July saw OWLS promote self confidence through their blog tour. I wrote about Haruhi and her self confidence but when I watched the Gamers! episode “Chiaki Hoshinomori and StreetPass Communication” I wished I’d had the chance to write about Gamers!. It’s a show that appears to suggest it’s not enough to be yourself.
I’ve said before that I didn’t have too much self confidence at high school. I often found myself pouring over the magazines Mizz and Shout to figure out who I was supposed to be. I lost a part of myself through those years that I had to fight to regain.
Gamers! appears to showcase that people should change who they are to get approval. You might say “it’s just anime, who cares?” But media is consumed by people and people are influence by a variety of things; media included.
People Love You
It might not seem like it at times, but you will find people who love you for who you are. This is one point that Gamers! makes well with their male lead Tasuku Uehara. In middle school he was a geek and wasn’t part of the “in” crowd. He decided to change himself for high school. He worked out and became one of the pretty popular kids for high school.
In the second episode “Tasuku Uehara and New Game+”, you find out that Aguri fell for that geeky guy in middle school. After she found out they were going to the same high school she was over the moon to get to know him. Cue seeing him and realising he wasn’t the same guy she had fallen for.
Rather than deal with the hurt of losing him, or even having Aguri talk to him and deal with rejection; she instead chooses to change herself. Aguri from middle school and Aguri in high school are completely different. It’s very possible that in Augri’s case she never changed her personality. Maybe all she did was change her looks to feel “worthy” of the guy she wanted.
There’s nothing wrong with having pride in how you look. There’s nothing wrong with physical transformations if it’s what you want for yourself. Is Aguri’s story any different to what I did in high school with my magazines? Possibly not. Do I wish I’d had the confidence to just be me at school? Yes.
Aguri isn’t the only character to go through a physical transformation in this show. Chiaki Hoshinomori is introduced with long flowing hair and a love of games. She’s a girl who would rather play games at break than socialise with people. However, Tasuku makes a rather offhand comment about her appearance and the next day even her family didn’t recognise her. Suddenly she’s the most beautiful girl in the school that now wants to socialise rather than play her games.
I get it, I really do. High school is a hard time and very few people will make it through without some moments of misery following them out of it. But shouldn’t we be encouraging acceptance? Shouldn’t we be trying to accept people for who they are rather than encouraging them to change to fit with the moulds society provides? A person should not have to change themselves to seek acceptance, like Aguri did. Nor should a comment from a “popular kid” matter so much that someone undergoes an overnight transformation like Chiaki.
Keita was wanting to talk to her because she was a gamer. Couldn’t this show – a show about gamers no less – showcase that your hobby can let you meet people? It started with the two of them passionate about their games. Keita and Chiaki were arguing because they had different priorities about what made a game good. Where is the need to forgo that personality and replace her with someone who suddenly cares how she looks?
It’s always easier to say “Be Strong” than it is to do, but it’s very true. It’s another thing that I felt Gamers! overlooked. When Keita turns down Karen for her game club she suddenly becomes a different person. Rather than being the strong-willed, independent young woman she is shown to be, she literally become a stalker. Rather than showing her stalking around after him they could have approached her rejection reaction differently. They could have had Karen return to her game club and rants and rave about Keita while playing a shooting or fighting game.
One of the things I loved about the first episode was it showed Karen playing the shooter game with her club and enjoying it. She’s supposed to be a lady who wants to be a competitive gamer; that’s why she created the club after all. I loved the dedication she showed and it’s very disappointing to see her being reduced to a stalker when she could’ve dealt with the exact same emotions in a much stronger way.
I hope Gamers! redeems itself and its cast. I’ll keep watching because I have hope that Aguri will take an arc different to Chiaki and Karen. Even Tasuku seems to be realising that he lost a part of himself when he hid his geeky side. Keita seems to be the only person who can accept who he is. Only time will tell if the rest of the cast will discover that they are good enough.