Keita Amano is an ordinary, friendless second-year high school student who has nothing but his games. One day, Karen Tendou, the prettiest girl in his school, invites Keita to join the (video) gaming club that she is the president of. To her dismay, Amano turns down her offer, as he isn't into the ultra-competitive gaming scene her club caters to. And thus begins a string of gaming and romance shenanigans involving Amano and his schoolmates...
Gamers! is a Japanese light novel series by Sekina Aoi, with illustrations by Saboten and published under the Fujimi Fantasia Bunko imprint. It began publication on March 20, 2015, and at present spans 10 volumes.
It has also spawned a yonkoma manga series illustrated by Tsubasa Takahashi, published in the Shonen Ace magazine since October 26, 2016.
A 12-episode Animated Adaptation by Pine Jam premiered on July 13, 2017. It is available for legal streaming with subtitles on Crunchyroll here, and with an English Dub on Funimation here. The Simuldub premiered on July 27th, 2017.
Not related to the 2006 mockumentary with the same name.
Gamers! provides examples of:
- All Love Is Unrequited: At least the characters think so. Tendo loves Amano, who has Ship Tease with Hoshinomori, who has a crush on Uehara, who's dating Aguri. In reality Amano and Tendo are in love with each other and Uehara and Aguri are also mutually in love, but for (comedy) reasons everyone assumes everyone else is playing some kind of bizarre relationship gambit and that they're actually interested in other people than what they outwardly say. Adding on to the whole snafu is both of the Hoshinomori sisters falling for Amano after he and Tendo have a Relationship Upgrade.
- Almost Kiss: At the end of volume 5, Keita and Aguri, thinking that the other person was their respective partners, go in for a kiss at a dark attraction before the lights come on. Volume 6 shows that they were almost to each other's lips before they stopped.
- Audience Surrogate: Uehara can be seen as filling this position, as he frequently comments on the increasing absurdity of the relationship drama transpiring around him and especially on the ridiculous extremes to which Fate Drives Us Together is subverted in the case of Chiaki and Amano. Most notably, when Chiaki gets out of revealing her true identity to Amano by having her sister pretend to be Mono and Nobe, he decides it's not his place to interfere and instead continues to have a passive role. Played with in that Uehara is just as involved in the implausible dramatics as everyone else is.
- Beach Episode: Episode 7 is a downplayed example where only Amano, Tendo and Hoshinomori are at a pool but it isn't the main focus of the episode.
- Beautiful All Along: To a comical degree. Uehara decided to change his look in between middle school and high school and is now a handsome, popular bishonen. In reaction to Uehara's transformation, Aguri changed her hair color and read some fashion tips in a magazine, and is now considered gorgeous. When Amano and Hoshinomori meet, he antagonizes her by dumping on her appearance; but Uehara defends her by telling her she would look better with short hair. When she shows up the next day having gotten a haircut, the entire student body is mesmerized by the gorgeous new "transfer student" that they don't recognize.
- Big "WHAT?!": Everyone in Amano's class lets out a loud, surprised exclamation when he asks Tendo to be his girlfriend and she accepts.
- Bland-Name Product: 3ZS stands in for 3DS, and PZ stands in for PS. Averted in that several actual video games are mentioned explicitly.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: When Aguri mentions that she thinks video games are pointless because they don't have any real value, Karen counters by that logic going to the movies, bowling, and undressing Keita with her eyes would be pointless too.
- Chocolate of Romance: Volume 10 covers Valentine's Day and all if the girls' chocolate gifts to their live interests. Karen goes above and beyond; she makes a miniature chocolate statue of Amano.
- Cliffhanger: The novels are filled with them. Usually some important action or relationship drama will end an installment, only for the next volume to resolve it relatively quickly.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Referenced. When asked about her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis, Hoshinomori hopes aloud in Episode 6 that he would get on a helicopter built by Capcom. Given how choppers tend to fare in their games, especially the Resident Evil franchise, this is a fairly creative way to wish ill to someone.
- Day in the Life: The first part of Episode 4 depicts a day in Karen's perfect School Idol life. It then depicts a day in her life after she's smitten with Amano, which completely threw her daily routine for a loop. Both segments use exactly the same voiceover speech to drive the differences home even further.
- Decoy Protagonist: The first episode has Tendo bring Amano to the game club and introduce several members who are given comically compelling backstories such that the audience assumes they will be the main characters. But then Amano refuses to join the club and none of them other than Tendo are more than extremely minor characters.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The OP, "GAMERS!", is performed by Hisako Kanemoto (Karen Tendou), Manaka Iwami (Chiaki Hoshinomori), and Rumi Ookubo (Aguri).
