Alternative title(s): Ryuuou no Oshigoto!
Novel Adaptation by Project No.9
Streaming on Crunchyroll
Kazuryuu Yaichi becomes the youngest player to hold the title of Dragon King, one of the most prestigious titles in shogi. While getting water during that game, he promises a young girl that he’ll do anything she wants if he manages to win it. A year later, she shows up at his house and asks to become his disciple. Then she gets naked.
Euri’s verdict: Pawn
The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! starts off well, if rather cliche. It starts with a flashback to set Yaichi up as a shogi master, followed by the meeting between him and Hinatsuru Ai, the young girl who offers him water while he steps away from the table, during the biggest match of his career. It’s unremarkable but inoffensive, setting up the show pretty quickly so that it can skip to the present day and properly get going. We cut forward to Yaichi arriving home to discover Ai inside his house, waiting for his return and with the hope that he will accept her as his disciple.
At this point, the show is… fine. Nothing weird going on, nothing particularly exciting either. It’s still pretty cliche though, even down to Ai living with her grandpa (write out the parents so that they can’t object to her moving in with Yaichi, I guess), but fine. We then move to a game of shogi between the two, and it’s here where it starts to get interesting. The dynamic between the two characters is actually quite good, and you can start to see the outline of what could be a cute surrogate father-ish relationship between these two. She’s better than expected, which causes Yaichi to happily step up his game. She tries her hardest to topple this shogi master so that he might take her on as an apprentice. We get imagery like this to accentuate their battle:
The battle ends in Ai’s defeat. Yaichi seems to feel positively towards taking her on as an apprentice, but doesn’t say so yet. Instead, they go for another match, and we skip forward a bit. This, unfortunately, is where this show nosedives. Just short of halfway through the episode, we get a pretty short clip, a couple of seconds long, of Ai washing in the shower. This is pretty irritating for plenty of reasons, but we’d made it up to this point without any skeevy camera movements or inappropriate jokes, so it feels completely out of place. It feels bizarre that they’d waited this long to do it, if they were going to do it at all. That and it’s so short – why bother at that point?
That was just the teaser. The short clip wasn’t randomly there, it was setting up for a bigger scene. It’s been a long time since my opinion of a show has been completely flipped this late into an episode, and it’s incredibly saddening. We go from an interesting shogi show with a fun dynamic building between the two leads, with time spent fawning over Ai’s incredible ability to suss out shogi problems in her head, to Ai being completely naked and clinging to Yaichi as his sister attempts to barge her way into the house. It of course culminates in anime’s finest trope – being found on top of a naked girl even though it’s not what it looks like. She’s nine.
This scene adds nothing. It’s not remotely funny, it’s inappropriate, and we’ve seen this happen a million times in other shows. It’s disappointing to see an otherwise promising setup tossed away after positively changing my opinion of it with an interesting shogi match. It’s not even fair to recommend March Comes in like a Lion at this point because that show is much more focused on its characters, and less so the shogi.
The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! may continue to do interesting things with shogi, but it’s made it very clear that it’s going to focus on things that I’m really not interested in.
Jel’s verdict: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Shows like this are the reason we can’t watch something like Mitsuboshi Colors without assuming it will be pedophile bait. Thankfully that show turned out alright, go watch that or literally anything else this season.