「ゲーマーズと課金トーク」 (Geemaazu to Kakin Touku)
“Gamers and Billing System Talk”

What a fairly boring end to an overall good series.

This isn’t the first out-of-order OVA-like finale I’ve seen. One of the ones I remember most is the ending to Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu, and that’s an instructive comparison, because while C3-bu is probably a worse series overall (though I like it irrationally), the final OVA-like episode wasn’t bad. Whereas here, it just felt like a waste.

The reason is that this reprieve wasn’t earned. In C3-bu, the characters went through the crucible, and while the out-of-order finale wasn’t necessary nor even added to the series (it would have been better suited to end on its second to last episode, the real finale), it had this feeling of a reward after a stressful time. That’s the advantage dramas have when they dip back into lighter comedy—the relaxed valley feels like a reward after the tense peak. Gamers!, though, is a comedy, and while the hilarity certainly had its peaks, it sure didn’t peak in the previous episode, so not only are they trying to give us a reprieve when one isn’t needed, but it isn’t earned. All of which just makes me go, “Uh, what? Why are we doing this now?”

All of which is likely far more thought than actually went into this episode. Probably they just didn’t want to go any further in the source material. Which makes it odd how they (I’m told) changed the events of the previous episode from what happened in the source. Why bother if they’re not going to attempt an anime-only ending? Not that I’d necessarily have preferred that, but still. Odd.

That aside, this episode felt like a Chris Rock-style comedy set, told by someone other than Chris Rock. To explain: Chris Rock is famous for tackling richer subjects than most comedians do in his sets, which is why he’ll latch onto one idea, examine it from fifty different angles, and repeat the premise over and over. He’s teaching the audience while tackling the premise from all sides, uncovering all these different facets that the audience has never thought of—and it’s hilarious! But the writers of Gamers! ain’t no Chris Rock. They did what he did by diving deep into a premise (Games are too expensive), and they did set up the premise fairly well, but their jokes weren’t that good. They were pedestrian level. These are the kinds of jokes that better writers would have sped past (“Too obvious”) to get to the golden nuggets that no one’s thought of before. They belabored the point, but the payoff wasn’t there. Instead, though some jokes did land, mostly I was bored.

It doesn’t help that Gamers! has never been about games. It’s about using games as a starting point to delve into the hilarious misunderstandings and broken relationships of five idiot teenagers. This episode was about games, and it didn’t much work.

Enough of this though. Aside from the fanservice, this episode will be quickly forgotten. Let’s get on to the final impressions.

Random thoughts:

  • Also, that whole Eiichi diversion was bizarre and I would have forgotten about it by the end of the episode had I not had the screencaps.
  • To be fair, what Aguri doesn’t understand is that gaming—and most pastimes—aren’t supposed to be 100% fun. Humans ain’t wired to enjoy that even if they were. Challenge, satisfaction, perseverance, and a hundred other motivations are viable too, in gaming as they are in anime blogging.
  • An industry in its final days . . . well. Those in glass houses, etc.

Full-length images: 22, 23, 24, 25, 37.

Final Impressions

Gamers! is a show I had a sneaking suspicion about, which is why I called dibs on the first episode. And to be fair, it wildly exceeded those expectations! For over half the series, it was an absolute treat, utilizing complete abandon for where it was going to deliver some of the zaniest, funniest misunderstandings I’ve seen in a while. Yet it’s that abandon that made it stumble in the end, and it’s useful to dissect why.

Up through episode seven, or even the latter half of episode eight, Gamers! was firing on all cylinders. I’ve likened it to Mikakunin de Shinkoukei before because, when it was churning through content with nary a concern about what would happen next, it was phenomenal. And it did this with some delicate character work that, frankly, I’m still surprised they pulled off. Tendou could have easily been a caricature, but they went to such lengths to make her absolutely silly that she largely shed her tropes and became a likable character in her own right. There was also Tasuku, who edged hard on unlikable several times, for his abject idiocy vis-a-vis relationships, and for mistreating his girlfriend, but didn’t quite fall across the line. Get those wrong, and none of it would have worked—and they didn’t! The foundation was strong, and while the jokes were flying hot and fast, it was wonderful.

