「雨野景太と導かれし者達」 (Amano kei Futoshi to Michibika re shi sha Tachi)
“Keita Amano and Chapters of the Chosen”

A great sense of humor elevates everything.

I went into this episode slightly excited, and was delighted by what I found. Part of that is certainly expectations; it’s easier to be pleasantly surprised when you weren’t expecting the world. But the simple fact is that this show takes what could easily be a derivative, uninteresting premise—a cute, popular girl is in a gaming club, and is thus interested in the audience insert/average unpopular high school boy—and elevates it through a deceptively simple tactic: having a good sense of humor. A good sense of humor makes everything better.

Take the popular, kind, smart, athletic, beautiful school idol Tendou Karen (Kanemoto Hisako), who also happens to be gaming nut. Wish fulfillment, right? Traditionally these characters look down on the gamer guy(s), they aren’t interested in him. But, from the foreshadowing of her reputation falling to everyone getting cut back down to size as soon as they get too full of themselves, it’s simultaneously treating the characters with affection and taking the piss out of them. It might be wish fulfillment, but none of it is working out to the main character’s actual benefit, so it doesn’t feel like pandering. That means we can enjoy the wish fulfillment aspects (the popular girl is still interested in the unpopular guy!) while laughing at their misfortune.

This is also a rare example of an average, absolutely-not-special main character done right. Amano Keita (Han Megumi) is a regular boy who enjoys games, but when you’re surrounded by a sempai who was trained in FPS’s by his mercenary father, or another who’s trying to bring her friend back from the dark side, or another who lost all his memories save for a puzzle game, being a normal kid who enjoys games becomes a revolutionary act. Normal becomes weird, so we can empathize with him as if he were weird in his own right! Neat trick, right? Though the sense of humor aids this as well, because while Keita might be the average guy, he’s not bland. His expressions are great! As are everyone else’s. I could watch this show for the reaction faces alone.

The seiyuus are great, the pacing is awesome, the animation is nice, and it’s funny. It’s really funny! I also want to know what was going on with that opening scene, if everything else wasn’t enough to keep me interested already. This is predominately a comedy, which can be hard to blog, but it’s also a romance, and I also enjoyed the heck out of it. I’m not sure if I’ll blog it all the way through, but I’ll definitely give it another episode or two. Hopefully it’ll keep pleasantly surprising us.

Random thoughts:

  • Keita’s comment about wanting to see really pretty scenery makes me curious as to what kinds of games he prefers. Thoughts, gentlepeeps?
  • That self-sabotage and self-loathing. I feel ya, kid. Been there. Been there!
  • A banana peel! A flippin’ banana peel! How often do we even SEE that nowadays? It’s an oldie but a goodie.

Full-length images: 06.

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  1. *emotional background music playing,*kind senpais,*beautiful girl classmate and kind boy classmate smiling at you
    *music stop

    no, thank you i’ll pass! *while smiling

    LMAO what a way to destroy the mood and usual development XD

    in the anime it got toned down a bit, but actually in the manga karen was kinda rude, she pointed the social game keita played as the boring one twice! while looked serious at that too and the senpais rather too intimidating. Of course it’s too hard for casual gamer to blend in.

    1. It was too bad they cut out the fighting-game part, though, since that really drove it home that really, none of them are there to have fun. You can have crazy personal reasons and still enjoy yourself, but not-so-much in this club. Even if they kept saying otherwise, the underlying feeling that he’d have to get better to belong there was very present at all times.

    1. Also saw (bland-name versions of) Ace Combat, Final Fantasy VIII, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (“Rush B! Rush B!”) and blurred out covers of Dark Souls III (called it) and Civilization II–to name a few.

  2. https://randomc.net/image/Gamers/Gamers%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2006.jpg
    A blonde popular schoolgirl who’s secretly a gamer. I can’t help but recall Haganai‘s Sena Kashiwazaki (a.k.a.: “Meat”/”Niku“)–and a wee bit of Campione‘s Erika Blandelli looks-wise–whenever I see Karen.

    A gamer chick with unkempt hair? She seems similar to Ako Tamaki. Also, if Keita had declined Mono’s request for assistance in (bland-name) Granblue Fantasy and Mono is similar to Ako…won’t she coop herself up at home even more? I’d love to see more of her and her backstory with Keita.

    Akuru: “Yoshiko, you idiot! (*dope slap*) Stop throwing your banana peels into another anime!”

    I already expected a torrent of shout-outs to various video games in this show, but sadly, I’ve yet to see one that I know of and actually play (or played). (Though technically, I played the old CS 1.6 and a bit of Condition Zero.)

    Anyway, based on the backstories of some of the Gaming Club’s members, does that qualify them for the “Dysfunction Junction” trope?

    Yep, excited to see how this show goes. (And see more shout-outs to video games, hehe.)

  3. The ending made this episode for me, not just because it was what I would’ve done as a fellow casual gamer in the same situation, but because it was great to see the main guy not get swept up by the beautiful, out-of-his-league girl.

