Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage Episode 4 is a fantasy adventure anime based on the Japanese manga series, Ranking of Kings, written and illustrated by Sōsuke Tōka. The head director of the series Yosuke Hatta (Boogiepop) at WIT Studio, with series composition by Taku Kishimoto (Fruits Basket), character designs by Atsuko Nozaki, and music by MAYUKO (Cells at Work!). Treasure Chest of Courage is a remarkable collection of short stories set during the first season of Ranking of Kings.
In this episode, the sadistic King Satun of the Underworld’s research and experiments to find the key to immortality become more torturous at the expense of his subjects. Sickened by their father’s inhumane experiments, the three princes of the Underworld, Desha, Despa, and Ouken, decide to lead a revolution against their father to put an end to his treacherous ways. Later, Prince Ouken’s curse causes him to lose his grip on his humanity, sending him and his brothers into anguish and despair.
Episode 4 deviates from the usual storytelling format. Instead of two short stories together, this episode features one long story that explores the backstory of the Underworld’s royal family, Desha, Despa, and Ouken, with specific attention paid to Prince Ouken’s origin and the events that led him to the path of villainy.
Season 1 of Ranking of Kings gave Ouken a great villain introduction but provided little insight into the person he was before he went insane from his curse. Prior to Ouken becoming one of the most dangerous villains in the series, he was known as a righteous and noble prince to everyone. Although Season 1 alludes to Ouken’s curse and descent into madness as a pivotal moment for Desha and Despa, it does not go into how Ouken went from a beloved hero to a feared villain.
I am pleased to say episode 4 does much for Ouken’s backstory and tells a beautifully tragic story. In Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage Episode 4, we get more insight into the complex relationship between his older brothers, Despa and Desha. For example, we learn more about how their relationship suffered further during the coup against their father. Despa considers his brother, Desha, heartless for what transpired during his revolution, and Desha sees Despa as a spoiled and pompous person. But regardless of how they feel towards one another, the two brothers would do anything to save their baby little Ouken.
In addition to further exploring the complex relationships between Ouken and his brothers, this episode of Ranking of Kings also features one of the series’ more gruesome and graphic storylines. The animators masterfully capture the fluid motions and brutal nature of war in each fight scene, adding a heightened sense of excitement or sorrow to the action sequences. This attention to detail demonstrates the animation team’s ability to create dynamic and compelling visuals that enhance storytelling.
Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage Episode 4 also portrays a multifaceted view of war. For example, Ranking of Kings regularly does a great job of capturing exciting action and battle scenes. However, in this episode, the animators did not hold back in showing the tragedies and horror of war with some of the more graphic and bloody scenes.
Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage Episode 4 is a masterpiece. It is the most poignant and beautifully crafted episode in the entire series. With seamless storytelling, this episode breathes new life into a minor character’s backstory while also deepening the complexity of the other character’s relationships. The extended episode length and pacing are ideally suited for delivering an emotionally-charged narrative. The animation is nothing short of stellar, showcasing the animation team’s dynamic abilities to their fullest
Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage streams weekly on Crunchyroll.
Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage Episode 4 — "Immortality and the Three Brothers"
Ranking of Kings: Treasure Chest of Courage Episode 4 is a masterpiece. It is the most poignant and beautifully crafted episode in the entire series. With seamless storytelling, this episode breathes new life into a minor character’s backstory while also deepening the complexity of the other character’s relationships.