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Konoha sometimes hits Amano whenever she gets frustrated at him.
- Excited Show Title!: The series' title is accompanied by a single exclamation mark.
- Fanservice: The show itself doesn't have much of it, but the ending cards are filled to the brim with it. Episode 12 also shows the girls talking while bathing in a hot spring.
- Farce: Gamers! takes the typical misunderstandings (both intentional and accidental) of a Romantic Comedy, but instead of playing them for some drama or to stretch the plot, it amps them Up to Eleven to such a ridiculous level of complexity that they've instead become the show's main source of comedy and plot progression. The lack of serious drama comes from the fact that none of the characters react seriously to anything, e.g. Uehara (incorrectly) suspects his girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend, but never says anything to either of them and it does nothing to change his relationship with either of them. Think of it as combining the Sitcom from Love Hina with the I Know You Know I Know from Death Note.
- Fate Drives Us Together:
- Subverted. As described in the Loves My Alter Ego and Strange Minds Think Alike entries below, Keita and Chiaki have more potential relationship starters between the two of them than the full cast of an average shoujo manga and somehow they've managed to remain just Sitcom Arch-Nemesis of each other. Uehara puts it the best:Uehara: [thinking] Damn it, how much more star-crossed can you get?! (...) No, seriously, how are these two not dating yet? Where the hell did your red string of fate get tangled up?
- Double Subverted later on because Fate doesn't go down without a fight and Chiaki ends up discovering by accident that Amano is both "Tsucchie" and "Yama-san", who were the closest thing she had to friends before the start of the series.
- Subverted. As described in the Loves My Alter Ego and Strange Minds Think Alike entries below, Keita and Chiaki have more potential relationship starters between the two of them than the full cast of an average shoujo manga and somehow they've managed to remain just Sitcom Arch-Nemesis of each other. Uehara puts it the best:
- Finagle's Law: Probably the only reason Chiaki was at the same entertainment facility as Amano and Tendo during their date.
- First-Name Basis: Amano and Hoshinomori use the other's given name almost immediately after they meet despite each of them claiming to hate the other. Aguri uses Uehara's given name, Tasuku, as well, but he doesn't seem to call her by her given name as we are never told what her given name actually is and everyone else refers to her as "Aguri."
- Food as Bribe: Keita does this to Aguri, hanging out with her at restaurants and cafes. Part of it was to try to reassure her that Uehara wasn't cheating on her, despite him being seen a lot with Chiaki, but also to get some advice about girls, regarding Karen in his own case.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The unused spaces of the "Love-Love Game of Half-Life" board game from episode 8 are this. Several of them are worth a laugh too:[You slip on a banana peel. Ouch. Miss a turn]
[You find a job as a tutor, and get into a taboo relationship with your student. Earn 5,000 yen]
[You work, you lose. You are jobless]
[You're broke! You beg your folks for money. Earn 3,000 yen]
[Your ex makes their major debut. You watch their concert with mixed feelings. Pay 5,000 yen]
[Release date for the new game! You stay home from work and play all night. Miss a turn]
[That famous dating sim gets VR support! Droves of people go missing]
- Gambit Pileup: The majority of the cast spends the first half of the anime concocting schemes to figure out who's going out with who and manipulating others to further their needs (none of which is played for legitimate drama, of course). It all comes to a head in Episode 6, and new ones cropping up in episodes 8 and 9.
- Gamer Chick: Karen and Chiaki are prominently featured as such. Especially since they literally sing their love and passion for games as the opening theme.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In episode 9, Chiaki knocks on her sister Konoha's door. She answers the door breathing a little heavily, and her room is also completely dark despite it being daytime, prompting Chiaki to ask what exactly she's doing in her room. Konoha says she's doing "light exercises", then decides to go with that answer, saying that she's doing wholesome exercising. Taken further that the anime makes it seem like Konoha isn't wearing any panties underneath her sweater.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Main's mother ended up cheating on her father due to his long work hours and neglect of his family. She absolutely doesn't hold it against her mother, and treats the act with sympathy.
- Hope Spot:
- Episode 8 was beginning to end with many of the misunderstandings cleared up. Uehara and Aguri realizing that neither had been cheating on the other, and Amano sharing with Tendou about his mobile gaming habits. But then Chiaki walks in and realizes that Amano is her online friend, throwing another wrench into the Love Dodecahedron.
- Volume 7 has a big one near the end: After much introspection about how they fail at being proper lovers to their respective significant others, Karen and Tasuku resolve to give Aguri and Amano a surprise kiss on the last day of their school trip...as a precursor to asking them to break up.
