Gamers Series Review: These Characters Need A Cheat Code to Get Through This Mess

gamers7d

Overview:

This story follows a group of students who all end up being connected through gaming and various relationship issues. The original set up is Amano, a fairly typical geeky gamer, is asked to join the school’s gamers club by the prettiest girl in school, but he turns her down.

Review:

I don’t even know how to review this show. I loved it. I had a great time laughing at some of the antics these characters got up to each week and I enjoyed that the narrative continued to veer sharply away from whatever path I thought it was about to take. I liked that this show managed to incorporate gamers who weren’t professionals or the best at whatever and just had high school kids who play games and enjoy gaming as a hobby as the centre piece. But that doesn’t change the fact that the narrative is decidedly disrupted by those surprising twists, the characters are all a little bit defective at dealing with human interactions leading to some frustrating misunderstandings that end up being the main focus of the show for a large chunk of its run time, and that gaming is often forgotten in some episodes save for the nostalgic 90’s game sound effects and the like that permeate most of the show.

Gamers11c

After numerous attempts to put my thoughts into some sort of coherent form I decided the plus/minus approach was needed. Because there are some great things about this show and it is a lot of fun, but there are also some glaring issues that will probably be deal breakers for some viewers.

Plus +

Gamers5b

As I said earlier, the narrative isn’t predictable. In fact, it seems the writers took great delight in setting up what should be a standard or clich√©d moment and then deliberately delivering something contrary to viewer expectations. It makes the otherwise pretty generic high school romantic comedy¬† kind of refreshing to watch even as this approach creates its own problems in terms of cohesion or building to some sort of point. Still, given I usually pick the ends of Hollywood movies within the first twenty minutes (even those that supposedly have an amazing twist), I sometimes like shows that manage to surprise me and keep me guessing about where they are going even if where they end up going isn’t great.

Minus –

Gamers7a

As much as the narrative likes to be surprising, the characters do not. While Amano isn’t exactly your typical protagonist in that he doesn’t end up with a harem of girls (okay there are two girls interested in him but one of them gracefully bows out before the end leaving him with just the actual girlfriend), he isn’t particularly good at anything, he doesn’t seem to have any particular goal or dream, but he knows what he doesn’t want and does not allow himself to be swept along into someone elses plan. Tendou tries to get him to join the Gamers club and he turns her down because he doesn’t like how they play games. He wants to have fun. On this, and other points, Amano holds his ground firmly giving him a backbone not often seen in these sorts of characters. He may not have a grand plan or life goal, but he knows how he likes to play games and he isn’t about to bend or compromise on that.

However, this doesn’t actually make him any more interesting as a protagonist. Let’s be honest, average guy who does things for fun but gets heated over one minor detail, isn’t exactly going to drive a plot. Once you get used to him, Amano becomes like any other protagonist in these stories ever. Nice when needed, standing on his soap box when needed, and ridiculously dense when needed. The rest of the cast similarly have their set up personalities (which may not be as standard as you might normally see but aren’t exactly breaking new ground) but that’s where they stay and they react to the plot as needed rather than driving it in any particular direction. For a show that mostly ends up being a romantic comedy, the fairly flat characters are probably the part that hurts this show the most.

Plus +

Gamers1a

I wouldn’t normally list music and sound so high on a list for a show unless the show was pretty bad, but in this case the music and sound were a big part of the appeal because of nostalgia. I loved watching the opening to this every week and seeing the characters dragged through various old school game set ups. I loved the little bleeps and bloops throughout the episodes and at the mid-way point each episode. I would have liked a little bit more of this to be spread throughout the episodes to be honest, but it was great fun.

Minus –

Gamers12b

The setting and visuals of the entire final episode. As much as I tried, I just can’t think of a reason as to why they went to a hot springs for the final episode other than it is a thing that they do in anime. Even the characters remarked that the setting didn’t look like something for a high school trip but they brushed that aside by reminding us once again that Tendou is rich and off we went. Meanwhile, we get a fairly dynamic discussion about DLC carried throughout the whole episode while we watch the female cast bathing? Even then, it could have worked, except it wasn’t even done in an interesting way. These scenes were pretty stagnant and generic and even if you are into bathroom scenes, this one is boring to look at. Honestly, for such an interesting discussion topic they really needed to do more visually with this episode. Plus, as the viewer, it is your last impression of the show. The visuals throughout weren’t great, but they weren’t bad. But then this final episode highlights all the negatives for the visuals throughout the show and that’s the impression you are left with.

