Review: Joker Game

Joker Game pic.jpg

Well… this review is ALMOST an entire season late. But I have been putting it off and now that I’m actually back to writing I thought I’d share my thoughts on what I considered one of the more interesting series of Spring 2016.

Once again, a bit of background information about the series. Joker Game was originally a Japanese novel going by the same name that was apparently pretty good. It was later adapted into a Japanese Live Action film that did not get very good reviews on IMDB, but that may also be because of a language barrier issue. But I mean… Japanese live action right:P. Now it has also been adapted into an anime, showing how many think that their was a lot of potential to be had from the original novel.

Joker game is based around an group called D-agency, a secret spy agency during World War II Japan. They prided itself in its secrecy, top notch training, and the idea that a spy should never kill, or commit suicide. It’s an idea that we do not really take into consideration since most of the “spy” movies we see are based around crazy trained spies who discover something they need to stop and will kill as many people as required to stop it.

Joker Game on the other hand is more about the proper work of a spy, collecting information from a network of resources, as well as being extremely intelligent and resourceful themselves to aid the home country. Obviously since it’s an entertainment medium, they choose some of the more “exciting” events that occur to show us.

The anime is a series of short stories which goes into the subtle actions of the D-Agency and the individuals who work for it, switching between characters after they have split and gone their own ways to be spies in other countries, and even in their own country of Japan.

The short story style of the anime fits very well with the format of anime, splitting the stories of one or two episodes of 20 minutes. This allows for the one story to be covered without having an awkward transition in between, but also a means to not drag out a story on for too long, a reason why I think the episodic format of anime turned out better than the movie. Other than that, I unfortunately do not know enough about the other forms of this work to make a proper comparison.

It starts of enticing with a two episode introduction, explaining the reason they do what they do, and the necessary measures in doing so. All this while not chalking it up to random exposition blabber that happens in most first episodes. It then further goes into the mind-games that they all have to become a part of to get what they want.

The animation set the tone of the series very well, with what seems to be a mix of a more older style and newer style. While this might be easier to do with backgrounds, this is also true with their character design and art style. This is opposed to sticking a modern looking character into a World War II themed anime and making it look awkward. Color scheme is also done well, not making anything too vibrant as some fantasy shows would, and having what seems like a dark aura lingering consistently. But they achieve this by what seems to me is choosing the setting properly, and using less noticeable colors rather than making the colors seemed washed out.

I typically skip the OP and ED of anime, but both styles of music also isn’t that pop thing that people listen to consistently on a regular basis. With my lack of understanding in music, I would assume that it also has an older style to it…

My personal opinion of this anime!

I liked this anime a lot. It was one of the anime’s last season that I think almost anyone could enjoy, and it was executed very well. The subtle things that they change such as color and sound (or lack thereof a times) just add that little bit more depth to it. Each episode introduces new characters, new settings, and new schemes. Shifting perspectives to the antagonist at times. Some episodes even only relate to D-Agency in the most obscure ways, making them more unnoticeable, which is the point of the spy, is it not?

If you like short stories or mind-games, and don’t mind the medium of anime (why are you on this blog if you do), then I would personally recommend it to you. Even to someone who consistently watches action or moe anime, I would recommend this to them so that maybe they can take a step back and appreciate something like this as well, and maybe further delve into other genres that are less main-stream.

 

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