- Volume 10 had Amano duel Main in a fighting game for "ownership" of Aguri. While he won the first round, Main quickly adapts to the game and throttles him in the second. By the last round, they're on pretty equal footing, getting each other to a final sliver, but we learn very quickly that Amano loses.
- Honor Before Reason: During the class trip, some antagonistic members of Tasuku's group decide to mock him and call Aguri his "whore of a girlfriend". But he's not the one this trope applies to; Amano does. While Tasuku does get mad, he decides that he doesn't want to make a scene and ruin Amano's enjoyment for the last couple of days. Amano, meanwhile, rushes in to defend Aguri's honor, but his almost beatdown of these kids means that Tasuku's going to have to deal with them for the remainder of the trip.
- Hot Springs Episode: Episode 12 of the anime has the cast take a trip to concentrate on gaming, which happens to include some time bathing at hot springs.
- How We Got Here: The first scene of the anime depicts a classroom during summer, with Keita and Karen facing each other nervously, Tasuku and Aguri staring each other down with incredibly awkward expressions in their faces, and Chiaki looking utterly shocked. It then rewinds back to the spring to show how everyone got to that point. It isn't until Episode 6 that the scene is revisited.
- Imaginary Love Triangle: The majority of the love triangles are imaginary and due to Poor Communication Kills; the cast never tries to clear it up. Even when they're clear about it, the other party will inevitably assume it's part of a gambit that it assuredly isn't.
- Inner Monologue: Used to great effect in Episode 6, as the Gambit Pileup comes to a head and each of the main characters internally evaluates their plans and the possible meaning of the others' actions and reactions to said pileup.
- Insane Troll Logic: Episode 6 is entirely fueled by this. Every primary character has a completely delusional scenario in their head about how the event with Amano and Tendo will go, largely out of nowhere. All of them have insane scenarios built up in their heads which they intend to resolve by seeing where people are looking during Amano's event.
- Insatiable Newlyweds: A hilarious In-Universe example. To their embarrassment, Amano and Aguri's characters in a modified Game of Life are this to the point they had to pay in-game currency to replace the bed their intense lovemaking broke down (twice). Their respective significant others playing the board game with them were not amused by this.
- Insecure Love Interest: The entire main cast is this. The main reason all the insane misunderstandings occur is because everyone is all too ready to believe in the worst due to a lack of self-confidence.
- Japanese School Club: Karen runs a gaming club. The usual plot purpose of such a club is Subverted in that Keita declines Karen's offer to join it.
- Keigo: As noted by Karen, everyone addresses her in a formal tone, including senior students, sometimes even the teachers and in her mind, even Bowser from Super Mario Brothers.
- Laughing Mad: Uehara, Aguri and Hoshinomori do this during their individual monologues about the upcoming Tendo/Amano after-school meeting.
- Love Chart: Aguri draws one in Episode 6 (during class, no less) to try and make sense of the romantic SNAFU between Uehara, Chiaki, Amano, Karen and herself. Notably, she makes a very poor job at it because more than half of her assumptions are wrong.
- Love Confession: After revealing herself as Mono and Nobe, Chiaki sort of blurts out a confession to Amano along the way. Ship Sinking ensues, and she's rejected.
- Love Dodecahedron: Both the central idea of the plot and explicitly lampshaded by Uehara as a "love pentagon." Ironically, the existence of the "pentagon" is largely Uehara's fault because he intentionally set up the Amano/Tendo/Hoshinomori triangle in order to amuse himself but both he and Aguri got sucked into it. The actual relationship statuses between the characters is obvious to the audience but the characters somehow manage to keep themselves in the dark as to what is going on the entire time. In reality, it isn't that complicated. Tendo is completely head-over-heels for Amano, but is convinced Amano doesn't like her (because he rejected her invite to the gaming club) and instead believes he likes Hoshinomori. Amano likes Tendo back, but he is Oblivious to Love (everyone else is too, but Tendo is a borderline stalker), thinks Tendo is out of his league (which she is), and assumes Tendo is really after Uehara (she barely knows Uehara exists). Aguri and Uehara are both dating and in love with each other, but Aguri thinks Uehara is cheating on her with both Tendou and Hoshinomori, while Uehara thinks Aguri is cheating on him with Amano. Hoshinomori also thinks that Aguri is cheating on Uehara with Amano, but for some insane reason also believes Aguri's involved in a scheme to pretend to date Amano "for the money."
- Love Epiphany: Two occur in episode eight:
- Chiaki's sister Konoha starts to fall in love with Keita after he highly praises an underdog dating sim that she herself just picked up moments earlier.
