Ranking of Kings, a Charming Fantasy

There are so many unique art styles in anime. Ones that look absolutely cartoony. Some that look completely realistic. Others share a little bit of both, like absurd looking characters in a photo-realistic Tokyo. Ranking of Kings is one that looks like a kids cartoon. But it’s not for children.

Oh no. 

While there may not be anything too explicit about Ranking of Kings (there will be blood), at times it takes on such a serious tone while also pulling our heart strings. The anime pulls you in within the first few episodes, although for me it lost some of its momentum halfway through, not to discourage viewers! 

So what is it? Ranking of Kings takes place in a fantasy setting of swords and magic, and is about a royal family torn apart by one’s greed and what it takes to mend them back together again. Love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, and kindness and greed are just a few duality concepts played around with in this anime.


Bojji is a prince as well as a small giant; alright, that sounds ironic. Something happened to Bojji before birth (even more confusion incoming) and so he’s not so mighty and giant like his king father. Or so we’re led to believe. 

Bojji is crippled. He is mute; he can’t talk, except for making adorable vowels like “ah!”. Also, Bojji can’t hear, but he can read lips so he knows what people are saying (just roll with that information). Bojji is weak; he has zero strength and can’t wield a mighty club let alone a sword. 

Bojji is alone. He stands out among everyone around him and is belittled for trying his best. The townsfolk see him as a freak, and his family turns their back to him. And he knows this. While he acts oblivious to it, he’s not stupid, but he grieves alone in the solitude of his room.

But even with all his shortcomings, Bojji has the brightest smile and wears the coolest little crown ever. 


Ranking of Kings is an optimistic anime. But before it becomes bright and cheerful, we as the viewers are flooded with despair and sadness. The story is so unique because its main protagonist is disabled, suffering major handicaps in many instances such as trying to have a conversation or picking up a weapon. It’s a story of growth and determination; overcoming one’s weakness and facing responsibility head on, which may include making sacrifices for the greater good. 

I’ll separate this post into spoiler-free and spoilers. There’s a lot I’d like to discuss but some details are tricky to describe without giving away important plot points. Ousama Ranking, Ranking of Kings is a wonderful anime and deserves a watch, even if details get out, however.


So… the plot. In a Kingdom far away lies a royal family including a giant, king Bosse, Queen Hiling, first son Bojji, second son Daida, and a slew of other supporting characters that act as guards and teachers to the royal family. 

With King Bosse on his deathbed, prince Bojji is next in line for the throne. Of course being the way he is, not everyone wants a disabled kid ruling over them. In fact most disprove, because they suck. Aware of his position, Bojji tries his best, always.


Being a prince, Bojji has a surprising amount of freedom to go where he chooses. So each day he ventures a little ways from the castle and one day he meets a black blob, Kage. I honestly don’t know who made his character design and thought “yes this makes sense”, but he’s a literal blob that acts as a shadow on the ground. 

Kage comes from a family of assassins and thieves, and naturally so, he sees Bojji as a rich sucker and takes advantage of him. He asks him to bring him clothes and other trinkets and Bojji gladly does so! Kage’s curiosity and greed grows so far he decides to follow Bojji home.


It’s time for sword practice! And Bojji’s younger half-brother Daida wants to beat him in combat training. Daida’s a sh*thead; we’re just gonna get that out of the way. He knows Bojji can’t use the sword. Their trainer Domas knows Bojji can’t either, but Bojji accepts the challenge nonetheless. 

And Bojji is surprisingly good at combat! Well… he can’t land a good hit, but he’s quick on his feet, dodging every attack swung at him. But Daida doesn’t think that’s fair, and the snake trainer (yes there’s a snake trainer for some reason) Bebin forces Bojji not to dodge. 

As expected, Bojji gets excessively beaten to a pulp by his brother and it takes a spear throw from the king’s guard, Apeas, to end the match. It’s a moment of despair, and Kage witnesses it all from the bushes. 


With bandages all over his body, Bojji tries to get up from his bed. He sees a sword in his room and attempts to pick it up. But he cannot, for he is weak. It’s a heartbreaking moment and I admit I teared up. The entire weight of the kingdom is about to be put on Bojji’s shoulders, and he doesn’t have the strength to hold a weapon.

