess that’s the consequence for losing the match. See? Gacha waifus are still the better alternative. MC returns to his classmate only to discover that his buddy has died too. All he’s got left of his friend is this inspirational message:
But I can’t help but think of Kirk Lazarus from Tropic Thunder:
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I prejudged the show based on its title alone, so of course, I’m not taking it seriously. But I’d also argue that nothing in the first twenty odd minutes of the show has really convinced me to take the show seriously. But what does it mean to take the show seriously? After all, this isn’t a very serious show. It’s a bunch of kids dying in some game, and I guess the main draw is in seeing if the MC gets to the bottom of who or what started this game to begin with. If some movies are popcorn flicks, maybe there’s such a thing as a popcorn anime. But even then, is this a good version of a popcorn anime? Something that is entertaining despite having little to no intellectual or emotional depth? There’s still a certain skill involved in making a good popcorn flick. Maybe you’ve got crazy action choreography. Maybe you’re oozing with titillating sex. Maybe there’s just so much style crammed into every second of runtime. I don’t think we’ve got that here. Not yet anyways. Maybe not ever. What was that anime with the fighters turning into furries? The heroine was like some trash pandaa or something… no wait, she was a honey badger. Ah right, I’m thinking of Killing Bites. Terrible anime. Would never recommend it. But it’s watchable cause it’s got stupid action and gratuitous fanservice. Hell, I dare say Ousama Game is probably better than this show if only because it had shitty kids being extra shitty to each other.
At the moment, the best I got here is some typically censored violence.
“But Sean, the first episode isn’t even over yet and you’re already writing the show off! That’s not fair.”
Yeah, of course not. But I’ve never claimed to be objective. I’m not a reviewer. I don’t care about that. Especially now that I’ve acknowledged the intellectual death of the blog. Is this a cop-out? Hell yeah it is!
The MC meets with the heroine who holds all the info that he wants to know, but she’s not going to be forthcoming. Not until he inevitably proves himself to be the anime dick that she’ll prostrate herself to (don’t worry, I’m cringing at the fact that I’m ending that sentence on a preposition too). She does tell him flat-out that there’s no way to quit the game. The MC says great shit like “Any way you look at it, this is all illegal!” You don’t say! But you guys, he’s the one with the strongest aura. He’s the Goku of Darwin’s Game! He’s got the best sigil! What is a sigil? It is, uh, some evolution that the game gives you in order to play this game. See? Evolution? Darwin? It’s all coming together. We’re all fucking Galapagos turtles. This is the part of the episode where infodumping is oh-so-cleverly disguised as totally realistically written dialogue.
The girl wants to know what the MC’s sigil is. When he checks the app, it just gives him an error. Whoops, some tester is getting fired. But I mean, if you were paying close attention to the show (unlike me), you’d already know what his sigil is. We got a hint when the school nurse picked up two pens (which I totally didn’t notice).
In the end, MC can’t convince the girl that he’s not a threat to her because we still have too much time left in the episode, so they enter a match. Commence more running, because we haven’t just spent the majority of the first half of the episode doing just that. But y’know, I somehow don’t expect the girl to die if the MC survives this match like he’s supposed to. Also, it’s now 3 am so I’ve spent too much time and too many words on a show with great inner monologue like…
Before you know it, the MC activates his sigil and gun power just manifests outta thin air.
Great. But worry not, intrepid viewers, because this MC would never harm a cute waifu:
(Ooh, the Twitch streamer finally beat the Dancer. Took long enough.)
And because a proper anime gentleman dares not harm a waifu, we continue to run. They want us to believe that his sigil is the ability to duplicate items, but I really think it’s his ability to Usain Bolt his way outta this shit. I wish I could do the same to this show.
I don’t wanna describe how he eventually beats the girl. You don’t want me to describe that either. In fact, you probably stopped reading this post a while ago. Smart move. But he does eventually “beat” her. As we saw earlier, the loser dies. If not that, then the stupid 666 bear did something to incur his own death. But we can’t possibly have that happen to our waifu, so of course, she reveals to MC that she simply has to surrender to him. Yes, not just the match.
She surrenders to him. Of fucking course.
Then he passes out on her boobs. Of fucking course.
Then we see a NEET girl commentating on the MC as if she’s not going to eventually surrender and thus join his harem army like the blonde girl. Of fucking course.
Then the MC wakes up to the blonde girl not only naked but sleeping with her face in his crotch. Of fucking course.
Finally, she wakes up too and she asks him to impregnate her. You know what subreddit I’ve been enjoying lately? This one. Alright. The episode’s over. You got some fanservice, but it’s not really titillating levels. Either way, maybe I’ll blog another show when I wake up. But maybe I’ll have a girl face down in my crotch instead, so I then I wouldn’t be watching anime. One can only hope. On the plus side, this writing exercise has completely sobered me up.