- Chiaki herself goes through one at the end of the episode when Amano starts mentioning having a deep bond with an online gamer using the name "Mono" and a developer named "Nobe", both of whom are her, unbeknownst to him. Uehara, who tried to protect her identity, does a facepalm and feels sorry for her, as he immediately knows she'll fall in love with Amano and be relegated to Hopeless Suitor status since Amano is already dating Tendo.
- Loves My Alter Ego: A squared platonic variation for both Hoshinomori and Amano. They claim to not particularly like each other in real life, but as Uehara finds out, they're online friends as "Mono" and "Tsucchie", respectively, in a Granblue Fantasy Expy, and neither of them knows about it. Furthermore, Amano is unknowingly a huge fan of her indie games published under the "Nobe" developer name too, and a recurrent reviewer of her work as "Yama-san" with whom Chiaki also gets along very well.
- Non-Dubbed Grunts: The footage from Guilty Gear and P4AU are left undubbed in the English Dub. Justified because it'd be too costly, and too much extra work, for a weekly Simuldub to be practical (plus, Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- had a case of No Dub for You anyways, so it was also for consistency's sake).
- Non-Indicative First Episode: The first episode of the show is entirely focused on Tendo's effort to get Amano to join the gaming club and sets up an entirely different show than what Gamers! actually is. While the premiere makes it seem like the premise of the show is Amano's integration into the gaming club, he turns down the invitation, never joins the club at all and the gaming club itself rarely appear and are largely irrelevant to the actual plot.
- Ordinary High-School Student: Keita Amano is described as such; other than enjoying video games, there is nothing remarkable about him, and he's never been in love. Konoha even describes him as a typical dating sim protagonist.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Tendo and Konoha have one in episode 11, complete with HP bars as Gamers! is wont to.
- Poor Communication Kills: The levels of misunderstandings and jumped-to conclusions would fill any three other Romantic Comedy shows. Unlike most other works that use this trope, the misunderstandings form the basis of this show's comedy. Hits the boiling point in episode 6 where Uehara thinks Aguri is cheating on him with Amano, Aguri thinks Uehara is cheating on her with Hoshimori and Tendo, and Hoshinomori thinks Aguri and Uehara are conning Amano. Its questionable whether better communication would even work: Amano explicitly tells Hoshinomori he was never dating Aguri in the first place, but she doesn't seem to understand despite how clear he is being, yet Uehara is able to fix some of misunderstanding between Aguri and himself by talking to her in episode 8.
- Production Throwback: In volume 9, Karen finds a card game that President of Seitokai no Ichizon made.
- Product Placement: The few non-Bland Name Products include Arc System Works fighting games, most notably Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator- and Persona 4: Arena Ultimax. Also, Amano owns posters of BlazBlue and Under Night In-Birth.
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: Amano's younger brother, Kousei, gives one to Karen, Tasuku, and Konoha for not being good friends to Amano and not noticing if there were any problems he was going through, especially in comparison to Aguri and Chiaki. This hits Tasuku and Karen pretty hard, given that they're his friend and girlfriend respectively.
- Red String of Fate: Mentioned by name by Uehara when hearing just how incredibly fateful Hoshinomori and Amano are for each other.Uehara: [thinking] How did your red string get this tangled?
- Relationship Sabotage: One instance was intentional with Uehara trying to start a Love Triangle between Keita, Karen, and Chiaki. But it ends up backfiring and turning into a case of Poor Communication Kills and Not What It Looks Like, as everyone thinks that the person they like or dating is secretly cheating on them behind their back, and are too insecure to confront them about it, such as when Aguri spends a lot of time hanging out with Keita.
- Relationship Upgrade: At the end of Episode 6, Amano asks out Tendo, and she accepts.
- Screwball Comedy: Gamers! is much closer to this trope with its pileup of misunderstandings, rather than the usual Harem Comedy for this kind of show.
- Serious Business: Video games, obviously. Best exemplified with Amano and Chiaki's bickering over the presence of Moe characters in games.Amano and Chiaki: [Lightning Glares]
Uehara: [separates them] Okay. Let's just say it was a bad call.
Amano: I don't care if you think we're stupid. A gamer's opinions aren't something you just change readily. [Suddenly SHOUTING!] No! They're our creed and we defend it to the death!
Chiaki: [Suddenly SHOUTING! too] What he said! Having friends is nice, but being right is even better!
Amano and Chiaki: [identical "flaring nostrils" expression]
Uehara: You guys deserve each other.
