“Ranking of Kings” is a relatively new anime that premiered in late 2021 based on the 2017 fantasy manga. The plot of the show revolves around the main character Bojji, a young prince training to become the lord of the kingdom one day, which his father rules. Despite living in the lap of luxury as the prince of a thriving kingdom, Bojji’s life is filled with hardship, as he possesses several serious disabilities, including deafness and stunted physical development. Bojji makes friends with Kage, an orphaned outcast living on the edge of the kingdom, and starts to go down a path of self-discovery and triumph as he grows into his position as a leader.
The art style of “Ranking of Kings” is simple yet deliberate. Its bright colors and plain artistic choices give the show an appearance that makes it seem like it is intended for a younger audience. While this may be true, it discusses themes and serious topics that are relevant to people from all walks of life. In an age when media consumed by children is often characterized by an array of loud noises, neon colors and weak plotlines, the anime stands out in the best ways. Every character has a unique and memorable design, clearly displaying the meticulous level of thought that went into the production of the show.
Without delving too deeply into the show’s plot, “Ranking of Kings” boasts a perfectly designed soft magic system. For the uninitiated, a soft magic system in a fantasy setting is one where the magic exists without any concrete rules or understanding of how it works. Magical things happen just because. Fantasy stories that employ magical systems akin to this often run the risk of feeling disconnected, because their soft magic systems feel like they conveniently fill plot holes. The writing of this anime, however, safeguards this issue by making the story feel connected and whole. While the audience isn’t knowledgeable about the inner workings of the show’s fantasy setting, it stills feel plausible and well stitched together.
Lastly, the show does an excellent job of portraying a disabled character in a way that doesn’t trivialize his disability; it allows him to find ways to overcome the drawbacks. In the show, many of the protagonist’s issues stem from the fact that he is disabled. His disabilities lead to him being bullied and infantilized by people who clearly mean a lot to him. However, he is able to overcome his struggles through the help of his friends and by not giving up. His disabilities never go away, but he can live with them and still command the respect he deserves.
Overall, “Ranking of Kings” is a great show that offers a meticulously crafted fantasy universe and a protagonist that struggles with very real problems. I rate it 4.5 out of five crabs.