“1st Episode Impressions” is an article series which focuses on the very first episode of any particular anime. Mainly whether-or-not it is able to grasp my attention from the very beginning due to the way it introduces itself. Also, it acts as a comparison point for my final review of that anime or season.
“GAMERS!“, this anime interested me just from the name alone since gaming is my one true passion above everything else (anime and manga are a very close second, but I have been gaming since I was 2-years-old). The synopsis I read on the anime seemed good enough so I decided to dive in and see what it is all about.
Something I immediately liked about this first episode was the dynamic of our female protagonist being interested in our main character by nothing more than his love of gaming. As Keita Amano, our main character, states at the beginning of the anime, Karen Tendo is popular and is more-than-likely seen as the top of the social hierarchy at their high school despite only being a Second Year student. In directly contrast, Keita Amano is someone who has no friends and spends the entirety of his existence dedicated to playing games for fun. Just from seeing the cover for this anime and how it begins, it is logical to conclude that their paths will cross at some point and time.
I found the anime immediately refreshing that Karen came up to Keita in an ordinary fashion rather than some twist-of-fate chance meeting under nigh impossible circumstances. I liked the MC’s immediate knee-jerk reaction to the prettiest girl in school actually approaching him, including on regretting getting too much into discussing his passion nearly immediately after revealing his full power level. Little tidbits like his heart racing and being embarrassed when talking to her while others are around this really sink into that “slice of life” feeling anime like this are suppose to convey, and they do a damn good job of it since I can relate to this wholeheartedly.
Something else I immediately noticed about the anime and fanboyed over was the fact that they made so many references to existing gaming culture; PZ4 was in reference to the PS4 (Playstation 4) and even had a similar logo and box identifier, the posters on Keita’s wall for the BlazBlue and Under Night In-Birth fighting game series (even the Game Club’s room had a Guilty Gear REV 2 poster). As far as games themselves, Keita had a jet fighter game called “Base Combat” in his hand which was obviously supposed to be “Ace Combat” before Karen surprised him and it fall on the floor with the rest of the games, Gakuto was playing a first person shooter game which was obviously supposed to be Counter Strike, and Niina was actually playing Guilty Gear REV 2. Immediately this made me curious about what else we are going to see as this anime progresses, but we certainly are going to see more Arc System Works games in the future and that is an amazing thought to an avid fighting game enthusiast like myself.
The main thing that intrigued me about this anime is the plot itself and how the very first episode played out at the end. While it appears Keita was looking forward to meeting up in the club and excited when they were going to play together, it quickly becomes apparent that most people in the Game Club are competitive gamers were as Keita himself is a casual gamer. Playing-for-fun and playing-to-win is shown in its purest form; it is a change of mentality when it comes to the game, treating getting better as a duty, and also pointing out the mistakes of others (be it harshly or regularly). It makes sense why someone who is not into gaming to this degree would be put off immense by the amount of passion and dedication it can take to play games at a world level competitively. While I think if you are playing you should be looking to improve and it will come naturally, it does depend on the person and if they are having fun with it.
This anime has promise. I like how the main character has a backbone and will not sacrifice his comfort and love of gaming for a style he does not find satisfying within the least. I love how the anime is focusing around gaming in general, especially on how it zoomed in on the competitive aspect during this particular episode and the parallels it draws with playing for fun. The only thing that bothers me even a little bit is the main character’s voice, but I will learn to look past that and his flustered actions/ramblings if this anime continues on how it does. I cannot wait to see how it plays out!