The Ranking of Kings: Best Boys in a Demented Era

Hype and Watching New Things

When it was airing, Ranking of Kings was one of those shows that started small and started gathering a larger following as it went along. You can call it something like a snowball rolling down a hill. It gets larger and larger as it becomes such a huge avalanche. Maybe it isn’t the same as that scenario, because it didn’t hit as hard as some of the larger shonen battle series that came out at the same time. Or even close to how Spy X Family was everywhere in the spring and now in the fall. Still, I saw a lot of people that I follow on social media were getting into it. So it was a minor hit even if it didn’t break so many layers of anime stuff.

That was why I wanted to hold off from it for a little bit. Not until I could just slowly get through it one day after another. Not just in a seasonal manner when everyone was hyping it up and it was unavoidable to hear about any sorts of spoilers. I finally was able to watch it on my own terms when some of the hype died down. I did have to mute Ranking of Kings from showing up on my twitter timeline at some point. Now it’s all gone and I can just enjoy the show and possibly discuss some elements of it here. I enjoyed it, but can’t say it was the best thing I watched either. Still well worth it though.

A Fantasy World With Some Twists

In a lot of ways, Ranking of Kings follows a lot of the classic elements behind fantasy series. It takes place in a kingdom of Bosse formed by the giant Bosse himself. In that kingdom is a boy named Bojji who is supposed to be the prince of that land. He has no physical strength, is deafened and mute, and no one respects him. Then of course the current queen Hilling, who is his step mom, and had a son named Daida that people in the kingdom will want to be the new king of Bosse. You see the king is dying and the kingdom needs a new heir.

I feel like there are only a few types of fantasy series out there. The first one is the classical sort of fantasy adventure after a kingdom has fallen for such a long time. The heroes must take over after evil has taken over for so long. The next one is the latest one where it’s much more Game of Thrones. There are some aspects of a classic sort of fantasy series but it’s much heavier. The focus is much more on politics of who gets the throne. Ranking of Kings is both of those things at the same time with a very interesting twist on those aspects. With the system of King Ranking supposedly leading the way. 

For instance, Bojji is a young shonen protagonist who becomes the ultimate friend of the shadow clan who are tossed away from the world, Kage. The two bestest friends in the world after Kage decides to finally stop scamming him AND help him. The two and some others go on a journey for Bojji to find his own way in how to get stronger. Meanwhile, the kingdom of Bosse is falling apart. Daida has been working with a sacred mirror and he slowly falls into madness leading to the kingdom slowly destroying itself. 

The fact that Ranking of King follows the path of so many fantasy stories from all across the world put into this story. We could talk Grim’s fairy tales and many other things about the lessons in this story. There is nothing wrong with the formulas of fantasy and Ranking of Kings too. I find these stories inherently boring or lacking because fantasy shows just don’t have a lot of flexibility to do some more creative things even if something like Ranking of Kings is creative and does some unique things too, it can be so boring because it can be so predictable. 

The Dark World Around Us

The Ranking of Kings is yet another series that you should not let the art style guide your immediate opinion on it. One of those classic sorts of things that is very Madoka like in which the cute character designs do not tell you about the horrors lying beneath the world and its characters. Ranking of Kings has some very unspeakable horrors in it. The haunted mirror in the basement of the castle is only a start of that. It is crazy to see the corpses of people being blended down in a strange concoction for Daida to drink in order to gain the strength he is possibly lacking. Of course there is some other evil behind it going on there too.

Then there is the journey Bojji takes when he and Kage are supposedly pushed into the depths of the underworld itself. Something which ended up being a good thing in the end as that is where Bojji needed to go in order to find his own sort of fighting style and discover more about himself and his kindness. There is a character that knows how to find the hidden potential behind needle points and takes advantage of Bojji’s way of moving and dodging compared to everyone else too. So he had to go through the depths of untold horrors, which actually weren’t that bad actually because everyone seems chill in hell when they are trying to take over everything.

I should also mention the giant beasts that just exist in this world or the persecution of Kage because his clan is just known for being thieves. Or the many sort of complex backstories that are presented in showing why Bojji has to live the way in such a forced way. The main horror for me in the series is Ouken. A man who cannot die and has really shown the worst sides of being immortal. Not just being torn apart and then reforming, but the guy has lost his mind and only knows how to fight. No one knows how to deal with him and his sense of threat comes out of nowhere, but has a lot of sadness and emotions behind it all too. 

The Pressure of Being the Best

While the official ranking guy in Ranking of Kings only shows up once, it is clear how much of this world’s society runs on people being the best. People will do some unspeakable horrors just to become the top of their world. Once again, why do you think Bojji is the way he is? I’m never going to reveal this for anyone, but its push really does damage him for the sake of someone else’s gain. Why? They want to be at the top of the Ranking of Kings. So does Daida as he wants to be the best king possible when he takes that place in Bosse Kingdom for a little bit not knowing what he is doing will actually affect him in ways he can’t see. 

In the beginning of Ranking of Kings, Bojji is the same as everyone else. This beautiful, pure, and infinitely charming kid wants to be the best. He can’t speak or have people respect him, but he wants to be the king of his kingdom. I think his relationship with Kage, the best wingman a person could ever have, is how there is more outside of the world then just becoming a king. Like, lines of Kage going “well, your dream is inconvenient” in specific instances show that Bojji could be more than where he is now. So there is some meaning there which means so much. This is where the show actually becomes interesting because the script was flipped in a good way.

Wrapping Up The Ranking of Kings

Visually, The Ranking of Kings is such a marvel of an anime. Wit studio did a lot of work in making Ranking of Kings look so good. I love the old fashion tezuka/disney sorts of character designs. They are distinctive and creative. You will be able to tell these character designs from almost every anime out there these days instantly. Some really good classic designs that are creative and mode throughout the series and go into the monster designs and backgrounds and scenery. Then there are the wonderful bits of animation. Consistent throughout the show, but some really high moments of exceptional animation that are breathtaking.

So in the end, Ranking of Kings was such a good watch. Scary at moments and pretty emotional on other levels too. I just found the overall story of Ranking of Kings boring because it was some predictable stuff in conjunction with fantasy and shonen series. Everything around the story’s skeleton from unique settings to the emotional stuff was really solid and I loved all of the things and placements there too. I can see why people love it so much even if I just find it a little bit more interesting than usual fantasy stuff. Maybe I am a stickler for those things but I don’t know how to leave that behind at all. 

7 comments

  1. Man, I loved this anime. Boji and Kage’s optimism through all the darkness surrounding them is amazing – the way their bond forms is superb. And the second op – oh, that damn op. My biggest drip was certainly the last arc because on many aspects it was a mess. Miranjo and King Bosse’s story (especially its conclusion) didn’t make much sense (I believe they got off light from what they deserved) and the constant Queen Hilling’s healing powers were an annoying deus ex machina.

    But apart from that one misstep, fantastic show, start to finish. Can’t wait to see which journeys await Boji and Kage in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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