Yeah, I couldn’t help but group the two video game related anime together.
Out of all the Summer 2017 premieres, New Game!! was the safest bet for me and that’s entirely because I have seen and enjoyed the first season of the show. It’s a CGDCT show through and through but it’s one with a lot of laughs and charm that it just works for me. And as someone who loves video games, the workplace being a game studio has a lot of appeal to me.
I would’ve been completely okay if the second season just more of the same and based on the first two episodes, it does seem like no one in the staff had bothered to remove anything from the formula. The whole package is here: cute character designs, whacky hijinks, a pleasant atmosphere, and a fair amount of fanservice.
While nothing is really omitted, it’s worth noting that the story has gotten a lot more compelling this season. Season 2 begins with a new project in pre-production as opposed to Aoba joining mid-cycle and that does change the narrative focus an awful lot. It’s no longer about Aoba learning the ropes but rather her showing her potential as a game designer. It’s especially the case in Episode 2, when she joins a competition to become the lead character designer for the game.
That not only makes Aoba a more ambitious character but it also brings Yagami and (surprisingly) Iijima into a new light. I’ve liked Yagami’s laid-back personality so seeing her conflicted over Aoba’s ambitions and getting very upset that her initial designs didn’t pass is an interesting change of pace. I think Iijima surprised me even more since her character in Season 1 was largely butting heads with Hajime and worrying about her weight. I definitely prefer seeing her lament her lack of ambition and be shocked that Aoba still wants to compete despite Yagami being the company’s favorite.
The second episode of New Game!! does end on a happy note, with Yagami and Aoba collaborating as the lead character designers. There is still potential there since Aoba working so closely with her role model might play a huge effect on her voice as an artist. Meanwhile, Iijima’s arc is sort of on an open note so that’ll have to be explored in later episodes. There’s some other things to consider as well. I particularly raised an eyebrow when Nene revealed she’s been doing some programming practice and the OP did suggest that she gets hired at some point.
It’s kind of weird to find a lot to talk about New Game!‘s story since the first season was pretty pedestrian (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). But, if the second season is aiming to have a more ambitious and engaging narrative than I’m all for it. I was already planning on watching New Game!! but I’m even more curious about it now.
I kept interest in Gamers! rather neutral because I myself identify as a gamer and I had a feeling that this anime about high schoolers who are also gamers would either resonate with me or seriously push my buttons.
Fortunately, the people behind this show (be it the staff or just mangaka Sekina Aoi) are either extremely familiar with gaming culture or simply did their homework. I’m just speaking from my own social experiences but the kinds of people you see in Gamers! do exist. You have Keita who loves games but sucks at them and just wants to have fun, Karen who loves gaming to the point she wants all the gamers in her club, and Tasuku who is secretly a gamer to avoid ridicule. Even minor characters such as the hyper-competitive and hyper-obsessed members of the gaming club are people that you see in real life.
And Gamers! does a good job depicting gamers are individuals rather than one collective social group. I get why Karen wants to gather gamers under one roof but the mindset her club members have are very specific and not necessarily appealing to everyone. You can criticize Keita for rejecting Karen’s offer (twice no less) but it’s pretty clear that he’s into gaming for the fun and not the competition so it’s hard to really blame him. I also can’t blame Tasuku for acting more like a “cool kid” than a geek since people still tease and bully people for that stuff. One thing I do like about Tasuku is that it is very clear that he’s happier with himself when he is more open about his hobbies. Even more interesting is that his girlfriend, Auguri, liked him when he was a geek which makes him comfortable with his past (and actually change his once-indifferent opinion of her).
I do have one huge complaint with Gamers! and it is the show’s tendency to be mean-spirited. For a show that has, so far, not acted terribly contemptuous towards gamers, it sure loves faking a happy tone before nosediving into a meaner direction. I did chuckle at how the pilot sets itself up as a normal school club anime only for Keita to flat out reject Karen’s offer twice. Still, I am concerned for the show if this is its main method for comedy. It could get repetitive and old real fast.
For the most part, I’m sold on Gamers!; maybe not to the point that I’d want to watch and blog it weekly but I’m liking it well enough. For now, I’ll just make a sigh of relief that this show seems to understand gamers as a social group.
Thanks for reading!
For more Gamers! posts, check out the show’s archive page!
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Post Last Re-Edited: July 31, 2018