Light Novel Adaptation by Pine Jam
Streaming on Crunchyroll
Keita Amano is stunned to discover that the beautiful and popular student council president is an avid gamer. She scouts him for her video game club, and after meeting all the club members Keita must decide if he wants to join.
Jel’s verdict: Press Start
So here’s a shocking plot twist: this episode was pretty good. Yes, you heard me. It took awhile for me to overcome my disbelief, but GAMERS! is slightly less about wish fulfillment and more about a group of harmless dorks who really like video games. I mean, there is still some wish fulfillment involved as I’m fairly certain there is no club full of stunningly beautiful professional eSports players in any high school anywhere in the world. The camera also tends to leer at the girls a bit more than I would like. which is to point out the fact that it does it all. But it’s not quite the male dominated power fantasy I expected either, particularly considering the subject matter involves an industry that is also rampant with male dominated power fantasies.
There’s a few key things that I think makes GAMERS! feel different than your average anime school comedy. First, the cast is a pretty even mix of boys and girls. Our hero is not a lone dude in a harem of cute girls, and this is not a voyeuristic look into an all girls’ club for the audience to ogle. It’s amazing how big of a difference that makes. Other than Keita’s infatuation with Karen, it’s really just a bunch of cute kids who are really into their hobby. Second, I appreciate that playing video games is neither seen as some disgusting social stigma nor is it held on a pedestal as some amazing, noble cause. This is probably best summed up in Keita rejecting Karen’s offer in the end. Aside from being a funny twist after all the build up, it also feels kind of sweet and innocent. He respects what the club does, but he just wants to have fun.
And so maybe the key word as to why GAMERS! works pretty well is “balance”. It never swings too hard in one direction to appeal to its potentially easy, built-in audience but it also never settles in too much to get boring. The mixed cast and mildly irreverent humor kind of reminded me of my sleeper favorite comedy This Art Club Has a Problem, which is a pretty big compliment. And so like that show, if GAMERS! can keep the creeper cams in check and focus on these likable dorks learning to get along, it could also end up being my favorite surprise show of the season.