Introducing the second game in Tomodachi Game: Badmouth Sugoroku. Image credit: Okuruto Noboru.

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 unravel the game, its origins, rules, mistakes, strategies and secrets revealed in the past 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 latter can be obscured.

There are no spoilers about the ending, but we get a hint in the opening of Tomodachi Game. Of course, it all depends on how the anime handles the season 1 ending.

But 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 the associated manga chapters.

Tomodachi game
Tenji listens to his friends. Photo credit: Okuruto Noboru

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 scene above. I wish we didn’t hear about Tenji so soon, but there is still more to learn about him.

Tenji’s internal dialogue is everywhere. He refers to Shio as his own, and he has the right to end her relationships.

Episode 7 will help clear things up, but Tenji is a poisonous jerk at the moment. He thinks Yuichi is a bad man and is responsible for Tenji’s actions during the game.

Never mind that Tenji stalked Shio, stole the money for the class trip, enrolled them in the Tomodachi game and actively ruined the group dynamic. But no, let’s blame Yuichi and Shio; that makes sense.

But let’s just say we didn’t get that flashback and glimpse into Tenji’s mind. Could we have imagined that Tenji is the traitor?

Yes! Yuichi said it best in episode 6; Tenji was not behaving normally. He went off the rails in front of the others to verbally assault Makoto twice.

He tells Yuichi to comfort Yutori and doesn’t hide his joy when Yuichi punches Shio. Tenji spent most of the time around Shio trying to control her rather than 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 dumbest thing in this mini-arc. They had plenty of time to plan, but they wasted it.

Secrets

Shio has 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 them have been strongly suggested, but nothing about the third victim.

Tenji blames Shio for taking the most precious existence from him, but we haven’t seen anything to back this up. Shio’s father is a police officer, and we haven’t heard anything about her mother.

Could Shio’s scar be related to Tenji’s plot? And what does Yutori’s past have to do with it?

If we didn’t already know that Tenji is the traitor, Yutori’s situation would have been proof that she was the one to blame. But her backstory does nothing but provide shocking value.

The manga and anime make it a point to show that Makoto is the dumbest of 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 is very similar to Backgammon while E-sugoroku is more like Snakes and Ladders and is also known as Picture-sugoroku.

Ban-sugoroku is said to have originated in China and was brought to Japan in the sixth century. However, it was banned 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 inexpensive yet elaborate plates 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 get into the details, since those games use dice and Badmouth doesn’t.

Badmouth Sugoroku

The game is played in periods. Each period you write something on a Badmouth paper in a private cubicle.

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 is 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 is revealed that you have lied, you will be sent back to the starting tile.

However, Manabu says that if a lie is revealed, the liar will receive divine punishment by placing a tile on the one who comes first. But proving whether someone lied is up to the players.

I believe this mix-up will stay in the anime because of the way 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 doesn’t get information at the same time as the characters, which is one of the things I don’t like about Tomodachi Game.

Of course we get to see the observers and have them explain things, but I would have liked to have learned the rules in one sitting.

faults

They had the right strategy and the freedom to talk. But unfortunately they didn’t notice the hint that Manabu gave them at the beginning of the Badmouth game either.

According to the manga, Manabu’s role is to be a Procter for the games. He explains the rules, answers questions, keeps the games at a decent pace, and wears cosplays that match the game’s theme.

In Badmouth, Manabu calls himself a teacher, and though the group asks questions at first, they don’t ask the right ones. Besides the rules I mentioned above, Manabu says that Badmouth is just a regular game of Sugoroku.

They should have thought there. In Kokkori-san, you win the game by letting the group choose the correct answer.

You couldn’t talk unless you read a map; you lost the round if one person gave a different answer. Once everyone has entered the private booth, Manabu collects the cards and reads them aloud.

And invisible people called gods take a survey to determine how many spaces you move. Manabu says it’s the gods who fund the Tomodachi game.

The investigation of the god is the reverse of a popularity contest. The person with the most votes must move up five spaces, but if no one pisses you off, you may move up one space.

The game ends 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 reaches the goal gets all the debts that the other players have earned in the game. So if Kokkori-san was about trust, Badmouth is about breaking trust.

Drama

The first secret revealed was that Shio loves Yuichi and she dated Tenji. We know that Makoto loves Shio and Yutori loves 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 reciprocate her feelings.

He doesn’t hold her hand and don’t stay close to Shio, even though they promise to trust each other and win the game with the others. Love is hard enough, but it’s a minefield to avoid in the Tomodachi game.

Because having romantic feelings for someone doesn’t mean you own them. While the catfight helped reveal that Tenji is the traitor, the scene could have been handled differently.

Yutori’s past is unhappy, but her need to keep Yuichi by her side can backfire. Tenji pointed this out to Shio, but it applies to everyone.

You can lie at any time. Even if you don’t play a Tomodachi game, but that way of thinking will make you cut ties with everyone. This is what I believe Yuichi did at the end of the game.

No one thought about it after it was revealed that you will still build up debt while playing Badmouth. No one tried to find the loopholes or bend the rules except Yuichi and Tenji.

The most obvious loophole is: down with the paper! No paper means no backstitches, and no backstabs means you can get to the next game together, which Manabu says is hell.

When everyone reaches the special room, reveal your darkest secrets before exposing anyone 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.

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