「Clumsy Pretender」

I may have severely underestimated how much I would come to enjoy watching this series. It’s colorful, fast-paced, and often silly, but with a darker undertone that keeps you on your toes. You never quite believe that these kids aren’t in danger, so when Akatsuki was attacked by one of those Mimicry Man-eaters, it was like this was going to be Madoka all over again. While that turned out not to be the case, the fact that such a gruesome fate wouldn’t have been entirely unexpected is to Naka no Hito’s credit. Even the internal reveal that one of the characters has a stalker shrine is more of an “Okay. This might as well happen” moment than anything else.

Although it’s a surprise that Naka no Hito has chosen to spend any time developing it’s characters, it’s not unwelcome. We found out what Onigasaki was up to last week, which basically amounts to trying to find a way out. This, of course, was against the rules, and Mr. Paka punished them with a penalty game for their trouble. There definitely seemed to be some signs of censorship this episode, which was undoubtedly the most violent yet, but none of the scenes that were inverted felt overly violent, which leaves me to wonder if it was more of a stylistic choice than anything. Still, I find how these Let’s Players can wield smoke grenades and fight monsters like they’ve been training their entire lives for this moment charming. It sure beats watching them panic and crack under the pressure. Along with them, though, you also have the Let’s Players who definitely failed gym. Additionally, Kudou suffers from a sleep disorder that causes him to be unable to sleep until he collapses from exhaustion. This turns out to be one of the reasons why he chose to become a Let’s Player in the first place. More than anyone else, he’s shown signs of looking out for the others, even coming to consider Akatsuki a friend or if not that a valuable teammate, but Akatsuki may have very well violated his trust by going behind his back to ask Mr. Paka for medicine on his behalf. From a pragmatic standpoint, though, I’d have to go with Akatsuki here. They’re in too precarious a position for any of them to be suddenly falling asleep. Kudou passing out in front of the Mimicry Man-eater nearly got them both killed, and I rather hope Akatsuki, in spite of his lack of self-preservation, doesn’t fail to mention that. The time for pride is not during a death game, my friends.

All in all, this seems like a solid series. There’s a mystery brewing that I’m plenty invested in by this point, so while I can’t say I intend to continue reviewing this series, I’ll be keeping an eye on it to see where it goes from here, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a series where characters trapped in a death game actually get along (for the most part) and are genuinely entertaining to watch.

 

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