Hi, I am the Luminous Mongoose, and it’s incredibly hard to convince people I like this show for the plot.
Beneath the unfortunate veneer of lolicon fanservice, The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done is nevertheless a heartfelt and genuine tale about determination and skill in the competitive scene of shogi.
I was very quick to deride this show for being a show that’s all about “cute lolis doing lewd things” after only seeing a few clips from it online, most of them being fanservice. However, as soon as I sat down and watched it, I found myself engrossed in a legitimate story about the competitive world of shogi. I was at first under the belief that it would be K-ON situation, where the shogi is only in the background while slice-of-life stuff happens to our characters. However, I’d wager saying this show is a better show than Sangatsu no Lion in regards to the more technical aspects of shogi.
I do believe Sangatsu no Lion is the MUCH better anime overall, but in regards to actually showing professionals play the game, and explaining the moves and tactics used, Ryuo no Ogashite has it beat.
Watching matches here is fun because unlike other sports anime where the talking over the game can get annoying, shogi is a game that invites commentary due to the rather steep learning curve and complexity that comes with every move. It’s less “WHOA, HE’S SO STRONG” and more “Oh, here is why that was so strong”, because we get to have a bunch of non-experts in the room so that the experts can explain it to them. Classic audience insert, but for an incredibly complex game like shogi, it is necessary.
Not only that, but seeing the series deal with topics in sports such as the guilt of victory against a friend who tried their hardest, frustration at the lack of rank progress in your sport despite years of practice, and most surprisingly, the acknowledgement of the male and female skillgap in the competitive scene, is all done very tastefully and in a way that is relatable without being preachy.
The standout episode of this show to me was Episode 7, and it focuses on my favorite character in the show, Keika-san, a 25 year old female shogi player.
Without spoiling too much, her story is the epitome of “hard work hardly works”. In the world of shogi, to continue in the sport, you must become a professional by the age of 26. Any further, and you are no longer eligible. Keika has been trying to get that ranking for seven years, and has been stuck in the lower ranks despite how hard she works and researches. Not only that, she is friends with the current Ryuo, Yaichi-kun, which is the one of two prestigious titles that can be gained in shogi, the currently strongest female professional player Ginko-chan, and finally, the two child prodigies Hinatsuri Ai and Yashijin ai, who are both mentored by the Ryuo himself.
Watching an episode from the perspective of a normal, hard working player who is up against absolute monsters in the sport is insane. I really like her discussion with Ginko about the sheer pressure of having to fight against fate itself to become a pro player, thanks to her age and gender. If you watch the series, at least watch up to this point, it is very good.
Overall, if you enjoy good sports anime and don’t mind skipping (or watching, if you want the FBI knocking on your door) loli stuff, this is a great anime to watch!
I give The Ryuo’s Work is Never done a 7/10! The second half was rushed to all hell, the loli bait is distracting, but the actual plot and the shogi aspect are very strong assets to this show, and I will definitely consider reading the light novel in the future.