It’s been a month since I talked about Tomodachi Game, but now Tomodachi Game Episode 6 is out, and Badmouth Sugoroku is over! So, now I can break down the game, origins, rules, mistakes, strategies, and secrets revealed over the last four-and-a-half episodes.
I can also safely predict that Season 1 will give us two more games (future games will be adapted by Tomodachi Game Season 2). However, the last one might get glossed over.
There are no spoilers about the end, but we get a hint in the Tomodachi Game opening. Of course, it all depends on how the anime handles the end of Season 1.
But first, let’s talk about our main traitor and how the anime/manga hinted at the identity before we get the flashback. I’m working on the information in episodes 1-6 and their corresponding manga chapters.
Tenji is the traitor… maybe?
When I first watched/read this arc, I didn’t see that coming, but I was also disappointed because of the scene above. I wished we didn’t learn about Tenji so soon, but there’s still more to learn about him.
Tenji’s internal dialogue is all over the place. He refers to Shio as his, and he has the right to break her relationships.
Episode 7 will help clear things up, but Tenji is a toxic jerk right now. He thinks Yuichi is an evil man and is responsible for Tenji’s actions during the game.
Never mind that Tenji stalked Shio, stole the money for the class trip, signed them up for the Tomodachi Game, and actively ruined the group dynamics. But no, let’s blame everything on Yuichi and Shio; that makes sense.
But let’s say we didn’t get that flashback and a look into Tenji’s mind. Could we have figured out that Tenji is the traitor?
Yes! Yuichi said it best in Episode 6; Tenji wasn’t acting normally. He went from being a rock for the others to depend on to verbally attacking Makoto twice.
He tells Yuichi to comfort Yutori and doesn’t hide his glee when Yuichi slaps Shio. Tenji spent the most time around Shio and trying to control her rather than trying to win the game.
But, none of the others except Yuichi was trying to win the game and figure out who the traitor was, which is the dumbest thing in this mini-arc. They had plenty of time to plan, yet they wasted it.
Shio had plastic surgery because she had a scar on her face. Yutori was an Escort when she was in Junior High.
Makoto’s father is a corrupt politician, and Yuichi killed three people. Two of which have been strongly hinted at, but there’s nothing on the third victim.
Tenji blames Shio for taking the most precious existence from him, but we haven’t seen anything to back it up. Shio’s father is a policeman, and we haven’t heard anything about her mom.
Could Shio’s scar be connected to Tenji’s plot? And what does Yutori’s past have to do with anything?
If we didn’t already know that Tenji is the traitor, then Yutori’s situation would have been evidence that she was the one with the debt. But her backstory does nothing except offer shock value.
The manga and anime make a point to show that Makoto is the dumbest one in the group. But Yutori’s past shows she’s not the brightest.
The real Sugoroku game
Sugoroku means double six in Japanese and refers to two board game versions. Ban-sugoroku or board sugoroku closely resembles Backgammon, while E-sugoroku is more like Snakes and Ladders and is also called Picture-sugoroku.
Ban-sugoroku is said to have originated in China and was brought to Japan in the sixth century. However, it was outlawed several times due to its luck-based and straightforward nature, making it perfect for gambling.
E-sugoroku has been around since the 13th century and is still used today. The cheap yet elaborate boards came in thousands of varieties, and when sugoroku is mentioned, everyone assumes they mean E-sugoroku.
There are hundreds of ways to play this game, but we don’t need to concern ourselves with the specifics since those games use dice and Badmouth doesn’t.
The game is played in periods. Each period you write something down on a Badmouth paper in a private booth.
But you can’t leave the booth for three minutes, and you can write as much as you want. You can also submit a blank card instead, and you can lie.
According to the r/TomodachiGame Reddit, there’s a mistranslation in the manga and the subtitles of the Japanese episode 2. The subtitles of the rules say that if you lie and it’s revealed that you lied, you’ll get sent back to the starting tile.
However, Manabu says that if a lie is revealed, the liar will receive divine punishment by moving one tile ahead of whoever is in first place. But proving if someone lied is up to the players.
I believe this mix-up remains in the anime because of how it and the manga reveal information. Unless you pause the video to read everything on the screen, you won’t know about the three-minute rule until episode 6.
The manga is the same way. The audience isn’t given information simultaneously as the characters, which is one of the things I don’t like about Tomodachi Game.
Sure we get to see the Observers and have them explain things, but I would’ve liked to learn the rules in one sitting.
They had the right strategy and the freedom to talk. But unfortunately, they also failed to notice the hint Manabu gave them at the start of the Badmouth game.
According to the manga, Manabu’s role is to be a Procter for the games. He explains the rules, answers questions, keeps the games running at a decent pace, and wears cosplays that match the game’s theme.
In Badmouth, Manabu calls himself a teacher, and even though the group asks questions initially, they fail to ask the right ones. Except for the rules I listed above, Manabu says that Badmouth is just like a regular game of Sugoroku.
That’s where they should’ve started thinking things through. In Kokkori-san, you win the game by getting the group to choose the correct answer.
You couldn’t speak unless you read a card; you lost the round if one person gave a different answer. Once everyone has gone into the private booth, Manabu collects the cards and reads them aloud.
And unseen people called gods take a survey to decide how many spaces you move. Manabu says the gods are the ones who finance the Tomodachi Game.
The god’s survey is the reverse of a popularity contest. The person with the most votes has to move five spaces, but if no one badmouths you, you move one space.
The game is over when at least one person reaches the goal. After that, everyone will receive 400,000 yen, but everyone remaining on the board will get an extra one million, and they won’t have to play the third game.
But whoever reaches the goal will receive all of the debt the other players earned in the game. So if Kokkori-san was about trust, then Badmouth is about breaking trust.
The first secret revealed was Shio likes Yuichi, and she used to date Tenji. We know that Makoto likes Shio, and Yutori likes Yuichi.
Tenji claims to love Shio, while Yuichi hasn’t shown romantic interest in anyone. We see him blush when Shio reveals her feelings for him, but we don’t see him return her feelings.
He doesn’t hold her hand or stay close to Shio even though they promise to trust each other and win the game with the others. Love is tricky enough, but it’s a minefield that should be avoided in the Tomodachi game.
Because having romantic feelings for someone doesn’t mean you own them. Even though the catfight did help reveal that Tenji is the traitor, the scene could have been handled differently.
Yutori’s past is unfortunate, but her need to keep Yuichi on her side could have backfired. Tenji pointed this out to Shio, but it applies to everyone.
You can lie at any time. Including when you’re not playing a Tomodachi Game, but that line of thinking will have you cutting ties with everyone. This is what I believe Yuichi was doing at the end of the game.
No one offered any ideas after it was revealed that you’ll still accumulate debt while playing Badmouth. No one tried to find the loopholes or bend the rules except Yuichi and Tenji.
The most apparent loophole is: get rid of the paper! No paper means no backstabbing, and no backstabbing means you can reach the next game together, which Manabu said is hell.
If everyone reaches the special space, reveal your darkest secrets before exposing someone or yourself. Don’t let the traitor’s identity get in the way of the game because we don’t know how bad it is.