- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Mystery, Horror, Drama
- Airing Date : October 2017 – December 2017
- Studios : Seven
Ousama Game Story and Spoilers
The Ousama Game: a murderous scheme with no foreseeable out. The faceless King sends out fiendish orders via e-mail to a group of unsuspecting players. Failure to uphold said orders results in punishment, which is almost always death. Succeeding means that the game continues to be played. However, the orders themselves often result in the deaths of other players. It only ends when one player is left alive.
Sadly, Kanazawa Nobuaki somehow managed to survive an Ousama Game only to be drawn into a new one at his school. His first order is to kiss the class idol Honda Natsuko, but unfortunately no one believes his pleas to take the messages seriously and becomes shunned. He resigns himself to his and Natsuko’s deaths, but in the last moments before the due time, Natsuko tracks Nobuaki down and kisses him, beginning the Ousama Game once again. The class takes it seriously once they watch one of their own classmates erupt into blood.
The new orders begin, and Natsuko is ordered to sleep with Nagata Teruaki. Initially, Teruaki forces himself on Natsuko, but Natsuko shows surprising strength and forces him away. Disgusted by Nobuaki’s attempts to get him to get people to work together, she instead blames Nobuaki for the attempts on her body and incites a mob against him. In the very last moment, their classmate Akamatsu Kenta shows up to talk people into their senses and says he will escort Nobuaki to the hospital. Yukimura Mizuki joins them too, scared by her own order to choose two other people to die.
Rather than go to the hospital, however, Nobuaki suggests that they instead travel to the village where the Ousama Game began. He then proceeds to tell the story of his own experience with the deadly game and how he lost his entire class, including his girlfriend Honda Chiemi. They did manage to figure out some details thanks to the efforts of Iwamura Ria and Kawakami Yusuke, such as where the first game took place and that the way the game works seems to be the combination of a pathogen combined with a computer virus that is impossible to stop.
In the village, Nobuaki discovers that Chiemi’s father was a victim in the original game, and that she was actually the younger sister of Natsuko. While investigating all this, he discovers that Kenta made Mizuki’s choice for her, but they both ended up dying because Mizuki had lost her original phone and the texts weren’t valid. Nobuaki returns home and meets up with Matsumoto Riona to exchange information.
The class is ordered to play a game where they assign points to other players by breaking their own fingers. You can assign positive points to protect someone and negative points to have them die. Everyone is seemingly going to pass their own turn, which is a valid move as well, until Teruaki, spiteful towards Natsuki for stealing his phone from him after coitus, breaks his own fingers to give positive points to Nobuaki and negative points to Natsuki and her best friend, Murazami Aimi. Natsuki manages to survive with her own hands intact by breaking Aimi’s hand and ordering her to give Natsuki the points. As a preemptive measure, though, Natsuki set Teruaki’s phone to block the King’s messages, killing him.
There’s no time to grieve, as the next order is to run all the way to Mt. Nuegakabi. As further incentive, every 8 hours, the King will murder whoever is in last place until all surviving runners make it to the summit. Along the way, Riona begins to fall in love with Nobuaki due to his selflessness and drive to save as many people as possible, even putting himself along with the slower runners like her despite being quite the talented sprinter himself.
At the summit, they’re given one final order: to chop off a body part from each of them and assemble it into a human doll. Whoever does not get chopped is the winner of the game. Sasigawa Ryou sacrifices himself to become a real hero like his idols Teruaki and Nobuaki and chops off his own leg with a chainsaw with Natsuki’s help. Natsuki then murders Matsuoka Aya, leaving just the three of them. They all combine the info that they’ve been collecting through the game and realize that the Ousama Game simply will not end until all of humanity is destroyed. Nobuaki and Riona realize that means that the game has to die with them, and Riona, in a panic, kills Natsuki before she can kill Nobuaki, but just before Riona can confess to him, Natsuki swoops in with her last bit of strength and cuts Nobuaki in the throat. Riona then drags Nobuaki’s corpse the shore and shares an intimate moment with him, waiting for the tide to wash them both away.
What We Liked about Ousama Game
It’s very difficult to create something that’s so bad it’s good. What makes these sorts of projects fun is the naivety at hand, like watching your little sister scribble out a cat with her crayons and watching her be proud of her creation. You know it lacks all the necessary techniques of an engaging piece of art, like use of perspective, framing, etc, but you look at it and you just can’t help but be amused by your sister’s pride in this awful little sketch. It’s cute. Enjoying a bad movie or anime is similar without having the emotional attachment to the creator. It’s fun to watch not because it’s actually riveting, but you can actually see the process of creation in the work. It’s just so happy to show you what strange or bizarre interpretation of reality it has in store for you next that you just can’t help but strap in for the ride.
Ousama Game is incredibly fun to watch for that reason and that reason alone. It’s just so absolutely baffling, like it understands what common plot points and character set-ups are, but doesn’t know how to properly set them up or pay them off. When Mizuki runs away from Kenta as they’re visiting the old village, you think this is going to build into a big reveal, like an outside force that has abducted her or she’s realized something about the village on her own. But when Mizuki returns, she reveals she’s in love with Kenta and she wants to die with him. It understands that there’s a set-up and payoff structure to a good mystery, but what is the connection between Mizuki’s disappearance and her subsequent confession and descent into madness? There’s nothing bringing these two points together, yet Ousama Game boldly presents these twists with such confidence that you just have to keep watching. You need to know just what strange and confusing event is going to occur next.
