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Houkago Saikoro Club 21 December 2019

2019 high school story, 4-koma manga adaptation in 12 episodes: AniDB. Miki is terminally shy, but learns to make friends through an interest in boardgames. vt After School Dice Club.

One can see the seams in the storytelling here, and it's interesting to pick at them. Slice-of-life about a shy schoolgirl coming out of her shell a bit is quite a standard template, and for this series – and presumably the original manga – it's been jammed up against boardgames which are an increasingly popular thing in Japan (usually, I gather, referred to as "analogue games", since "game" there typically means something computerised) as well as in the rest of the world. But at least someone involved with the manga or the series knows something about modern games too: two of the group of friends have ambitions to be published game designers and are working on projects of their own, and every visible game box (some scenes take place in a games shop, so that's quite a few) is from a real game.

On one hand the rhetoric about how games bring people together and help them to make friends would be the same in a story about learning to rebuild motorcycles, or to do embroidery. On the other, the games that are put in the foreground are linked to the plot of that episode, and some of them are pretty obscure. It's an odd dissonance which reminded me of just how formula-bound some genres are.

Most episodes describe a game in some detail, usually giving a rules explanation.

  1. Marrakech

  2. Cockroach Poker

  3. Incan Gold (more usually Diamant)

  4. 6 Nimmt!

  5. GOITA

  6. One Room (prototype game)

  7. Monjirō and The Island (more usually Survive: Escape from Atlantis!)

  8. Keltis

  9. Elfenland and the children's game Daruma-san ga koronda.

  10. Blokus and Ladies & Gentlemen

  11. One Room (prototype game)

  12. Toddles-Bobbles

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