Welcome to our 2017 Summer Anime Reviews. We’ll be tackling a few of the new shows airing this season in fairly brief reviews. The shows were selected by lottery, and these reviews will only cover the first episode of each series.
GAMERS! is probably the show I was least excited for out of the ones I was assigned to watch this Summer, though my other two didn’t exactly set that bar very high. (Restaurant to Another World was a show I dove into on my own volition.) I’m not huge on slice of life anime, and I’m less enthusiastic about anime centered around otaku or gamers, especially when there’s seemingly no fantasy concept involved. Despite being the show I cared least about, GAMERS! was actually the least painful watch of the three shows. I’d even dare to say I enjoyed it. It’s got several factors working in its favor, and if it keeps fueling those aspects, the show has potential to become one of the season’s actually watchable anime (something I think this season is lacking beyond a select couple of shows).
This first episode doesn’t offer much in the way of excitement, but it instead works as a vehicle to introduce the characters who will likely form the focal group. High-schooler and protagonist Keito Amano, a socially awkward gamer, is invited by Karen, the school’s most popular girl, to join her Game Club at school. Thinking he’s hit the dating jackpot and desiring more alone time with Karen, Amano follows her only to realize he’s not going to be the sole other member of the club. It’s populated by a hardcore FPS-playing upperclassmen, a seemingly silent girl who enjoys fighting games, and another new member only versed in puzzle games but apparently half-decent at other genres once he tries them. Outside the club, there’s an egotistic arcade gamer and his somewhat whiny and obnoxious girlfriend.
Despite the characters falling into a few cliches, such as Amano’s over-exaggerated and frantic socially-awkward movements, the cast is fairly likable, or at least tolerable. Only the arcade gamer’s girlfriend and Amano bordered on annoying, but Amano at least has an interesting perspective on gaming going for him. He’s a casual gamer, and so the concept of competitive gaming clashes with his entire reason for playing games. I’m honestly not sure if this is a common mindset in this genre of anime, but I’m at least enjoying the execution of the disconnect between Amano and the other gamers in terms of their motivations for gaming. Hopefully this is something to be explored further by the series, as I think digging deeper into his casual style versus the more determined mindsets of the other gamers could offer complex psychological insight in a genre that often keeps such matters only surface deep.
Maybe it’s just me, but the animation style just screams “light novel.” It’s a style that’s really nothing new or outstanding, but even so the show manages to run with it in a positive way. The show itself doesn’t exactly look particularly crisp or complex, but it is at least pretty consistent with its animation, which is more than I can say for a lot of shows I’ve seen recently. To boot, the animation tends to heighten jokes that otherwise might have fallen flat. Characters’ expressions change at perfect times to help the show’s comedic delivery. Some of the animation actually made me laugh, which is a good sign for a show focusing on comedy.
While I’m not really sure if I’ll stick around for more, there’s no denying that GAMERS! is off to a competent start. It may not be the most eye-catching show out there, and its premise may be a tired one, but it delivers enough humor and character-building to keep things moving along interestingly. It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but to anyone a fan of gaming anime or comedic slice of life, this is definitely a show to check out.
I promise I’m not just using these 7.0-7.5 rating scores as a cop out. I just genuinely have found most anime I’ve watched recently entertaining but not standout. Please don’t come after me with pitchforks and torches. I have proper reviewing credentials, I swear.
GAMERS! - Episode 1
- Surprisingly enjoyable despite tired premise
- Offers interesting comparisons between casual and competitive gamers
- Comedy attempts hit more than they miss
- Characters can be cringe-worthy at times
- Nothing overly engaging yet
- Some scenes are too exaggerated