I’m not joking when I say that this episode opens up with some of the most worthless segments of dialogue. And look, there’s a science to it. They want us to see and visualize how LLENN and Pito interact with each other. What they do together. Stuff that builds their dynamic as a foil. If there’s one thing to take from any of what you see in the first 10 minutes; it’s that Pito likes to play billiards and sit around in the middle of a barren wasteland with LLENN. Probably waiting for mobs to respawn, I assume. Their discussion is of 0 importance! Instead of having the characters get to know each other a little better (in an effort to get us to know them just as much); Pito explains to LLENN and, as a result, to us the origin of “Squad Jam” which is basically any battle royale game with squad mode. Not that we viewers couldn’t tell from literally the first episode. I don’t just mean they explain how it works. They explain how it came to be. As if we need some sort of backstory as to why a VRMMORPG has a squad mode- Like, it’s some sort of alien concept we wouldn’t be able to understand if they didn’t explain it to us.
This is the first 10 minutes of the episode! You’re giving me worthless information via the interaction of these 2 characters that you’re supposed to get us to love! Even explaining that some rich author decided to sponsor “Squad Jam” to take place becomes obsolete because halfway into the episode we see a screen of him giving a speech and stating that he sponsored the event. I’m bringing this up because if his sponsoring the event is apparently such an important piece of knowledge; you don’t have to have Pito smash this knowledge into us in the beginning if he himself is gonna say the same thing later on. That way, if there’s some kind of surprise involving him then it’s a lot more subtle. But now, i’m just expecting him to be important. Otherwise, what was the point of including this information twice?
Anyways, the first 10 minutes- you can just skip. It gives 0 new information and makes you dislike the characters slightly more by default. By this point, I realized we were still doing LLENN’s and Pito’s backstory up to the point where we left off in the first episode. Which basically means the first 3 episodes is just one whole episode… Because the plot does not advance any further than where we got in the first episode. One thing about “Squad Jam” specifically that raised a huge alarm is the fact that you can enter with 2 to 6 players within a team. From a game design perspective, you have to super dumb to allow that. Basically, anyone can enter with max 6 players but what about the people who enter with less? They’re in an extreme disadvantage!
“Oh but hey! That makes it so much more impressive when LLENN and M outplay a team of 6 military-trained soldiers!” No, it completely removes from it because of stupid writing. Speaking of M- yes, this is a character. He’s… Not awful. It’s just his knowledge is not impressive. As a veteran computer gamer, it’s almost mandatory to have advanced knowledge on how certain mechanics work, what items to use in certain situations depending on the enemies’ items and the environment around us. Also, how to position, maneuver and effectively use your vision, whether peripheral or not, are all things we take into consideration in competitive games. It’s weird that they’re pushing him as this guy with the mind of a “criminal” when, honestly, he just seems like he’s up-to-date with what’s good in the meta within Gun Gale Online. Everything he knows should be general knowledge because the game’s been out for awhile and I fully expect players especially of higher caliber to have studied all this information. I wanna iterate that it’s nice to see this level of technical gameplay present within an anime that takes place within a game! However, if they make it seem like M’s the only guy who knows this information; it just makes every other character look fuckin’ stupid. And M looks like the second-coming of Kirito. Although, at the very least, M can explain why he’s overpowered but… Whatever.
Final thing I am going to talk about: Elsa is obviously Pito. If she’s not, I’ll be a little surprised but… Seems extraordinarily obvious. There’s too many signs; it’s just not subtle at all and it bugs me. Because, like, there’s actually very little you need to fix in order to make this an even somewhat interesting show. Don’t make the first 10 minutes an origin story for a game mode within the plot. Don’t have Pito come up with some bullshit explanation as to why she cannot enter “Squad Jam”. Don’t come up with your own stupid name for what’s simply a squads mode of a battle royale game and then make fun of it immediately; expecting me to laugh. Don’t have M, a real life acquaintance of Pito’s, react to LLENN’s mention that she couldn’t get Elsa Kanzaki tickets. And fill what’s missing with something that actually familiarizes the characters for me! And build the world while doing it! For all intents and purposes, the first 10 minutes could’ve just been LLENN and Pito sitting around in a private room watching videos of old “Squad Jam” games or “Bullet of Bullets” games. It could’ve been sparring matches between LLENN and Pito! It could’ve been LLENN helping Pito explore new houses within the game to purchase!
Any nuance to this world other than BARREN FUCKING WASTELAND would be immensely appreciated! I’ve stared at brown rocks and vaguely tech-y looking bars for 3 fucking episodes! Oh and occasionally trees. Woop-dy fucking doo!
I know I am sounding a little agitated; frankly, i’m not. I’m just trying to more strongly convey my thoughts through mimicking emotional outrage. But hey! These are things the show can fix. I just want you to know that.