First Impression: Ranking of Kings: The Treasure Chest of Courage

Best boy Bojji is back in Ranking of Kings: The Treasure Chest of Courage, which in episode one features two shorts. The first, “Kage’s Errand,” begins with Despa becoming despondent after discovering an age spot on his face. In fact, he’s so upset that he won’t continue training Bojji unless he’s able to eat a shuddercap, a type of mushroom known for beautifying faces. Kage takes on the task, but finding the fungus to be a rare commodity, has to head into a forest, where a fearsome monster he’s been warned of may not be the creature he originally envisions. In the second short, Despa is again causing trouble (“Oh, Despa”). He demands a higher payment out of Bojji and Kage, who then try to find work to make up for the shortfall. They finally find something that Bojji can excel in, but when a young girl in need comes to their business, the two must decide if they should treat her differently than any other customer.

A closely held secret until just the past few days, we now know that this season is actually a “special series” featuring a collection of shorts. The episodes, reportedly ten in all, seem to be adapting bonus chapters and perhaps other material from the manga that didn’t make it into the original series. So is it less meaningful because of that? Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean that the series is lacking. The first episode focuses on possibly the most lovable characters in the entire series—Bojji, Kage, and Despa—and getting to see original animation depicting this trio is an absolute treat. That itself is fantastic. Both shorts seem to be written as fables (much like the original series as a whole), with the first giving lessons in kindness and helping others and the latter in how to treat those who are in need (which is ultimately with thought and love rather than with an easy solution in mind). It’s lovely, lovely stuff. The heart of the original series is what most struck a chord with me when I watched it, so I could see myself continuing with these episodes, which seem to brush aside the fantastic creativity of the series and the seriousness that the story for lighter but heartfelt material, though the opening and closing (Aimer!) do manage to get the energy going!

This season also may reflect Wit getting a jump on Cloverworks (Horimiya) and Bibury (The Quintessential Quintuplets) by engaging in a trend of adapting material from manga that didn’t make it into the completed anime series. I’m not a reader of the Ranking of Kings manga, so I can’t be sure, but in my judgment, the anime didn’t feel rushed (I can’t say the same for the aforementioned other shows receiving the same treatment). This new season doesn’t seem to be featuring stories necessary to fill in gaps. I think that’s why this anime may be a success; instead of a weird conglomeration of episodes meant to complete the overall tale, this “side story” could just be a nice addition with a different tone. Think of Full Metal Panic!? Fumoffu, which may be the best part of the entire FMP franchise. While I don’t think we’ll be able to say the same about this season, it does appear to be a magical addition. These shorts seem to fit well into the whole storybook feel of the series. In short, The Treasure Chest of Courage looks to be an appropriate addition to one of the best anime of the past decade.

Ranking of Kings: The Treasure Chest of Courage is available to stream on Crunchyroll.


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