Episode 6

by Paul Jensen,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Gamers! ?

The main characters of Gamers have been ratcheting up the relationship drama for a while now, and their day of reckoning has finally come. Unbeknownst to one another, both Aguri and Tasuku push Keita to establish a friendship with Karen. While Tasuku sets up the public “friend request” event, Karen resolves to be more open with people. Once the fateful day arrives, everyone spends the hours before the meeting frantically sorting through their misconceptions about everyone else's relationships. Aguri and Tasuku stare one another down in search of evidence that will confirm their suspicions, Chiaki watches in horror from the sidelines, and Karen braces herself for the worst. In a moment of unplanned bravery, Keita defies everyone's expectations by skipping the friend stage completely and asking Karen to go out with him.

While Gamers comes into this episode with much of the necessary groundwork already in place, it still needs to speed through a lot of buildup before the final payoff. Despite the hurried pacing, the script does a lot of clever work here. Scenes that initially seem self-contained, like Karen's chat with her club members or Keita's completion of the dating sim, eventually converge with the friendship scheme to bring about the final outcome. It's the kind of “everything comes together” moment that happens more often in heist thrillers than in romantic comedies, and it makes for a very funny scene. Keita's spontaneous request and Karen's immediate acceptance shove the plot forward, and the collapse of everyone's carefully-laid plans opens up plenty of new directions for the story to go.

As strong as the final scene is, the buildup to it is just as much fun to watch. The panicked inner monologues of Chiaki, Tasuku, and Aguri find a comedic sweet spot, combining vaguely plausible logic with humorously outrageous delivery. Aguri's predicament feels especially relatable, as her hand-drawn relationship chart mirrors the mental notes the audience has had to take during the last few episodes. It's also amusing that of all of the major players, Keita is the least worried despite being at the center of it all. As everyone else freaks out over all the possible (and impossible) outcomes, our dorky protagonist finds a spot of relative calm in the eye of the storm.

Admittedly, this comedic maelstrom does come with some collateral damage. The show's gaming content, along with its social insights, mostly fall by the wayside in this episode. Keita's dating sim plays a minor role in the story and Aguri makes a mildly clever observation on the nature of relationships, but that's about all we get on those fronts. The animation in Gamers also continues to look somewhat rough, although Karen's fateful walk to Keita's classroom is a welcome visual highlight. Nevertheless, this episode is more than funny enough to make up for a couple of minor flaws. It's not often that I have to take a minute to stop laughing before I can start writing an episode review.

Gamers took me by surprise this week. I expected this show to take all season to circle back around to the classroom standoff, and instead it charged headfirst into that scene after only six episodes. It's been a very entertaining ride thus far, and the question now is where the series will go from here. Keita and Karen have stumbled into a relationship, while Aguri and Tasuku look like they're headed for a serious meltdown. Some of the story's central pillars have been upended, and now it's up to the series to own those changes and keep moving forward.

Rating: A-

Gamers! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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