Where Gamers! struggled was when it slowed down. Comedic misunderstandings are a dangerous tool, as they’re apt to get friggin’ aggravating if they go on too long. What Gamers! should have done was what I thought it was going to do, and that’s change. I simply don’t think that misunderstanding-based comedy of this energy level has a long enough half-life to support a series for the long run, and while that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, it does mean that you should respect the length this kind of storytelling gives you. Gamers! could have used 13 episodes (and the related amount of source material, though I haven’t read that, so it’s only my supposition that it needed this change as well) to tell a truly outstanding story—and then stopped. I always think of Mirai Nikki, a series that seemed to be in a hurry to finish, like it was cramming far more story into two cours than most series would put in four. And it was great! If Gamers! had done that, it could have kept the hilarity going until the end.

But instead it tried to hop off onto the love triangle train with Karen x Keita x Chiaki, only to hesitate and go back to the misunderstandings. Pick one, dammit! Gamers! could have found a new lease on life going into something more centered on the couples, or perhaps focused on outside perception of their relationships? I don’t know, it ain’t my story. What I do know is that the misunderstandings-focused comedy was starting to spoil, and they didn’t accelerate to a grand ending or make a clean move to something new.

I don’t want to seem utterly negative. Don’t imagine this being written with a frown on my face. Mostly I’m inquisitive, trying to tease apart why something I was enjoying so much floundered toward the end. And to be honest, part of that is that it burned so hot around mid-season that it would bound to disappoint, as I said last episode (though I was talking about the story’s eventual canon end). In the end I still rate it as a good series, and for those wondering whether they should watch it, if you’re at all interested in a hilarious romcom, I would suggest it! I would just temper that suggestion somewhat, something I would not have done at mid-season. For the laughs it gave for most of the summer, though, Gamers! was thoroughly worth the time, both to watch and to blog.

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. Well, no train crash or ship sinking this episode… To paraphrase a fellow Troper:

    “This episode was basically a DLC.” (Warning: TL;DR ramble ahead.)

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Anyway, that ramble went a bit long, so it’s time for screenshot commentary:

    That squidding actor allusion, though… (With Hisako Kanemoto momentarily reverting to her Ika-Musume voice.) Also LOL’d at Karen’s covert perversion coming out (eavesdropping on the male side of the baths and attempting to sleep beside Keita).

    And a reminder that the members of the Gaming Club have their own stories waiting to be told. (*sigh* If only…)

    Final impressions: I came for the video game shout-outs, and I stayed for the hilarious romantic-comedy misunderstandings as well as the potential ships that were equally good as the main ship I’m rooting for. (To the point that I consider Konoha, Karen, Chiaki, and Aguri as “best girls”, while Keita and Tasuku are “best bros”.)

    Though considering that Gamers! was written by the author of Seitokai no Ichizon (and possibly shares the same universe as that series if Konoha’s fellow student council members are any indication), I have a hunch that there might be an underlying current of drama (similar to Ken Sugisaki’s backstory) just waiting to burst out if a second season to this is made.

    For now, I’ll miss this hilarious, misunderstood bunch of characters…and I hope to see them again someday.

  2. That Eiichi part… I thought there was a possibility for him to be with Tendou, but after that, It was made clear that someone definitively will get hurt (and alone?) in the eventual canon ending.

  3. Did not care for that Eiichi side story in the LN, so I’m glad it only got a 1 minute blurb in the anime.

    Other than enjoyment derived from “dem anime tiddies”, I did enjoy the ep overall. Funny, very meta discussion, with a continuation of the Aguri/Amano dynamic everyone else hates and Tendou-isms we all love (undressing Amano in her mind, trying to listen to the guys in the bath, wanting to sleep next to Amano). Felt good to see these interactions without them actually stirring up more drama/misunderstandings.

