I tend to relate anime and manga to their titles, using these normally short descriptors to take a guess at the nature of the story that is awaiting me. Darwin’s game isn’t giving away much, though with the content witnessed so far, one can presume that it revolves around the concept of evolution and man’s ascendance or something in that vain.
Sudo Kaname receives a message from good friend Kyoda, asking for his immediate assistance. Kyoda would disappear soon after that, stranding Kaname with a proposal from a mysterious app known as Darwin’s game.
When he flippantly chooses to engage with the it, Darwin’s game proves to be anything but fun instead throwing Kaname into a world of murder and mayhem, in which the streets of his world are colored with the blood of the desperate on the daily basis, various combatants around the world seeking to engage in battle and take each other’s lives for financial gain.
As the police cracks down on these mysterious incidents, slowly beginning to piece together the pattern within a random set of supposed deaths, Kaname must face a difficult decision: kill, earn points and get rich, or run, hide and await the oncoming death that results from failure.
Whatever the outcome, Darwin’s game wins.
I didn’t expect to make it past the first chapter of Darwin’s game. Why? Because it’s called Darwin’s game, and truth be told I have had it with anime and manga about young individuals disappearing into a virtual world to enjoy a great adventure
What drew me towards Btooom! was the anime’s choice to to approach its story from the reverse, engineering gaming mechanisms within the real world rather that thrusting its characters into a gaming environment.
IN that regard, I was more than ready to give Darwin’s game a chance once I realized that I would be utilizing gaming elements within the real world, rather than running away to a virtual realm.
The plot is actually quite similar to the T.V series Chosen in which a lawyer finds a box at his front door one random morning, containing a gun and the picture of the man he would have to find and kill within two days, lest bad things happen to his family, even while he evaded the eye of those other individuals who had received similar boxes but with his photograph in it.
Chosen created a moral dilemma in its approach; you have all these normal people going around murdering each other, but with little choice in the matter, what with most having to make the difficult decision, choosing between the life of a random stranger and that of their own kin and kith.
Darwin’s game isn’t quite as deeply layered and focuses largely around the financial rewards involved with mastering the game; but it does introduce the same level of thrill, in a character that must quickly adapt to the new threat in his life and make some difficult decisions especially regarding his blood thirsty pursuers.
Darwin’s Game revolves around a Kill or be killed concept, allowing players to challenge each other for points, each battle- whose initiation immediately teleports a player to their target-only ending either after one player kills the other or the time runs out, at which point that individual considered to be on the losing side is eliminated by the game (pixelated, it’s actually more gruesome than it sounds).
Earned points can be used to activate one’s seal, a special gift availed to each player upon their entrance into the game (categorized in classes), make purchases of special items or be converted into cash to be withdrawn from an ATM.
As such it is only those most murderous individuals that are availed the opportunity to enjoy immense wealth and all of life’s pleasures.
Ten chapters in, the manga continues along what might be termed as the introduction arc, bringing our hero Kaname into situations through which he-and us- may come to understand the Darwin’s game world.
With the cast still restricted to the bare minimum, the manga is none the less commendable for its pretty strong start, entertaining purely through Kaname’s induction experience into the game, that and the detectives slowly coming to the knowledge of the vast amount of bloody deaths that might be occurring in the shadows.
With minimal character evolution and world building at this point in time-as would be expected from the first ten chapters of a manga- Darwin’s Game is progressing successful; the art is gorgeous, the dialogue informative and the pacing appropriate.
Whether Darwin’s Game matures into a true gem remains to be seen; for now however, the manga is more than worth the read.
+RATING: 7/10, I can see a future with Darwin’s Game, though that all depends on how the series progresses.