Gamers! – Anime Review
Synopsis: “Would you like to be with me… in the Gamers Club?” Amano Keita is a perfectly mediocre loner with no particular distinguishing features other than his love for games. One day, his school’s prettiest girl and Gamer Club President Tendo Karen suddenly calls out to him. That moment changes Keita’s life forever, as he now finds himself in the midst of a romcom with beautiful girl gamers… or, well, that’s how it usually goes. Not with him, however. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Do not be misled by Gamers!’s first episode. Despite the audience being introduced to a plethora of characters, a fair number of the gaming club members disappear for the rest of the show. Well, one does return in the finale but only for the first few minutes with a story that has absolutely nothing to do with the main plot and feels extremely out of place and random. Moving past that, Gamers! is a comedy of errors, revolving around Keita (reluctant protagonist), Karen (resident popular girl), Tasuku (former geeky gamer turned pretty pretty boy), Aguri (Tasuku’s airheaded girlfriend) and Chiaki (fellow gamer who prefers being a loner). Every episode is about their bumbling romances and misunderstandings galore. So much so that the show’s title ends up more as a loose definition than speaking to what the show is truly about. While 4 of the aforementioned 5 are avid gamers in their own ways, Aguri is a character who is not only not a gamer but someone who constantly struggles to understand why anyone would be so enamoured with gaming. Gaming may be their ‘shared identity’ but the true focus of the show is on romance shenanigans.
Tom: Gamers! starts slow, meandering in its tease of false promises for Keita joining the Gamers! club. The first episode teases the idea of Keita joining Karen Tendou’s gaming club and focusing on the crazy shenanigans the club members might get into. But the show quickly subverts that and once it does Gamers! becomes instead a wild ride of rapidly paced antics where characters frequently come to incredible romantic misunderstandings, driving this comedy of errors through twist after twist until our leads are caught in the most convoluted of love pentagrams. It’s a frenzy of misunderstandings that at times can even leave you impressed with just how misunderstood the situation is by every single character involved. Frequently no one has it right and that feels almost incredible.
Linny: Gamers! is definitely at its best when all the characters are unwittingly getting themselves deeper into the mess they’re trying to get themselves out of and causing scandal after scandal for themselves. Watching this befuddled group suspect each other of cheating and investigating each other when the actual truth is the exact opposite leads to some of the show’s most hilarious moments. As romantic comedies goes, Gamers! is definitely one of the funnier ones out there, especially as it piles on the romance and comedy rising through misunderstandings.
Tom: It helps that the entire cast is lovably quirky, if a tad dim. Each character has their own shtick that keeps them lovable. Keita can be an obnoxious opinionated gamer, but his heart is in the right place when it counts. Or Tendou’s gradual breakdown as her attraction to Keita grows and he challenges the core philosophy she has with games. Even Aguri’s ditzy, bubbly persona is adorable as this poor girl constantly freaks out that her boyfriend has eyes for others.
Linny: Gamers! is a very lighthearted and feel good show. All the characters are different levels of dim, like Tom mentioned, and do not show great personality development over the course of the season. There are SOME romantic elements of course, such as finding out about the true start of Aguri and Tasuku’s romance or the rare tender moments between Keita and Tendou but ultimately, watch it for the laughs. The show tries to introduce a love triangle but it’s always made very clear who is going to end up with whom. Also, in its finale, Aguri becomes aggressive and inquisitive about gaming, such as questioning all the skeevy practices in the industry: questionable DLC or forced grinding. But despite the critical discussion of gaming’s more concerning practices, it all wraps up on a super sugary note as the other cast members turn gaming into a grand sentimental activity and Aguri is totally won over. The show never seeks to get too deep.
Tom: As Linny mentioned earlier, several characters introduced early on are quickly abandoned. But the series also introduces one more girl to the mix, Chiaki’s younger sister. Her inclusion hints at additional complexity to the already jumbled mess of romantic attractions, but her purpose quickly feels too late and too little. She appears in the back half of the season, and gets so little use before the series comes to a close that she ultimately has little purpose. Indeed, she doesn’t even appear in the series’ final episode.
Linny: I’ve discussed in previous reviews that while Gamers! itself is very tame and chaste otherwise, it did feature fan servicey mid episode eye catch and end credit cards, which had a small potential to make more mild audiences feel uncomfortable. But these were a small, easy to over look element. The final episode, taking place in a hot spring, feels like the pent up release of Gamers! fan service, as if it had been holding all its carnal desires in. There’s several minutes of the girls lounging naked in the water with the camera angle firmly fixed on their bare lower regions even while the girls are talking. If the sound of that upsets you, you might do best to pretend the final episode simply doesn’t exist.
Tom: Not only does the series go full fan service/omake male gaze pandering for its final episode, but it also sends itself out on a weak note. While the final episode, despite the fan service, offers some fun commentary on gaming itself, a rarity for the series, it doesn’t feel like much of a resolution, or even a solid end point. In fact, the penultimate episode acts as a better ‘soft conclusion’ to the series. But perhaps considering how hard this finale leans into fan service perhaps, it’s best that it offers little to no connection to the rest of the series, making it an easy skip for less male gaze tolerant audiences.
Linny: Gamers! is a fun watch, especially if you like hectic comedies that revolve around misunderstandings and air headed characters. Watching this group of high school kids stumble and fumble their way through romance is actually a lot more entertaining than it first appeared. The only caveats I’d warn you about are that the final episode is extremely weak/shamelessly filled with fan service and the story never really develops into a big conclusion, ending on a somewhat unfulfilling tone with lack of a proper wrap up. Gamers! is something I would maybe label as an anime version of a popcorn movie, something that’s light and fun to watch but may not necessarily leave a big impact.
Tom: Despite the flaws: a rough, pandering final episode, a few abandoned characters and some brief lulls to the insanity, Gamers! remains a real treat from an otherwise dry summer. If you’re in need of a solid romantic comedy, you really can’t go wrong with Gamers!