Image source: TVアニメ『ゲーマーズ!』公式 on Twitter

Gamers proves that to assume is to make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”

[Note: This article contains spoilers for Gamers.]

Gamers isn’t exactly what you might think it is from the title. True, it’s a romantic comedy involving five individuals who become connected through video games, but it’s more of a romantic comedy with video games than a romantic comedy about video games.

Gamers is True to Its Title, But Not in the Way You Might Think

However, early on in the series I noticed something interesting at play. From the initial episodes that seem set up as a sports anime with the protagonist, Keita, being invited to join his school’s gaming club, but then pulling the rug out from under the viewer when he declines the offer after spending time with them, there seemed to be an underlying theme of “expectation” versus “reality.”

If You Love Video Games, Gamers Is the ‘Sports’ Anime for You

Once you unpack it, it becomes more and more clear that not only is the show an entertaining rom-com, but it is also playing with and pointing out certain expectations both the characters within the show and we as viewers have come to hold. The heroine, Karen sees that Keita likes video games, so in her mind she immediately labels him as a stereotypical “gamer” and assumes he will be a perfect fit in the gaming club, which it turns out he isn’t.

Keita sees Karen as the stereotypical “school idol” and treats her as such, but it turns out she isn’t—she’s a hardcore gamer. Keita sees Tasuku as the stereotypical “handsome socialite playboy,” and assumes he knows nothing about Keita’s problems and feelings—but it turns out Tasuku used to be just like Keita and can relate to him all too well. Tasuku assumes his girlfriend Aguri is a stereotypical “gal” but it turns out she used to be antisocial and shy but changed herself to become the sort of girl that she assumes Tasuku likes.

All of the characters interact with each other based on assumptions derived from what they “assume” are what each other are like or how they should act. This leads to situations where what they do or say either takes each other off guard or are misinterpreted as having some alternative or deeper meaning that isn’t there.

Image source: TVアニメ『ゲーマーズ!』公式 on Twitter

Usually in a romantic comedy, you’ll have situations where a girl will walk in on a guy in what looks to be a compromising situation. The girl screams, slaps the guy and then spends the next episode or two refusing to hear any explanations from the guy to a frustratingly unrealistic degree. In Gamers, all of the character’s problems can be attributed to specific stereotypes and held assumptions rather than your normal lack of communication seen in most series of this genre. If there are communication problems, they stem from miscommunication rather than lack of—or indeed, the total absence of—communication as one might expect. And that in and of itself feels like the show going meta and playing with the viewer’s assumptions and preconceived notions much like it does with its characters’.

To be honest, I find watching Gamers extremely enjoyable, not just for its comedy entertainment value, but for how it reminds me just how much I too am often blinded by my assumptions of things. Seeing a certain type of character or a certain sequence of events playing out and I immediately assume I know what they will be like or how things are going to conclude. Gamers does an excellent light-hearted job of pointing out just how shallow that can be, and how easily—and hilariously—it can backfire.

Image source: TVアニメ『ゲーマーズ!』公式 on Twitter

Gamers can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll and English dialogue on FUNimation.

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