Bojji tries and tries his best, never giving up. Even though the tears flow from his eyes and he can’t communicate his emotions to others, he does the absolute best he can. And Kage sees this, and is empathetic to Bojji. He comes out of the shadows and makes his support known to Bojji, which of course the boy is delighted with, and an unlikely friendship is formed between the two. By the way, Kage can completely understand what Bojji says, which is kinda wild and comes in handy later.


King Bosse’s death is a major turning point for the story. As several eyes peer at his passing, a motherf*cking demon shows up to take the deceased king’s soul and looks around the room to find the next heir to the throne, in which he laughs menacingly after seeing Bojji. A very strange scene indeed, but it makes perfect sense later on. 

A meeting is held with the adults of the castle and it’s decided that not Bojji should be the new king… but his younger brother Daida instead! Oooh the betrayal! Of course this news shocks Bojji, who was preparing himself for his new role. 

There’s a (sort of) humorous little scene where Bojji thinks back on some major events that just happened. One event being his brother becoming king. Another of his father’s death and that dreadful demon that randomly showed up and laughed at him. That’s a lot for a kid to unpack! The funny part of course was Bojji’s facial expression… yeah. 

Oh and Kage is captured by Bebin so Bojji’s alone again. So with the betrayal and no support from his family, Bojji decides to run away. 

There’s a few other major plot points I wanna discuss but it’s best I put a spoiler section now because truths are about to be told. But I encourage you to still give the anime a watch even with my opinion out there on certain plot events! 


Thinking it would be a good change of pace for Bojji, Queen Hiling makes Bojji go on a trip with Sword Master Domas and knight Hokuru to deliver a letter to her folks. Bojji is visibly relieved by this, taking a lil backpack along the way. 

The trio go through the woods, go camping. Bojji meets a bizarre wild man in the forest and that’s all I can say about that. They come across a city right near a freaking giant hole in the ground that spews lava every so often. 

Domas tells Hokuru to stay at an inn and creepily brings Bojji to the edge of the giant hole annnnd… 




If any other scene prior failed to get an emotional reaction out of you, then this would certainly have shocked you. It’s the ultimate betrayal Bojji has felt so far, and if he didn’t feel isolated already, this would burn into his mind how alone he really is. 

Before I continue discussing the plot, some other points I gotta make! 


It may be early to write this, but I do have a few critiques for this amazing Ranking of Kings. The biggest of all being the jarring changes that some characters undergo. By this I mean at points in the anime there’s stark differences in how characters act or behave. 


The first character I immediately think of is Queen Hiling, Bojji’s stepmother. When we’re first introduced to her character, she comes off very posh and disinterested in Bojji’s business. She even asks a guard if he can understand her/ what she’s saying to him. 

But later on in the anime we find out that Queen Hiling put in a great deal of effort to get along with her new stepson, even going so far as to learn sign language to communicate with the boy! Where in the beginning she seems least interested in his condition, we later find out that she’s been healing his wounds the whole time. 

Underneath it all though, what seemed like a wicked stepmother at first turned out to be a loving support character. She breaks that stereotype Disney so famously sets up. 


Recall how Bebin was a dick to Bojji during his sword match with Daida… letting Bojji get the sh*t beat out of? A few times he says how he doesn’t like Bojji/doesn’t see him being fit for a king. 

And yet… he cares for the boy. 


We find out that Bebin overheard plans set out by Bosse to kill the prince. Yes, he wants his own son dead. Also yes, Bosse isn’t dead… sort of. But that conversation comes later! In that moment, Bebin tells Kage, whom he imprisoned, to sneak into Bojji’s backpack and protect the boy. 

It’s a rather welcoming development. Bebin looks like he could be a Disney villain, but again that’s another cliché this anime breaks. Snakes are considered evil in most stories, but here they are messengers who closely watch the royal family. So while Bebin may not think Bojji has what it takes to be king, he does recognize how f*cked up the situation has gotten for him; Bebin’s morals are in check. 


