Battle Game in 5 Seconds did not have a good start, neither did it have a great end. It did, however, have some great episodes in the middle. In a rollercoaster of a season 1, the show managed to grab attention for a fleeting moment and then swiftly moved away from what made it great. Let’s talk about how the show did in this review.
Battle Game in 5 Seconds Overview
Battle Game in 5 Seconds was a Death Game style anime produced by Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions in collaboration with Studio A-CAT. Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions is known for producing several well-known anime series of the past, such as Monster and Pokemon. Still, it has a very hit-or-miss record depends on the material it adapts and the showrunners. On the other hand, Studio A-CAT is mostly an unproven commodity. The series is based upon a web manga written by Saizou Harawata.
The series has several names depending on where you live, some of them being- Battle in 5 Seconds After Meeting, Dea5, and Deatte 5-byou de Battle in original Japanese. If you would like to start this anime from the beginning, I recommend starting our reviews from Episode 1 since this is a series that we covered episodically and extensively. Alternatively, you can also check out all episodes here.
– Battle Game in 5 Seconds review does not contain spoilers –
Battle Game in 5 Seconds Review- The Plot
“It was just a usual morning. Akira Shiroyanagi, a high schooler who loves games and Konpeito (Japanese sweets), has suddenly been dragged into a battlefield by a mysterious girl who calls herself Mion. The participants are told that they are erased from the family register, involved in an experiment, and gained certain powers. Akira is determined to win the game with his newfound powers and destroy the organization. Armed with a power no one expects and his ‘brain’ skills, the new period of intelligence battle begins!”
The story in this anime is decent, although one might think it to be formulaic when it first begins. The crux of the story is founded upon a tried and true anime genre of Death Game. The genre has a bunch of tropes that come with it, some of which Battle Game in 5 Seconds follows and others that it subverts. The element of the show that makes it stand out from its peers is its power system.
Every participant in the said Death Game receives an ability to aid them in their murdering needs, which is standard. However, the ability that the main character receives is one that I had neither seen nor heard of before, which was the main selling point of the show. Akira, the show’s protagonist, simultaneously wields all and no abilities at the same time. His ability is that he can have whatever he can make the other person believe his powers are.
This leads to many fun instances where he confuses the hell out of everyone he faces. The show also pays a lot of attention to establishing how his powers operate in the initial episodes. While the series doesn’t start very well, as soon as Akira’s powers start getting involved more and more, the show’s quality improves drastically in the next few episodes. From a below-average first episode, the series really starts soaring by the time the second round of the death game comes to an end.
Then starts the third round of the game, with Akira and Yuuri, the show’s main female character, assisting Team Green’s efforts to thwart their rival faction, Team Red’s efforts to kill everyone they come across and establish their dominance. Here, the show tries to do more than the story can handle, and thus the effort turns out to be a half-baked one.
While the Red vs Green arc was still an interesting one, the mind games that gave Akira his previous victories are cast aside now as he obtains a cheat code to gain whatever power he wants essentially. He uses this to wreak havoc upon the entire battlefield, and thus the show loses a lot of the stakes that it painstakingly set up in some earlier episodes. The show also commits the cardinal sin of killing off a character only to show them alive a few episodes later. Resurrection in a death game of all things is uncalled for.
The battles between characters here are also very dull and predictable. The show tries to do a lot but ends up not delivering on any promises that it made. The resolution of the entire conflict is also all too convenient, and everything came to a head entirely too soon, killing the show’s pacing. Battle Game in 5 Seconds also breaks a few of the rules it established at the start, making you wonder if there was a point in watching any of this.
Despite all this, the show has this delightful throwback mid-00s vibe to it which I talk about more here. The show, at times, felt like watching an anime when I was 14, which felt great. However, the show didn’t end well as the series lost all of its steam by its end and came to a screeching halt. I wouldn’t expect a Battle Game in 5 Seconds Season 2 to come along any time soon.
Battle Game in 5 Seconds Review- The Characters
There are some real gems in the cast of Battle Game in 5 Seconds. The protagonist, Akira Shiroyonagi, is almost a psychopath in the ways he operates and thinks. He is a genius who will do almost everything to win without regard to how his actions affect others. He is a refreshing change from many other protagonists who are the epitome of good, as he still does good things but only when they benefit him.
His direct counterpart is Yuuri Amagake, a kind-hearted girl who almost lost her life saving someone she didn’t care about. She acts as the perfect counterpart to Akira in every way, and her power is also one that complements her hardy nature. Battle Game in 5 Seconds tried to introduce some romantic tension between these two characters, but it didn’t do it effectively. They have good chemistry as friends, but it remains unclear if Akira is manipulating her due to his nature.
Battle Game in 5 Seconds makes us root for our heroes by introducing some really effective villains at the beginning, and its instantly hatable villains make for one of this show’s best qualities. That is until it almost butchers the main bad guys of this season, Team Red bosses Ichi and Kuroiru, by giving them a manipulative back story and making them falter when they needed their power the most. The show does suffer from overpowered main character syndrome.
The side cast is also very strong, featuring some solid and distinct personalities like Kirisaki, Kumagiri, Tatara, and Rin. The characters introduced in later arcs, including the Team Blue and Green leaders, are also fascinating, but we don’t see much of them. I despise Mion, however, as her voice wants me to pull my skin off every time she opens her mouth. Don’t stick around till the end of an episode if you don’t want your ears to bleed.
Battle Game in 5 Seconds Review- Art and Music
Battle Game in 5 Seconds really lacks in both of these departments. The art style works for the throwback effect that it is trying to pull in the earlier episodes, but things get out of hand as soon as any action happens on screen. The worst part of it is that the creators knew that they would have to animate battles before starting on the anime, as it is present in the show’s name. The show does not look very good.
The worst offender comes to our screen in one of the later episodes, as the series uses 2D and 3D animation simultaneously in some parts, presumably to save money. The effects stand out a lot, disrupt your immersion from the show, and, speaking frankly, look absolutely horrendous. It would’ve been fine if showrunners only applied the 3D in a specific instance, but the series’ main antagonist is animated like that, and he looks like hot garbage. It’s a problem when you’re laughing at a character at what is supposed to be a pivotal emotional moment.
The opening theme is unexpectedly delightful, containing many elements from the ’00s style anime again, which I found refreshing. All the rest of the music was unremarkable and already forgotten as soon as it left the year. Evidently, the show didn’t have the resources to do everything that it wanted to do. The series looked unwatchable by the last two episodes.
Battle Game in 5 Seconds fails to impress despite an intriguing concept and a great run of episodes in the middle. The animation continuously let it down at every moment, and the show struggled to get going and come to an end. Oh well, we still have the manga, I guess.Follow us on Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.