I have never been a big fan of spy movies. The James Bond movies for instance, even though I have seen them all, have never really appealed to me. What is appealing to me however, is atmosphere. There have also been shows or movies about espionage set just before or during the second World War. For some reason I have always loved that time period, simply because it breathes atmosphere. The cars, the costumes, the setting I simply love it. Browsing through the enormous list of Anime series that Crunchyroll has to offer, I always try to pick something that is different from what I have seen before. That is how I came across the Anime Joker Game.
Joker Game is set in 1937, where the threat of impending war is beginning to make itself felt all across the world. To gather intelligence from different countries across the globe, the Imperial Japanese Lieutenant Yuuki forms a special unit called the D-Agency. In this spy agency, agents undergo a very rigorous training, before they are accepted as a member. The D-Agency mandate, “Don’t kill, Don’t die” is viewed throughout the rest of the army as the mandate of a bunch of cowards. Nothing is further from the truth however, as one of the newest recruits sent to observe the inner workings of the D-Agency, is about to find out. With threats both foreign and domestic appearing from everywhere, the D-Agency members are sent out to stop these threats on a variety of different missions.
Well, one thing is for sure, this Anime was definitely different from the shows I usually watch. The best way to describe it I guess is a bit of a slowburning film noir. Let’s talk about the good things first. The animation style is absolutely gorgeous. The late 30s are depicted in a very convincing way, and there are some truly breathtaking wideshot views of the cities that are visited throughout the show. Another thing worthy of note is the soundtrack made by Kenji Kawai, my absolute alltime favorite composer. Most people will know his work from the original Ghost in the Shell movie, and in Joker Game he again doesn’t disappoint. This series started off very good. I found the story to be very intriguing and it almost felt a bit like a puzzle you had to solve at times. I especially liked episode 6, where one of the D-Agency members has to find a killer aboard a train, who has murdered a contact who had some classified information on him.
Unfortunately this high level of quality did not continue in the later episodes. Though still entertaining, the stories were definitely not as good as the earlier ones. Another missed opportunity was the fact that there wasn’t a real overall storyline carrying on from episode to episode. I always like it when a show slowly builds up to something, but nearly every episode was a selfcontained story. Running for 12 episodes the series ends without having really accomplished something, and that was also a bit of a letdown. Still I do think this series deserves watching, especially for the pretty unique setting, and the earlier storylines.
I give Joker Game a 7 out of 10 score.