As Miki walks by a shrine on the way to meet her friends, she’s reminded of the grade-school bullying she endured there. She also helps a local woman get her cat out from under a building. After getting to Midori’s house, it turns out the cat lady is Hana, Aya’s sister, and she’s invited a friend of her own – the tough and outgoing Maki. Confronted by her polar opposite personality-wise in a board game, Miki finds courage in the support of her friends and makes the risky decisions needed to win.
Afterschool Dice Club continues to be a warm, low-stakes dramedy, though I’m starting to wonder if they should rename it Afterschool Trauma Healing. Poor Miki seems to have had a childhood perfectly suited to make her a socially maladjusted introvert, with this latest episode focusing on bullying.
Her personal challenge to overcome arrives in the form of Maki, who is outgoing, loud… and can smell a weakling a mile away.
She looks like she’ll be a fun addition to this growing group of gamers, and provide some energy to balance out Miki’s shy nature. But of course, this is no ordinary slice-of-life show about Miki overcoming her past and learning to make friends, oh no – this is a show about board games! Today’s game doesn’t disappoint:
As with previous episodes, the new game is showcased and Midori provides a careful, well-explained introduction to the atmosphere the game is going for, the rules, and some light strategy tips. I really enjoy these “edutainment” segments, as by the end of them I always feel like I’d be ready to try the game without having any rules questions. I continue to be impressed by the breadth of real board games the show apparently has license to use, and the care with which the game pieces are modeled.
As with the previous two episodes, the show does a good job splitting its time between the explanation and playing of the board game, and the interactions of the characters. The resulting stories aren’t particularly deep, but they do add a little fun flavor to what could otherwise have just been a youtube “how to play” tutorial video. Watching Miki reach deep within herself to find the courage to… flip another card over… may be incredibly cheesy, but it still got me to smile.