Anime Best in Show

Review: Darwin’s Game Episode 1 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Darwin’s Game episode 1, “First Game,” Kaname Sudou’s routine high school life came to an abrupt end the instant he clicked on a link sent by his now missing friend. In perhaps the best example of why we need to be cautious about clicking on spam, a virtual snake with very real venom lunged from Kaname’s phone and planted its fangs in his neck. Though it knocked him unconscious, the event was so far outside his experience that he dismissed it as a hallucination brought on by exhaustion. That theory was severely tested that night as he was riding home on the train. A baseball mascot, armed with a huge carving knife, attacked him. Can Kaname stay alive long enough to realize he’s in deep trouble? Just what is that game he clicked on? And what’s it have to do with his missing friend?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Best Moment in the Show

Some people give up in this circumstance. I’m much more interested in the people like Kaname who don’t. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Kaname’s meeting with Shuka Karino went badly when he couldn’t convince her he was trustworthy. She tried to kill him. I guess as far as first dates go, it could have been worse. Maybe.

Kaname wasn’t completely unprepared. After his encounter with the mascot, and after listening to the words of his dead friend Kyoda, Kaname had tried to be smart. He’d brought a backpack with some survival tools, like an LED flashlight and a stun gun. He used the flashlight to temporarily blind Shuka and he tried to run out the door. Unfortunately, she had a remote control, and she sealed him in.

I liked Kaname’s thought processes as he tried to evade and think of a way to subdue her. His fear was realistic, as were his attempts to push it aside and think. What I particularly liked, though, was what happened when he realized he had nothing — no ideas, no effective weapons, and no way out.

I’m not a first responder. I’ve never been in the military. But I grew up on a farm, and I clearly remember several times that I almost died. More precisely: several times when I was almost killed. One time in particular felt very much like what Kaname experienced in my Best in Show moment. He had more or less given up. He was even justifying to himself that it was okay, because the game was unfair, he had tried his best, and he was tricked into playing it.

Shuka thought she had Kaname cornered. She didn’t know he’d completely changed his perspective. Good thing for him she didn’t! Capture from the Funimation stream.

Until another voice in his head said (36:28), “I don’t accept this!” He tried to argue with himself, but the voice was insistent — and it even chuckled at his other half’s feeble attempt to justify dying. It was in that moment that Kaname was able to think freely. It was in that instant he pushed aside any hopes or fears he had, and just tried to survive.

That bit of authenticity (at least that bit of harmony with my experience!) made it my Best in Show moment.

What did you think of the first episode? What was your Best in Show Moment? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Review: Darwin’s Game Episode 1 Best in Show

    1. That’s a long story, but since you asked, I’ll give you the TL/DR version.

      There were two livestock incidents and one bone-headed equipment incident.

      The first was when I was probably nine or ten years old. I made a stupid mistake. One of my dad’s jobs on the family farm was the pig herd, and I was helping clean out the pig pens. It was piglet season. To keep the mom from crushing the piglets to death (yeah, that’s a thing), the momma pig would stay in a steel crate. Looking back, it was probably cruel, but it kept the piglets alive. The routine was my dad would let momma out to get a drink of water, and I’d scrap out the pig crap.

      It was one of my first experience with delegation.

      I was too slow, and momma came back from getting her drink. I was between her and her piglets. She charged.

      Did you know pigs can be carnivorous? I’ve seen pigs gang up and actually eat another pig. It was the darnedest thing! And when I was nine or ten, a momma pig want to eat me.

      Fortunately, my dad had quick reflexes. He tells me he pulled me to safety, though the last thing I remember was the sound of her huffing (it wasn’t an oink; it was more guttural) and her charging. It was that moment of “Well, now what?” that I remember. I was too young to start forming plans, but it was the first time I felt that mind calming that comes with mortal danger.

      The second was when I was working on the dairy feed lot. It was breeding season, so the Holstein bull was among the cows. I was stupid and forgot; I was probably daydreaming or something. Next thing I knew, I had no where to go and 2000 pounds of angry bull that wanted me crushed. This time, I remember everything getting calm. I had no idea what to do, since the thing could out run me and I knew it. i still don’t know what gave me the idea, but I managed to climb high enough onto the fence to get out of its way.

      It doesn’t sound dramatic at all, but at the time, it felt transformative.

      The last time was mechanical. We had machines that would chop corn, stalks and all, and throw it into a wagon. We’d drive the wagons back to the silo, where we’d dump the silage into the mouth of this machine we just called a blower. It was connected to a tractor’s power take off (PTO). It would take the silage and blow it 100 feet straight up through a pipe so it would fill the silo.

      It was a very powerful machine. And ours jammed a lot. We weren’t big on preventative maintenance or safety equipment. So when the wagon jammed, I jumped up on the lip that the blower and tried to clear the blockage. If my tennis shoe had slipped, the blower was powerful enough to convert my entire body to a chunky spray that would have mixed easily with the silage.

      Can you imagine being a coroner trying to sort that out?

      It was the moment of realization that I remember most clearly. A tiny part of my brain just started laughing at the other parts. It pointed out exactly what I’d done wrong and it calmly told me how to fix it. It really was like a separate voice — very much like what this episode showed.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t end up with any kind of superpower like Kaname. On the plus side, I didn’t have to fight a deranged mascot to get off the blower!

      Anyway, such is life on a family farm!

      1. Good lord, crow!!. I didn’t know that pigs are willing to eat other pigs. Or have the mother pig separate from the piglets. Yeah, I know its that machine from universal solider where Van D says that catch phrase “you’re discharged sarge” to Dolph Lund.

        Geebus, though. Glad luck were on your side them times.

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