Episode 9

by Paul Jensen,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Gamers! ?

Now that Chiaki knows about her longtime gaming connection to Keita, it's no surprise that the cast of Gamers is in for another round of relationship roulette. As Chiaki agonizes over what to do about this newfound knowledge, Keita shows up at her apartment in search of a wallet he left behind at the board game event. He stumbles across evidence that someone in Chiaki's family is the face behind the Nobe and Mono personas, but Chiaki claims that her younger sister is actually the person he's looking for. Just in case this deception wasn't enough to stir things up, Tasuku makes a phone call to Chiaki and accidentally makes it seem like he has feelings for her. Looks like it's time for yet another update to the show's relationship flowchart.

By throwing Chiaki into this mess of mixed emotions, Gamers opens up an opportunity for a moment of sincerity amidst all the comedy. We're given a brief glimpse into her hobby of making freeware games, and it's easy to see why the support of a dedicated fan would mean a lot to her. Add in the knowledge that this fan was actually her bitter rival Keita, and you end up with an understandably conflicted teenager. These moments of indecision do a lot to endear Chiaki to the audience, and by the time Keita sees the Nobe website on her computer screen, it seems inevitable that she'll tell him the truth, right before the show takes a swift turn back into comedic territory.

If nothing else, Chiaki's cover story gives Konoha a more concrete purpose in the series. She's now acting as a stand-in for her older sister, playing the part of Nobe and Mono while Chiaki figures out what to do in the long term. This sequence of events features some pretty amusing moments, especially as Keita recounts the whole story to Tasuku, who already knows what's really going on. Konoha's approach to the situation is working reasonably well thus far, as she's found a decent middle ground between taking the whole thing seriously and playing it as a joke. Her taste in adult games suggests that she doesn't have any romantic interest in Keita, but Konoha does at least appear to be sizing him up as a potential match for Chiaki. Given the right timing and motivation, she could easily serve as an agent of chaos within the show's already tangled web of relationships.

“Chaos” does certainly seem to be the word of the day; the dust has barely settled after the previous round of misunderstandings, yet Gamers is already setting up new obstacles for the characters to deal with. It's amusing to watch the slow reveal that Tasuku has dug himself into yet another hole, and this development is arguably necessary if the series is going to keep up its established style of comedy. Still, now that we've seen so many scenes of characters getting the wrong idea about one another, even a perfectly decent presentation can feel a bit underwhelming. Unless it can find a way to outdo its previous efforts or spice up the usual formula, Gamers runs the risk of feeling too familiar for its own good.

This isn't to say that Gamers is writing itself into a corner, as it still has plenty of options for taking the story in new directions. One of the more intriguing possibilities is a confrontation between Chiaki and Karen, as the two of them start to act on their feelings for Keita. It's already been quite entertaining to watch these characters deal with imagined conflicts, so giving them a real one could be the key to keeping things fresh. For now, all we can do is wait and speculate while the series sets up its latest round of storylines.

Rating: B

Gamers! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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