Plus +

Gamers7b

The comedy actually works. Now that is subjective and some people won’t find it funny, but for me, this hit the mark more often than not. Whether it was the thrown in game references, the weird tangents the characters sometimes took with their line of thinking, the oddly serious way characters would discuss something totally trivial, or the exaggerated reactions to various situations, I found this oddly amusing even as I found it a little frustrating. A lot of that situational humour relies on the characters being self-centred and not seeing the other characters’ viewpoints, and also being incredibly dense and unable to clearly communicate. That can get really frustrating after awhile and you just really wanted these characters to clearly talk and get all the misunderstandings sorted, but the show isn’t in a rush to resolve those issues until we get to the second last episode. For me though, this was a comedy that made me laugh and smile more than groan so I’ll take that win.

Minus –

Gamers9c

Other than being a romantic comedy, this show doesn’t do very much. At times it looks like it wants to do some sort of social commentary, particularly that final episode discussion on DLC in games, but it is almost as though the show can’t actually commit to that aspect of itself and so keeps dipping its toes into the pool without ever actually diving in. It means that a lot of discussions get derailed before they seem to make the point that you kind of feel is needed, and everything ends up being pretty shallow and meaningless. If there is a statement to be made by this show, I’m afraid it missed the mark because all I got from it was that people enjoy games different ways and teenagers are hopeless at communication. While that is fine enough, not every show needs to make a grand political statement, it just isn’t very satisfying and doesn’t leave an overly memorable impression.

Gamers9b

All and all, this is a light piece of mostly nothing and your enjoyment will entirely come from whether you like either the characters or the type of humour being used here. If neither of these two click, then mostly this show will fall flat. For me though, I really liked watching Gamers. It isn’t brilliant, but it does have some surprises and I got enough of a laugh out of it to have enjoyed spending the season on it.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Gamers Episode 11: Let’s Go On A Double Date

gamers11c

Review:

This episode of Gamers begins where the last ended with Tendou and Uehara not wanting to think Amano and Aguri are cheating but not sure what else to think. In desperation, they come up with a plan of attack.

Gamers11a

It is actually a little more sensible than some of the other plans these characters have hatched during the course of the show and we end up with the main four visiting an amusement park that is clearly modelled on some RPG. Amano is right at home and he and Tendou seem to be reconnecting. Unfortunately, the gods of plot coincidence decide that we need one more wrench thrown in the relationship works and Konoha overhears their plans and drags Chiaki to the same park to meet up with everyone.

Gamers11d

Ultimately, this is quite a fun episode. While no one directly addresses the misunderstandings, spending time together rather than speculating about what is going on seems to bring Uehara and Aguri back together naturally, and Amano and Tendou also seem pretty solid by the end. Chiaki isn’t giving up but she isn’t actively trying to get in Amano’s way. It almost seemed like a final episode but apparently there is one to go and I’m just keeping my fingers crossed it isn’t a beach or pool episode but all things considered I’d probably bet it will be.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Gamers Episode 7: That’s What I Like About You

gamers7c

Review:

This episode saw the ongoing misunderstandings continue to fester but rather than wallowing on that note for the whole episode we get to go on a date with Karen and Amano which is both adorable and hilarious. It culminates with them admitting to the other what they admire about each other and to be honest this episode did a lot to clear up my own thoughts about this show.

Gamers7a

While this isn’t the show I though it was going to be after the first episode and given it has continually veered off of any projected plot I’ve considered, there’s something utterly charming about Amano (even though he’s beyond socially awkward and just a little bit pessimistic). Seeing him on the date this episode really just reinforced how much I like seeing this character continue to push outside of his comfort zone even as there are some points he refuses to compromise on.

Gamers7b

While it is inevitable that we’ll have to have all of the character misconceptions either cleared up or blow up at some point, right now this episode was just light hearted entertainment as we watch Tendou over think playing in a pool (though her version of the couple splashing each other with water seemed infinitely more fun than what the other couple were doing) and Amano just second guess everything.

I’m going to just admit I really am loving watching this. It would certainly be easy to pick fault with it as a show, but it leaves me smiling each and every week and I’m still absolutely digging the game themed music that permeates the episodes.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar

Gamers Episode 6: Wipeout

gamers6b

Review:

Directly picking up from last week, we have the ongoing misunderstandings amongst our main five characters with each one interpreting events to suit their current mind-set. Actually, the character who is most sane this week is our shut-in protagonist who has finally decided he wants to be friends with Tendou and takes action to make that happen. It wasn’t really his fault that everyone else blew the situation out of context and that ending went a little crazy.

Gamers6a

Basically, this story is relying on the audience being amused at being more informed than any of the characters. It is a pretty standard move and I hate to say that it is working, but I kind of just want to see how far some of these characters will take their misunderstandings. They’ve already taken it further than I though they’d go.

Gamers6c

Regardless, this show is definitely proving a situation where the three episode rule would not help. Episodes one and two are vastly different from what has followed and this show is getting sillier by the episode. I don’t know where they intend to end this saga of teen drama and romance, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be anywhere near where the first episode indicated this show was going.


Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.

Patreon2

Thanks,

Karandi James.

avatar