Yuichi NakamuraKazuya NakaiMayumi ShintaniAimi
Battle Game in 5 Seconds
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2021: B
Also known as: Deatte 5-byou de Battle
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2021
Director: Meigo Naito, Nobuyoshi Arai
Writer: Touko Machida
Original creator: Miyakokasiwa, Saizo Harawata
Actor: Aimi, Akari Kito, Ayumu Murase, Kazuya Nakai, Mayumi Shintani, Miyuri Shimabukuro, Toa Yukinari, Yuichi Iguchi, Yuichi Nakamura
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=24129
Website category: Anime 2021
Review date: 21 February 2023
Deatte 5 byou de Battle
A bunch of people get kidnapped at random by mysterious people for... reasons. Basically sadism, or so it seems. Everyone gets given a superpower (eh?) and told to fight each other, with injury and death being stated to be acceptable outcomes. (If I could grant unlimited superpowers to anyone I liked, I'd have better things to do with my time than organise battle games like this, but never mind.)
Let the combat begin! I enjoyed the show, but it has problems.
1. It's had a fascinating idea for its hero's superpower, but writing this to best advantage would have been challenging. Unsurprisingly, the show chickens out of the difficult stuff and turns it into something more all-purpose and dull. Akira Shiroyanagi's ability ("Sophist") is whatever his opponent thinks it is. This might sound powerful, until you see him in a fight and realise how much bluffing and fast-talking he's got to do in order to be able to do anything at all. It then gets even harder. Unsurprisingly, he doesn't want to tell anyone his real ability. (If an enemy finds it out, he's dead meat... and anyone in the game could be his enemy tomorrow.) Unfortunately, if he's in a team match and his friends think he has one particular ability, he'll have to find a way to convince their enemies of this without letting his allies realise what he's doing.
The first few episodes build some fascinating situations around this. Later, though, Akira finds workarounds and cheats. In the last two episodes, I don't think he makes his enemies believe anything specific about his powers. There are mind games, yes, but the only thing he's putting into his foes' minds are possibilities and seeds of doubt.
2. I also didn't buy those mind games. They're clever, up to a point, but I'm suspicious of the very detailed prediction of what your opponent will do and the countermeasures you've taken against those specific actions.
3. Akira's a bit of a problem hero. On the one hand, he's a manipulative cynic who uses other people as tools and can't be bothered going to school because he just wants to play games. Having to trust someone in ep.6 stresses him out. Uh-huh. Not very likeable. He thaws over the course of the season and gets character development, but even so this is supposedly a cold-blooded dick who'll do anything to win a game. Given that, what's his reason for not killing his extremely clever foe after defeating him in ep.11? Did the show not want its hero to do something morally questionable like that? It doesn't make sense for the character. Even when the show cheats and has the baddie say in ep.12 that he's about to die now (eh?), he's still more than capable of actions that threaten Akira's entire team.
4. This isn't a CGI anime, but one character (Hajime Oogami) is obviously CGI animated. He doesn't match the other characters. He looks like garbage, as do the black shadows on his eyes in ep.12.
That said, though, I basically liked the show. The premise is fun. Everyone has a superpower, so you can't get too cocky with unknown opponents since you've no idea what they can do. It's quite interesting to see this difficult, dangerous situation play out, especially when apparently rubbish powers turn out to be unexpectedly useful. There are some clever ploys and ideas here.
The battle game's divided into rounds, with each being completely different to the one before. If you think you've got used to how the show works, that probably means it's about to pull out the rug from under you. Also, importantly, it's not just a deathmatch. It's more interesting than that. You're free to kill and there are scumbags who enjoy doing so, but other people are happy to help each other and/or avoid a fight by immediately conceding victory to a scary opponent.
Theoretically, this is a solid show. I like the ideas and what it's doing. Unfortunately, its last two episodes convinced me that the writing could be stupid and lazy, while the animation's cutting corners. (See also the way tartans, checks, etc. won't move even when they're on someone's skirt, trousers, etc.) I won't keep the episodes, but I'd probably check out a Season 2.