「ゲーマーズとネクストステージ」 (Geemaazu to Nekusuto Suteeji)
“Gamers and Next Stage”

I don’t even know who to ship anymore!

I was staying diehard on my ships. Tasuku x Aguri, and—actually, I had never decided on the Karen x Keita x Chiaki axis. But I had one ship set! I always like the B-couple, it’s refreshing to be able to take it easy with the main couple(s) and focus on the Ruri x Shuu ship or whoever. But this episode finally threw it all into flux, to the delight of some of my fellow writers. (Wipe that smirk off your face, Enzonon. None of your sass, Zai-chan!)

Part of it is that Tasuku keeps fucking up, but he also keeps saving himself just before he becomes irredeemable—for every missed call when his girlfriend needs him, he assuages Karen’s worries, thereby proving that while he is a bit of a shit boyfriend, he’s not a bad guy. He’s just bad at this. But should I be rooting for Aguri to be with the kind of shit boyfriend? Should I take Option D, none of the above, and set her free to be with a nice guy who isn’t such a baddie? And then there’s the obvious chemistry she has with Amanocchi, and WIPE THAT GRIN OFF YOUR FACE, ENZO!

Not that anything Aguri or Amano did was in the least bit strange. Genderflip one of them (let’s say Keita), and none of it would seem weird, right? Aguri has a nerdy friend even if she herself isn’t much of a nerd, but he said friend is an good friend (unlike this other girl), so why wouldn’t she defend him (her, if Amano were a girl)? And why wouldn’t Amano come help a friend in seemingly dire need, but prioritize his hobby over spending mundane time with his girlfriend? I mean, spend mundane time with her still, but a friend’s dire need certainly trumps a hobby. And if they were the same sex (and neither were gay, or not too shippable, natch), it wouldn’t feel weird, would it?

And yet, it’s undeniable that their chemistry is good. That’s why I found myself agreeing with the trio on that last moment, and wavering. I don’t know who to ship anymore, you gaiz! I just don’t know!

What I most appreciate about this episode was how it actually resolved some misunderstandings (Tasuku cheating), but exchanged them for more deep-seated concerns about character’s compatabilities (Amano x Aguri). We can’t live on misunderstandings forever, and giving Aguri the simple self-esteem boost that her boyfriend isn’t cheating on her was nice. But gotta feed the comedy beast, right? This is good fuel. I’m excite.

As for Chiaki, her front is still moving slowly, a dramatic angle in a show fueled by laughter. It’s odd, and doesn’t quite fit; I’d almost say that the less focus it is, the better the show will be, but it’s such a huge area of interest that that’s hard to say. I don’t know. I’d favor movement, though. Evolve or die, sez I—this sitting around and worrying thing isn’t doing any of us any good. And props to Konoha for saying what everyone else was thinking. Don’t date the cheater! And even if he wasn’t cheating, don’t date the guy with a girlfriend. Being the other woman (or man) is no fun. And liable to end in a multiple homicide. I’ve watched TV, I know how these things go. Beware!

Random thoughts:

  • Animation got all wonky again. If there’s any weakness this show has, it’s occasional pacing and animation errors. And one of those is so much easier to fix.
  • I was dying when Keita was asking Karen how to turn someone down in the most confusing way, a conversation that ended with a “Suki yo”. Somehow Keita is simultaneously worse and A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER at this than Tasuku. Rock on!
  • First game that really touched his heart . . . Yeah. I think anyone who has gamed seriously for a while can relate to that. Eventually you trip across a game (or a movie, or a book, or an anime) that just clicks. It’s a wonderful feeling.
  • Notice how they’re actually good friends when they’re not in the midst of a misunderstanding congo? Something to look forward to for the veeeeery end of the story, haha!

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.

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    1. Oh man the misundertandings are so chaotic by now they are starting to have life of their own! I swear, they cleared one and 10 more huge misunderstandings are born!.

      P.S.: At the begining of the episode Tasuku actually nailed when guessing Chikai´s feelings for Keita but he was right for compltely wrong reasons! God I love this series!.

  1. Yeah I’ve totally lost my bearings on this love polygon too, lol. I guess it’s actually pretty impressive for a series like this to rattle the existing camps this late into the season.

