TelevisionTalks – After School Dice Club Episode 1
Whhhhhat, there’s a board game Anime out there! And not only that, it uses actual board games in it. So, I could just write a review of the series, but it’s board games and I want to talk about the anime in a little bit more detail than that, plus I want to talk about the board games that they play or don’t play.
Episode 1: A New World
We start out this anime, in a pretty common way, especially for a school anime. The main character, Miki, is a quiet and shy character who just does her own thing and really doesn’t know how to have fun. That changes when a fellow classmate, Aka, accidentally runs her bike into a river/stream and decides to teach Miki about having fun. Together, they decide to follow their class representative into the “entertainment” district, because that’s expressly forbidden for the students to be there after 6, and it’s night. There they find out that she works at a game shop and the shop owner decides that the girls should learn how to play some board games.
Thus far the anime hasn’t done anything that really stands out, except for the fact that there are board games in there. And not that there are games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Uno, Skip-Bo, etc in the anime and in the game store, there are games like Ice Cool, Marrakech (more to come on that), and so many more in the store. Even the ones that only had the title in Japanese on the game, I could recognize a lot of them. There has clearly been a lot of effort making it seem like an actual board game store and keeping the stock of the store in a modern setting. It isn’t that uncommon to see a random copy of Monopoly or something like that in a show, but for an anime to create a store with that much detail it’s impressive.
That said about the anime, while it might not have set itself apart from some other slice of life animes, it hasn’t been week in telling it’s story. The characters, while tropes, are pretty well done, and the shop keeper of the board game store is amazing. He reminds me of Jet Black from Cowboy Bebop, though, I have to thank Kristen for putting that into my head, but it works wonderfully. And I think that there is going to be room for the anime to grow. It kind of feels like they are using board games to help get their little messages or little bits of character development across, and that’ll be interesting to see how they can tie it all together.
One thing I want to do in these reviews is talk about the games that they are playing in a given episode. In the first episode the game was Marrakech. In the game everyone is a rug salesman trying to get as much money as possible. To do this, you are moving around a character Assam across the board. Depending on where he ends, you have to pay other players for their rugs, if you land on one of theirs, counting the connected pieces. Then you place one of your rugs down, but you can’t fully cover up another rug. The game goes until everyone has played all of their rugs, then you get money for how many rugs of your color are showing, plus whatever you had from before, and the person with the most money wins. This game, from what they showed in the show, seems like a very interesting abstract puzzle with a fair amount of luck thrown in, because Assam moves as few as one space each round, and as many as four, based off of what you roll on the dice. So you can hopefully plan some, but you won’t be able to fully plan. There seems to be good depth to the game, though, as you try and force your opponents or at least increase the likelihood to land on your rugs so that they have to give you money. The game seems like it would play quite quickly as well, which is fun. Overall, this is a game that I would like to try before I’d add it to a collection, but I can see it being a game that would have a lot of cheering moments as you get the roll that you or the opposite on a low roll.
I’m excited to watch the next episode and see where the show goes. I love to see board games show up in more popular culture. Already this year we had Nemesis from Awaken Realms show up on an episode of South Park, and now we have an anime that is completely about board games. If you enjoy board games, and after one episode, check out this anime. It’s streaming through Funimation, and they are dubbing it, so I’ve only watched the dubbed version, which was good.
Let me know your thoughts on this anime. Is there another show that you’ve found about board games out there? Would you want to or have you played Marrakech?
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