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Ousama Game

Has anybody heard of the Ousama Game? The late bloomer in me has decided to dig down the trenches to uncover some juicy tidbits surrounding the game which originated as a cell phone novel by Kanazawa Nobuaki and has since evolved into a multiple installment franchise with nine novels, three manga adaptations, a game and a live-action film. An interesting note is that the author had actually fictionalised himself in the stories. I thought that it would be a little easier to digest the manga instead of having to patiently sit through possibly a million words. The manga adaptation was drawn by mangaka Renda Hitori.

At first glance, Ousama Game reminded me instantly of Battle Royale. A class of 32 students has been targeted by a mass circulated email sent by the King which reads: "This is the King's Game in which your entire class will be participating. The King's commands are absolute, so please fulfill them within 24 hours. You will not be allowed to withdraw mid-game". The first pair of students to execute the first command is Inoue Hirofumi and Nakao Minako. One apparent difference that sets Ousama Game apart from Battle Royale is the method of execution (pun intended). Ousama Game makes use of an indispensable technology among youth these days - the cell phone. Stuff like chain mail are easily the core of many stories particularly in the horror genre. The escalation of various events in Ousama Game is what separates itself away from the conventional curses and such. There is a subtle seduction which I honestly wouldn't mind.

While disturbing and bizarre depictions of violence are inevitable throughout the series (afterall if anybody didn't obey the King's orders they would be punished), the gradually perverse orders laid out by the King constantly test the limits of the students' morals and sanity which very quickly derail and plunge into complete mayhem. The extremity of total madness can jolly well have a life of its own, and perhaps give that freakish clown a run for his money. Anyway, the tones in the manga are still relatively soft despite the many unsettling moments. The violent and sexual content are largely implied especially the latter since the characters involved are still minors. Much of the intensity is forged under the pressure of conformity and the sheer determination to unravel the mysterious identity of the King. That usually keeps a lot of readers at the edge of their seats as the escalation would somehow halt in a cliffhanger (which is like a love-hate relationship).

Another element that differs is the behavioral patterns of the students. In general, the students are pretty much the everyday sorts which are easily relatable. There is also a distinct lack of political manipulation unlike in the case of Battle Royale. The homeroom teacher seems largely oblivious of anything about the game as well. The dark side of humanity awaits to unleash like how a predator would ambush its prey. Midnight suddenly becomes really scary. Countdown has never felt so life-threatening. The definition of friendship turns incomprehensible. Who is indeed a true friend? As a true friend, how far would one go to prove themselves? Do morals still matter anyways? No wonder survival and horror complement each other perfectly.

I'm definitely catching up on the manga. The first Ousama Game already feels like the longest ride in anybody's lives. I couldn't imagine what the sequels would be like if I were to relish them eventually. Is there a maximum distance in a marathon or something? The deranged looks in the students' eyes continue to move forth.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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