「ゲーマーズと青春コンティニュー」 (Geemaazu to Seishun Kontinyuu)
“Gamers and Youth Continue”
I take it back. Everyone is bad at this.
This episode made me realize something, and it may sound pessimistic, but stick with me. Here’s the realization: Gamers! will disappoint us in the end.
It’s baked into the show at this point. There was a point before this, when the narrative was making a lot of moves, when they could have jumped off the misunderstanding train and built it into something else that would arrive at a satisfying conclusion. The issue is A) that did not happen, and B) they’ve made the characters too likable. Like I said last episode, I don’t know who to ship anymore! That’s simultaneously the show’s greatest strength and its greatest weakness. It makes it more likely that this will be a delight up until the end, but almost certain it will be a disappointment in the final moments.
Because not everyone can win, right? There are five main characters, three girls and two boys—four girls, if we want to toss Konoha in the mix, but unless a couple of the girls turn out to be gay, that doesn’t help matters—and this is a romcom, so not everyone is going to end up in a happy couple. This was always built into the premise, just like it is with harem anime, but most harem anime do something that’s simultaneously less satisfying during its run and more at the end: there’s a clear end girl. (Or boy.) I mean, right? We almost always know who the hero is going to end up with! Everyone knew Keitaro was going to end up with Naru. Akamatsu Ken was good at throwing uncertainty into the mix for various short moments, but we all knew. That put a cap on the enjoyment throughout, because it required lying to ourselves to think the end would be anything else, but when it came there was also a limit to the disappointment. We all knew all along, really. We were just watching how they got there.
Gamers! does not have that. I don’t know who will end up with who, nor who I want to end up with who. Which is great fun while it’s going on! But it’ll disappoint us in the end. Even if we assume that Tasuku and Aguri stay together—not a safe assumption anymore—I don’t know who will win the Keita prize between Karen and Chiaki, and this don’t seem like a Harem End kind of show. The back and forth and back and forth just made that sink in. Take this lesson to heart: Gamers! will disappoint us in the end.
If we all internalize that, there’s a chance it won’t happen, because we’ll be prepared.
For all this flaw—no. It’s not really a flaw, is it? For all this decision descended upon me during this episode, I actually still did enjoy it, even if the chaos lacked the energy of previous episodes, and we were retreading old ground. Honestly, Gamers! reminds me of Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, where it was white hot fire early on when it was blazing through content and surprising us with every episode, but then it slowed down and was . . . still fine. It was still quite enjoyable. It just wasn’t as good. It burned hot early on and then had to cool lest it end too quickly (to continue making the author a living), and that lessened its enjoyment. Gamers! is doing the same thing, as it repeats instead of evolves, and knuckles down into a love triangle situation with no clear favorite.
Probably my favorite parts of the episode were depressed Karen & Tasuku early on, and Konoha. The Hoshinomori sisters are chaos incarnate, almost as much as Tasuku is, but at least Konoha is doing it on purpose. What a wingsister! Probably my least favorite part is how bad at dating Amano is in particular. Stop abandoning your girlfriend for another girl! I firmly reject the classic “Don’t be nice to girls other than your girlfriend” advice—you should be nice to everybody—but you’ve got to be aware of how things look. Amano is atrocious at this. Someone needs to sit him down and explain . . . but the only one who might is Tasuku, and he sucks at this too. All paths lead to failure!
Weird ending moment though. Did Amano break his ankle or something? Just an odd cliffhanger to leave on. Very odd.
- And here I thought “creating an indisputable fact” was more like—well, what Karen was thinking, not just holding hands. Amateurs, jeez!
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