“Begin Again (Break Again)”
Well gentlemen, say hello to this season’s train wreck. While Ousama Game was always likely to fly right off the rails thanks to its horror origins, I never thought we would receive glorious disaster only one episode in. Seriously, schizophrenic male lead, a swath of busty ladies down for deflowering, and ten deaths right off the bat—and that’s before we even get to the good stuff. Does it make sense? Oh hell no, but I’m not sure it matters. If you’re laughing at a horror, it must be doing something right.
As highlighted in the trusty RC preview, Ousama Game has all the right pieces needed for thriller material. We have a unique game of death inviting plenty of suspense and suffering through its system of choice, a large character cast offering multiple opportunities for imaginative deaths, and a supernatural tinge insuring it can continue as for as long as the writer thinks it’s interesting. Decent horror setup right? The issue is that Ousama Game effectively wastes all these strengths. Character introductions were almost nonexistent, seemingly passed over in favour of the mad dash to self-immolation and kissing under the starlight. While certainly debatable if a lot of the characters even need development—they’re all going to die after all—some buildup is necessary to at least get us to care. We need a reason for what’s going on, and explanation to connect the dots between all those deaths and the mechanism behind it. Ousama Game so far has done a piss poor job of this, and while we may get some more information next time, lacking the introduction formalities right now hurts the show’s overall impact. In horror, first impressions are everything.
Where this especially hurts is in understanding Ousama Game’s background, because as the preview also highlights, this adaptation is of Ousama Game’s sequel. Why is anyone’s guess (there’s a reason sequels are not adapted first after all), but it does explain some of the strangeness present. Nobuaki (Miyano Mamoru) for example probably comes across as off his rocker because we are missing the entirety of his previous development. Sure a few scenes casually sprinkled throughout helped fill in the blanks, but alone they are not enough to reconcile his actions with his behaviour. We need more backstory to get a half logical explanation, even though that is also seriously in question thanks to Ousama Game’s current pacing. For better or worse the show seems intent to get right onto the killing, although how long it can keep that interesting is the big unknown. Without some further elaboration and focus on the game itself, Ousama Game may find running off the rails the least of its concerns.
While certainly problematic even by B grade horror standards, this does not mean Ousama Game is entirely lost just yet. A full season remains to make up for (some) lost time, and with the assurance of even more ridiculous murder porn ahead, the hilarity will never be far away. Plus with Natsuko (Horie Yui) giving off the creepy vibes (cold lips? Heh) there’s a good chance of some twist lurking in the background. Ousama Game may not be the thriller I hoped it would be, but as popcorn entertainment it has everything it could ever need. I’m definitely ready to see what next week brings.
OP: 「FEED THE FIRE」 by coldrain