  4. https://randomc.net/image/Gamers/Gamers%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2029.jpg
    “Gesoooo!” Actor allusion indeed.

    I think it’s an example of Hero of Another Story.

    The episode discusses the different ways games affect their lives, whether it be a costly addiction, an outlet for masochism (Karen), an expression of one’s truly bizarre mindscape (Chiaki), or simply being a means for people to bond and become closer.

    While a bit disappointing since the romantic entanglements aren’t resolved, Gamers! is a breath of fresh air (the genre long stale due to numerous harem rom-coms) by providing two male leads and hilarious character dynamics.

    Magnus Tancred
  5. I thought the ending was interesting with the conversation. Bad ending episode but would have been great in the middle of the season. I am amazed that Amano does not know how Tendou-san feels. She basically stated she thinks about him naked and although he said he thinks about her no progress. I almost banged my head against the wall with that one. I am shipping the platonic Amano Aguri ship. They are so cute. No needlessly complicated feelings. When Tendou talks about Amano naked she says yeah… no to that. They are so comfortable and if Uhehara and Tendou would be honest they would have that kind of relationship. Sometimes you can be close with someone without being hottie for their body.

    1. Truth. That’s why I don’t ship the two (Aguri x Amano), because they fit together as really good friends. Though then again, significant others should be really good friends…

      Well, if I knew them in real life and I was a 6th wheel (Eiichi or someone else), I would avoid meddling because I have no idea how it “should” go. Since they’re fictional though, I’ll just enjoy the jealousy they induce in the others, haha!

      1. I think you dont ship them because a part of you doesnt feel the romantic chemistry in their friendly interactions. One can definitely tell the difference between two best friends who’s interactions are just dripping with romantic intimacy and when it’s just a platonic relationship. Trust me, i’d hop right on the bandwagon to ship these two if wasnt for the fact that I couldnt feel any ounce of attraction seeping from their back and forths. It’s nothing like the relationship between someone like Lucy and Natsu from Fairy Tail where almost every interaction between the two of them screamed “kiss already.”

  6. In my opinion this episode felt more like a bonus episode that should have been a blu-ray exclusive, as the previous episode felt more like the actual ending to this show.

    Still it did manage to be as funny as some of the earlier episodes, and this episode seems to have reinforced the fact that Aguri and Amano seem to act like brother and sister whenever their together.

    So Eiichi is secretly wealthy and has an adopted sister that looks like a younger goth-loli version tendou? I suppose that works, though I would have liked to see Eiichi interact with Uehara at least once rather then just Amano and Tendou.

    If this series does ever get a second season, I wonder how messed up the misunderstandings will get? I mean at this point its going to require divine intervention to help sort things out….

  7. This…..was such a pace killer of a finale; social commentary or not. There is no storytelling here; not to mention the visual direction that held up the narrative pace of the earlier eps is completely gone here; just a whole bunch of bland animation. If ur going to make commentary, know how to make ur show function both as a narrative and a commentary on whatever it is you want to talk about. Most importantly, uses narrative devices to make that shit engaging; this is what Re:creators problem was. Gamers started off good n began to fizzle out towards the end. While there were some neat things to take away from it n some decent characterization here n there, the series begins to drag n lose the flair that made it energetic n a fun watch (it was around ep 8 that the direction of the series really started to become hindered). I think what made it more disappointing was that i saw so much potential in the characterization that was being laid out and how that could have been explored in interesting, funny, and engaging ways. What started off as a solid 7 out of 10 series for me dropped to a 6. Which is still fine but not as good as i had initially thought or hoped it would be

  8. Wow, totally agree with you here. This is almost what I have in my head.

    First, I don’t like the OVA-like Finale as well.
    Gamers! is mostly romcom all the time with some peak romance. So, while the previous episode does not peak at all since Konoha almost ruin the date and we got very short Tendou’s end with our MC falls into a random hole(?), why we got this OVA (or DLC) episode. And it is not that good too since most of their questions in this episode are just basic, as you mentioned.

