Gamers! Episode 12
by Paul Jensen,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Since the previous episode brought the story to a natural stopping point, Gamers! essentially steps back and lets the characters take a victory lap this week. After a brief side story starring long-overlooked supporting character Misumi, we rejoin the main cast as they indulge in a group trip for their gaming meetup. The excursion to a fancy hot springs resort includes all of the usual activities, but a tough question from Aguri sparks a debate that lasts late into the night. Between the upfront cost and the inevitable paid DLC, can Keita and company really justify the price they pay for new games?
Let's address the elephant in the room right now: this is an inconsequential epilogue with little or no bearing on the overall narrative. The ongoing relationship drama within the main cast is put on hold in favor of lightweight comedy and fanservice. It's the kind of non-ending that comes across as a cop-out, especially since it backs away from the inspired lunacy that made the rest of the series so much fun. If you were hoping for one final round of chaos and miscommunication, you'll be at least a little disappointed by this episode. Having said all that, I'm actually inclined to cut Gamers! a bit of a break here for two key reasons.
For one, the epilogue approach is arguably the better of two obvious options here. With the major storylines mostly resolved in the previous episode, the series came into this week with a choice between telling a self-contained side story and starting a new conflict that would inevitably go unfinished. Gamers! takes the safer of the two routes, and to the show's credit it actually calls itself out for doing so. As the characters chat about what they want out of epilogues in video games, it slowly becomes clear that they're also commenting on this episode. It's an amusing little meta-joke, and it helps give this side story some sense of purpose.
It also helps that Gamers! manages to retain at least one of its key strengths. The extended debate on the cost of gaming serves as a reminder that this show knows its subject material pretty well. It's fun to watch our nerdy heroes writhe in pain each time Aguri asks a pointed question, largely because these are issues that gaming culture struggles with all the time. The hoops that Keita and friends jump through to justify things like cosmetic add-ons are pretty amusing, and there are a few moments where the script manages to sneak in a clever insight or two. Gamers! packs more interesting commentary into this episode than some gaming-themed shows manage to include in a full season.
How this all balances out will depend on each viewer's individual expectations. It's certainly a less satisfying ending than what we saw last week, and the existing story content probably could have filled twelve episodes if it had been paced out more consistently. On the other hand, a video game comedy could do far worse than stepping back and letting its characters have an entertaining debate about video games for twenty minutes. It held my attention and kept me laughing, which is about all I can ask from this kind of epilogue.
Overall, Gamers! turned out to be the most pleasant surprise of the season for me. As an adaptation with a generic premise from a studio with a pretty limited pedigree, it hardly seemed like the kind of show that was destined to be good. So it's all the more impressive that Gamers! delivered such an effective mix of humor and insight. There were moments of truly inspired comedic chaos, and the script always seemed to know what it was talking about. Sure, this series had a few rough edges, but it offered more than enough entertainment to justify some kind of a sequel. As long as Keita and his circle of friends continue to be incomprehensibly bad at expressing their feelings to one another, this story can and should keep going.
Gamers! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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