After receiving quite a few requests to review Darwin’s Game the time has finally come to present my review of this highly anticipated anime series. I’m aware that the series is quite a few episodes in, and while I’m “late”, the series just debuted on Crunchyroll this past weekend so I finally gave it a shot. I’ll try to keep this review short, sweet and straight to the point. Mostly for the same reasons I just mentioned above…I’m severely late.
In Darwin’s Game, we find ourselves following a high school student by the name of Kaname Sudo, who’s just been invited by his now-deceased friend to join this app game (Darwin’s Game) in order to save him from his enemy Banda; a guy who’s dressed as the mascot for the Japanese baseball team. Unfortunately, Kaname doesn’t immediately accept the invite request and his friend is killed by Banda.
Following the death of Kaname’s former friend/classmate, he unintentionally accepts the invite to the game and is bitten by a virtual snake who grants him an evolutionary power dubbed a “sigil”. Kaname has now entered Darwin’s Game and his first opponent is nonother than Banda. And Banda is here to make a statement.
What’s intrigues me the most about this anime is how the real world is connected to the virtual world via this app and how this virtual snake grants everyone who plays this game a very specific sigil which becomes their powerset. Thus allowing the user to use this sigil to their advantage while playing Darwin’s Game. At least that’s what I’ve gathered from this first episode. Unfortunately for the players, in order to win the game, you need to survive, aka kill your opponent. It’s literally survival of the fittest in most cases throughout this episode (I’m looking at you Kaname vs Shuka).
To drive the point home Darwin’s Game is an action-packed thriller with awesome visuals and even better fight choreography. In this episode specifically, those points hit and exceed the mark during the Kaname vs Shuka fight in the third act of this episode. This stems from Kaname seeking more answers about Darwin’s Game from the Undefeated Queen, Shuka. In which Kaname discovers his own sigil and what he can do with it. Additionally, he also discovers a way to “quit” the game. This happens when he gains the upper hand on Shuka. When he refuses to kill her, Shuka surrenders herself via the game’s app, thus giving Kaname the win.
The only “negative” thing I have to say about this episode is the placement of the fan service. Which happens during the final moments of the fight and once again before the episode is over when an unconscious Kaname comes to and sees a fully nude Shuka resting on his crotch. Which is then followed up with Shuka asking Kaname to start a family. I only call it a negative because that’s what I’ve seen online but in my eyes, it doesn’t really bother me. Nor does it take you entirely away from the fight between these two individuals (I’m staring directly at you Fire Force!).
Harkening back to what makes this anime interesting to me is the connectivity between the real world and the virtual world and how this “game” is fronted by some random girl in a chair. Highly reminiscent of Akane from SSSS.GRIDMAN. I’m really interested in seeing how that side of things plays out.
Overall, I really enjoyed this first episode of Darwin’s Game and I’m going to keep up with it. Great action and great pacing. You have fan service and awesome visuals, and a story that’s thrilling enough to keep you on edge and engaged while watching. I highly recommend.
For my next review on Darwin’s Game, I will binge the remaining episode and compile all of my thoughts on those episodes into one review so I’m up to date. And in the same breath, keep you, the readers up to date with my reviews as well.