「魔神との約束」 (Majin to no yakusoku)
“A Promise to the Demon”

As I look back on this rather disheartening episode of Ousama Ranking, I can say this – it wasn’t a surprise. Or at least it shouldn’t have been, because it was basically the logical consequence of the troubling threads that have been running through the entire second cour. In practice of course this does feel rather a jolt, because it comes on the heels of possibly the series’ best (and most visually stunning) episode. This was a pain deferred, not denied – it’s been pretty clear for a while where Ousama Ranking was going.

Ultimately it comes down to perspective. And mine is that neither Miranjo or Bosse deserve a free pass for their crimes. Bosse’s whole raison d’être is lost on me – “I want to be the strongest in the world”. It’s almost a bit of sly shounen self-parody – except it doesn’t seem to be that at all. It’s one thing for Bosse to have that desire – if he’d gone about it the right way, you could chalk it up to too much martial spirit. But he seems to think it’s perfectly fine to kill anyone he cares to test himself against, as long as they’re strong. Both the end and the means are kind of dumb as far as I’m concerned.

Compounding the wrongness is Miranjo’s involvement. She doubles down on the evils of Bosse’s dream by committing a series of even more vile crimes to make it come true. It starts with the betrayal of the demon (who has his own sad backstory, naturally) and just keeps building from there. The premise seems to be that because Miranjo had a painful childhood she isn’t to blame for any of her sins – I disagree. Forgiving her doesn’t bring Bojji’s mother back, or Dorsche’s foot or eye, or make up for the painful childhood Bojji has had to endure because of her. I mean, at least Miranjo has the excuse of bad fortune – Bosse doesn’t even have that – but she’s even more culpable than he is.

The cherry on top is Daida swooping in and foiling Despa’s plan to save Ouken. One could take issue with whether the demon would even be that bothered about his head – he surely could have taken it back on his own, though I suppose if your existence is to gain power by granting wishes you wouldn’t try so hard to dodge that eventuality. Despa and Ouken really are pretty blameless in the larger picture – Ouken has certainly done some terrible things but in my view that’s not even really Ouken – he’s effectively possessed. But they get shafted in favor of Miranjo, which as a scenario can kiss my ass.

In the final analysis this is the biggest problem: because the genuinely nice people (Bojji, Kage, Despa, et al) are so willing to be forgiving (because that’s how nice people are), the douchebags are allowed to be douchebags without suffering any real consequences for it. And Daida proposing to Miranjo? Yeah, try next door because I’m not buying that. Never mind that he’s like 10 years old or whatever – he’s been through hell because of Bosse and Miranjo. And even if that doesn’t bother him, he’s pre-empting justice for all the other people wronged by them.

The best part of all this was Hillng’s reaction, because she was the only person who seemed to see sense. Hilling continues to be a great character – I mean, you gotta love a tsundere mom, for starters. But her love for her boys is so genuine she can’t help herself. She’s a character with some balance to her – she’s a good soul but given to anger and impulsiveness. Desha is another one who’s interestingly nuanced – in the final analysis, I think, much kinder than he wants to be seen as. Having had their plan to rescue their brother foiled, Desha agrees to accept the #1 ranking – which means going to the treasure house and accepting whatever it was that made those other kings insane. The jester calls is a selfish act but to me it’s pretty selfless – Desha knows the likely cost of what he’s doing.

Given how strong Desha is the mad king version is a rather scary thought (that’s for Part II, I guess). And there’s one other troubling matter here – is Daida going to stand down and let Bojji have the throne? Bojji is the rightful king both by succession and decree, and by dint of strength besides. But again, he’s so much nicer than Daida that he might be willing to step aside and let the douchier brother be rewarded for being douchier. That would suck – though seeing the costs associated with being a king in this mythology, sweet and kind Bojji is probably better off.

10 Comments

  1. This episode was the final nail in the coffin for me. This show is officially mediocre for me. Plummeting from rarified air to another shonen, power of friendship, he was a cool guy, actions have no consequences snooze fest. This last episode might as well been fairytail but without the boobs. And I can just watch fairy tail and have boobs too if I want.

    Ishkander
      1. Chainsaw man is good, but you don’t need bite to be good. My issue with ousama ranking, is it wrote checks it didn’t cash. It lied to us about stakes that didn’t exist, and a level of real human behavior that it aspiring to. Then went full fairytale. And I liked fairytale but it never held itself to ousama rankings standards, and was consistent narratively. We remain with great narratively consistent shows like jujutsu no kaisen and 86 to keep us warm at night I am just sad ousama ranking wasnt one of them.

        Ishkander
  2. This was a surprising turn of events, from what could have been a very strong contender for Anime of the Year is now, well, the strongest contender for Biggest Disappointment of the Year. It’s not the worst show of the season, but it certainly is the most disappointing, considering the extremely high standards this show has set since it premiered. I don’t even think there is a possibility of reversal for this one, unless this series goes even further. But at least we still have all the previous episodes to remember this show with if that’s any consolation for those who have religiously followed this one.

    MMX3

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