Killing Game House - Second / 殺し合いハウス Second

Killing Game House - Second the third entry in the House series, returning to the spirit of the first entry. While it avoids the lows of the second game, it doesn't quite manage to reach the highs of the original.

For those who haven't heard of this series before (which I suspect is most readers), it's a series of Japanese web animations in the style of visual novels about life-or-death games with magic powers that take place in a mysterious mansion.

As the title implies, this game is all about killing. The rules are mostly the same as in the first game: each player is randomly and secretly assigned a number and a power, and given a knife and a gun. The goal is to obtain prize money by declaring a target based on their number and then murdering them during the time period known as "Murder Time." However, murdering someone who isn't your target (except in self-defense), committing a murder outside of Murder Time, or having your knife or gun outside of your room when it's not Murder Time all result in penalties. A couple of the powers have been swapped out with new ones, and some of the minor rules have been changed. (The players can no longer tell if they have been targeted, which is one of the nit-picks I had with the first game.)

The plot is tight and interest, as expected from this series. Overall, this episode is squarely between the other two in terms of quality: better than the second, but not quite as good as the first. Unlike the second game, KGH2 has action consistently over the course of the plot. However, the tricks aren't quite as complex or interesting as the first game. So in the end, KGH2 feels... fine. Not fantastic, but not really anything to gush about. The consistent action makes it better than than the second episode, but I think the reason it isn't quite as good as the first game is because there's only ever one thing going on at once, whereas the first game had multiple stratagems and plot threads happening at once.

Pretty much everything else is the same quality-wise. The characters are all expies of famous anime characters or original combinations of anime tropes, with art that is good but amateur. The music is fitting, and taken from video games and TV shows in the genre. The entire series has voice acting, which helps bring the scenes to life.

Killing Game House - Second is another decent entry in the series, and it's worth watching if you know Japanese and have enjoyed the series so far. It doesn't have the same magic as the initial entry, but you can rest assured it's better than the previous game.

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