「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!
- 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.