Ever since the summer anime season ended, I’ve been kind of listless. There haven’t been enough anime in the Fall season that have looked interesting. Everything appears to be just a different version of the same story. That might not actually be the case but I can’t really tell from the artwork on the outside. One anime that did catch my eye was Ranking of Kings. When I read the description, it sounded like there was potential. A deaf and mute prince struggles to gain power and become a great king. I’m interested so let’s take a look at episode 1 and see what Ranking of Kings has to offer.
Where can I watch Ranking of Kings episode 1?
I guess a better question to ask is “How did you come across this anime?” Unsatisfied with the list of anime over at Crunchyroll, I started browsing what MyAnimeList had for seasonal anime. I came across a picture of a boy in his underwear wearing a crown while sitting on a throne. The name of that anime was Ousama Ranking. After reading the description I went back to Crunchyroll and typed in “Ousama.” After not receiving any hits, I did the same thing over at Funimation. Nothing.
After going back to MyAnimeList I noticed that Funimation was listed and the official company that has licensed this anime. “Maybe I can find it by the English name” is what I thought at this point. Low and behold, when I typed in Ranking of Kings at Funimation it popped up. It looks like this is the only legit option that exists out there.
If you try to search “Ranking of Kings” at Crunchyroll you only get a bunch of other anime that have one of the keywords. That means you also won’t be able to find it at VRV. I also tried Hulu but only got a link to Funimation. We’ve already established that it’s available over there. Netflix wasn’t even worth a try. There’s no way they would be airing an anime that’s just now entering the market. That means that Funimation is the only place to go to watch Ranking of Kings.
Watch Ranking of Kings Episode 1 at Funimation
What do you think of the story in Ranking of Kings episode 1?
It’s nice to not have an overpowered protagonist for once. Bojji is about as far from normal as a typical anime protagonist can get. At first glance, you wonder exactly how the boy is going to survive as the first prince and later as the king. He’s weak, deaf and mute. Bojji is the butt of every joke and treated like a complete idiot. I guess the good new for him is that there’s only one way to go…up!
The world in which the story takes place is your standard fantasy setting. So far, it’s been established that there are giants and goblins to go along with everything else you’d expect from a medieval theme. There are knights, swords, a quaint little town and everything that goes with it. We haven’t been shown any magic yet, but it would not surprise me if there were some characters later who were magicians.
How was the animation?
Ranking of Kings episode 1 gave me flashbacks of watching old anime with its design. Really, it felt like stepping back 40 years with its character design and setting. If that worries you at all just relax for a moment. Since this anime is just coming out it means that it incorporates advances in animation. You don’t get the choppy, lackluster performance that is present in so many anime from the 70s and 80s. There’s no panning back and forth between characters in order to try and make a moment dramatic.
I didn’t notice anything particularly bad about the animation. Characters appeared to move well. I was even impressed with how the sign language was done. From my perspective, it appeared that Wit Studio took some time to try and at least make the sign language look authentic. I don’t know sign language personally, but the college I went to had a large deaf education program. I was around enough people who used American Sign Language to get used to it. Watching Bojji and Domas sign to each other appeared accurate, and I like that addition.
How was the voice acting and the music?
The voice actor for Bojji either has the easiest job or the most difficult job. Because of his inability to hear, Bojji is mute. He can only talk in grunts and other noises. Despite that fact, you can sort of interpret what Bojji is saying through all of this. Once Kage comes into the picture and can translate Bojji’s grunts, it all comes together.
The rest of the voice acting is done pretty well. I didn’t notice anything that would lead me to think that we were listening to actors and actresses reciting lines. I felt like I was watching and listening to the actual characters themselves. That’s all you can ask for.
As far as the music is concerned, it felt a little light and upbeat considering what’s going on in the story. Bojji is on the cusp of becoming king. His father, Bosse, is sick in bed and I assume is about to die. Bojji is considered to be a fool and is looked down on. His younger brother, Daida, appears to be the best candidate to become the next king. That means that Bojji’s life is in danger.
The music is light, upbeat and happy. It makes you feel like you’re watching a kid’s program. I don’t know if that’s intentional, but it definitely is surprising. Perhaps the music will fit more as Ranking of Kings progresses. Bojji did, after all, show that he’s not completely useless.
What did Ranking of Kings episode 1 get right?
