We are heaved back into the seething cauldron of uncertainty and panic, better known as high school, where the slightest misstep or errant statement can doom you to a life of abject despair. Well, that’s what it felt like for me when I attended! Anyway, this is a bit of the plotting and thought-work behind the latest student rom-com, “Gamers!” (“Gēmāzu!”).
Keita Amano (second from right), a student at Otobuki High, enjoys playing video games by himself. This is one of those chicken-and-egg situations. He plays video games, as he doesn’t make friends easily, and since he doesn’t make friends easily, he plays video games. It goes round and round, so we cannot determine First Cause. Anyway, he is approached by the beautiful school idol Karen Tendō (blondie in the middle) to join the school’s Gaming Club. Wow! I mean, if an angel descended from the heavens to ask you to do something, you would, right? This is that level of request.
Keita tries it out, but finds it is about competitive gaming, so he declines her offer. He’s more of those untimed quests kind of person and pressure makes him fold up. Well, this is unheard of! Why would ANYONE turn down Karen!??! [REVIEWER’S UPDATE: I wrote this review long before ‘Karen’ became a term of derision and insult.] This rejection sets off a cascade of events in the lives of Keita and his fellow students in matters of both video games and romance. And it means an absolute ton of misunderstandings occur along the way.
Aiding in this mayhem is Tasuku Uehara (the other guy up their) and his girlfriend, Aguri (far left). We learn about their rather complicated relationship as these two try and help Karen and Keita navigate the rapids of love. On Keita’s side is a gal pal, Chiaki Hoshinomori (far right), who plays games and share opinions with him, but causes jealousies when she takes Tasuku’s advice and foments doubts in Aguri.
One could see this as a metaphor, that we are all playing games of one type or another when we deal with emotional hearts, but real life is tons more tougher than any video sim dating game. The Gaming Club was just an excuse to try and bring these folks together and you were not going to spend a huge amount of time watching them play games.
But even as a rom-com, it goes flat fast, as if we are waiting for the plot to catch up with us. We seem to know what they need to do, but they are clueless. Whether paralyzed by fear, doubt and/or uncertainty, they kind of lurch along. Life does not have a cheat code to allow you to proceed; you have to figure it out for yourself. PS, no save and restart approach, either.
Overall, it’s not a bad show. Some of the sequences are really amusing, especially when Keita turns down Karen and people lose their minds. I guess I want someone who is a bit more self-assured or is not afraid to take a chance and possibly fail. How many times did you play that level until you beat it? Yeah, life is like that as well. Romance shows and school shows always need to be binged, as we see things play out in a better time frame, and since this is both genres of shows, it’s OK. You have my blessing to sit down on a long weekend (which three-day holiday is coming up next?) and do what you need to do with this show.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Are the eyes getting bigger and bigger?)
Plot 7 (A tried-and-true chestnut)
Pacing 7 (Sometimes lurches)
Effectiveness 7 (Takes too much time to make its point)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 1 (A similar show would be “Ouran High School”)
Bingeability 8 (Gives a better sense of tension and confusion)
Overall 7 (Needed something it wasn’t giving)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I’ll pass. What?!!?