I think I have found a new best girl, and her name is Toru Miyamae. She’s pretty, talented in sports and an honor roll student, but most of all… she’s a gamer. Fuck yes relatable character for the win!
Route #2 is Toru’s route with Shouichi, and already I’m in love with this storyline. The fanservice has been dialed down, replaced with pure dedication to the video gamer lifestyle. Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about this route so far.
In this episode, Shouichi is playing the deer simulation/RPG game LoveDeer, in which the player fights enemies and collects items to level their deer up and equip it with better gear. Shouichi plays with Araki and Ikou… until Toru discovers their gaming hiding spot, and reveals she’s been playing the game for a long time too.
The four end up at a karaoke club after school to complete an item trade between Shouichi and Toru, and to their amazement they learn that Toru’s into anime and video game music too! Have I mentioned Toru is my best girl??
Anyways the item trade is completed, and from that point onward Toru starts to play LoveDeer together with Shouichi and his friends. She’s an awesome player, showing the guys some tricks and sharing her game knowledge with them. Then she mentions that she’s also interested in playing the upcoming multiplayer game Milibun, and the four decide to play that game together instead.
On the day Milibun is released the four friends go out to buy their copies together, and overnight they make their characters. When they get together to play at school the following day, they learn that the game has a really steep learning curve. In short: they all die fairly quickly. But it’s still fun, because they’re playing it together.
After school they go to a gaming arcade where a Milibun crane game has been set up. While Ikuo and Araki try their hand at winning some Milibun plushies, Shouichi offers to play the old arcade favourite GusGal with Toru. We learn that in middle school she used to be an extremely competitive gamer, and GusGal was her game of choice.
Once the two start playing, a couple of elementary school kids ambush the duo and try to defeat them. Toru uses a sneaky move to save hers and Shouichi’s behinds, then proceeds to wipe the floor with the kids, going past the point of overkill. The kids obviously a little bent out of shape over losing so badly, and as they’re leaving the arcade Shouichi tries to cheer them up by giving one of the kids the Milibun charm strap that Toru had made for him.
Shouichi gently reminds Toru that if she plays too hard with others, they won’t want to play with her anymore. Her embarrassed reaction indicates that she’s already experienced this, and it leads me to think that this might be why she stopped participating in competitive gaming. Toru asks Shouichi to be her GusGal partner so she can learn to be a better player, and he agrees.
My thoughts: WOW. What a character! I wish we saw more characters like Toru. Video games are usually portrayed as being a male-dominated activity, so I can’t tell you how refreshing it is as a woman to see another female gamer depicted as being just as good as the guys, if not better. ^_^V
The downside to her personality? I can see how if she’s a hardcore gamer that she may alienate some of her peers, if video games are all she talks about or does in her spare time. But oh well. That’s what circles of friends are for, right?
The whole karaoke scene was just fantastic. Ikuo and Shouichi’s shock at seeing that Toru loved anime music just like they did was hilarious in the best possible way. I’ve grown up with anime and JPOP music since about middle school, so I very much understand how awesome it is to find someone else my own age who likes the same genres of music, genres sometimes considered “weird” or “different” to westerners.
Although, who is the guy Toru’s living with? A boyfriend? Her brother? That scene at the end was a little… odd.
Anyways, I’m super excited to see the rest of this route and what will be in Vantage’s episode next week.