  2. I’m totally with Amano on this one: S.O. The Second Story was a game that touched me in a special way many games afterwards didn’t. *Brofist*! Couldn’t help but grin stupidly at his passionate speech for it.
    That phone call with Karen was priceless. This shipping shuffle is amusing, but it would break my heart to destroy the giddy happiness Karen is experiencing (along with some lows courtesy of Amano’s talent for saying things in the worse way possible)

  3. Aw god this show is giving me head ache (but a good one) sure, no problem with uehara and aguri but chiaki tendou and amano? Dont know but i think tendou and amano will break up and be fine as fellow gamers together with chiaki. Of course aguri and uehara relationship will stay. In short back to original status quo though they are now friends instead strangers

  4. “I don’t even know who to ship anymore!”

    I’m still sticking with the “Keita x Karen” ship, but Konoha’s still temptingly cute. And it’s nice to see Aguri defending Keita as a good friend in the face of insults from her middle school classmates. And speaking of which…

    I wish you posted a screencap of that other girl with those two guys (without Aguri) if only so I could point out what an absolute thot she is.

    “And even if he wasn’t cheating, don’t date the guy with a girlfriend. Being the other woman (or man) is no fun. And liable to end in a multiple homicide. I’ve watched TV, I know how these things go. Beware!”

    *Cue flashbacks of School Days‘ “Nice Boat” and the song “Kanashimi no Mukou e”*

    Man, that anime’s ending still haunts me to this day…

  5. Regarding what Karen was saying about Keita picking games over her, I call foul. I mean, thinking back it looks like that at a glance, but then I realize that she’s never actually asked for his help. So there’s never been a chance for him to pick her over games, and the oncoming jealousy towards Aguri is mostly on her. Chiaki and Karen keep shooting themselves in the foot by being proud and almost looking down on Keita, while Aguri will ask for help. He’d run to help any of them, but they think Aguri is special because she’s the only one that’s given him a chance.

    Still ship KeitaxKaren hard, though. They’re just too cute together, and Keita never actually does anything that bad. If Karen would trust him and open up little more then she could have all the lovey-dovey she could handle.

    Aguri and Tasuku… nope, can’t. Clone Keita and give her him, too. Tasuku just isn’t trying hard enough to pull his head out of his ass.

    1. You’re right on Aguri being the only one who asked for help (or for time with him, which is what Karen wanted). It helps that she knows how to be friends with someone, while neither Karen nor Chiaki knows how to be in a relationship/in love with someone. Same with Uehara—he’s just so colossally bad at being a boyfriend.

  6. I’m just looking forward to all these misunderstandings be resolved in the last 20mins. And don’t give me a third-person solution; it’s not gonna suffice.

    Still shipping Karen x Keita though. And I wished I was that lucky gay idiot haha

  7. I did say a few episodes that Keita and Aguri looked cute together, lol.

    I’m still on the main ship, of course (Keita x Karen), but this is a series where it’s not only fun to imagine alternate ships, but that they’re also not completely outside the realm of possibility either so fans of any ship can be happy to a degree, lol.

    1. I´m on the Karen X Keita ship from begining to end But Chiaki is adorable but those two have a lot to worry about because Konoha migh joing this battle for love if the hits drop are correct.

    2. KeitaXAguri is my second favorite relationship in this series (the first one being KeitaxChiaki); however ive never considered them having any romantic potential whatsoever. As Aguri mentioned herself, from the moment those two started to become friends, the immediate vibe i got from their relationship was that of a platonic, brother and sister dynamic. It then didnt surprise me at all when Aguri herself admitted to this during the 8th episode because ive seen their relationship dynamic so many times in real life. I love seeing them interact together but ive never felt an ounce of romantic tension between to the two them; their actions never come across that way at all so ive just never shipped them. Sometimes you can just feel when two people have a romantic spark and i cant pick up anything between Aguri and Keita (i pride myself on usually being right about these things).

      I do find it hilarious that Aguri is the one who considers Keita the high maintenance “sibling” in their relationship when the irony is that she’s the one who deserves that title. Again, i’ve come across this so many times where one tends to believe that his/her meek friend is the one who needs taking care of when its the other way around

  8. mmmmmmm…. can someone explain to me that last part with the //”mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?”// I also went “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?” with that “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?” coz I don’t get it XD

    1. Aguri and Keita get along so well that those three idiots created another misunderstanding thinking they´are secretly a couple. Karen and Chiaki came to this insane conclusion thanks to Keita rushing to Aguri after thinking she was depressed as hell and Tasuku becuase he already knew they were meeting in secret, this idiots are hopeless!.

  9. I think what is most interesting is how there is so much development even when the relationships are set in place, Keita and Karen are dating, and Aguri and Tasuku. Normally shows end when people successfully confess, but here they still manage some uncertainty in the fixed pairings.


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