In the anime world, a protagonist overlooked by society is probably one of the most typical things you’d see in the genre. But “Ranking of Kings” is a powerful and inspiring take on the classic royal tale that subverts expectations at nearly every turn. Washed in beautiful, bright colors, the series pays homage to old fantasy aesthetics through painted backgrounds and fluffy character design. The main character, Bojji, is destined for greatness, but even his loved ones can’t see past his disabilities to consider him a worthy successor to the throne. The combination of fantasy genre tropes and manga-style animation creates a unique final result that positions the “Ranking of Kings” in its own anime lane.
The world-building of “Ranking of Kings” is also a vital part of its unique qualities. In addition to Kage, a large variety of creatures and monsters make up the world that Bojji finds himself in. From very large, triple-headed snakes to armies of orcs from the underworld, the series has fun shaping its universe with a genuinely interesting canon. As the title suggests, there is a tier list ranking system for all kings in the world of “Ranking of Kings.” Whoever becomes the top-ranked ruler of their kingdom gets to pick an item from the Divine Treasure Vault, which happens to contain many magical and powerful weapons. The ranking is not exactly a priority for Bojji, but the surrounding context provides another layer of intrigue, one that the series plays the long game with.
Most importantly, “Ranking of Kings” is a blend of tones that seeks to understand all of its characters rather than chastise them.