「エロゲーマーと観戦モード / ゲーマーズと半生ゲーム」 (Erogeemaa to Kansen Moudo / Geemaazu to Hansei Geemu)
“Erogamer and Watching Mode / Gamers and Half their Life Game”
Wow. One of Tasuku’s plans actually worked for once!
I’m going to go through the first part of the episode quickly, because it was jarring. I guess they decided they needed to fit it in somewhere, and the Game of Half-Life bit wouldn’t have taken the full episode, so from a pacing perspective that was quite possibly wise. It came in out of nowhere though, to the point that I didn’t know who was speaking in the opening scene, didn’t empathize with Hoshinomori Konoha (Kuwahara Yuuki) even when she was properly introduced, because it wasn’t earned. I laughed at the flagrant Seitokai no Ichizon reference, but other than that I mostly rolled my eyes at her giving a flip about the conversation between these two random boys, or her tearing up because Amano suggested a game she identified with. Also, are Chiaki and Konoha in the same grade? Because if she’s a year younger, that would make Karen her sempai, and it wouldn’t make sense for them to be compared. Strange.
The latter half of the episode, however, was turbo hilarious, and it did what this show is so good at, and what it definitely needed: it changed. First though, the entire game was absolutely great in how everything seemed sadistically calculated (and it was, because author) to dig at every open wound, scar, imagined slight, delusion, or anything else that would rile up or otherwise torture one of the characters. It was awesome! Keita and Aguri getting married was perhaps the best, though Karen getting unhappily rich and Tasuku cheating were great too. The pièce de résistance was clearly the square that both Chiaki and Keita landed on, talking about how their soulmate was someone else. Contrivance can be aggravating in fiction, but when it’s used to get characters into trouble? Heck yeah, that can work. And here it does. Bring it!
Perhaps my absolute favorite aspect was how, as soon as Chiaki left the room, everything got better. Karen and Keita talked with each other—even if Karen’s questioning jealousy would ultimately bring about the episode’s biggest event, to her possible future despair—and Tasuku and Aguri partially reconciled. I mean, did you see them? That was so cute! I’m undecided where I land on the Karen x Keita x Chiaki love triangle, but I was always fully behind Tasuku x Aguri after the end of episode two, i.e. the moment when Tasuku realized that he really did have feelings for Aguri after all, and thus became capable of treating her as well as she deserved. (Before that he was a bit of a douche, but he’s a teenager. All teenagers are doofuses.) So seeing them reconcile, realize (at least partially) that the other doesn’t romantically care about the third party they feared, and hold hands was sweet. Once again, a reward for us, the viewers, for all the turbulence we’ve gone through. And I guess the two of them too.
Too bad the happiness lasted for all of six seconds before Chiaki came back and heard Amono reveal his screennames and reference Mono-san and Nobe-san. Poor Chiaki was too dumbstruck to react, until later, at which point it was utter meltdown. In a way I’m sad that Gamers! appears to be entering the more well-trodden world of the love triangle, but as I said: it changed. The dynamic had to change, because the other was unstable, and while they can still poke at it, they couldn’t tell jokes about Tasuku being a (supposed) cheater for long without a Nice Boat scenario seeming likely and/or deserved. Ditto with similar concerns in Aguri. It needed to change, and it did before the old dynamic became stale. Hopefully they’ll do the same with this one when the time comes.
For now though, I can’t wait to see how Chiaki reacts to this news once her brain functions again. She’s the element of chaos who breathed strife into the relationships of those around her, through no fault of her own. What will happen if she decides to start doing so on purpose? The heavens quake, the seas shake, and the land shivers at the thought of Hoshinomori Chiaki on the warpath. None are safe.
- I still can’t believe Tasuku’s plan mostly worked. Normally this smile heralds as much chaos as Chiaki’s presence does. I assume it’ll never last.
- Even before Aguri vocalized it, the moment when Amano admitted he was enjoying the game with everyone was when I realized it: he truly is everyone’s derpy little brother. High-maintenance indeed, but not irredeemable. Even if he is a wholly unrealistic ladykiller.
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 updates. At stephenwgee.com, I’ve begun blogging again! The latest post: Help Houston.