If there is an easy way to get me watching a new anime series, it is to make it look cutesy and throw an M rating on it.
The bizarre mix of your bias from kids cartoons, and the heavy subject matter makes for a potentially strong series. Made in Abyss and The Promised Neverland rewarded me here, and now Ranking of Kings has done the same.
Ranking of Kings is based in a world with heaps of Kingdoms.
The setup is there is an official rating for Kings based on how well their people live, etc. We are introduced to a young man called Bojji. He is the oldest son of a King, but is held back as he is super short, deaf, and can’t speak. He is wandering outside when he comes across a bandit called Kage. Kage is this weird thin creature that is from a race that were assassins before they were wiped out.
Bojji is a super innocent kid and for some reason Kage can understand his garbled language. Because of this Bojji immediately has a connection to Kage, and Kage uses this connection to get Bojji to keep brining stuff (like his fancy clothes) out to him. One day Kage follows him in the castle and sees that Bojji walking back naked every day is getting him ridiculed. Kage investigates further and gains a better understanding of the misfortune that is Bojji’s life.
Turns out poor Bojji lost his mum and the king remarried, this woman has her own child with the King and she wants him to be the next in line. In short, the king dies, and she is successful in getting this. In the chaos of the transition of power, Bojji doesn’t realise that Kage is found and sent away. Bojji decides to go on an adventure to both prove himself as a king, and find his friend Kage.
I was expecting it to be relatively stock standard. The young ambitious future king, the mother that does what she can to get him into the throne, etc. At the start it really felt that way, but man it gets nuanced fast. Characters may have an overarching tropey goal, but their motivations, or even just their backstory winds up being surprisingly deep at times.
I don’t want to spoil too much more of the show because I enjoyed its surprises so much more than I was expecting. As such I will just say this. You should definitely check out Ranking of Kings – Season 1 Part 1, and man I can’t wait to see what Part 2 brings.