The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Bus Gamer

Title: Bus Gamer
Genre: Action
Company: Frontier Works
Format: 3 episodes
Dates: 14 Mar 2008 – 28 Mar 2008

Synopsis: For undisclosed personal reasons, a trio of strangers, Toki, Saitou, and Nobuo, each sign up to play in a series of “business games” for a prize of one billion yen. The three are teamed up against their desires and are forced to fight other teams for the entertainment of businessmen. They don’t know each other; they don’t like each other; however, they must learn to work together for their personal benefit or die under the team designation “No Name.”

The Highlights
Plot progression: Explains nothing, answers nothing.
Characters: Oh so one dimensional.
Aesthetics: Bishounen character designs don’t mesh well with modern realism.
Action: Not bad but nothing special.
Closure: In desperate need of some.

When I first heard the name of this anime, the only thing that came to mind was a bunch of guys playing Super Smash Brothers on a school bus, with a plot that is basically a rehash of the movie Speed. It only took five seconds to realize that Bus Gamer has nothing to do with any of those, and only another five minutes to realize it doesn’t have much to do with anything at all. The whole three episodes were really just a few vague plot points with no real resolution. If you never saw this show in your life, trust me; you weren’t missing much.

The first few minutes told me I probably wasn’t going to like this. While I tried hard to force myself to take off my critic’s cap and just watch, all my efforts were quickly thrown out the window. The show has a cast of vapid bishounen, by far my least favorite anime stereotype. Toki is a cold emotionless sociopath; Nobuo is made to appear badass at all time, and Saitou, well, I just want to shoot him because he’s so annoying. It’s hard to feel anything for a trio with less personality than a wet dishtowel; however, they are even more alienating by aesthetically being thrown into an environment that does not fit the character designs. Pretty characters in a world that fits the philosophy that “real is brown” is a poor fit.

As far as story goes, there is even less to talk about. The whole three episodes consist of a few loosely connected fights being fought by a trio with vaguely un-established motivations. There are not enough subtle clues to understand why anyone is participating in these death matches and the whole reason they exist is just because a bunch of rich business men decide to sick a bunch of desperate people on each other and give money to the winner. It’s all an excuse for some actions scenes, which are kind of fun to watch but are nothing an avid action fan has not seen before.

In all honesty, Bus Gamer is utterly useless overall. There is absolutely nothing special about it. Everyone in it is “meh,” the show goes from insipid to quite bad, and the lack of any real closure makes the overall experience a waste of time. The three episodes ends up being all for naught, and I’m left feeling that this is just some commercial for a manga… a one volume manga printed seven years ago, mind you. Ultimately, Bus Gamer is something I just cannot bring myself to recommend. If you are an action junky, you should already know at least ten titles that are better than this one. If you are the kind to watch anime just because the guys are kind of cute, then I’ve already lost all respect for you.

The Rating: 3

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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