Ranking of Kings Review by Sabrina Seiwert
Over spring break, I was assigned homework by my uncle. He instructed me to watch Ranking of Kings, a fantasy anime. I obediently followed suit and was immediately hooked due to the disabled representation, three-dimensional characters, art style, and animation that the show had to offer. (Mild spoilers will ensue with this review – please read with caution)
Filled with action-packed fight scenes, betrayal, plot twists, and a story that yanks on the viewers’ heartstrings, Ranking of Kings is nothing short of a masterpiece.
First, a quick summary. What the heck is Ranking of Kings about? My curious friend, I will cheerfully elaborate. Ranking of Kings follows Bojji, a young prince who is both deaf and mute. Because of his disabilities, he is deeply disrespected by the castle subjects and his people. Bojji, however, takes all of this in stride, a huge grin on his face. With the help of his companion, Kage, Bojji goes on a death-defying adventure to become stronger, a king that his people can rely on. Filled with action-packed fight scenes, betrayal, plot twists, and a story that yanks on the viewers’ heartstrings, Ranking of Kings is nothing short of a masterpiece.
What first drew me to the anime (minus my uncle telling me to watch it) is Bojji’s physical setbacks. I’ve watched a lot of TV, which includes movies, shows, and yes, anime. Not a single one of them (that I can recall) features a main character that is both deaf and mute. In fact, not many of the shows and movies that I’ve watched even have a disabled person as their main character. Ranking of Kings is a special anime, as it doesn’t slap their audience with a representational character and call it a day. Bojji’s disability doesn’t make up his entire personality. Even in the midst of his physical and social hardships, with some of his family members and subjects viewing the young prince as something to be ashamed of, Bojji is sweet and kind. He’s courageous, selfless, and perseverant. He’s a character that the viewers can’t help but root for.
Ranking of Kings is also comprised of an emotionally diverse, three-dimensional cast of characters. What the viewer may think of a character at the beginning of the show will most certainly change at the end of it (for good or for bad).
What, you want examples? Very well, I’ll give you three:
At the start, Queen Hilling, is portrayed to be the typical evil stepmother to Bojji. As the show progresses, however, that characterization is furthest from the truth. It’s shown that the queen genuinely loves and cares for Bojji as if he was her own biological son. Does Hilling always make the best parenting decisions when it comes to him? Absolutely not. At the core of it, though, she does try her best to protect and care for Prince Bojji, and that’s what counts the most.
King Bosse is originally shown as the beloved, wise, powerful protector of his kingdom. All of his subjects look up to him and when the king dies due to an illness everyone deeply mourns. However, Bosse isn’t all as he seems. His story unfolds to reveal his deep-seated hunger to be stronger, no matter the cost it takes to achieve it. The audience is left see-sawing between two questions throughout the anime. Is Bosse a hero? Or is he a villain?
His story unfolds to reveal his deep-seated hunger to be stronger, no matter the cost it takes to achieve it. The audience is left see-sawing between two questions throughout the anime. Is Bosse a hero? Or is he a villain?
Domas is Prince Bojji’s sword instructor. The viewers are left not knowing what to think of the man. As there are clear instances of him protecting and genuinely caring for his charge, there are also instances where Domas seems like he’s almost ashamed of his student. When Domas betrays Bojji in the worst way possible, the audience is left feeling mixed emotions from shock to loathing. Even then, Domas can’t be viewed as a standard villain, as he does whatever it takes to atone for his immense wrongdoing.
Among these people, there are many other multifaceted characters that kept me hooked on their individual stories. It’s clear that Ranking of Kings is filled to the brim of many talented writers.
Another thing that made me fall in love with this anime is the art style. It’s clear that the artists’ paid close attention to detail, as seen in the gorgeous setting and backgrounds of the shows, as well as the diverse body types and facial structures of the characters. The stylistic choice of art Ranking of Kings went with made the show very pleasant to watch.
It’s clear that the animators poured their heart and soul into their work.
On a similar tangent, the animation is simply astounding! It’s clear that the animators poured their heart and soul into their work. This can clearly be seen in both opening sequences of the show, as well as the numerous fight scenes the anime has to offer. Both the opening sequences and the action scenes are overflowing with the smoothest of movements and interesting angles that leaves the viers closing to kicking and squealing out of pure glee. (Oh. Wait. That was just me? Well, my point still stands.) It’s eye candy!!! There’s a reason why I never ever skipped either openings in Ranking of Kings, and openings are the most skippable material of any show!
All this to say, I owe my uncle a great big hug. Thanks to him, I was introduced to an outstanding anime. Now, I will concede that no show is perfect, and my only grievance is that a second season hasn’t been released as of yet….