Gamers!: First Impressions

When looking through the list of anime for Summer 2017, I couldn’t help but think this season was going to be shit. Nothing jumped out at me whatsoever except the return of New Game, of course. Thankfully, I had three shows from last season that carried over  but I happen to come across this vibrant cover art with the title of “Gamers!” Well, I’m a gamer. What can go wrong? Well, it was definitely not what I expected.

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Gamers! revolves around Amano Keita, a loner with a huge passion for video games. When Keita bumps into the most popular girl in school, Karen Tendou, he also learns that not only is she a gamer but she’s also the club president of the video games club. When offered an opportunity to join the video game club, Keita ultimately rejects it because this club was too competitive and didn’t fit how he likes to game. This is really a summary of episode one but this series is about gamers as the title says.

Gamers! was animated by Studio Pine Jam, a new anime studio that started back in 2015. Even though this studio is fairly new, I had no clue who they were. Looking at their list of projects, I can understand why. They’re all trash.

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But no really, none of these series even get near a score of a 7 on MyAnimeList BUT maybe Gamers! is the diamond in the rough. Gamers! is currently sitting on a score of 7.47 from 9,846 users as of the release of this article. Never take these numbers seriously for an ongoing show because they can change drastically due to ONE episode.

Another thing I found very interesting is, the choice of director. The director for this series is Manabu Okamoto and this is his debut as a series director. He’s done storyboard work and even directed some episodes, OPs, and EDs. His most notable works for me are Akame ga Kill! and Re: Zero. So currently I would say that he’s doing a great job with his first series. I wouldn’t fault him for some of the issues I do have for this anime.

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One of those issues is the story. We’re on episode three and I still feel that I have no idea what’s going on. One of the descriptions I seen for Gamers! is “A chaotic romantic comedy.” Hit the nail on the head but needs some emphasis on chaotic. Initially, I couldn’t help but be interested in a series that refers to some great games and even utilizes them in the anime but it’s hard to keep my interest in whatever the hell they tried to do in episode three. There were points where all points of views were relatable but it just seems to be a trainwreck of miscommunications. I expected more from this series seeing as its source material is a light novel. Maybe this is intentional. I can potentially see this as something the author wanted to show from his experiences with how gamers interact with each other BUT seems like a stretch to make this connection.

This anime does have many redeeming qualities that will keep me around. For one it does seem to have a bunch of references to games ranging from Persona 4 Arena to even Super Mario! Not just references to these titles but they go the extra mile to present either actual game play or they recreate it. I was really surprised that they mentioned speed runs. It’s not anything special to reference but they make sure to cover all aspects of gaming from competitive to the filthy casual.

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I believe the opening for this series is one of the best of 2017. I would say it’s my favorite of this season if it weren’t for Kakegurui’s rather interesting OP.  I would love to hear how this idea came about.

“Hey, wouldn’t it be cool to like take the characters and put them into a bunch of different video games and then end it off with a big boss battle?”

YES!

I especially like the beginning. Every visual syncs very well to the music but I love the use of the loading screen into the title screen. Like there were many ways to go about making this OP. They chose the best.

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Ultimately, I really want to love this show but it has become a challenge. I became invested during the second episode. Uehara’s inner conflicts with his love for video games and being popular was very good. I can relate as a young black nerd who had to hide his interest to avoid becoming a target. Episode three just felt unnecessary. I am going to stick with this series, begrudgingly. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this series. As always, thank you for taking the time to read this articles and please hit that like button to show me you enjoyed it!

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