Fastest Finger First
Episode 6

by Lauren Orsini,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Fastest Finger First ?

“Quiz Bowl is too niche! Widen the appeal with more otaku stuff!” I can practically visualize Fastest Finger First creator Iqura Sugimoto getting this advice from her editor. This summer break episode is pure fanservice as the cast of characters spends a relaxing day off in Akihabara. The result is an establishment episode that sets up a new character and deepens an existing rivalry for later, but it doesn't do much to progress the story overall. It's a bookend between Koshiyama's introduction to Quiz Bowl and his burgeoning new goal to become the best competitor around. Important or no, this romp through Akihabara is still tons of fun.

Every character from Fastest Finger First is independently enjoying their summer break, but they all conveniently end up on the same block. Fukami's friend has convinced her to broaden her horizons with a summer job at a maid cafe, frilly apron, cat-ears, and all. Her cute appearance and her reluctance each check different fanservice boxes, but it's fun to see that she's turned the gig around on her terms to feature a special quiz game for customers. Sasajima-senpai and his sister are getting a price quote for electronic parts, reminding us anime otaku that Akihabara has that kind of thing too. But the bulk of the episode focuses on Koshiyama and Inoue as they match their wits against virtual strangers in the arcade—which it turns out, has a game similar to Quiz Bowl.

I was not looking forward to learning new rules for yet a new iteration of Quiz Bowl, but I was relieved to find each stage of the arcade game refreshingly easy to grasp. A lot of the questions focused on global or Western knowledge, so it was possible to play along. Koshiyama also regularly explains his reasoning to Inoue in a way that's certainly expository, but also helpful for anyone trying to learn the game along with them. I'm so glad that, no matter what other faults this show may have, at least its central focus is always a welcome reprieve. Their opponent conveniently turns out to be Mikuriya, sitting in the very same arcade, but it was never about determining who's the best between them. Right when I was really getting into the competition, it turned out this match was actually a vehicle to introduce a new character: a cosplay girl with an attitude who saves our cast from some idiot gangsters. (By the way, I always think it's silly when these gangsters agree to battle it out in a game instead of say, punching people in the face.)

This nameless girl seems to be a quiz fan herself, but nerdy Koshiyama reads the mood incorrectly, and as usual gets the most substantial line of the episode: “Is it wrong to go all out for something you enjoy?” Once again, the episode does an abrupt priority shift; it wasn't really about Cosplay Girl, but about showing how much Koshiyama loves quizzes! Still, it's a line both quiz freaks and a larger otaku audience can relate to. Speaking of relatable, Koshiyama is just painfully adorable this episode as he somberly requests his friend's contact information and remarks that his trip to Akiba with Inoue is his first time going out with a friend. He reminds me of another cute, bespectacled nerd—Onoda from Yowamushi Pedal. No wonder I like him so much! In an episode that blends fanservice, quizzing, and establishing scenes into a half hour that doesn't quite make up a cohesive story, Koshiyama is the glue that holds it together. Even in an episode that's just OK, he's charming enough to make it worth my while.

Rating: B

Fastest Finger First is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.

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