Speaking of Bebin and serpents, when Bojji was little he found, rescued, and befriended a twin-headed snake named Mitsumata, and he talks! When Bojji feels lost, he would sometimes go to the snake (who became giant by the way) for consultation. 

Mitsumata deserves a mention because he really does give some of the best life advice, like “There are many who cherish you“. Honestly that itself got me emotional. I mean he looks like a boss monster from some tabletop/video game! Yet another cliché broken. 

I’d keep mentioning character changes but Hiling and Bebin were the most jarring to me, and honestly discussing every character would take a whole other post. 


One character’s development I’ll keep talking about though is best boy Bojji. So he’s pushed into a giant hole and dies right? Obviously not… (what protagonist character dies halfway through?) because Kage saves him with a handy rope, although now they’re stuck in the underworld. 

Bojji is very disturbed by Domas’ betrayal (who wouldn’t?) and feels as though the whole kingdom is against him. But Kage is very supportive and reassures Bojji he’s not alone. But what do they do now? Bojji is clearly too weak to take on his tyrant father who possessed his brother Daida (yeah it’s a long story, serves that brat right though). 

So they ask the King of the Underworld, Desher, for help. He looks like a typical villain, and brushes them off but recommends another guy teach them. Sooo the pair finds this guy, Despa, who’s elegant and the far more attractive brother of Desher. He refused at first, but all that gold Kage stole came in handy when bribing him. 


The kingdom starts to crumble; Bosse tries to assassinate Hiling but her guard Dorshe is tough as nails and fends off monsters. Bosse also has the conflicted Apeas on his side as well as the ominous witch mirror mirror off the wall, Miranjo, who appears to be pulling the strings. It’d take forever to go over every little detail and event that happens so I’m trying to keep it brief! 

The side characters take front stage for a while, the focus going away from Bojji and there’s surprisingly a good amount of flashbacks, which may annoy some people. I’ll be honest I started to lose interest around halfway to three quarters through the anime mainly because of this. But it does pick back up and manages to keep surprising me.


So Bojji and Kage stay with Despa for some time. Kage does house chores while Bojji gets special training we hardly see. There’s a hilarious scene where Bojji attempts to make food for the three of them and does an absolutely horrendous job, but the others try it and make the greatest of expressions of dismay. 

Turns out giants can withstand poison… so Bojji can eat pretty much anything. 

We as the audience wait patiently with Kage as Bojji trains his hardest each and every day with Despa. Poor Bojji comes out of the giant wooden doors so exhausted he collapses onto a lil dolly Kage wheels over to him, but at least he gets a meal and a nice bath every day. 

At the start of his intensive training, Bojji is presented with every weapon he could possibly imagine. But which one does he choose? Swords are too heavy, so what is there? 

A rapier of course! Which I guess is a type of sword, but it’s perfect for Bojji as a non-lethal weapon he can quickly jab at his enemies. 


I’m about to chop through a lot of content… so Bojji and Kage make their way back to the kingdom, with resistance from Deshers army. They’re aided by none other than Domas the traitor and Hokuru, who swear their lives to Bojji. Domas comically throws himself literally head first off a staircase to show his support, but Bojji’s not so easy to forgive, and who could blame him? 

Back at the castle a group of thugs were released and cause havoc for Hiling and the guards, one of them being Ouken the immortal, the deranged insane brother of Despa and Desher. 


Perhaps the most interesting villain next to Bosse and Miranjo is Ouken, whose immortality made him go insane. Silent and suited in silver armor with a creepy mask with horns, he looks like he came straight out of a FromSoftware game. He goes on a rampage in the village, killing several people and meeting Bojji for a showdown. 

Unfortunately for Bojji, Ouken is his worst nemesis, and the poor boy can’t cause harm to him besides a few flinching jabs from his rapier. And this all happens in front of an observing Miranjo and Kage. 

There’s something sinister about a silent monster who can’t be killed. There comes a point where Ouken literally kills Despa, Kage, and even Bojji, impaling the child through the chest. It’s a jaw-dropping scene. But don’t worry, the trio won’t die that easily, because Hiling knows some nifty healing magic! 

