Anime Studio Challenge: A-Craft’s Ousama Game The Animation (Spoiler-free Review)

Continuing on with the A studios / producers, we’ve got A-Craft, and their only listed work – Ousama Game The Animation. At first glance, you may notice the 5.01 rating and think “oh no”, but… well…

I’ve gotten through all 12 episodes of the anime in one piece, meaning it can’t be that bad right? Right.

Once again, this will be a primarily spoiler-free review, as I won’t name names or delve into the plot itself. However, I HAVE to talk about the tone, pace, and things like this if I’m to sort this anime out properly. In addition, if it’s mentioned in the anime’s synopsis, I’m considering it fair game here.

So no plot details spoiled, but some aspects will be spoiled…

Synopsis

Ok so the gist of the anime is that a class of students get caught up in the “Ousama Game”, otherwise called the “King’s Game”. It’s the game where the king’s orders are absolute, and typically a new king is selected every round by random, and then issues an order. However in this game, that rule is overlooked, as the king’s identity is unknown, and orders are issued to the students via text message.

If students don’t oblige what is ordered of them, they are punished.

The anime follows main character Nobuaki Kanazawa as his class is pulled into the King’s Game. The thing is, Nobuaki has already survived one King’s Game in the past….

Seems Decent Enough?

Honestly, Ousama Game has a pretty good premise. Definitely good enough that you’d think it could pull off a good show. At face value you can see three key genres: horror, psychological, and mystery (as the king’s identity is unknown). And these three are the bulk of it, although there are some romance elements as students find themselves in a real pinch. To put it simply… the punishment is almost always death in some way or another.

And to be completely fair to Ousama Game, I actually quite liked the premise. At face value it’s good.

So what’s the problem?
Why the 5.08 rating on MAL?

It’s a Slasher

First off, let be quickly break down the formula used in Ousama Game. At its core what we have here is a slasher premise – a group of people are trapped (in the game in this case) and are being killed off as the game progresses by an unknown assailant, or unknown force. As with a typical slasher, the mystery usually involves uncovering the identity of the killer, or discovering the secrets behind the killing phenomenon, or some combination of those.

That’s the formula that Ousama Game basically follows. He and his classmates are trapped in the game, dying one by one, and our main character needs to both survive and figure out how to stop the game before it’s too late.

Once again, this doesn’t sound that bad right?

The Problem

Ousama Game’s critical flaw is simply that it’s WAY to fast. From the very first episode, this anime puts pedal to the metal and doesn’t let up until it’s completely over. I actually couldn’t believe what I was watching.

How fast? Let’s just say that unlike the typical slasher that may give us one or two deaths per episode, with Ousama Game we’re looking at more like… 6 – 12 deaths per episode. The bodycount in this anime is insane. People drop like flies. They’re dying off so fast that I couldn’t possibly keep up or know who is who. Seriously, it’s crazy!

6 – 12 deaths? But it’s only one class right? Wrong. It’s two, because we get to see both flashbacks of the first game Nobuaki survived, as well as the second game that is occurring in the present. This anime is a total bloodbath, past and present.

It’s just so fast that any tension or thrill quickly fades away once the anime gets rolling partway through the first episode. Things move so fast that I actually found Ousama Game comical more than anything else. One of those cases where something is trying so hard to be dark and serious, but ends up being hilarious because of some reason or another.

I Loved It

I kid you not, Ousama Game is the perfect example of an anime “so bad it’s good”. While it’s not intended to be a comedy, that’s EXACTLY what this anime ended up becoming for me. Every episode I found reasons to laugh, it all just gets so ridiculous and the bodycount gets so high that I was laughing from early on till the end. And the conclusion also got some laughs out of me.

This anime is so bad it’s amazing. I actually loved it. So much that I actually watched it all in 2 nights, 6 episodes per night. I didn’t expect it to be this way, but Ousama Game ended up being really entertaining. It wasn’t a drag at all, despite my initial “oh no” when I saw the rating.

I can completely understand why people decided to rate it the way they did, but I also think that if you go in with the right mindset it can be a really fun ride.

Good Production Quality

On a final note, I’d like to point out that the production quality of Ousama Game is actually really good. Big time VA’s, great animation, and great sound. Really it’s all there. They tried their best with this anime, and even if the pacing screwed everything up, it holds up really well… as a comedy because there aren’t any production flaws. At least none that I noticed.

It’s well done. If anything, knowing that they put so much into the production enhanced my experience knowing that they tried so hard and the anime ended up being a total trainwreck. In a good way.

Rating

In a completely unexpected twist, the 5.01 rated Ousama Game, which I think is the lowest rated anime on MAL that I’ve ever watched start to finish, ended up being really funny and a great “so bad it’s good” anime. I can totally understand why people rated it poorly, because my enjoyment clearly came from simply how ridiculous the anime is.

I’m giving Ousama Game a 7.5 / 10.

It had me hooked for all the wrong reasons, but hey, in the end I enjoyed it. They had all the makings for a good anime, screwed it up, but managed to unintentionally salvage something in the end.

If you like super cheesy horror movies, and enjoy “so bad it’s good” shows that take themselves seriously but totally crash and burn, Ousama Game is actually the perfect pick for you. I wasn’t even looking for this sort of thing and it ended up being pretty great.

This might just be the ultimate cheesy horror anime, not that I’ve seen many of those. I’ll just say that it’s now MY ultimate cheesy horror anime.

And that’ll do it for A-Craft’s Ousama Game The Animation. A-Craft was just a producer on the project, so even though it’s their only credited work on MAL I guess we can’t give em too much flak. Who knows how much influence they even had on this one.

Either way, I’m pretty happy it ended up being so funny because I’m not a big horror fan to begin with. In a way, this was kind of a hidden gem, because I can’t imagine many people would stumble across this anime and watch it after seeing the rating, but it’s still really enjoyable in its own way!

Until next time,
Thanks for reading.

7 thoughts on “Anime Studio Challenge: A-Craft’s Ousama Game The Animation (Spoiler-free Review)

  1. I remember watching the first episode when it came out and immediately dropping it. I had no idea the MAL rating was that low though… I don’t think I’ve completed a show with a rating that low. O: So bad, it’s good… I see. 😅 All 12 episodes of One Piece part though. That looks familiar… Hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 5/10 ratings on MAL are always subject to debate imo. They’re just shows that are either hit or miss for the average viewer. But personally, I’ve always enjoyed all the 5 point something rated MAL shows! Maybe I just can’t hate anime…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only other 5 I can reference is Pastel Memories which I watched when it aired, and it wasn’t very good.

      I feel like MAL ratings are generally within a point or two of where I would rate something, with the one exception that they tend to rate ecchi anime really poorly even if the anime is actually really good like YU-NO and Gleipnir which I’d rate much higher than MAL.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. RisefromAshes

    I just remember this was among the first anime I reviewed on my blog… It’s such a trip. In retrospect I was way too harsh in my review lol. It really deserves a solid tag of ‘it’s so bad it’s good’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. If I was in a different mood maybe I would have disliked it more, but something about how cheesy the story is told appealed to me. That and just how ridiculous the whole anime is, start to finish. It’s a trip, that’s for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s