- Shipper on Deck: Uehara is the main culprit and ships Amano with both Tendo and Hoshinomori at various times. He claims to do it because it amused him, but it turns out he has other varying motivations for trying to set Amano up.
- Uehara teased Tendo by claiming she and Amano would make a cute couple, and he set Amano up with Hoshinomori because they're Birds of a Feather for the most part.
- Likewise, when Aguri thinks Uehara is cheating on her, Amano assures her that Uehara's faithful and promises he will help solidify their relationship.
- Misumi is well aware of Tendo's crush on Amano and often helps out so they can get closer.
- Ship Sinking: Comes with a double whammy of sinking and ship confirmation. In volume 12, Amano turns down Hoshinomori and asks to be friends with her again, while in the same breath reconfessing his feelings to Tendo and asking her to give him another chance.
- Shout-Out: Has its own page here.
- The Simple Gesture Wins: Karen Tendou is the most popular girl in her school and has to turn down dramatic Love Confessions almost daily. Which comes as a shock to everyone when the boy who wins her heart is Keita Amano, a socially-awkward loner. Tendou falls head-over-heels for Amano not because of any romantic gesture he made, but simply because (even after declining Tendou's invitation to join) Amano defended Tendou and her club from ridicule without even knowing she was around to see it.
- Strange Minds Think Alike:
- Uehara and Aguri think one is cheating on the other with Hoshinomori and Amano, respectively, because the latter two are a lot like they used to be when they first met and fell for each other.
- Continuing the above, Uehara and Aguri also had the same idea of encouraging Keita to try to (publicly) make friends with Karen because they wanted to gauge the other's reaction to it in order to figure out if they were actually cheating on the other, scheming that led to the farcical conclusion of Episode 6.
- To Uehara's great chagrin, Amano and Hoshinomori are Birds of a Feather to such a ridiculous extent that they often follow the same trains of thought even for the most convoluted of things. For example, they both came up with Screen Names by taking their mothers' maiden names, dividing the kanji into two parts and writing the results in a different characters sets. The only difference is that Amano used hiragana and Hoshinomori went for romanizations.
- The Stinger: The scene after the ending credits of Episode 2 has Karen fawning over Amano before overhearing a conversation between him and Misumi. To Karen's disappointment, Amano came to her class to meet with a different girl.
- Sustained Misunderstanding: This show runs on this trope, with each character hiding something from the others, while also acting somewhat suspiciously around some of the others, which then causes them all to come up with wrong conclusions, such as Aguri thinking Uehara is cheating on her with Hoshinomori. Or Uehara thinking Aguri is cheating on him with Amano after seeing them hang out a few times while discussing him.
- That Came Out Wrong: In episode 9, Uehara screaming "I choose you!" to Chiaki over the phone and then immediately hanging up causes Amano, who was nearby, along with Chiaki's sister Konoha to think Uehara was giving her a Love Confession. However, he actually just meant he'd rather see Chiaki in a relationship with Amano, since the two share a lot more stuff in common that he does with Tendo.
- Title Drop: The OP of the anime, "GAMERS!", but entirely in capital letters.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Everybody. The chances of Episode 6 ending as it did with Amano the Ridiculously Average Guy asking to Tendo go out with him and the School Idol (who's also famous for receiving and rejecting Love Confessions on a daily basis) agreeing to it in a heartbeat in front of a crowd would have been next to nil were not for the combined misunderstandings, half-baked scheming, oblivious good faith and the best intentions of not less than six named characters. That, and Amano accidentally screwing up what he wanted to say due to the game he was playing the night before.
- Visual Pun:
- When Amano tells Karen in Episode 4 that he got a little into Arcade Games since he started to hang out with someone (i.e. Uehara), the question "Do you mean Hoshinomori-san?" literally appears written on her face for the audience's benefit.
- In the Love Chart Aguri draws in Episode 6, she symbolizes Keita, Karen and Chiaki with Visual Puns based on their surnames' kanji writings — an umbrella for Amano ("Ama" = rain), a cloud for Tendo ("Ten" = sky), and a star for Hoshinomori ("Hoshi" = star), respectively.
- When Amano and Tendo delivered a doozy of an In-Universe Wham Line combo at the end of Episode 6, the whole screen spun wildly for a second as their schoolmates exclaimed in surprise, then stopped in a tilted position for a moment before finally righting itself — as if saying that the characters' whole world was thrown into a disarray and ending up askew as result.
- Wham Line: One on every other episode:
- Episode 1: When Amano turns down joining the gaming club.
- Episode 6: "Yes, gladly!"
- Episode 8: "In this game, I go by the name Tsucchie..."
- Yonkoma: The series spawned a manga adaptation in this format.