Gamers! Episode 11
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Karen and Tasuku both got a pretty big shock to the system last week, so it's not surprising that they spend the beginning of this episode trying to recover. As they start to understand why Keita and Aguri get along so well, a solution takes shape: a double date at an amusement park where the established pairings can be reinforced. It's a good idea in theory, but it starts to go off the rails when Konoha and Chiaki arrive on the scene. Even if there's not quite as much chaos as Konoha was hoping for, Chiaki still comes away from the experience more determined than ever to win over Keita.
The demoralized duo of Tasuku and Karen get this episode off to an amusing start. It's fun to watch them wallow in their misery for a while, and this entertainment is followed up with some insightful commentary on why Keita and Aguri seem to get along so well. The tables are turned once the double date plan is set into motion, and the suspicion and panic that Keita and Aguri go through helps level the playing field a bit. The running commentary that Keita and Karen provide on the theme park is also amusing, partly because it annoys Tasuku and Aguri so much. This feels very much like what you'd get if you went to a fantasy theme park with a couple of RPG nerds.
I noted a couple weeks ago that Konoha was in a good position to act as an agent of chaos in this story, and she capitalizes on that potential here. Her main motivation in ambushing the double date group might be to help out Chiaki, but she's also clearly reveling in the chance to mess with Karen. The haunted house split-up is the only element that doesn't quite work, as it feels like the script has to do too much meddling in the characters' decisions to set up the necessary plot points. The narrative hand-waving isn't too bad, but I would've liked to see this sequence of events play out more naturally.
Regardless of how the episode gets there, the chat between Chiaki and Keita is interesting. Once again, we see Chiaki wrestle with the idea of revealing her online identity to Keita. She ultimately holds off on making that decision, instead choosing to press Keita to express his feelings about the rest of the group. This conversation doesn't resolve much in a permanent sense, but it does give Chiaki the push she needs in order to remain an active part of the love triangle. By the time everyone arrives at the parade, we have a decent sense of where things stand. The official couples remain stable, while Chiaki and Konoha are still in the picture and capable of stirring up trouble down the road.
This episode makes some solid narrative progress, perhaps even too much for its own good. The parade scene almost feels like an ending, so it's unclear just how much Gamers will be able to do next week. With the series slated for a twelve-episode run, it doesn't have much screen time left to go through another round of relationship chaos. Time will tell how Gamers chooses to wrap things up, but at least it delivered a strong and entertaining penultimate episode.
Gamers! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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