WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Ranking of Kings Episode 11, "Older and Younger Brothers," now streaming on Funimation.
Ranking of Kings knows how to play with viewers' initial impressions of characters, with seemingly nasty figures like Hiling and Daida proving either lovable or redeemable and seemingly supportive ones like Domas and Bosse turning out to be absolutely terrible. But can the anime seriously redeem Miranjo, the mirror lady who's directly responsible for Daida's fall into darkness and his possession by Bosse?
Episode 11, "Older and Younger Brothers," is the show's most confusing half-hour yet, but while Miranjo's plot is more complicated and mysterious than ever, it does appear as if she's being set up as, if not a hero, then at least a much more sympathetic villain than previously believed.
It's not that Miranjo doesn't still have a lot to answer for. The episode's opening flashbacks, which reveal that Daida used to be motivated to protect Bojji but became conceited from Miranjo's praise after being gifted the mirror by Bosse, only making Miranjo even more directly connected to everything wrong in the kingdom. However, the next time we see her is as a helpless child tortured by an angry mob within Daida's "sunken place."
The mechanics of how young Miranjo and the mob appear to Daida haven't been explained yet, but if these visions are trustworthy, Miranjo had her hands severed and the skin on her face ripped off by people who believed her kind to be responsible for all of their ills. What exactly "her kind" is remains another question in need of an answer, but the idea of a tortured child being scapegoated for reasons that sound like they have more to do with bigotry than anything she could have done at such an age certainly paints her in a more sympathetic light. The mutilation she faced also explains why every single time we've seen Miranjo "in the flesh," she has been inhabiting some sort of artificial body.
In the present, Miranjo's latest power play involves breaking criminals out of the Underworld's prison and bringing them to the castle to threaten Bosse. Putting Bosse and Daida in danger leads Hiling to return, so Miranjo's primary motive seems to be to draw the queen into a trap. Figuring out or not whether Miranjo and Bosse are still on the same side is cause for speculation.
The prison break has even greater political implications, inspiring the Underworld's King Desha to go to war with Bosse's kingdom. Fighting on Desha's side is none other than Bojji, who has finished his training and was already determined to return home even before Desha got involved. The ensuing battle is sure to be intense and will hopefully answer at least some of the many questions Ranking of Kings has been raising. However, fans will have to wait slightly longer than usual for the next episode, as the anime is taking a break for the holidays and will return in January.