Bojji’s character is a breath of fresh air. Here’s a boy who has a disability, lacks any sign of physical prowess and is thought of as a fool who is determined to overcome everything to be a great king. He’s easy to relate to and empathize with. Ultimately, you want to cheer him on to victory. What’s not to like about him?
The highlight of Bojji’s character development in episode 1 was his moment of vulnerability. Anyone who’s ever suppressed their emotions will be able to easily understand exactly what Bojji did. He put on a good face, or rather an idiotic face, in front of everyone else. All the while, Bojji was burying the hurt from their comments and disdain. In his room alone, he’s finally able to let those emotions come out. You just want to give the boy a hug.
How about the political dynamics?
I also thought that Ranking of Kings episode 1 did a good job of building up a story that is pretty accurate when it comes to the uncertainty of succession. King Bosse is the unquestioned ruler. He’s a giant who saved the town from an orc invasion almost single-handedly. He appears to be a strong and wise ruler. His sons, on the other hand, appear to only have parts of his abilities. This leads to resentment and the potential for foul play.
Bojji is kind and has the heart to become a great king. Daida has his father’s strength but appears to have his mother’s temperament. That’s not a good thing, by the way. Daida’s mother, Queen Hiling, openly questions why her son is not next in line to be the king. She says this to Bojji’s face too. Daida even challenges his brother to a sparring match with what I think is the intention to really hurt Bojji. You really get the feeling that something is going to happen later on in the series.
You haven’t mentioned Kage yet, what do you think of him?
Kage is the pair of eyes with a weird shaped mouth and arm. He’s the one that held up Bojji for his clothes several days in a row. Bojji see’s the pair of eyes as a friend. Somehow the two can communicate back and forth easily. Kage is actually the way we get to hear Bojji verbalize his thoughts.
Overall, I think Kage is a pretty good character. It’s obvious from what we say in Ranking of Kings episode 1 that he’s going to become a close ally of Bojji. Considering Kage comes from a family of assassins and is the last remaining member, he should prove to be pretty useful. It looks like he’ll be able to at least help Bojji learn some practical skills in dealing with people. Bojji is far too naïve at the moment to be an effective king. He’s more interested in pleasing others.
I hope that we’ll get a better explanation on why Kage is just a pair of sentient eyes and how he’s able to talk with Bojji. Right now, it just seems to be kind of convenient to the plot. That’s not particularly a good thing. I realize that it will take more time than what was allotted in the first episode, so I’m willing to see if we’ll get a suitable explanation as the anime unfolds.
What did Ranking of Kings episode 1 get wrong?
I won’t say that this moment is necessarily wrong or bad, it’s just that it was a standard anime trope. During Bojji’s duel with his brother Daida, you could see Bojji’s secret ability coming a mile away. Yes, I am glad that Bojji doesn’t have some secret strength hidden within him that he just has to unlock, but his ultimate evasion abilities are pretty close to that. We even got the standard trope of having a bystander clueing us in by recounting his experience seeing Bojji exercise his skill firsthand.
Just to clarify on what Bojji’s super ability is, he has a level of dexterity that’s off the charts. It appears he can avoid any attack that comes his way. If you’re familiar with Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun it’s like Iruma Suzuki’s ability. Bojji’s is just a little more shocking and he’s viewed in a completely different light than Iruma. The only thing Bojji doesn’t have is the ability to capitalize on the positions that his skill puts him in. He doesn’t have the strength to inflict damage on his opponent after catching them off guard.
While it was necessary to give Bojji something that he can work off of, it would’ve been nice to see it presented in a different way. The way Ranking of Kings episode 1 did this big reveal was like every Shonen anime out there. I may be a fan of Shonen anime but that’s not a compliment. It was out of place in an anime that appeared to be trying to do some things different. It was kind of a letdown.
Is Ranking of Kings episode 1 worth watching?
I’m going to say yes, Ranking of Kings episode 1 is worth watching. I’m at least curious to see what comes next from this anime. How well will it build on the political unrest? Will Kage become a strong ally for Bojji as the young prince tries to become a good king? How will Wit Studios handle having a protagonist with a disability? As of now, I’m optimistic that we’ll be given an anime that’s worth your time. It’s at least something different from the standard Shonen anime that I’ve been watching recently.
Now go watch some anime!