「宮前透 第1章 コウカン」 (Miyamae Tooru dai 1-shou – Koukan)
“Miyamae Tooru First Chapter – Trade”
What is with this show and deer?
I’m never sure how I feel about a premise or character that seems almost workshopped. “Gamer girls are in right now, let’s have one of them be a gamer girl!”, I can imagine some executive in a suit saying, while smoking a cigarette and drinking cheap scotch in a run-down yet comfortable bar just far enough away from the office to be respectable. I’m not a fan of that kind of thinking, but I also can’t remember the last time I saw a gamer girl as the heroine? So, ya know. Welcome change and all that. It just borders enough on mercenary to make a part of me frown.
Then you get to the episode, which is like a steroid shot right to the arousal and/or loneliness center of every boy who’s ever wished to meet a girl who loves video games. (Or anime. Same idea.) (I don’t think steroid shots work like that, but I’m on a roll.) “Would you trade items with me?” Hot. And everyone wants the beautiful gamer girl to join their group of gamer friends. My main qualm is that it all seemed too easy, like she slipped into the group too quickly, and the flirting began without any effort. Which, ya know, it’s wish fulfillment, so probably not bad. I just wish Shouichi had to work for it a little more.
Actually, I lied. My main qualm is one of those foundational, meta things I love to talk about so much, and it’s this: the characters aren’t the same characters in this arc as they were in the last arc, Moe-nee excepted. Shouichi and Ikuo went from worried about their future to hardcore gamer otaku, Hikari went from competitive with Moe-nee to squeeing over her, and Araki-sempai—okay, he’s the same too. But it’s a problem with Shouichi in particular. And I do realize that Junichi wasn’t really the same Junichi in every arc, but the crucial thing he had was the foundation—the x-mas trauma bound all the Junichis together. Shouichi flows too much, and others flow too, which is disorienting. Ikuo and Hikari need to be the same as last time at least, or the Ikuo we see this time needs to be more obvious last time. Otherwise it feels like they’re new people.
All this sounds like I didn’t enjoy the episode, but that’s not the case; it’s one of those episodes where the negatives are more interesting to talk about, while the enjoyable parts are fairly milquetoast. I laughed out loud at a few points, and Tooru’s character is admirably understandable so far—she’s lonely, she’s secretly competitive, she let herself go too far in the past, and through playing with Shouichi I bet she’ll get over some or all of those. Even Shouichi is actually better this arc when taken alone (caveat: so far), because what he wants is also clear: to play games and get closer to the hot gamer girl. While the meta issues are still there—and has the animation taken a nosedive?—this arc is off to a promising enough start, and at least the Shouichi issues aren’t as pronounced. I’m still cautiously optimistic about where this one’s going, since, even if the inclusion of a gamer girl came about because of mercenary marketing thinking, how often do we get a gamer girl as the main heroine? A little wish fulfillment isn’t a bad thing, after all.
- Seriously though, what is with this series and deer? Araki-sempai doesn’t have the weirdest fetish, Seiren does.
- Still need less tell, more show. They didn’t even show Tooru singing? Perfect chance for an insert song!
- That guy, that cliffhanger. Cruel. Not that I expect it to lead anywhere.
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