Spoilers will not enter the game.

It’s been a while since I’ve explored a new anime show. I thought I’d be more willing for a slice-of-life and then I heard of Darwin’s Game. It’s not what I was looking for. This one’s basically a deathmatch. That being said, the element of fun is what attracted me here. It was engaging enough to attract my attention, and fun enough to follow so far. I’m 7 episodes in, and the 8th just appeared in my queue. If you want to jump in, now it’s a good time.

(Credit: Nexus)

Darwin’s Game is an anime adapted by Nexus studio based upon the manga written and illustrated by FLIPFLOPs. Sudo Kaname is a high school student that gets an invite for an app for an online game from a friend. Unknowingly, he joins a real-life deathmatch game where he goes one on one with other players in a life or death scenario. I will try to tell you as little as possible here, because the fun is in the discovery, but this is not an isekai – although it’s definitely isekai-inspired.

Kaname does not leave his world, which means we’re in an urban setting. The outside world seems oblivious to the game, how that works I will leave it to you to discover. The other extremely interesting part is the Sigil, an ability granted to each player by the game as an evolutionary advantage. Discovering how it works is also part of the fun, so I’m not going to spoil what Kaname gets.

As much of a game changer some of those abilities can be, Kaname’s intellect at figuring out how to turn the tables on someone who overpowers him is rather interesting. Obviously some of it is mere luck at the beginning, but as opponents and situations get tougher he realizes he’d better team up. His first choice is actually a rather powerful A-lister that chose him before he did. That’s Shuka, the Undefeated Queen. She’s a bit problematic of a character, acting unhinged but totally has a soft spot for Kaname. Fortunately, he’s not an asshole.

It’s not a perfect show, nor the premise is airtight. Some things are left open to the imagination and there’s some mysteries left to discover later. Some of the characters are grey to begin with but as alliances form, you see how a lot of them are obviously going to ally themselves to the main cast and how others are obviously antagonists. That being said, the action is rather smooth and cool to watch. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s entertaining and I’m enjoying it.

Recommended for action anime fans looking for a fresh fix. It’s not going to revolutionize the genre or blow your mind but I found the characters engaging and plot, although not original, feels fresh. It might be a guilty pleasure, but although life and death are on the line there’s an element of fun in the duels and battles that makes it a joy to watch. Of course, I’m barely seven episodes in and hopefully aliens don’t show up in a later episode and ruin the whole thing.

That will do for now.