(Photo Credit:MyAnime List)
I thought it would be a great idea to kick off my first ever anime review with an anime that is actually about video games.
“I’m totally acting like a creep otaku!”, says Keita Amano holding about 10-15 video games to his first encounter with the cutest girl in the same high school, Tendou Karen. He is right especially when it came to watching the anime.
The 12- episode anime Gamers! aired in Japan from July 13th until September 28, 2017 directed by Manabu Okamoto and produced by Pine Jam. It was also streamed on Crunchyroll as well as licensed by FUNimation Entertainment for a dubbed version. The anime is based off of the light novel written by Sekina Aoi and illustrated by Saboten.
The plot revolves around Keita Amano as an anti-scoial high school student who just plays video games in his free time. Keita encounters Karen Tendou who is the “cutest girl in school” as well as the president of the high school’s video game club. She attempts to recruit Keita while meeting and making new friends along the way including Chiaki Hoshinomori and Tasuku Uehara. Eventually there relationships become intricated and complex causing misunderstandings. Whether they are able to pull through is a different matter. I was also really surprised with an interesting plot twist that I didn’t expect: Keita doesn’t actually join the Gamers club.
Keita Amano is voiced by Megumi Han who does well in fitting into the role of a young video gamer in high school. Hisako Kanemoto voices Karen Tendou sounding comfortable as if she has done similar voice roles before. Toshiyuki Toyonoga, for me, really made the whole show funnier with a seemingly high school young man with a somewhat deep voice as Tasuku Uehara. Rumi Ookubo and Manaka Iwami also deserve credit for voicing the roles of Aguri and Chiaki Hoshinomori suiting well with not only their characters, but with the rest of the voice acting cast as well.
Jin Aketagawa, the sound director, deserves praise for doing an excellent job of making sound effects sound like an actual video game. In particular whenever the characters were interacting or conversing with each other, there would be these “pings” along with an animation affect just like in video games to be important enough to notice. Yoshiaki Dewa, head of the music component, also made the episodes flow with interesting music and tunes that I normally don’t here in other anime’s, making it all the more intriguing for the viewer. Tensho Sato, in charge of the character design, and Masami Saito, the art director, also seemed to have worked together in making the anime and characters really stand out. Though I must question why the characters noses look like odd thinly shaped pointy noses.
I was also surprised that in the theme song, they didn’t really put in any scenes or photos of scenes that actually happened in the series. I am so used to seeing at least some giveaway scenes in the theme song that in this case just stood out to me that they didn’t. I also noticed that the video games and consoles were named “PZ4” and even looked like Sony’s PlayStation 4, including the symbol/logo. How the copyright and trademark laws work, I’m not sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if they got permission or if not there would be a lawsuit.
One of the themes and messages I got from Gamers! is the fact that you never know who you meet or come into contact with can change your life in small ways. Imagine someone you have been interested in or a fan of for years suddenly notices and reaches out to you? Another theme and message is the fact that you really never know or tell what kind of misunderstandings can occur even with the smallest acts and words that comes out of our mouths. I also took out that you never know who is really watching or listening. In particular in a scene in the 3rd episode when Aguri notices outside a restaurant window across the street where her crush, Tasuku has his hands on the shoulder of Chiaki leading to overthinking and misunderstanding.
Gamers! really brought me back and reminded me of the second anime I have ever watched titled Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai (Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends).
Gamers! definitely belongs in the romantic comedy genre.
Although it was refreshing for me to watch, I think Gamers! will end up disappointing fans and video gamers since the focus is not actually about video games, but is actually about people.