I am currently on a required leave from my work. I have been off for a little over a week, and have another week to go. During this time I have spent a lot of late night hours playing video games and watching various shows on the streaming services out there. One show I recently came across was Darwin's Game. Consider this to be your official spoiler warning and opportunity to step away from this post as I am going to share my thoughts on this anime below!
Alright, if you are still reading then I assume that you are interested in the show, have watched the show already, or are just really bored. If it is the later, hopefully we can change that! So let's talk about what is Darwin's Game! In the show, the game is played out in the real world for the most part. In order to play the game, you must receive a text message to your cell phone. The message provides you a link that allows you access to the "Free to Play" game. When you choose to play the game, a snake appears and crawls out of your phone and bites you on the neck! Wow! I would be traumatized by that... just saying. It is at this point that you are now officially a part of the game. The game itself is rather simple in design, you must kill or be killed. At least that is what we are lead to believe. We really do not get much insight into the rules of the game at the beginning of the season and it is not until the season is heading to a close that we learn there are two ways to leave the game, aside from being killed. The first is to win the game! We have not really learned much about how you win the game though, so that is kind of vague. I imagine that they will revisit this in later seasons, provided there are additional seasons created. The second way is to kill the game master of the game. This also sounds like a very tall order, but at least it is confirmed to be true as the game master is the one who tells us about these two options.
As this is a game of survival, every player is given a special ability that the show refers to as a sigil. A sigil provides the player with a special ability or super power for lack of a better phrase. Some of these abilities seem rather boring or even lame. I mean enhanced strength is pretty much played out in my mind. The sigils do have rankings and types, but they never really go into a lot of details about the scale or how they are measured. I suppose it is not a necessary plot point and just helps the viewers to understand who may be more powerful based upon their sigil. The thing that you have to understand is that even a very basic ability such as enhanced strength, could become a terrifying ability if paired with someone like a martial arts master. Think about the concept of blocking a strike for a moment. You go to block the strike, but the enhanced strength could theoretically shatter your bones. This means that the players need to really learn about their opponents and not just what their sigil does, but how well does that particular player wield the power of their sigil.
Time to talk about some of the characters and what their sigils allow them to do! The main character of the show is Kaname. He is your average high school student and unfortunately for him, is drawn into the game with zero knowledge. As the season progresses, we learn that Kaname's sigil allows him to create weapons out of thin air. The use of his sigil can exhaust him to the point of not being able to fight, and that is where he has to learn to find some semblance of balance in his sigil's use.
The next character that we want to look at is Shuka. She appears to be of high school age, but I cannot honestly remember if she ever states that she is in school or not. She posses the ability to control her weapon with what I would describe as a form of telekinesis. She is also a rank "A" player and undefeated in her matches. As the season progresses we learn that her sigil's abilities are a lot more capable than what we see on the surface and that she is definitely not a character to be taken lightly.
Up next is Rain! Rain is a middle school student who has taken on the role of being a data broker. While the concept is quite simple, let's make sure we all understand what a data broker is in relation to the game. She accumulates knowledge about players skills and sigil abilities. She then will use this information to barter with other players. That is a pretty powerful skill set, but it is not her sigil. Her sigil's ability is a form of precognition. It allows her to wade through a battle and avoid her enemies while directing her allies on where to strike. On its own, it could be quite formidable to challenge her, but when coupled with other players, it makes her a downright scary person in my opinion.
We meet Ryuji during a treasure hunt event within the game. We don't really get a sense for what his sigil is because he comes dressed in a full body suit that can withstand gunfire. He also carries what I would call a modern version of the tommy gun. He seems to be a pretty keen tactician in his own right also. His sigil is revealed to be the ability to know when someone is telling a lie. He deems this to be a pretty weak sigil, and I don't disagree with him. I mean comparing that to the ability to control plants or fly... yeah, it is pretty weak. I would say to be careful not to dismiss it though as in a game of life and death, the ability to know when someone is bluffing definitely has potential. It will be interesting to see as the game progresses if he further develops his sigil.
There are just so many really unique and interesting characters that are introduced in this first season, but we'll let you guys discover the rest as you watch the show. I would say that if you love anime that focuses on "gaming", then give this series a try. I looked around and discovered that there is a manga series for this and perhaps a movie as well. At least that is what I guessed from looking at their website. Unfortunately I am not able to read Japanese. If you guys watch the show, let me know what you think. Who was your favorite character versus who has the coolest sigil?