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The player "Kyoda" is asking for your help!! You should join Darwin's Game and help your friend!!
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Kaname Sudo is just another Ordinary High-School Student, but one day receives an invite from his friend to join the Darwin's Game, which is apparently a survival game played on one's phone. Kaname accepts, completely disregarding the fact that his teacher just told him that his friend—the sender of the invite—has apparently gone missing. The moment he does, a snake leaps out of the phone and bites him in the neck before vanishing. However, he was the only one able to see the snake, and he immediately collapses before he can say anything more.

As you'd expect, Kaname soon finds himself targeted by the Axe-Crazy contestants of the game, all of whom are out to kill each other in order to win. Now Kaname must fight for survival and search for the truth behind Darwin's Game, or die trying.

A shounen manga drawn and written by the two-man team FLIPFLOPs. (Yes, that is the team's name.)

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An Animated Adaptation by studio Nexus under director Yoshinobu Tokumoto premiered on January 3, 2020. Aniplex USA has licensed the series with a simuldub being provided by Funimation.

Has a light novel interquel, Flag Game, that details the Sunset Ravens' Clan Wars in Shibuya between the events of the Treasure Hunt Game and the Hunting Island Game and shows Shuka Karino's quest for revenge on her parents' killer.

Beware of spoilers, some of which are unmarked Late Arrival Spoilers.

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Darwin's Game Includes examples of:

  • And You Thought It Was a Game: Understandable in that multiplayer phone games like the one Darwin's Game initially seems to be are very popular in Japan. Of course, when Kaname accepts his first challenge, he conveniently misses the guy dressed like his opponent's avatar—holding a knife.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Enforced by the powers-that-be of the D-Game. Whenever a game starts, they send a signal that affects every non-player in the area within several hundred meters which leaves them in a trance and unaware of anything happening. Move far away enough from the starting point though and a player can encounter unaffected people, which was how Kaname managed to get a police officer's help early on since he was in a moving train. For larger events, the range limit is increased to the entire event area and perhaps beyond and hypnotises all non-players into leaving the area.
  • The Clan: Some people in Darwin's Game also build clans in order to win the game. Kaname Sudou's Sunset Ravens and Wang's Eighth are the prime examples of it.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The teacher in Chapter 1 is the panda man.
  • Crapsack World: After the Greed Invasion, Kaname's world fell into ruins with society falling apart and dangerous Greed everywhere. Japan, though shown to be heavily affected, is actually one of the safer places due to the abundance of Sigil users, especially those that can detect the Greed masquerading as humans. Other parts of the world with far less Sigil users are nowhere near as lucky, with survivors unable to trust each other.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Anyone who runs out of points in a Darwin's Game battle or event will have their body painfully disintegrated, leaving voxelized imprints on the landscape.
  • Deadline News: While the Redshirt Reporter was doing a broadcast of the damaged Moyai Statue, strange animals appear and kill her, alerting Darwin's Game GM to an invasion and forcing him to set up an impromptu Game Event with the goal of exterminating those animals.
  • Deadly Game: Darwin's Game is a survival game where players are given some superpowers known as Sigils. They can challenge each other for points which can be converted into cash, and killing your opponent gives you all of their points.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Kaname gets a lot of clan members and allies this way:
    • After Kaname defeats Shuka in battle, the next day she became much friendlier and was outright smitten with him. Kaname even noted it's like her personality changed overnight.
    • He gets The Florist and Ryuuji to temporarily ally with him after he has defeated them. A bit of Enemy Mine was also involved, especially on the latter's part.
    • Ouji spotted Kaname and was about to snipe him, but Kaname easily cornered him before he could take the shot.
    • In a sense, the outcome of the Duel with the Pirate King event was a double-layered version of this, all thanks to Kaname. By locking out the enemy team's victory condition, Kaname gives his own teammates leverage in negotiating a favorable surrender since the alternative would cause unnecessary casualties for both sides. After accepting Kaname's conditions, Kouu, the enemy team's leader, can't figure out which of them actually won.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Cross Kazuya's pet parrot has a sigil that can manipulate earth and dirt. It used this to manipulate puppets of dirt created in Cross' image to gain revenge on Ryuji for killing Cross.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The main villain of the Off-Range Village mini-arc was a pet parrot that once belonged to a member of Eighth. Somehow, its owner Cross managed to get it to accept a Darwin's Game invite and it gained a sigil.
  • Enemy Mine: Ryuji refuses to team up with Kaname's group at first because of the Florist's presence but quickly changes his mind when he finds out that Eighth was around.
  • Everyone Has a Special Move: All players have a Sigil, which lets them use a supernatural ability. For instance, the Banda-kun can turn invisible while Shuka can control the movements of string-like objects.
  • Famed in Story: Banda-kun the Rookie Hunter, whose costume made him easy to remember, and Shuka the Undefeated Queen, for rather self-explanatory reasons. Kaname defeating both of them in his first two fights gets him noticed very quickly.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: In the first few pages, we see a high-school kid running for his life before he gets slashed.
  • Fanservice: The chapter covers often have various female characters under-clothed, in erotic poses, or both.
  • Foreshadowing: Inukai remarks that Kaname's sigil was so convenient that if he could only take one thing to a deserted island, he’d take Kaname. Turns out the setting of the next event takes place on a deserted island.
  • Goofy Suit: The Panda costume. But no one's laughing when it wields a knife and becomes invisible.
  • Green Thumb: The Sigil of a player nicknamed "The Florist".
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Terada, the police officer who initially doesn't believe Kaname. When the panda man breaks into the police box, Terada winds up getting stabbed, but still uses his last moments to help Kaname get away.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Executioners, subordinates of the Game Master of Darwin's Game, are sent out to deal with law enforcement personnel that have either become aware of the game or end up participating in it.
    • Trinity agents attempt to pull this trope on Ayanokouji when they catch him communicating with a detective that got caught up in the Treasure Hunt event, though he wipes their memories so that they report back to their leader that they got nothing.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Kaname is of the opinion that even seemingly weak Sigils can be incredible if people use them right. He has yet to be proven wrong. Some examples:
    • Ryuji thought his Living Lie Detector ability was worthless. Then Kaname declared to Wang that he didn't consider Ryuji a friend and that he was just an ally of convenience, which his Sigil called bullshit on, proving to Ryuji that Kaname actually feels the exact opposite. Ryuji was incredibly moved by it and was grateful to know his Sigil wasn't so worthless after all.
    • Ouji thought his Super Senses was too limited to be useful in most circumstances. But then he met Kaname and was encouraged to be more open-minded about his Sigil. He then literally shifted his perspective and discovered that his Sigil wasn't limited to ground-bound perspectives and that he could see things from the sky.
    • After the Greed invasion developed to the point that they impersonated the people they killed, previously weak combat Sigils became absolutely vital to differentiating real humans from the Greed masquerading as humans.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The island several players get sent to for a game contains a well-hidden village of humans. They are the 'Human' targets listed as being worthy of points for killing them, as they are not D-game players and don't give a point penalty for killing. Kaname does his best to keep them alive when other players target them.
  • Illegal Gambling Den: Themis of the Trinity clan has the Bookmaker privilege, which among other things allows her clan to function as the main way patrons can bet on various matches and big game events.
  • Immune to Bullets: The Doume have a Sigil that makes all projectile weapons pretty much useless against them. To defeat them attackers need to use close-combat weapons, which is extremely dangerous. Defeating just one is incredibly difficult at the best of times, and only players with the most powerful or otherwise well-suited Sigils can hope to stand a chance.
  • Instant Home Delivery: All purchases made in the in-app store are instantly delivered to the buyer's current location, no matter where they are - even in the middle of a game event.
  • Just a Kid: A common reaction by adults to seeing young players in Darwin's Game is to not expect much from them. In some cases, this view would be justified; in other cases, this could very well be their last mistake. As Ryuuji puts it:
    Ryuuji: I realise that when it comes to D-Game, age and title aren't particularly meaningful. Because those who don't realize that die first.
  • Kill 'Em All: What many players assumed was the objective of Darwin's Game. These players thought that the person who kills all of the other contestants and survives until the end will be announced as the winner.
  • Language Drift: Despite the remarkable fact that the island natives speak Japanese like the main characters, one key term is different. To them, Sigils are the power to see the future that their shrine maidens inherited from their ancestors; to the main characters, Sigils cover every power granted by Darwin's Game. After they join Kaname in his world though, they started using the word like Kaname and the other people of his world do.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: When Shuka and Kaname do the deed in Shuka’s room, Sui is able to sense it when she comes to see them, and pushes away Ryuuji who was also nearby.
  • Mascot Villain: Banda-kun is a cute panda mascot of a local baseball team. However, the person who wears said mascot costume is well known as a newbie killer, as he has no hesitation about killing new players in Darwin's Game in cold blood. He is also the first enemy that Kaname has to face. Later on, it is revealed that he is actually his best friend's adviser.
  • The Mole: Superintendent Ayanokouji is one for the police, as he is a customer of Trinity, the clan that takes bets on Darwin's Game matches and events, who are unaware that he is heading the police investigation into them.
  • Mooks:
    • Eighth has a lot of mooks that are easily disposed of once Sunset Ravens stop holding back. Shuka even mentions that most them are of no concern and that it's only their leaders that makes them a fearsome clan.
    • The Oni mooks are, if anything, actually weaker than the mooks of Kaname's world. They lack Sigils and use far less advanced weaponry.
  • Moral Myopia: Wang, the leader of Eighth, is of the opinion that everyone exists to get killed by him. If they fight back (successfully or not), he screams at them for being horrible monsters and comes up with terrible ways to torture them to death.
  • The Multiverse: It turns out that there are several universes. The country of "Japan" that is featured in the Hunting Game come from one, where the inhabitants failed to stop the beast invasion. The Duel with the Pirate King event features a universe where Earth's dominant species are not humans but Oni.
  • Mundane Utility: Ouji considers his Third Eye ability to be useless, and admits it was only helpful when he used it to find a porn magazine that had fallen under his bed.
  • No Body Left Behind: When one of the game's players dies, all that is left is a hole in the ground shaped like a pixellated version of their body. This does not happen to a player killed outside of a battle.
  • Number of the Beast: The player who wears a panda head is also dressed in a baseball uniform with the numbers "666" on the back of his shirt.
  • Oni: The Duel with the Pirate King pits Kaname and the other players against another universe's Oni. The Mooks can be dealt with but the leaders have powerful Sigils and any one of the commanders is by Kaname's own words roughly on Xuelan's level, putting his team at a severe disadvantage.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Kaname was just a student with nothing extraordinary about him up until his friend sent him a Darwin's Game invite for help.
  • People Puppets: One application of The Florist's Sigil, by attaching vines to other players and injecting special drugs, he can control them. This doesn't kill them however, as their bodies do not disappear. Once the vines are removed, they return to normal.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • The unnamed female character who appears for 2 pages before being killed off by Wang, leader of the "Eighth" clan. She later stars in the omake strips, where the fact that she was killed before readers even knew her name (Akane Shidou) is brought up several times.