Ousama Game is by no means a good show. It’s actually quite bad… but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a fun time. It’s like reading the fanfiction of a 13 year old edgelord’s Danganronpa fanfiction. There’s just constant misery thrown at you at every direction, character’s dying needlessly while exploding into piles of limbs. It’s done in such a matter-of-fact cartoonish depiction -like you’re supposed to feel a bond with these characters without ever having so much as an opportunity to get to know their names, let alone their histories and personalities-, that it’s impossible to really feel anything beyond just pure shock and amusement. Ousama Game is just too crude to ever be that offended by.
That is… for the first 9 episodes. The final fourth of Ousama Game is about the remaining cast running to Mt. Nuegakubi, and, frankly, it’s just not that much fun at that point. The time spent running to the mountain doesn’t establish anything beyond building up the budding romance between Nobuaki and Riona which isn’t worth the amount of time spent building it up. It tones down the absurd twists, leaps in human logic, and excessively nutty violence and transitions into a more grounded show. Maybe it would be okay if the ending had a more satisfying conclusion, but without any questions answered, and with no hope for anyone in sight, their ill-fated romance is left unsatisfying rather than tragically cruel.
1. Insane Gaps in Basic Logic
The entire class hates Nobuaki because they believe he was setting up Natsuki to kiss him with a fake e-mail chain. Then they decide they hate him because, in spite of shaming him out of advancing towards Natsuki further, he was going to kill her along with himself for not obeying the orders of the King. Then, when Nobuaki returns from his visit to the village, they like him now. Why?... Because, hey, when they were all beating his face in for trying to kill Natsuki, they also liked that idea of his about working together!
Oh, did we also mention that, for all the time Natsuki spent crushing Nobuaki’s spirit, including (but not limited to) having raucous, potentially nonconsensual sex with Teruaki, breaking her best friend’s hand in an attempt to save her own life, and cutting Nobuaki’s throat with a chainsaw (after being chainsawed in the back herself), she was actually in love with Nobuaki all this time.
Hey, how about when Aya Kuramoto is tasked with losing something important to her, she proceeds to murder her entire family offscreen. When that fails, she realizes it’s time to kill her dog and starts strangling it, only to realize she can’t bring herself to finish the job, clothes still fresh with the blood of her dead parents.
All of this is just scratching the surface. Ousama Game is just completely insane in all of the right ways. You realize early on that you’re not really meant to understand it. You’re really just there to take it in moment to moment and analyze it, as a marine biologist would with the corpse of a giant squid that’s washed up on the shores of Lake Erie. You’re not really sure how it got there, what a salt water creature was doing in freshwater, or how it even exists in the first place, but it’s so crazy that it invigorates the investigative spirit.
2. Complete Disregard for Human Decency
Ousama Game is the type of series that needs the Maury studio audience reacting to it scene by scene. We’ve already gone into the extreme levels of hyperviolence that Ousama Game dabbles in, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out some of the raunchier moments. The King, despite being a combination of pathogen and computer virus, seems to have a real penchant for ordering teenagers to cheat on their significant others. There’s never anything all that explicit. It’s all just implication, which makes it all the more amusing when Nobuaki leaves Chiemi to cheat on him with his unconscious best friend.
Well, it’s all implication until episode 8 when Natsuki shows up, riding on top of Teruaki with a used condom in hand, playing with the, erm, “excretions” inside. That’s when you know Ousama Game went off the rails. It occurs so long after when Natsuki received the order to sleep with him, that you forget about it, and the raunchier bits have been more implicit up until that point, that it completely takes you off-guard.
1. The Final Stretch
Unfortunately, once the characters are off in what can only be described as the running arc, the series gets a lot less fun and a lot more mundane. You might get little bits of silliness, like a character who clearly drowned an hour ago somehow managing to survive long enough to be killed by the King anyway, or how despite everything Natsuki has done up until death, he inexplicably gets sent to heaven, but for the most part it’s pretty dry.
Also, it’s around this time when the violence moves away from hilarious grotesquery and starts getting a little too real. It’s right around the time when Ryou cuts his own leg off with a chainsaw, gets caught on a bone, and Natsuki stomps on the chainsaw herself to help him break through -only causing him to die from the shock and blood loss immediately-, that it feels like Ousama Game went too far. Before, the violence was fun because it was so detached from anything in reality and was thrown out with such careless abandon towards characters you didn’t even know that you were disassociated from what was going on on-screen. Once the leg drops, it’s no longer fun. It’s just upsetting.
2. Unsatisfying Ending
It’s weird to say, for as grim and oppressive of a series as Ousama Game is, the ending could have been more fun. Once Riona washes away into the ocean with Nobuaki’s corpse, and you see the Ousama Game begin anew with a “To Be Continued” splashed across the screen, you already know there’s no point in getting your hopes up. You already know there’s no point in getting attached to a new cast of characters, because there’s nothing to look forward to. They’re all going to die too, and the Ousama Game is just going to continue to ramp up into nothing.
Even if the series wanted to instill the despair of losing our central leads of Nobuaki and Riona, save that for the second season! Give us that tiny bit of hope that those crazy kids are going to make it after all rather than just making it clear that there’s no chance at all for anyone. With Natsuki’s family and the main characters we should have grown attached to gone, there’s really nothing to look forward to in a new series, outside of learning the answers to a mystery that wasn’t that interesting to begin with.
You ever do bad anime nights? Watch awful movies like M.D. Geist and Garzey’s Wing to laugh at with some friends? Ousama Game might surprise you as a fantastic addition to your line-up! It scratches that B-movie slasher horror itch for those first 9 episodes in all the cheesiest, silliest ways. Just maybe end the party once the words “Mt. Nuegakubi” pop up.
What was your favorite moment of Ousama Game? Let us know in the comments below!