    The whole time you felt how uncomfortable he was with the Gamer Club so if he had stayed, it basically would’ve been just to been near Tendo, but Amano was self-aware enough to get that not only would that not be okay with what the club was about, it also wouldn’t be any fun. it was also great to see her get taken down a peg since while she wasn’t quite as overbearing and full of it as in the LN, the feeling was still there. She has her own circumstances(probably?) but she’s also never had something not go her way so badly before, and it was great to see her freak out. The whole ending made both her and Amano infinitely more likable and popped them straight out of being cookie-cutter.

    1. It almost sounded like you had something against her for a second there Aex, lol. I don’t really think she was taken down a peg since that wasn’t his intent, though it definitely did pop her out of being a cliche.

  4. I dont see this aspect of the episode being brought up much in discussion so maybe it’s just me; but with how this first episode had a penchant for foreshadowing future developments, i was intrigued by the way the conversation between Keita and Karen was framed. The show has already gone out of its way to prove to its audience that things may not go the way viewers have been conditioned to expect from LN stories of this ilk by having the MC reject an invitation to a club that could “change his whole high school life.” In doing so, it also kinda hints to its audience that the perfect wish-fulfillment female character may not be the one that wins the MC’s heart either.

    In those few minutes between Keita and Karen, the timer for his cellphone game goes off and he is given a choice between accepting Karen’s offer i.e being swept up in the perfect girl’s wave and being wrapped up in a budding romance, ultimately adhering to the tropish trappings of a romantic comedy such as this; or, accept mono-san’s offer before time runs out. If he failed to accept mono-san’s request, it would be him rejecting her, which is what he does in the first half of the ep because hey, he thinks he has scored with this perfect girl. It’s not until he’s in the club that he realizes that maybe this girl isnt so perfect (or may that she’s strung on being too perfect, and that’s just not for him); which goes in line with his realization that it’s okay for him to like games casually and that not everyone who shares a hobby in gaming (or any hobby in general) has to share it the same way.

    In essence, the show may have just foreshadowed that this romantic comedy is not going to go in the direction of “boy meets girl put on pedestal and falls in love.” This is a story where the boy falls for the girl who isnt glorified; he falls for “the average chick”. The last scene is framed in a way where Keita has to pick between two girls and the one he picks is Mono-san. This is exemplified by Karen stating that she feels rejected (reason being that she’s probably unfamiliar with the feeling of not getting what she wants) and the final shot lingering on mono-san thanking him for his assistance, as in “thanks for picking me.” I may be looking to deeply into this whole thing but that stuck out to me while watching that scene play out. If this is how things actually end up, it would be a genuinely smart move on the narrative and a refreshing change of pace for romantic comedies like this. With the way this ep was so adamant about foreshadowing events, my speculation doesnt seem removed from the realm of reality if mono-san ends up being part of the main cast.

    1. That all very well may be true, and is a fascinating analysis of the events. The only tweak I’d put is that in all likelihood, Keita has no idea that Mono-san is a girl, so it wasn’t him consciously picking one girl over the other. It was certainly him picking one way of gaming over the other, though, and picking one person over another. That may very well foreshadow how things will develop romantically, though the primacy of Karen in the marketing materials makes that anything but a sure-thing. (Though that could be a pump fake too…)

      1. Yea your tweak in my scenario was already considered in my analysis. I wasnt saying that keita knows that mono-san is a girl; however, we as the audience do know of mono-san’s gender and that’s what makes the framing of that final scene work as possible foreshadowing of who the main love interest might be. And while it’s rare for the girl who is promoted as the main female protagonist to not be the one who hooks up with the guy MC in these romantic stories, Konosuba seems to be pulling off a similar trick in which aqua is sort of promoted as the main female protagonist of the series when technically she kind of isnt. It’s a decision which i believe is intentional on the author’s part what with Kazuma gleefully looking for the girl who is the “main heroine” of the world he lives in now

      2. KonoSuba is a bad example for your point, because it’s faaaaar more com than rom, and if any romance does come of it, it will never have been the point. It’s like Fairy Tail (no one spoil anything, I’m SO many chapters behind), where the romance is definitely there and appreciated, but it’s the battles and the nakama that are the main draw.

        That aside, yeah, your point tracks. It might not end up being right, but damn if it isn’t a good theory that I might reference in future posts 😀 The “end girl”, if there is to be one, is definitely up in the air as is.

      3. Hahaha no lie, i knew you’d bring up the point that konosuba is more com than rom. I was thiiisss close to mentioning it in my comment that Im aware that the situations are kind of different due to the focus of the series’ in question. That being said, i dont think that takes away from the fact that its very that both series (at least in konosuba’s case) use a specific female as the poster girl, giving of the impression that they fulfill the “main heroine” trope, even tho (at least for konosuba anyway) it could be argued that the girl being given top billing is not truly the “main heroine” or (again in konosuba’s case), the main female protagonist. This of course is my conclusion drawn from deconstructing what the main female protagonist or “main heroine” is in a story and seeing who in konosuba fits those criteria. By the way, I just want to also make it clear that I am aware that there is a difference between “main female protagonist” and the trope of the “main heroine”. In regards to gamers! karen is most likely the main female protagonist, but it might be possible that she’s not the main heroine…that’s my speculation anyway; so yea, when we get to the end of this series i guess we’ll see if my predictions bore any fruit.