Eventually all the main guards and side characters get in on the action and none stand close to a chance to defeat Ouken, except for one. 


Along comes Daida, or rather deceased king Bosse who possessed his son thanks to Miranjo. Maintaining the strength of his former self, Bosse crushes Ouken over and over with a ridiculously large club, and stuffs him in a friggin rock so he can’t heal. And just like that, Ouken is defeated, sort of. 

The guards are all ready to defend Bojji, but alas, Bojji faces his father one on one. It’s a really impactful scene, as it takes a great amount of courage for Bojji to attack his father. 

And it’s completely one-sided. Bosse may be strong but Bojji is far faster, and he takes his father’s life, kind of. Bosse just sort of cried of pain and both him and Miranjo just sort of die then and there and their spirits get eaten by that dreadful demon. 


One of the major aspects of Ranking of Kings I thought was used way too often was all the flashbacks. I understand they help refine these characters, but too often it just slogs on. Miranjo is one of those villains we’re supposed to hate at first. After all, she let the baddies into the castle, tricked Daida into getting possessed, and assisted with trying to kill Hiling. 

But her backstory involving Bosse drills into us the notion that she was a victim, as she lost everything and only wanted to make Bosse happy, in which she told him who to fight next to serve his giant ego (get it? “giant”, he’s a giant… I’m sorry). But flashbacks would take a whole other post just to talk about. 

What we’re given is a saaad girl revived from Daida telling the demon to revive her and he does so without penalty because… they were childhood friends?

I thought that was kinda wild. Like does that serve any significance to the story in any way? Probably not, but it covers a very minor plot hole as to why the demon didn’t curse Daida.

And even wilder is when Daida asks Miranjo to marry him. Like what? He’s like 10.

Anyway they all just forgive her for her misdeeds, but Despa does tell her to make up for it through acts of kindness to others so that’s sorta neat.


Daida’s character does a complete 180; getting possessed and seeing how corrupt his dad was turned him into less of a sh*thead, and so he relinquishes his throne to Bojji, who’s one nervous boy. And he reluctantly accepts and everybody cheers. 

But being a king is hard.

Being a king is especially hard for a disabled boy.

And being a king is extremely hard for a disabled boy whose only true friend disappeared. 

The story could have honestly ended at the conclusion of Bojji becoming king.

But being a king isn’t Bojji’s calling, and Hiling helps him realize he can do whatever he wants.

So what does he do?

He becomes an adventurer of course! Finding a lonesome Kage, they mend their friendship and decide to start their very own kingdom. 


Or is it? Some questions are left unanswered but… yeah, no it’s probably finished. 


What did I think of Ranking of Kings? That’s tough to say, other than that it’s near perfect with a high score of 9/10.

The story is fantastic. WIT makes you think it’s just another fantasy, but it breaks several clichés rooted deep in classic fairytales; snakes aren’t bad & not all stepmoms are wicked are just a couple examples that come to mind. Ranking of Kings also brings fresh new elements to the table like… having a protagonist that’s disabled. 

The first episode has you hooked and holds on to you for dear life. Ranking of Kings creates some very gut-wrenching scenes that play out in such a way that cause a strong emotional response for the audience; it did for me anyway. 

While I felt the plot did dip a bit near the middle to three quarters through, it does pick back up and remind us it has purpose and a moral. 


The characters are mostly a colorful cast. While I didn’t particularly like all the flashbacks or how jarring some characters’ personalities change, they serve their purpose for the plot. While most of the cast are human, it would’ve been nice to see a few more colorful nonhuman characters, however they exist there nonetheless. 

The OP and closings are all fantastic, especially the second OP which takes on a bit of a more serious tone than the first. 

The visual style is very unique for an anime. The colors are mostly bright and remind me of a child’s cartoon even though it’s certainly not. It could be a nod to old fantasy cartoons as well. Either way it stands out among many others. 

Ranking of Kings is a charming fantasy anime that deserves more attention and a must add to your watch list if you haven’t already. Thanks again for reading and I hope you’re all having a fantastic May!

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