King kingdom

The new king of anime

Ranking of kings has now finished its run with the rest of the Winter 2022 anime schedule offerings, and it’s likely more eyes will be drawn as the years go by. Sosuke Toka’s original manga series debuted in the anime adaptation last fall, but has steadily garnered attention over its episodes. It’s not hard to see why the series initially struggled to build an audience at first, as one look at its art design and style would probably make you think it’s a series aimed at children.

But that’s what makes Ranking of kings such success. Its naturally unassuming introduction belies the true depth and heart of the series as a whole. Much like how one would overlook its central character, Prince Bojji, at first glance, Ranking of kings is not a series to miss. An epic adventure from start to finish, it’s been one of the most satisfying character journeys in quite some time. As the final episode rolls its credits, you’ll be eagerly awaiting the next adventure of the new king of anime.

(Photo: WIT Studio)

Ranking of kings is the story of a young prince named Bojji. Born deaf and short in stature, Bojji spent his entire young life ridiculed by the kingdom around him. Living in the shadow of his father, the giant King Bosse, and his younger brother, the most adept Prince Daida, Bojji does his best to keep a positive outlook on life. After a chance encounter with a living shadow (and last survivor of the Shadow Clan) named Kage. The two quickly become friends and as a result, Bojji is motivated by this to fully pursue his true dream of becoming strong just like his father. The two support each other as they work through their toughest and darkest challenges yet.

It’s a deviously simple introduction for the character that hides the true strength of the series as a whole. Soon major wrinkles are introduced to the situation with demons, dark magic, assassination, loyalties tested, and a hidden plot to destroy the kingdom, to name a few. Bojji is caught in the center of it all, and while those around him reject him due to his disability, he is far from naïve and is acutely aware of what everyone is really saying about him throughout the process. . That’s why when he finally relinquishes the role of king when he was the true successor, the series kicks into high gear.

Ranking of kings has a design style that makes it feel like it would be a series aimed at young children at first, but the episodes quickly show just how deep Bojji’s adventures go. It’s a slow-burning adventure, however, that really kicks into high gear with the series’ second yard. While the first half does indeed have many impressive moments, it’s more of a set-up for the kind of high-octane action we get in the second half. The series takes its time to develop the world around Bojji and to flesh out what each character actually wants.

ranking-of-kings-bojji.jpg
(Photo: WIT Studio)

There are a few topics that walk a bit close to comfort with thinner-than-expected hints at political stories (like the “traitorous” people of Miranjo’s home country), and that might be a bit hard to parse when watching. criticism of the building series world as a whole. Each episode adds a bit more to each character or more to the overall world (like what the title “Ranking of Kings” refers to), and even the series’ most difficult-to-digest elements are in service of providing a more fully realized character. You’ll find yourself hating the characters you liked at first and loving some you’d never expect.

All punctuated by an incredible production by WIT Studio. Directed by Yosuke Hatta (who has previously directed series such as One-punch man and death parade), the series is impressive from top to bottom. These childlike fairy tale drawings move with incredible fluidity and have a wide range of unique expressions that can only really shine through in this drawing. This is especially important to Bojji as he communicates primarily through sign language, physical movement, and emotional intent. You know exactly how he feels and what he wants at all times.

Kage is really the only one in the universe who can understand Bojji like the audience. So the production, the storytelling, and the emotional core all tie together to make for a much fuller experience when it all settles down. It allows for a much more personal connection with Bojji himself, and when he succeeds there is a palpable sense of actual victory for the viewer. Then it’s all punctuated by some of the most impressive action scenes WIT Studio has ever produced. Bojji’s petite design allows for unique physics in battles that are accentuated with characters that feel like they have a weighted presence.

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(Photo: WIT Studio)

The second half of the season is filled with that dynamic sense of action and choreography bleeding into the storyboard. These seemingly fairy tale designs pop up once again as they allow for a simpler sense of movement that layers on all sorts of complexities that really stand out as the fights get bigger. Which means you not only get an emotionally rich story full of evolving characters, but you ultimately get the intense action as your reward. It’s a series that lives up to its initial promise that its slow build will lead to a satisfying conclusion.

Ranking of kings stands out as such a successful first season that if it was never picked up for a follow-up (which is possible given WIT Studio’s track record with follow-up seasons in general), it has a conclusion that feels like the satisfying ending of a trip. It’s really the beginning of Bojji’s adventure, but it’s also a fitting end. It’s been extremely rare for the past few years, and now that it’s over, it’s the kind of rarity that fans won’t want to miss.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Kings Ranking is now streaming on Crunchyroll.