Darwin’s Game refers to both the title of an anime, and the mobile phone game that this anime revolves around. Darwin’s Game is the ultimate high risk high reward game in which participants fight each other, often to the death, for money.
Upon beginning the game, each player gets a special ability, called a sigil, that differs from player to player. Some sigils seem fairly useless in combat, while others seem designed to be strong. Darwin’s Game’s protagonist is Kaname Sudo, a high schooler who stumbles upon Darwin’s Game after being invited by a friend who was a participant. Kaname gets caught up in Darwin’s Game without realizing the high stakes and ultimately ends up scrambling around trying his best not to die. When players die, their bodies disappear and a human shaped indentation is left in the ground.
While some sigils seem stronger than others, the most important components to winning in Darwin’s Game revolves around creativity and strategy. Many sigils are flexible and can be used in different ways. For instance, one sigil allows the user to manipulate wires, strings, and chains.
This user, Shuka, uses these objects in order to kill others as well as swing around and cover ground quickly, and even as defense. Kaname begins to rise to the top of Darwin’s Game’s leaderboard due to his sigil which allows him to replicate tools, as well as his ability to adapt and react to others quickly.
The name of the game, (and Anime), is a reference to Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution, in particular survival of the fittest. In the anime, only those who are more fit will survive and thrive with the benefits of the game. Kaname initially is content to just survive, but begins to question why such a game exists. Kaname questions the motive of the gamemaster in particular.
This anime is filled to the brim with action, which is no surprise as the premise of Darwin’s Game is for two parties to fight one and another. While of course this is a fantasy, the fighting is done in a realistic setting as opposed to animes like Pokemon. Guns and blades cause heavy destruction and death. I would recommend watching only if you are able to stomach this kind of violence.
This anime also is very psychological. Kaname starts off by himself with no one to trust, but must combine forces with other strangers at times. And because of the nature of the game, trusting the wrong person can result in death. Kaname must do his best to make allies that he can trust, while not falling for traps.
Strangers even become allies to Kaname such as Rain pictured above. Kaname is fighting in a world in which he does not completely understand too. Events occur and he must figure out how to survive on the fly.
A strong point of this anime is characterization. Each character has a different motive for entering Darwin’s Game, and a different motive for continuing to participate. Kaname begins as an ordinary human, accidentally entering and just surviving. But others thrive as apex predators who enjoy winning. Some are not fighters but prefer to run away and hide. Some people want revenge. There is a heavy dosage of complex characters linked together by the game.
Darwin’s Game is based on a manga that is currently ongoing. The anime can be found on Netflix, and is 1 season long. It aired in 2020, but there is no update on a potential season 2. There is enough material to potentially have a season 2 though. If you watch the anime and enjoy it, I recommend checking the manga out too as there is plenty of content beyond season 1 within the manga.
Photos by author
Writer: Timothy Jung