Battle Game in 5 Seconds is quite an intriguing name for an anime, isn’t it? It sparks attention. Sadly, after watching the anime’s first episode I realized it’s far less fascinating or impressive than the name suggests.
Same Old Shtick
I honestly was a bit concerned upon starting the anime, as it felt like it tried so hard not to be unique or different among other series so far, and unfortunately I was right. The first few minutes introduce us to its lead, Akira Shiroyanagi, “a high schooler who loves games and Konpeito” (a type of candy). That description was pulled directly from the anime’s synopsis, and it just about describes this preset main character quite well.
When we meet Akira, we learn he doesn’t go out much and he loves to play video games. So much so that he’s always seen gaming wherever he goes, forgoing the need for human interaction. As a result, he’s unsurprisingly tagged as a weirdo at school. Yet, he’s also somehow at the top of his class in every subject simply because learning and cramming formulas, dates, and such is mere child’s play compared to the brilliance needed in learning and mastering every game mechanic I suppose.
Early on in the episode, Akira’s daily life is interrupted when a hulking humanoid monster out to kill him surfaces. He’s surprisingly able to fend it off and even kill it, but his efforts are for naught when a mysterious girl named Mion appears and murders him anyway. He then somehow wakes up hours later to find out he’s been randomly selected to participate in a super-powered battle game. A lot is left in the open about who Mion is and what purpose this game serves. However, that really isn’t the focus of the episode as it quickly plunges viewers straight into the meat and potatoes of the anime.
Akira is granted his ability and is immediately forced to fight another poor super-powered rando, and after a five-minute battle, he unsurprisingly wins. The anime oddly chooses this moment to then reveal his power: “Whatever your opponent thinks your ability is.” The section where Akira uses this ability in the episode to trick his opponent is played out like he’s some brilliant tactician where in reality, he simply used his elaborate powers on a confused and simple minded opponent. What’s more, it’s quite difficult for viewers to appreciate the fight when the main character’s ability is kept secret until the end. Consequently, the whole scenario felt more like a contrived plot twist than a brilliant battle of wits.
What I don’t like about Battle Game in 5 Seconds so far is what makes it so bare bones. We’re led to believe the stereotypical main character is a brilliant strategist simply because he plays a lot of video games, so obviously, it applies to dangerous real-life scenarios as well. What makes this specifically bland is because we’ve seen this trope done to death already, especially during the early 2010s era of anime seen in Btoom! and SAO, as well as in more modern anime like High Rise Invasion and Darwin’s game.
Middling at Best
However, I will admit that the second episode was a lot better as it adds a bit of substance to the anime through the introduction of its second lead character, Yuri Amagake. We get to see her past, personality, and her motivations which are a lot more grounded compared to the dull main character’s. Still, I don’t feel like the premise so far provides anything special or unique, and I suspect the rest of the anime will continue to follow the ‘basic protagonist outsmarts his opponent’ battle anime trope going forward.
As for its production quality, Battle Game in 5 Seconds doesn’t amaze me in that department either. The character designs aren’t particularly attractive or unique as the overall aesthetic feels dated and, again, is more akin to what you’ll see in an early 2010s anime. Though I will give credit to its catchy ending theme song “Makeibe Jikkyō Play” by 15-sai to Seiko Ōmori.
When it comes down to it, Battle Game in 5 Seconds is far from unique so far. It doesn’t do anything special, nor doesn’t provide anything new. However, its only saving grace is its potential to provide the dumb, mindless, self-insert fun seen in its older inspirations. Though whether or not the anime will even do that sufficiently is yet to be seen. Before then, though, I’ll probably go read the Btoom! manga instead.
Battle Game in 5 Seconds is available to stream now on Crunchyroll
Have you seen Battle Game in 5 Seconds? What do you think of my impressions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.