Joker Game Review — B-

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Spies go spying.

Most anime tend to avoid the period between the Sengoku era and modern times.  Which is why I’m always happy to see a show like Joker Game that takes place in the run-up to the second world war. It’s a collection of short stories about a number of Japan’s spies, many of them centered around the spy agency’s mysterious leader.

I especially liked the way many of the short stories were told, from the perspective of either the people being spied on or the people trying to catch the spies. It felt much more interesting than it would have if the stories were told from the spy’s perspective— you end up hoping much of the time that the spy will get caught. Which sadly never ends up happening.

Actually, that’s my biggest complaint. The spies are too good. Even when you think they’re about to get caught, it turned out that they just fooled everyone all along. The Japanese spies are invincible while the foreign spies always end up getting tricked.

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I suppose that’s standard fare for these types of shows. But when the show’s narrative is so morally ambiguous, and it’s clear that the spies aren’t supposed to be particularly virtuous, and especially since it’s clear that they’re actually supposed to be just an imitation of the foreign spy agencies, playing catch up, it doesn’t make sense that they’ll be so invincible. Plus it removes a lot of the tension… you know that the foreigners are always going to lose.

  • Storytelling – B – Liked the wide perspectives, variety of stories.
  • Voice – B – Again, liked how the main characters are hidden… like spies.
  • Characters – C – They switch out each episode, so most of them are fairly simple.
  • Attention Grab – B – Kept my attention.
  • Production – B – Looks fine.
  • Overall – B-

Recommendations – Senkou no Night Raid

3 thoughts on “Joker Game Review — B-

  1. IIRC the anime adapted the 1st 2 source novels of the D-Agency series, Joker Game & Double Joker. The author’s written 2 more instalments, Paradise Lost and Last Waltz.

    The anime website lists has a chronological timeline of the episodes, which aired in non-chronological order.
    http://jokergame.jp/story/

    1937 Autumn: D-Agency is formed.
    1939 Spring : Eps 1-2 (with Sakuma), Ep 12 (finale) 
    1939 Summer : Ep 6 (Asia Express with Tazaki)
    1939 Autumn : Ep 5 (London with Kaminaga)
    1940 Winter to Spring : Ep 7 (Cruise ship with Amari, Emma)
    1940 Spring : Ep 10 (Yuuki beats Price), Ep 3 (Hatano in Nazi France) 
    1940 Summer to Autumn: Eps 8-9 (Formation and failure of rival Wind Agency)
    1940 Autumn : Ep 11 (Miyoshi dies, Colonel Wulff investigates)
    1941 Summer : Ep 4 (Hajime in Shanghai)

    Also, this tumblr translates many official commentaries of the Joker Game anime. Enjoy!
    http://sekinosemimaru.tumblr.com/tagged/Joker-Game

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