Kings Ranking: 5 Reasons You Should Watch The Charming Anime

I watched a lot of anime in my day. In fact, I’ve written several articles about it for this same website, including articles on classic 80s and 90s anime, through to more modern anime, like my hero academiaand demon slayer (Where I even ranked the top 10 episodes). But honestly, I’ve never seen an anime like Ranking of kings before.

And that’s because there’s nothing else like it. When I did my post on 5 Great Anime to Check Out on Crunchyroll, I mentioned Ranking of kings. But now I want to dive deeper into the series since the series recently became eligible for a nomination in the Outstanding Animated Program category for this year’s Emmy Awards. And that’s no small feat either, since the last (and only) nomination for a Japanese anime in this category dates back to 2009 for Afro Samurai: Resurrection.

So, Ranking of kingswhich can be watched for free with ads, or can be watched without ads with a Crunchyroll subscription is definitely something unique and special. But why is it so special? Well, you are about to find out.

Bojji in the ranking of kings

(Image credit: Funimation)

The animation is unique

Ranking of kings might fool you with its fancy animation, because it looks really cute. In fact, if you know the films of Hayao Miyazaki Ponyo, and Cagliostro Castle, it looks like a cross between these two films. But make no mistake, because even if the animation looks like it was for kids, it really isn’t.

Animated by the brilliant Wit Studio, also behind the first seasons of The attack of the Titans, the team stayed true to the style of the manga. In fact, during a recent special event where members of the TV Academy screened the first episode of the series in moderation by Crunchyroll’s Chris Han, character designer Atsuko Nozaki had this to say (via Funimation/Crunchyroll) :

The original story illustration is unique among Japanese manga… The design was already perfected in the manga, and we kept that base… I simplified the characters, which makes it easier to animate their movements.

And that style really makes the show feel like a moving storybook. So even though the show is TV-14, and there’s some violence and curses that you wouldn’t expect in a show like this, it’s still there, giving the show a very unique identity.

Kage in the ranking of kings

(Image credit: Funimation)

Relationships develop over time in ways you wouldn’t necessarily expect

In his heart, Ranking of kings is really about the relationship between Prince Bojji, who is deaf and mute, and his friend, Kage, who is (literally) a shadowy assassin. Their friendship adds tremendous weight to the series, and you become enamored with their partnership throughout the 23 episodes.

But, having said that, there are also a number of other characters that you think you figured out as villains that turn out to be heroic, and then you have heroic characters that turn out to be villains. So, it really is a show that has tons of twists and turns where you find yourself in awe.

I love all the feelings I get when I watch a show like The attack of the Titansbut they are rather feelings of disgust and horror. Ranking of kings is a show where I’m both completely shocked, but also pleasantly surprised, so I definitely prefer that kind of balance with my anime. It can’t be sadness everything time.

Hiling in the Kings Ranking

(Image credit: Funimation)

The humor is there, but it’s also dark where it needs to be

As I mentioned, there are some nice moments in the show and scenes where I really laughed out loud, like a moment when Kage talks about how he’s been with Bojji the whole time, saving him in situations quite incredible. Or, when we meet Desha, King of the Underworld, and Kage mispronounces his name. So, yes, there are humorous sections.

That said, the show isn’t just dumb as an anime such as Sailor Moon Where Dragon Ball Z. There is always a weight in humor, and also a darkness. Some townspeople mock Bojji, with many saying they don’t think he’s fit to be king. In fact, the entire show is mostly Bojji proving his worth and worth over and over again. So while there is humor present, it never overwhelms the show. It just keeps it light enough that it doesn’t succumb to the dark enough story.

Bojji meets a giant snake

(Image credit: Funimation)

Children’s characters are really fun to follow

Essentially, besides Bojji and Kage, we also follow Bojji’s younger half-brother Daida as he struggles with his new responsibilities. Now, I’ve seen quite a few animes that deal with young protagonists, like Hunter X Hunter, Pokemon, Sword Art Online, The list is lengthened increasingly. But, while the scripts for those aforementioned shows have to do a lot of work for me to actually enjoy them since I’m not in love with the protagonists, Ranking of kings makes me follow with joy the stories of Bojji and Daida.

Maybe it’s because we know so little about Bojji and his limitless potential. Since Bojji is deaf and the characters sign him, we also experience his world as if he is seeing it for the very first time, which he is when he goes on a quest.

Also, Daida struggles to be a good and dignified king, but adults want more from him, and it’s fascinating to watch him learn on the job. So while I kind of tolerate younger characters on shows like my hero academiaI happily follow the younger characters here.

Miranjo in the ranking of kings

(Image credit: Funimation)

This is unlike any other anime out there right now

Lately, Ranking of kings feels like nothing else out there right now. At least, nothing else I’ve seen lately. The story jumps back and forth in its plot, where we learn more about the characters through events that happened in the past, giving each scene meaning. I don’t mean padding like you would see in something like naruto with its many (too many) flashbacks. No, in Ranking of kings, each storybeat advances the overall narrative. Plus, you just learn to love these characters and care about them.

In the same TV Academy member screening, animation producer Maiko Okada had this to say (via Funimation/Crunchyroll) about why so many people love Ranking of Kings:

Although it’s a fantasy, I think there’s a lot of things we can feel sympathy for. For example, the real problems we actually have are hidden in the story. I think all these nice aspects may be the reason [the show is universally loved].

And I agree. There is always this internal story under the story that is presented to us, which carries a certain narrative weight that carries the viewer along throughout the series. Seriously look Ranking of kings if you haven’t already. It’s probably not what you think it is if you’ve only seen stills of it.

So that’s why you should really watch Ranking of kings at present. But what do you think? Have you already checked? For more anime news than you can find on Crunchyroll, be sure to stop by here often!

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