    In my case, I’d compare to Granblue Fantasy (GBF) and Saekano.
    GBF which has what-if Djeeta episode, GBF is fine since it has a proper wrap-up in previous already. So, basically the last EP is totally free and the what-if Djeeta is creative too. Saekano, they can also use EP0 as their finale because we have intense NTR drama in few earlier episodes, it has proper wrap-up and peak in its way. So, fanservice as the Finale is fine.

    I complain here because I love this show so much and it failed to meet my expectations in the end. However, Gamers! is indeed a good show and definitely on my recommendation list all the time. Its first 6 episodes are truly the best. It starts with a boring plot, zero expectation but everything was built up for EP6 which is so peak, far exceed my expectation. And still good up to EP9 with Chiaki’s arc though. However, it scared to squeeze out more source material and decided to end with weak wrap-up.

    Anyway, I still definitely love Gamers! <3

    Pisacha Srinuan
  9. Ever heard of filler episodes, people? This show just has the second half of this series filled with non-canon content lol not like I know I didn’t read the original

    Not complaining about it because they’ve talked boringly about gaming before, I saw through the “addition” of that intro for a final episode, but hey, just like video game developers enticing us with games with DLCs and more, this onsen episode is pretty much the same thing. I’m not buying the Blu-Ray just like I don’t buy DLCs so whatever haha

    I liked the series. As a romcom. I’m here for the drama. Ookubo Rumi is the best in voice, and Tendou Karen is half the reason I continued to watch this series. Thanks to both, to be honest. I got both 2D AND 3D in entertainment. Beats a game of bowling already lol

  10. I’m not sure what to make of this episode. OK, it was a filler so we, like the characters themselves, could all relax after all the frenetic goings-on of the previous weeks, but when it got to the onsen scene it really felt like that had been created by someone who had watched episode 0 of Saekano and completely misunderstood it.

    Or maybe that was the point, that they were being meta by referring to an episode of something where the fanservice was itself intended to be meta. Anyway, whatever it was I don’t think it worked at all.

  11. Well, it ended just like how it started: gaming commentary. Guess we didn’t get a surprising ending after all. Going full circle? At least it was still somewhat amusing, though not amazing.

    For the gaming commentary, yeah they’ve gotten expensive. As someone who has bought a strategy game for ‎¥9000, I understand both sides of the debate. Still remembers my parents buying me games for $20, it can’t be all due to inflation can it?

    Still find it hard to see gamers actually defend DLCs, it makes perfect business sense though. Wasn’t really enjoying that part. But I find it amusing that both Amano and Tasuku actually buy swimsuit DLCs. First time seeing their interests aligned so much.

  12. I thought I was the only one it ended like an OVA episode. The previous episode is a much better ending compared to this one. The topic of the episode really jumped off from the topic of the whole series (which was the misunderstandings). Well, discussing gaming and DLCs can be considered an episode in itself as the title of the show is ‘Gamers!’, but yeah not for a final episode.

    I really enjoyed this series (except for that ending) so I’m kinda hoping for a second season especially because the ED sequence didnt change the ‘continue’ selection to the ‘end’ selection, but that may be a bit far off. An OVA will be much likely to be released if ever.

    Xeon Steelcrest
  13. The whole chunk of the anime is not about gaming at all.
    What this anime drives home is to communicate clearly without any assumptions.
    The agonizing and somewhat funny mess of relationship assumptions the characters keep making up and get tangled into.

    The kamen rider x Beyblade backstory for Misumi can come as a DLC, lol !

  14. The summary was misleading with this title Indeed. I noticed this anime went off tangent at the first episode then through out the next two episode afterwards. After rereading the summuray it seems the director is playing the misconception card heavily. The premise of the anime is t about Games at all its about relationship built by misconception and bad communication.

    That said, this title reminds me of my relationship with my Ex. Which was infuriating when communication goes one way and gets misinterpreted. And doesn’t come back.


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