Joker Game, is an anime about Japanese spies during World War II. With a premise like that I found myself immediately drawn to it. A spy anime? I’m sure it’s full of mystery, and tension, with a thrilling story to boot. I wasn’t about to let this show pass me by. So the fist two episodes go by setting the stage behind Joker Game, and after that? I’m in France with one of the spies. You can only imagine my disappointment when I figured out this was going to be episodic. But with disappointment aside, how was the journey watching it?
Well, it went by pretty fast. What with it’s self contained stories, we aren’t given the chance to learn anything about these characters or even remember their names after the introductory episodes, as far as the spies go, you could get away with just calling them “the spy” as it more or less focuses on a different spy each episode wherever and whenever they may be. The only character that really stands out is the Spy Master, Lieutenant Colonel Yuki who never really serves as the main character but rather a side character who shows up from time to time reminding you that this is all one thing.
So, the strength of Joker Game clearly is not in it’s characters but rather the stories told. Admittedly though, while these stories do provide a hint of wonder and mystery, the fact that the conflict presented in an episode will come to a conclusion by the end (for the most part) really made these episodes fly by, and hardly gave you time to think about it yourself. Either that or you could easily guess the end result because once you’ve seen the setting and the characters involved, the answer’s there, with a little thought put into it. Although I do give them credit for not pulling out some random solution from thin air.
I don’t really have much else to say about it, if anything it was a unique flavor for the season. I still find myself wishing they had gone with a 12 episode suspenseful, thrilling story, but it may be the case that the source material just doesn’t have that sort of thing, I can’t say. Maybe I’ll look up the movie they made… Anyhow, Joker Game was disappointing, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad; it captures the feeling of a tale of espionage, albeit in short sample sized bites. So if that’s what you’re after, by all means give it a go.