「雨野景太と天道花憐の最高の娯楽」 (Amano Keita to Tendou Karen no Saikou no Goraku)
“Amano Keita and Tendou Karen’s Best Entertainment”
What a reward, what a wonderful reward!
Peaks and valleys, dear reader. A good story ought to have peaks and valleys. For the depths of drama to work, you have to bring us to the heights of happiness to show us what the drama imperils, and to make us hope for it to all work out. This was the peak, my friends! After a first ten minutes that seemed to indulge in the same old drama—making me worry that this as a one-note show that could do nothing else—it proved itself more wily than I anticipated. It was all a feint. Keita manned up and asked Tendou out on a date. Woohoo!
What resulted was a funny, sweet, lovey-dovey date that I feel like we rarely get in anime; this was a true first date, full of awkwardness and uncertainty, but with no seeming ulterior motive to the narrative. It really felt like two people stumbling through their first date, and trying to get to know each other better.
It was, to be honest, lovely. It felt fluffy, almost like it was filler, but not in the pointless way. More like it was a reward. Wade through the misunderstandings and drama, Gamers! is saying. Wade through! If these characters can make it through, happiness awaits! But beware, for if they fail, you’ll lose all this. The sweetness will disappear, never to be tasted again.
There are risks in this, of course, as there are with so much of what Gamers! does. Where before the drama was nothing but nonstop hilarity, now I find myself dreading its return. Don’t imperil their happy end, dammit! I’m totally on board with Keita x Karen now, they’re adorable together—she even likes it when he’s fumbling. They share interests, they both get so embarrassed, they’re both kind of stupid in a cute way, it’s great. But the misunderstandings still swirl. What will happen?
That’s a consideration for another episode. For now, I’m thoroughly satisfied, not the least because Gamers! had the guts to advance. To change. To do something different. The comedic drama is great, and this team and source material are damn good at it, but if that’s all they had, it’d be one-note. This is something different. It keeps it lively, it keeps us guessing, and it gives us something to remember when/if everything starts to fall apart again. And it was so cute, HNNNGG!
- Keita, Chiaki, Aguri—no one has faith in Tasuku’s faithfulness. Poor guy!
- The moment that Karen became, unequivocably, someone to root for: “I’m scared to see Amano-kun.” Even if you didn’t like her popular girl archetype up to this point, how can you hate her now? If you’re a monster, that’s how. You monster.
- I loved that, as useless as Keita is in a lot of ways, he still knew enough to admit that he wanted to see her in a swimsuit, and compliment her when he did (even if his lead-in compliment was turbo goofy). Skipping the standard anime romcom clichés in exchange for ACTUAL romantic clichés is swiftly endorsed. And way cuter, d’aaaaww!
- Slowly laying the groundwork for challenger two. That “enemies” junk isn’t going to last long at this rate.
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for exclusive content. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: I get it now!; Guardians of the Galaxy, Glee, & Firesign; That’s not supposed to go there . . .; and The Carcer Principle.