Ren Shibusawa is the new president of the student council. She seeks to recruit Midori and recreate the glory of their middle school years as president and vice president. When Ren tracks Midori down at her job at the board game shop, she’s shocked to hear Midori’s ambitions for the future. A board game author?! Who would ever do something so silly?! Midori seeks to educated her former student council superior using a simple game of strategy. Board games aren’t as easy as they appear to be, and being a board game author can be rewarding in numerous ways.
Episode 4 did two very important things for me. One of these is that it finally made me like Midori. I was having a hard time with her and her callous attitude towards Aya. Sure, Aya is denser than a black hole and her chipper attitude grates against Midori’s calm, collected nature, but I wasn’t thrilled with their dynamic in the first three episodes. Aya’s genuinely trying to be her friend and as far as annoying chipper girls go, she’s pretty tame.
The show skips over having some dumb arc where Midori accepts Aya and jumps straight in with, “somewhere along the line these three became good enough friends that they all refer to each other by name”.
I like that the show prefers to use its run time for more important matters, like teaching me some board games!! Before that though…we have…THE SETUP….
Ren Shibusawa is student council vice-chair and she wants Midori back in the student council because she believes it’s the only way to acheive ULTIMATE VICTORY (the best school festival ever). She tries desperately to get Midori to join and is mortified to learn her true life goal. Midori gives her a Yugi-Oh! life lesson! By that I mean…they play a card game.
The game in this episode is 6 Nimmt! (yes the exclamation point is supposed to be there. I am not forcing excitement for this game upon you). As with the previous episodes, the game’s art is replicated solidly (this game is way easier to animate than previous ones, but still), and I felt like I knew how to play by the time the explanation was over. I will say I wish there had been more showcasing of the strategic plays Midori and Co. made against Ren. The show instead chooses to show most of the game as a montage.
More important than the beating Ren takes in this game is the history lesson and message presented here. We learn that history wise, Alex Randolph was apparently the first person to put his name on a game’s packaging. This started a movement where board game makers all put their names on their games and in Germany are referred to as board game “authors”.
The message presented here brings us to the second important thing this episode did. It showed that board games, like any other game is an art form. Slowly video games are coming to light as an “art” in people’s perception. I believe that board games are still far behind that goalpost. If you asked a majority of people who makes board games the only authors they’d come up with are Hasbro and Milton Bradley.
Board game makers/authors aren’t as widely known as novel authors, musicians, or traditional artists. I loved seeing that Midori’s life goal is to author a board game, and I love that the show wasn’t preachy about this concept. Midori reminds Ren, and thus the audience that games are an integral part of human history. Having taken class about game in college, I am fully aware that board game creation can incorporate psychology, mathematics, graphic design, and a variety of other disciplines. It’s nice that the show understands that this is a very real pursuit someone can undertake, and that it’s an important one.
This episode made me like Midori and reminded us that board games are an art form that one can pursue. Good work Episode 4! I needed a break from Miki’s traumatic life! If I had a complaint about this episode it’s that a third of it is given to Ren and she’s…not all that great. I guess they needed to set her up before she came around and just started playin’ board games with the gang, but I hope we don’t see too much of her.
Also, when Midori explains that 6 Nimmt! is all about giving cows to other people, Aya and Miki have the best reaction. I hope the visual aids in this show keep being this amazing.
In other news, Mysterious Blond Girl X from the promo art has arrived. Dun dun duuuuunnnn…..