  5. This episode had me laughing out loud multiple times.
    A+ use of breaking the fourth wall with the text on the screen talking about future developments. Loving it.
    For having subverted most of my expectations, this show gets a big ol’ thumbs up.

  6. When he said he wanted vanish and the fire swallowed him up I legit burst out laughing. I’m not entirely in love with the art style of this show but it’s still very cute so far. I might stick with this one.

  7. I enjoyed the first episode alot, but the last scene drove me crazy with how quickly he threw away his opportunities to join, and tossed away the effort it took Karen to be this forward about wanting him to join.

  8. So glad that this series subverted the typical set-up.

    I was afraid that Karen was going to turn out to be a typical tsundere who was only “perfect” on the outside and that liking games was something she only did in secret, then Keita ends up stumbling onto that secret (like bumping into her in disguise at an arcade or something), and then we just get into a bunch of hijinks involving games and whatnot.

    I’d definitely be like Keita in that sort of situation though; liking games, only to come across a highly competitive group (“gaming is SERIOUS BUSINESS”) who you would be seen as a filthy casual by comparison, and good for Keita for sticking to his “I just want to have fun and enjoy something I like” thinking rather than being just sucked into the group’s current.

  9. Thank goodness for the plot twist where the main guy rejects the club or otherwise I’ll be bailing out of this already.

    And damn did the comedy surprise me. More than what I thought was romance of a show, this one threw me off. As you said, Stilts, the jokes are on point (shoutout to banana peel lol) and I’d love to see Tendou trying her best in seducing persuading this necessary fifth member so that their club don’t potentially get closed new member which she might like? (I mean, it’s romance anyway) Also, I wish the romance will get somewhere, considering this is an adaptation which might not conclude. I don’t mind the guy who has the super cute gf though; can the main guy get one too?

    For someone like me who watches YouTube gameplay videos daily this is going to be a walk in the park. Now for plot and whatever comedy they can throw at me because I’m enjoying this haha

  10. So, this show WASN’T the Napata-esque character designfest that I initially thought it would be. Still, I am intrigued. I mean, when you go out of your way to promote Guilty Gear and make ripoffs of Counter Strike and Ace Combat, you know it’s actually putting in the effort. Plus the visual quality is pretty impressive. Well, except for when the scene is portraying distance like that scene at the park… Yeah, that was pretty derpy though…

    P.S I got triggered at the Ace Combat one cuz the parody was too plain wwwww Heck, even Counter Strike was portrayed a little too plainly too lulz

    Nishizawa Mihashi
    1. I see fellow Ace Combat pilot (and an oSEAn as well -heh- ), I press like.
      Geez I’m too simple as a man.

      (I get the feeling that the author’s taste in game isn’t too far from me, or you actually)

      Kasper Hematbaterai
    2. Fellow comrade, we shall soon take to the skies once again. But what I never expected, is a fellow pilot from the same region as I.

      I don’t know about ‘tastes’, but I assume that this fine author of ours is portraying the whole spectrum of games currently out there. I can only imagine that this ‘gaming club’ this rich lady insists on dragging our protagonist into does not react well to ‘creative simulations’, for a lack of a better term

      Nishizawa Mihashi
  11. Also, to answer your question Stilts my man, if Keita loves looking at ‘pwetty things’ in games, then I can only think of 2 possibilities…

    A) The ‘pwetty scenery’ of smoking hot babes

    B) The ‘pwetty scenery’ of games that are all on dat ‘gwafix’

    But it’s kinda mind-boggling cuz if you love ‘pwetty scenery’ and you playing games to relax, then wouldn’t you be more at home with something like The Sims? Oh God if they ever make an entire episode centered around a Sims parody that’d be an total riot gwuaahahahahah! Sooooooooooo meta broooooooo #YonHyakuNijuuBureijitto

    Nishizawa Mihashi
    1. RPGs can be relaxing, just as long as you set everything to the easiest level I suppose 😛

      Then again, even a dating sim can be stressful if you have no idea which options to pick- tee-hee bubble burst!

      Nishizawa Mihashi
  12. Considering Keita’s been playing VNs and Granblue Fantasy, I’d say he prioritizes graphics and story to gameplay. So, adventure and role-playing games? Multiplayer RPGs and MMO-RPGs might be a good hook for him. Emphasis on the former as my experience says it’s harder to go ultra hardcore serious businesses on them. Just avoid stuff that requires twitchy reflexes.

    Got to wonder on what Karen’s preference are. She is a hardcore gamer, but doesn’t seem to be the competitive type. Unlike Misumi who has only been exposed to block games, she seems to have been exposed lot of variety.

  13. Interesting season lol I cant believe he didn’t join the club though lol that’s to show you that he really enjoys playing games lol
    I’m glad I started this season because it’s actually quite fun xD


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