Anime Anime Reviews

Rolling Review – Houkago Saikoro Club (09)

Episode Synopsis:

The girls introduce their newest club member, Emmy, to their local game store. There, she introduces them to the traveling game, Elfenland, and later, the trio introduces her to a Japanese kids’ game. Meanwhile, Midori is worried about how she and Emmy share the same dream of becoming game designers.

Episode Review:

It took awhile for Emmy to finally join the gang, but now that she’s here, we’re starting to learn a bit more about her. Apparently she’s not only German/Irish, but her grandmother was Japanese, which helped her pick up the language quickly. She also left Germany on poor terms with her childhood best friend, Anna, with whom she’d hoped to develop a new game. This seems like a very specific point to bring up so late in the show, so I wonder if it’s something that will come back for a quick finale, or if the show runners are hoping to flesh it out in a future season.

HoukagoSaikoriClub_09_02.jpg

Emmy is very open about her dream of becoming a game author, which shakes Midori up. Her perfectionism and self-criticism make her nervous about how Emmy will see her game. This is fair characterization, but it’s oddly couched, as if Emmy being from Germany automatically makes her a better game designer. I suppose it’s the kind of logical fallacy someone might fall into, but the show has been lionizing the German board game scene so heavily that it comes off weird to me.

HoukagoSaikoriClub_09_03
I want this game for the board alone

Back in the realm of actual games, we have not one, but TWO to tackle today. The first is Elfenland – a fantasy boardgame about traveling to different towns and settlements using a variety of mounts and vehicles. Players lay down tokens to determine which method of travel works on which paths, then use cards to move along those routes and claim tokens. The girls have a lot of fun playing as always, and I appreciate the return of the whimsical fairy tale illustrations between rounds.

HoukagoSaikoriClub_09_04
More games need to be illustrated with cute rabbit versions of the characters

The second game of the episode comes up when Emmy asks her friends to explain a Japanese kids’ game. They choose Daruma Doll Fell Down; a game similar to Red Light, Green Light. One child plays the Oni, and the others must sneak up on them while the Oni says the title of the game. If the Oni turns around and sees someone moving, that player is captured and must be rescued by their friends. It’s rules are simple and there are no real stakes, so it’s mostly just a fun pastime that lets kids run around a bit.

The game doesn’t hold much interest for our teen protagonists, but Emmy thinks they can spice it up. By adding a basic point system, a round limit, and some other minor rules, she’s able to make a much more satisfying experience.

HoukagoSaikoriClub_09_05.jpg

All games draw inspiration and grow from earlier games, and it’s how the rules evolve over time that keeps them fun and relevant, Emmy says. Seeing her new friend’s passion for design helps Midori overcome some of her pride, so hopefully we’ll get to see how she and Emmy can take her game to the next level.

Summary:

Emmy’s first full episode as part of the gang helps keep the series chugging along. The show keeps it simple and avoids pushing the drama too hard, which keeps it light but also makes it feel a bit thin. The more I watch, the more I think that the series may have been better served as half-length episodes, since most of the full-length ones already contain two fairly independent plots.

I’m enjoying the relaxing nature of Dice Club and keeping a running list of board games to try and find, so it’s certainly doing its job. We’ll see how any of the newly-introduced or reintroduced characters factor in as the show winds down.


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1 comment on “Rolling Review – Houkago Saikoro Club (09)

  1. Pingback: Rolling Review – Houkago Saikoro Club (08) – The Con Artists

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