Ranking of Kings episode 4 released, and it continues to be one of the best shows this season (don’t forget to vote for it!). It’s pretty much outside of its initial ‘hidden gem’ status already, with more people beginning to give it a shot (and realizing just how good it is), and it looks like it won’t be slowing down! This week began with how Domas was assigned as Bojji’s sword-master. We saw that he felt proud about the position, and that he practices a style similar to King Bosse. He also had high expectations of the small prince (such as telling him to do a 1000 push-ups at start), but he was understanding and willing to slow down the pace. He was very happy when the prince understood his sign language, even shedding tears, but we could see his enthusiasm slowly fade as Bojji struggled with his training.
King Bosse’s Power & Ranking of Kings
Then we see how kings are assigned their ranking, and there’s several tests in place. We meet a new colorful character, who is from the ranking committee. He knows Apeas and Bebin, and we see a quick flashback to Bosse’s strength. The new character notes that Bosse would have ranked first had it only been based on strength. Since Apeas and Bebin were also fighting the golem creature, we can assume that the kings’ knights were being tested. We already knew that the ranking takes into account more than just the king’s power.
Daida realizes how weak he really is when he faces the golem himself. While the Magic Mirror offered him to take the strength from his deceased father’s body, he refused and showed his pride, wanting to rank by his own abilities. This had his rank estimated at around 90th, making him shed some tears of his own. This led to some hesitation, and eventual change of mind by the end of the episode.
Domas’ Emotional Struggle
Daida and the Magic Mirror said that the assassination on Bojji was successfully ordered. So we can assume that Domas was aware of it from early on, if not from the very start. A huge hint was when he asked Hokuro if he’d follow any order from his superior, and then told him he doesn’t have strong enough resolve for hesitating. With this in mind, it doesn’t seem weird that Domas was in fact trying to do it on multiple occasions. He could have been the one behind the bag theft. After he told Hokuro that they should ‘stock up on a few things’, he disappeared until after Hokuro found Bojji sleeping without his bag. He reprimanded the prince and acted like he didn’t know what was in the bag. Still, he lets out a laugh as he says ‘oh well’ and before quickly moving on to having dinner.
While he’s determined to follow the order, we can easily see his inner conflicts. Bojji, the precious gem that he is, also touched his heart quickly after they met, and there’s no doubt it’s hard to betray that. However, he’s the type that will do it for what he thinks is needed, and he ultimately does the worst thing he can.
Bojji’s Mysterious Protector
However, Bojji’s bag mysteriously appears after they continue their journey. We see Domas make a more stern expression (though this is a really small detail), and it might be the work of someone who’s looking after Bojji from the shadows. The next time something similar happens is when Bojji falls into the trap pit. Neither Domas nor Hokuro come looking, but Bojji miraculously survives with his evading skills. He remembers Kage and is about to cry when someone throws a rock at him. We don’t see who it was, but the weird king person he meets there is surprised and likely not the one who threw it.
The third time we potentially see this is when Domas offers Bojji the poisoned meat. Someone throws daggers at it, and Domas acts like someone attacked Bojji. Thinking logically though, a skilled assassin wouldn’t have missed and hit the meat with both of those. It seems clear that the meat was actually the target, and that those daggers saved Bojji from getting poisoned. This is also when we get a hint that Bebin is the mysterious protector, as Domas claims he knows that those are his daggers. The other obvious candidate is Kage, whom Bebin sent on a mystery quest of his own, which we’re yet to hear about.
Finally, we can guess that the mysterious protector will be there to save Bojji. If it goes as expected, the prince will be able to go on his journey quietly with those that actually want to help him, while he’ll be officially written off as assassinated.
The ‘Insane’ King
Another interesting appearance was the seemingly insane bird-king person Bojji met in the cave. The crown is an easy enough trait we’ve seen the other kings have, but the ‘out of his mind’ part is interesting because the same episode mentioned something about it just a bit earlier. Namely, while Apeas was talking to the person from the ranking committee, they mentioned how the 1st ranked king can choose an item from the Divine Treasure Vault. In addition, every successive king chooses the same item, after which they either go missing or.. out of their mind. Could the bird-king person actually be some insanely strong king who ranked 1st in the past? This was the very first thought that came to my mind when we saw him, and there has to be a reason Bojji met him this early on.
He taught Bojji about respecting those who leave their bodies with the dance of reconciliation. There was also a supernatural event where we saw how the soul of the deceased boar was ‘traded’ for new souls, or new sacrifices for them to hunt, according to the bird-king person. His twirly eyes show madness, but he shows some sanity as well. He tells Bojji that the essence of life is to kill others so that they may live. Afterwards, he asks if Bojji will be his next sacrifice, which scares the prince off.
The bird-king person seems like the adventurous old man character that is hungry for fun, and we’ll certainly be seeing him more when our prince is ready for it. For now we can only guess who he is and why he’s living as a hunter underground.
While Domas is clearly ready to off Bojji, Hokuro seems to be truly loyal. He’s not particularly smart, and doesn’t even doubt Domas, but we saw how he met Bojji. The prince came as Hokuro was grieving over a loved one’s passing, carrying a flower. He realized that it was the royal family and panicked, but the small prince just left the flower and moved on. Then we saw that Bojji is also grieving his mother, stacking flowers next to the giant tombstone. After seeing the flashback, it doesn’t seem likely that Hokuro is in on the assassination plan with Domas. He might even become a more relevant character that supports the small prince in the future, together with Apeas (and maybe Bebin).
Finally. Daida is obviously being manipulated by the Magic Mirror. It gets even easier after he rejects to take his father’s strength and does badly on the ranking test. He’s shown a scene where he opens Pandora’s box and Bojji turns up to protect him. As the symbolic last line of defense, Bojji gets beaten down but refuses to stay down. We see Daida break down and cries, but it’s ultimately a dream. This angers Daida, and he makes up his mind after waking up. Then he heads down and will likely place higher on the ranking test. The Magic Mirror must have some ulterior motive, whether directly or under orders. It sets an eerie feeling, and once again shows that Ranking of Kings is only beginning.
As with the previous episodes WIT Studio delivered a great looking episode 4 for Ranking of Kings. We saw some beautiful sceneries, adorable Bojji expressions, as well as the curious dance with the bird-king person. The anime continues to look gorgeous, as well as increasingly intriguing. If you happen to agree, don’t forget to vote for it! It ranked 3rd last week in week 4.
Funimation streams the anime, and there are 4 episodes out as of November 10, 2021. The opening theme song by King Gnu is also still going strong, with over 7 million views on YouTUbe since its release on October 15. Not to forget the ending theme song by yama, which sits at over 1.5 million after about 2 weeks. Both fit the anime perfectly, and are songs we can’t skip!
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