King’s Game: Season 1/ Episode 1 “Begin Again (Break Again)” [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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King's Game Title Card

For those who have seen Another, the premise is similar, in terms of a class of students getting picked off one by one, but the tone is lighter and the gore less eye bulge inducing.

Creator: Seven

The Introduction

Nobuaki's class picture
A picture of Nobuaki’s class

Nobuaki has experienced unspeakable horrors. The kind which, as he thinks about them, can draw tears from his eyes because of the trauma. So when he starts at a new school, he avoids getting close to anyone. That was what messed him up the last time he was forced into the King’s Game.

Yet, despite not becoming close to anyone, even Natsuko who claims to have fallen for him at first sight, the game begins once more. One none of his classmates are prepared for or believe is real. Thus leading to nearly a dozen dying by the end of the second round.


Variety in Game Challenges

The rules of the King's Game

I don’t know why, but I really thought all the challenges presented by the king would be gruesome. You know, something along the lines of you killing this, maybe you cutting off that, or other things of that nature. However, with the first challenge being a kiss, I got a bit thrown off in a good way.

For while the punishments are brutal, it seems, from the few I caught while they were speeding by, the challenges aren’t impossible. Mean, definitely a little weird, but by no means things which seemingly can’t be forgiven. But, again, I only caught some like “Text two people ‘Die’.”

Low Points

The Gore, Dead Bodies, and Tone

Nobuaki covered in a classmate's blood

Despite seeing hanging bodies, blood flies all over the place, and gruesome things of that nature, the tone doesn’t fit the violence. There is almost something comedic about how the game is played as if we’re watching Danganronpa. Just without the “King” being comical or more than text.

I guess the best way to put it is as much as the people react to the deaths expectedly, the build to those deaths doesn’t make them impactful. The background music is uninspired, nothing is made complicated about the King’s Game, and for a horror anime, it doesn’t go there in any sense of the word. Be it with the music, gore, the story it crafts, or anything. It’s like it is trying to tiptoe around some made up rating between being for mature audiences only and appropriate for teenagers.

On The Fence

So, Natsuko Can’t Take a Hint?

I’m all for perseverance in the name of love but Natsuko was just borderline desperate. Nobuaki was standoffish, rude to everyone, and physically pushed the girl away. Yet she stuck around. Now, it could be because of her background, which I won’t spoil here, but you can read who will complete their orders or not on this Wikipedia page.

Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)

While not blown away in the slightest, I must admit fond memories of Another have me hoping that this will have an inkling of the greatness that show had. It isn’t likely but I could hope. For there really is potential here it is just this show needs more than gore to be good. It needs better background music, stronger dialog and also mystery. For you can’t have anything considered to be horror without a strong mystery element behind why all these bad things are happening and why you should care about it.

What's Your Take?

Negative Mixed Positive

About Amari Sali 2320 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all. An avid writer, Amari hopes to eventually switch from talking about other people's productions to fully working on his own. Such a dream is in progress to becoming reality.


  1. There were certainly some rough edges to this opening episode but I found this far more compelling a set up than Zodiac War. Probably because the cast are forced into this death game against their will and seem actually shocked by the whole thing rather than bored by the notion of it all.

    • There is a definite trade off between Zodiac wars containing indifferent characters, but who seem interesting, vs. this which has a more interesting game, but the characters don’t present anything to really invest in.

      Sort of like Just Because!, we get a bit of a marathon of names and then as people die it is like, “I barely knew you! Literally…”

      • It is going to be interesting to see how some of these shows develop as the season continues. Judging first episodes is always pretty hit and miss so a few more to see where they go with both characters and story before final decisions can be made.
        Though, I didn’t get to see Just Because which I’m a little sad about.

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