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, bugs, strategies and secrets revealed in 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 from Tomodachi Game Season 2). However, the latter could be overlooked.
There are no spoilers about the ending, but we do get a clue in the opening of the Tomodachi game. Of course, it all depends on how the anime handles the season 1 ending.
But first, before we get the flashback, let’s talk about our main betrayer and how the anime/manga alluded to the identity. I’m working on the information in episodes 1-6 and the corresponding manga chapters.
Tenji is the traitor… maybe?
When I first saw/read this arc I didn’t see that coming, but I was also disappointed because of the above scene. I wish we didn’t know about Tenji so quickly, but there’s more to learn about him.
Tenji’s internal dialogue is omnipresent. He refers to Shio as his, and he has the right to sever their ties.
Episode 7 will help clear things up, but Tenji is a toxic jerk right now. He considers Yuichi to be an evil man and is responsible for Tenji’s actions throughout the game.
Never mind that Tenji stalked Shio, stole the school trip money, signed her up for the Tomodachi game, and actively ruined the group dynamic. But no, let’s blame Yuichi and Shio; That makes sense.
But let’s assume we didn’t get that flashback and a glimpse into Tenji’s mind. Could we have found out that Tenji is the traitor?
Yes! Yuichi said it best in Episode 6; Tenji wasn’t acting normally. No longer a rock for the others to rely on, he verbally attacked Makoto twice.
He tells Yuichi to comfort Yutori and doesn’t hide his delight when Yuichi punches Shio. Tenji spent most of his time with Shio trying to control her instead of trying to win the game.
But none of the others except Yuichi tried to win the game and find out who the traitor was, which is the stupidest thing about this mini-arc. They had a lot of time to plan, but 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 has killed three people. Two of these have been heavily implied, but nothing is known about the third victim.
Tenji accuses Shio of taking his most precious existence, but we haven’t seen anything to back that up. Shio’s father is a police officer and we haven’t heard anything about her mother.
Could Shio’s scar be connected to Tenji’s plan? And what does Yutori’s past have to do with it?
If we hadn’t already known that Tenji was the traitor, then Yutori’s situation would have been proof that she was the one with the debt. But her backstory offers nothing but shock value.
The manga and anime clearly show that Makoto is the dumbest of the group. But Yutori’s past shows that she’s not the smartest.
The real Sugoroku game
Sugoroku means double six in Japanese and refers to two board game versions. Ban-Sugoroku or Board-Sugoroku is very similar to Backgammon, while E-Sugoroku is more similar to 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, due to its luck-based and no-fuss nature, it has been banned several times, making it perfect for gambling.
E-sugoroku has been around since the 13th century and is still used today. The cheap but intricate boards came in thousands of variants, 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 get into the details because these games use dice and Badmouth doesn’t.
The game is played in periods. Each lesson you write something 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 r/TomodachiGame Reddit, there is a mistranslation in the manga and subtitles of Japanese Episode 2. The rule subtitles state that if you lie and it turns out you lied, you will be sent back to the starting field.
However, Manabu says that when a lie is exposed, the liar receives divine punishment by moving a tile in front of whoever comes first. But proving if someone lied is up to the players.
I believe this confusion stays in the anime because he and the manga leak information. Unless you pause the video to read everything on screen, you won’t know the three minute rule until episode 6.
The manga is the same. The audience doesn’t get information at the same time as the characters, which is one of the things I don’t like about Tomodachi Game.
Sure we can see the observers and have them explain things, but I would have liked to have learned the rules in one sitting.
They had the right strategy and the freedom to speak. But unfortunately they also missed the hint Manabu gave them at the beginning of the Badmouth game.
According to the manga, Manabu’s role is said to be a Procter for the games. He explains the rules, answers questions, keeps the games going at a reasonable pace, and wears cosplays that match the game’s theme.
In Badmouth, Manabu calls themselves teachers, and although the group initially asks questions, they don’t ask the right ones. Aside from the rules I listed above, Manabu says Badmouth is just like a regular Sugoroku game.
That’s when they should have 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 were reading a map; You lose the round if a person gave a different answer. Once everyone has gone to the private booth, Manabu collects the cards and reads them aloud.
And invisible people called gods take a poll to decide how many squares you move. Manabu says the gods are the ones funding the Tomodachi game.
The God’s Poll is the opposite of a popularity contest. The person with the most votes has to move five squares, but if nobody badmouths you, move one square.
The game is over when at least one person reaches the goal. After that, everyone gets 400,000 yen, but everyone who stays on the board gets an extra million and doesn’t have to play the third game.
But whoever achieves the goal will receive all the debt earned by the other players in the game. So if Kokkori-san was about trust, Badmouth is about trust-breaking.
The first secret revealed was that Shio likes Yuichi and that she was dating Tenji. We know Makoto likes Shio and Yutori likes Yuichi.
Tenji claims to love Shio while Yuichi has shown no 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, though they promise to trust each other and win the game with the other. Love is tricky enough, but it’s a minefield to avoid in the Tomodachi game.
Because having romantic feelings for someone doesn’t mean you own them. Although the catfight helped 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 always lie. Even if you don’t play Tomodachi game but this mindset will make you disconnect with everyone. I think that’s what Yuichi did at the end of the game.
Nobody offered any ideas after it was revealed you’ll still rack up debt playing Badmouth. Nobody but Yuichi and Tenji tried to find loopholes or break the rules.
The most obvious loophole is: Get rid of the paper! No paper means no ambush, and no ambush means you can get to the next game together, which Manabu called hell.
When everyone reaches the special room, reveal your darkest secrets before you embarrass anyone or yourself. Don’t let the identity of the traitor interfere with the game because we don’t know how bad it is.