[If you are not up to date with Gamers, watch the 2nd episode before reading this post. Trust me, that 2nd episode is really good and significantly better than the 1st.]
The anime season was well under way when I returned from my cross country trip. Not knowing much about any of the anime that have aired, I figured I’d do the thing I do every season and watch some. I started with Fox Spirit Matchmaker, and for all its faults, it charmed me enough that I watched all four episodes.
I wanted something light and easily digestible, so I watched Knights and Magic (my friends said it was good wish fulfillment stuff and I love those stories). I opened Tsurezure Children next. I absolutely love the manga and the anime most certainly did not disappoint.
Then I rolled myself around to Gamers. The title ‘Gamers’ sounded garbage enough that I figured it would make good fluff entertainment.
At best I was hoping for something dumb and funny, but a part of me was expecting annoying, dull ‘just gamer things’. I got a bit of those ‘gamer things’ but the show ended up surprising the heck out of me. This show, despite the iffy title and premise, had its heart in the most correct place.
I call the title and premise iffy not because they imply a perverted or ‘problematic’ story (we all know how much I love those), but because it is rooted in annoying video game culture.
I still like video games (heck I spend all of my waking time playing Japanese Cellphone games), but I am tired of video game culture. I am especially tired of the notion that playing video games makes one special in any way. There’s always more to an individual than being a gamer, or at the very least, you should not define yourself as solely being a gamer.
There was a time when video games were very niche, and being a so called gamer was novel, but that was a long time ago. Anyway I shouldn’t try to derail too hard, but point being, I was not too into the idea of a show catering to that mindset. As an example, I enjoyed No Game No Life, but I didn’t really want a show with a similar ‘leet loner gamer’ lead.
The first episode started off how I had predicted. Here we had some gamer nerd kid, who’s entire identity seemed to revolve around video games and that somehow made him special.
There were hints that maybe my expectations were misplaced. He played cellphone games (Granblue Fantasy of all things) for example, but I figured that would only be used to show the wide variety of stuff he was good at.
Making the main girl a hardcore speed-runner should have been my first hint that this show went against annoying gamer culture and not with it
Shortly after he met the club, I figured it wasn’t going to be all that bad of a show. Hopefully it would be like Gj-bu and just have club members of good personality playing games together.
Then the FPS game rounds began. Had I paid attention to the scoreboards I’d have noticed just how bad the main character was, but fortunately for inattentive me, he was called out on it. This kid….jumped up and down on a car to get a better view of the scenery.
Suddenly I adored the main character. Keita wasn’t some elite gamer, but an enthusiastic little kid. He further solidified this reputation by boldly rejecting the gaming club invitation because they didn’t play the games he liked. (The classroom rejection was especially hilarious.)
The second episode continued to build Keita’s character as this goofy gaming enthusiast who wasn’t terribly good at games, just overly obsessed with them. My favorite moment this episode though was Uehara lashing out at Keita.
In taking his anger out at his past self, Uehara compared Keita to the same lonely higher than thou gamer stereotype I had initially expected from this show. Keita rejecting Uehara’s rant so blatantly (and crazily) put my initial worries to a rest.
Looking at this pyschotic fightback, I still think Uehara is mostly right but the show acknowledging the holier than thou gamer dweeb exists was impressive and it served as excellent Uehara characterization. He really did dislike his past self.
More than that though I was really impressed by the developing relationship between Uehara and Keita and Uehara’s characterization.
When I first saw Uehara and pink girl in episode 01, I immediately shipped them. It was my shipper heart acting up again, but I figured that the show had no such intention to go with my desire. I figured Uehara would turn out to be some jerk and Aguri would leave him for the MC’s harem. The 2nd episode started off suggesting as much, but Uehara realizing Aguri was someone he knew from before and then falling for her hard was absolutely adorable.
Uehara and Keita’s friendship was the real prize from the 2nd and 3rd episodes. Holy crap, they are so good together. I am still shipping Uehara with Aguri (so cute >_<) and Keita likely with Tendou, but I can’t really disagree with my friend Kastel:
I was actually stunned by the end of the episode. I had expected something dumb and easy to watch or something just not good, but these characters…these characters were good and they were being treated really well. The closing line of the 2nd episode destroyed me. It was just so good and melted the heart of this old fool who had perhaps grown cynical over the enjoyment one can derive from video games.
I am not into competitive gaming and I don’t enjoy being pressured to take video games seriously so finding a main character who embodied my approach to video games was one of the best things to happen to me this season. Between that and the shipping (please AGURI X UEHARA MUST STAY), a fantastic friendship and some good character animation, I am most definitely looking forward to more!
Note: The 3rd episode wasn’t as shocking as the 2nd, but blue haired girl is pretty good and as of episode 03 the show has clearly moved the puck into the romcom misunderstandings arena (which to the show’s credit is exactly what the synopsis advertises).