PSA: there is anti-Korean, historical revisionist dogwhistle in Ousama Ranking/Ranking of Kings that suggests that the author of the manga is a Japanese nationalist
I understand that this may fly over many people's heads, especially those who are not from Japan, but I'm from there and unfortunately I have spent enough time on the internet and around IRL nationalists to recognize their beliefs and talking points. I'll explain my reasoning below.
In episode 18 of Ousama Ranking/Ranking of Kings, we get introduced to the story of Houma and Gyakuza. Houma is depicted as a country full of good people - skilled wizards fighting against the tyrannical gods and helping the people of Gyakuza. Meanwhile, the people of Gyakuza are depicted as wholly negative - conniving, weak, and self-centered.
The show explains that the people of Gyakuza are like this because they have a long history of being ruled and exploited by others. They're depicted as "primitive" people who live in shacks, and they're poorer and dirtier than the people of Houma.
Houma comes to aid them and to teach them magic so that they may fight the gods together, but Gyakuza ends up betraying Houma in cold blood. History is then written in a way that depicts Houma as the aggressor and Gyakuza as the victim.
The part I want to talk about next is in the manga and hasn't been animated yet, but I'm sure you'll see it in the next episode.
When the gods come to Gyakuza, the Gyakuza people tell them of all the horrible things the Houma did to them - how exploited they were and how abused they were. One god takes a look at the state of Gyakuza and says "But if the Houma were so awful to you, and took everything from you like you claim, then why did they build hospitals and schools here? You guys look prosperous to me", to which the Gyakuza people can't find anything to say and they just stand there awkwardly.
So... does that remind you of anything? If your answer is no, well, that's okay. I called it a dogwhistle for a reason. But anyone familiar with the history of Japan and the arguments of Japanese right-wing nationalists will recognize that this is how they talk about Korean people and Japan's colonization of Korea.
According to the logic of Japanese right-wingers, the story of Houma and Gyakuza is an allegory about the history of Japan and Korea, in which
Gyakuza = a poor and primitive country full of deceitful people = Korea
The "outsiders" that kept Gyakuza under its rule for most of history = China
Houma = country full of good, upstanding people who only wanted to help the poor Gyakuza and fight a against gods = Japan
Gods = powerful western nations that were colonizing many parts of the world
They love to deny history by framing the colonization as a good thing - that we never exploited the Koreans, that we built schools and hospitals, that we "civilized" them. In the mind of a nationalist, Koreans are liars who are ungrateful to the Japanese, and Koreans play the victim when they in fact benefitted from the colonization. All of that is disgusting BS of course, but it's what they believe.
I hope I'm not coming across as someone who's reading too much into a story. I'm certainly not the only person who clocked the dogwhistle. Back when the manga chapters were being released, some Japanese readers immediately took notice. Just do a quick Twitter search and you'll encounter two types of people: people who recognize the anti-Korean message and condemn it, and people who recognize the anti-Korean message and agree with it. Either way, like I wrote, it's fairly obvious to anyone who's familiar with the beliefs of Japanese right-wingers.
Translation - I wasn't interested in Ousama Ranking at all but I heard that it got flamed so I read the problematic chapters, and it's awful. A lazy manga that makes up a fictional group of people just to use them as an analogue of Korean people that exist in the mind of a internet right-winger. It's very clear to see the ignorance of the author.
Translation - First Tweet: Saw episode 18 of Ousama Ranking. Gyakuza is literally the peninsula.
Second Tweet: I can't be the only person who thinks Gyakuza in Ousama Ranking is the mirror image of North Korea and South Korea. #OusamaRanking #Gyakuza #Korea
I totally understand why people like Ousama Ranking. It has well-written characters, the animation looks great, Bojj is precious, and I was a fan of it too right up to the moment I read the manga chapters about Houma and Gyakuza. I just wanted people to be aware of its message and the author's beliefs. It's really shameful how much history-revisionist right-wing ideas have permeated in the minds of Japanese people, and by extension, popular culture.
English isn't my first language but I hope I made this article clear enough. Feel free to send me asks if you need clarifications, and also I encourage you to reblog this and even cross-post it to other social medias!
Speaking of fully respectable and tasteful anime crushes you could have if you’re not a freak here’s a longish post about Queen Hiling from Ousama Ranking which will have some tiny spoilers but that’s not a big deal because there’s gotta be 500 plot twists by now and they’re all still good ones. There were just a couple episodes out when I previously talked about this series and now 14 out of 24 have aired.
Queen Hiling was set up in her first few scenes like she was a Wicked Stepmother who just wanted her biological son to take the throne but they pull that rug out from under you by the end of that very first episode.
Queen Hiling worked hard to learn sign language entirely to connect with her deaf mute stepson, who did not like her when they met but she didn’t give up:
She went on to painstakingly teach sign language to everyone in the castle who would be regularly interacting with her stepson but she was pretty displeased that nobody had cared enough to have already done so:
Charging up her magic because her stepson got hurt:
Killing a weird monster snake that bit her stepson:
Healing the same snake because it made her stepson cry that she hurt it and also this is a setting in which healing magic painfully and/or dangerously exhausts the caster:
Showing off in anime’s #1 all time sexiest lady battle armor:
Putting all her effort into healing the same snake again after it grew 100 feet long and saved everyone from those other monsters but watch out for that guy!! He is going to try to kill everyone!
Healing those other monsters that tried to kill her because her stepson cried over them too:
Personally apologizing for getting angry at a rude disrespectful crime committing shadow creature after finding out it’s her stepson’s best friend:
She is not in the next picture but here’s how things turn out with that one guy:
It’s just a good fucking anime and I mean I’d watch this anime if you were only going to watch one anime in your entire life.
It’s still airing so we still don’t know how many more things will become part of the family. I wonder if the rest of the monsters in the frozen dungeon will get thawed out? One or two of them have. I hope some of them get happy endings. Who has those giant eyeball stalks??? Free those.