Ranking of Kings released episode 1, and the new anime from WIT Studio is off to an amazing start! We immediately get a taste of why the show is called that. It’s simple: the world has kingdoms, and there’s a ranking of kings based on their merits. This includes how many prominent knights they have, do they have many subjects and are the towns thriving, as well as the king’s own power. After the quick explanation, we get to enjoy the opening “BOY” by King Gnu. It’s a playful and adventurous song that quickly catches the attention and makes it impossible to skip. You can listen to the full version below (seriously, it’s really good):
The artstyle & story of Ranking of Kings
After the OP plays, we properly meet the protagonist Bojji. The young boy is deaf and can’t properly speak, which makes his path to becoming a great king like his father a lot harder. He meets a shadow (Kage), which can somehow understand him. They are able to communicate, which makes Bojji extremely happy and willing to do whatever Kage asks of him. This causes for some bittersweet moments, but we can guess the two will get closer as the anime goes on.
As visible in the image above, the artstyle is reminiscent of medieval-set fairy tales. It looks soft and pleasant to the eyes, and the smooth animation makes it an even bigger joy to watch. Just like the opening song, the soundtrack also fits the theme nicely, and the first episode generally leaves a really satisfying feeling. Partly because of the aesthetics, and partly because of the way Bojji makes us want to cheer for him and happy when he succeeds at something.
A friendly reminder that WIT Studio’s last anime was Vivy -Fluorite Eye’s Song-, which was a great original anime which ranked as the best new show of Spring 2021 and 2nd best anime overall behind Fruits Basket!
Besides the good looks and sounds, the voice cast in the Ranking of Kings anime is stacked. While Bojji is Hinata Minami’s first main role, Kage’s voice is the recognizable Ayumu Murase. He’s known for voicing Hinata Shoyo in Haikyuu!!, Luck Voltia in Black Clover, Iruma in Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun!, among others. We also hear Yuuki Kaji (Eren Yeager, Todoroki Shoto, Meliodas, etc.) as Bojji’s talented step-brother Daida. King Bosse is voiced by Miyake Kenta (All-Might, Zodd, Avdol), and the step-mother Hiling is voiced by Satou Rina (Misaka Mikoto, Hino Rei). There’s more big names, and you can check out all the known cast as well.
Episode 1 was impressive, and it shows a lot of promise for the anime. We saw that Bojji himself wants to become the greatest king despite his circumstances, which is what he told Kage. We saw Daida’s swordmaster BeBin control snakes much like the ones that attacked Bojji at some point in the past. Then we have his mysterious ability to dodge (and fight?). There’s 6 kings ranked higher than Bosse, and the road to becoming the best certainly won’t be easy. The anime is listed for 23 episodes, so let’s see how far our precious prince goes in that time!
Ranking of Kings
Ranking of Kings, or Ousama Ranking, is originally a Japanese web manga series by Sousuke Touka. It was first serialized online via Echoes’ user-submitted Manga Hack website in May 2017, and it is still ongoing. Enterbrain publishes the print tankobon volumes, and the series has 11 as of August 12, 2021. The story follows a young boy who strives to be the world’s greatest king, and you can read the synopsis:
The story centers around Bojji, a deaf, powerless prince who cannot even wield a children’s sword, and so as the firstborn son, he strives hard and dreams of becoming the world’s greatest king. However, people mutter about him behind his back as “a good-for-nothing prince” and “no way he can be king.”
Bojji is able to make his first ever friend, “Kage” (shadow)—a literal shadow on the ground who somehow understands Bojji well. (Kage is a survivor of the Kage assassin clan that was all but wiped out. Since no longer a killer, Kage now makes ends meet by stealing.) The story follows Bojji’s coming-of-age as he meets various people in his life, starting with his fateful encounter with Kage.
Finally, the anime ends with the beautiful ending theme song “Oz” by yama. While there’s no official upload of the song, you can listen to it after watching the episode on Funimation. It features color-book styled visuals, and also seems nice to look at.
Episode 2 of the Ranking of Kings anime will premiere next Friday on October 22nd. Since it releases on the same day as our poll, it didn’t get the chance to rank in week 2, but you can vote for it until next Friday and help Bojji rank in the top 10 in week 3!
All images via Funimation
Ranking of Kings official website: osama-ranking.com
Ranking of Kings official Twitter: @osama_ranking
© SousukeTOKA, KADOKAWA / Ranking of Kings animation film partners