    • Sig of the "Eighth" clan has pyrokinesis powers, which allows him to wrap his whole body in a coat of fire.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • Enforced by D-Game's admins. They block any attempt to call emergency services and outright send Executioners to get rid of police who end up in the game.
    • Tragically Invoked by a member of the police himself by sending several officers to their death to force his superiors to realize that dealing with Darwin's Game requires specialized tactics so they could actually avert this trope properly.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Terada, the police officer who Kaname goes to after being attacked. He initially doesn't believe Kaname about Darwin's Game, but remains polite and professional in spite of his skepticism. He also quickly gets the message when the knife-wielding panda man breaks into the police box. Too bad he's killed off in less than half a chapter.
  • The Reveal: After thoroughly analyzing the Darwin's Game app itself, Rain became absolutely certain of a few things about the GM. The real purpose of Darwin's Game is to spread Sigils around. The more wielders of powerful Sigils, the better. Also, the app doesn't need an internet connection to work, which could only mean the GM has a Sigil that can manipulate electromagnetic waves.
  • Scavenger Hunt: The treasure hunt event of Shibuya, where the players need to collect at least three rings in order to not die if the clearing condition isn't met by the end of the time limit.
  • Shown Their Work: The game ends up actually being a reasonable demonstration of different evolutionary advantages. While murdering everyone who opposes you initially seems like a good strategy, no matter how powerful you are you will eventually run into a problem you can't solve on your own. You will need allies. And turning your enemies into allies is a better use of energy than assuming everyone is against you. Cooperation is one of the reasons humans are at the top of the food chain instead of bears.
  • Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: Though Magnolia and Towa can see the future, the future's not set in stone. If they foresee a Bad Future, it is because they can take measures to prevent it. If the future was set in stone, then they wouldn't be getting visions in the first place. Only a future they can change will be shown by their Sigil.
  • Starter Villain: The person who wears the Banda-kun mascot is known as the Rookie Killer, who is revealed to be none other than Kato, the adviser of Kaname's friend Kyoda. He is also the first person Kaname has to face in Darwin's Game.
  • Super Empowering: Everyone who joins Darwin's Game, even by accident, is given a superpower (known as a Sigil) from their phone (or somebody else's phone which has the Darwin's Game app installed) in order to survive. Sigil powers include Telekinetic powers (anything that affects matter or energy), Metamorphosis powers, Mind Control and Expanded Senses.
  • Superpower Lottery: Some people end up with powerful Sigils, and others not so much. The high-ranking players are the ones who won the lottery, such as Kaname with his Spontaneous Weapon Creation.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: The Sigil of Wang, leader of the Eighth gang.
  • Tempting Fate: Really, Kaname? A snake came out of your phone and bit your neck after you accepted the game invite, and you still accept its invite to fight someone?
  • Time Skip: The story has plenty of time skips, and the ones below are the most significant:
    • After Kaname wins the Treasure Hunt event, there is a one-month time skip.
    • After Sunset Ravens defeats Eighth in a clan war, there is another one-month time skip.
    • After the Sailors vs Pirates event, the surviving D-Game players spend some time in the onis' World Line, but by the time Kaname gets back, five years had passed in his own world.
  • Time Travel: The island the participants of the Island Hunting Game are transported to has a statue on it that is identical to the one in Shibuya, including the chunks taken out when D-Game players died on it. Ouji wonders if this means the game teleported them to the future for this event. The island itself is called the "Country of Japan", and Arabaki all but states that this is the case... but makes it sound more like an alternate universe version. However, there are hints that point towards this, from the discovery of the island's monsters in Columbia by US Forces, to a USN Task Force sailing toward the island near the event's climax. It's revealed that the island was actually ripped from an alternate universe.
  • Trial by Combat: The people of "Japan" had a divine trial as a tradition decades ago: the accused gets pitted against one of his tribe's warriors in a battle to the death, and the survivor is considered to be the one in the right, as it was believed that divine intervention gave him the power to win the trial. The current chief got rid of the trial because he considered it cruel and unnecessary. Rick purposely throws Kaname into one with the implication of throwing his own life away to clear him, but the natives discover that each understood the other's intentions during the trial and had zero intention to kill. The natives ultimately understand that Kaname was never their enemy.
  • Ungrateful Townsfolk: Towa calls out her own people for venting their anger at the deaths of two child villagers on the outsiders trying to help them rather than the outsiders who actually killed their kin.
  • Wham Line: Chapter 82 has one.
    Ryuuji: Kaname. It's been five years. Five years have passed here since you went missing.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: People with weak Sigils often complain about it, but Kaname is of the opinion that even weak Sigils can be useful if people make the most of it.
  • Variable-Length Chain: Due to her Sigil, "Queen of Thorns", Shuka has the ability to use chains, which are her favorite weapon.

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