Gods’ Games We Play – Episode 1

By: Cy Catwell April 2, 20240 Comments
Fay guesses correctly in 3D memory.

Content Warning: Mild Fan service

What’s it about?  In a world where gods while their time away, humans are forced to play: play brain teasers, that is! Only…there’s a catch. Any human who defeats a god ten times triumphs over these deities from above, while three losses means gods can’t challenge humanity to play around anymore. Will Fay, a young man determined to defy divinity double down and do so? Or is he just another chump in the making?

You know, I get the appeal of things like God’s Games We Play: I think it’s in conversation with people who like Liar Game or even No Game No Life. Basically, folks that like the “outsmarting some sort of higher power or stronger force” aspect. And I think it’s compelling: after all, I am a tastemaker who loves Kakegurui specifically because I love watching Jabami Yumeko curb stomp other people with her thirst for games as well as her genuine prowess.

And also for the queer reading. Mostly for the queer reading.

But you’re not here for that, are you? No, no, no! You’re here to find out if Gods’ Games We Play is worthwhile. Well, buckle up, fellow human: it’s time to play some games against the gods!

Fay and a gay play a game of memory.

Episode 1 starts off in medias res with a group of humans in the tundra stumbling upon a redheaded god entrapped in ice who immediately demands the very best player in the world be her match. Not surprisingly, that’s some teenager in Japan, because of course it is. 

Putting that aside, we shift to a Japan set a year in the future: a future where humanity has the ability to channel the power of the gods, but gods have the ability to manifest on Earth and utterly wreck humans in their games, though we thankfully only dissolve into cool pixels when defeated. Still, this opening is pretty good at establishing what’s what: this is a world where risk (and Risk) can be deadly.

It’s here that we meet Fay, a famous–and infamous–player in the god games. He’s been gone for half a year. Why? To find the woman who taught him to play games as a child, who just so happens to be a redhead. Huh, what a coincidence… 

(Okay, yeah, you can immediately see where this is going.)

Fay and Leoleshea head into the realm of the gods.

One thing I want to give Gods’ Games right up front is that the dub is really solid and was available on day one. And that’s no April Fool’s Day joke: it really adds to this story because honestly, Gods’ Games is kind of predictable. That said, I kind of enjoyed it for being what it is. By no means is this going to end up an anime of the year for me, but…it’s pretty okay.

The same sentiment goes for the animation: it’s kind of that familiar late 2010s/currently 2020s style that I personally find is all too common with anime these days. It’s like a baked potato with just sour cream and chives: it’ll do sure, but where’s the flavor? Where’s the spirit? It’s not bad animation but it’s not stylized or unique: I’ve seen this a dozen times over since 2020. I’d like to see something different.

There’s also some mild fanservice around Leoleshea (our female protag and former god) which, while nipped in the bud, is still just a bit sigh. You mean. to tell me a god doesn’t understand the human concept of bras? Look, I think they’re out there too, but like… GIRL. Really, anime studio: we didn’t need a flash of the dobanhonkeros and the tuchus to get the point that she’s a comely god. It’s already there. Just, please: don’t do it again!

Leoleshea stands before the gateway to the gods.

Honestly, I’m probably going to keep watching this because I am a bit intrigued: it’s the perfect kind of show to tuck right into my “It’s Monday and I’m tired” slot. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, rather that it’s currently not particularly life-changing or trying to say anything big. It’s an anime about playing games against the gods that definitely has a bit of fan service with its female lead who’s a fish out of water in humanity.

I think sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in every anime standing out in some way, and as a reviewer and critic, I fully fall into that trap: I want shows to make an impact in episode one so I feel compelled to watch them, so I can’t help but watch them. Gods’ Games We Play is not necessarily that, but I still want to watch?

Why? Because I’m really starting to reshape my mind around shows having to have some purpose immediately. Sometimes, a show is just a thing that brings you a pleasant amount of entertainment. In this case, Gods’ Games does. It’s not groundbreaking, it likely won’t be feminist, and honestly, I don’t see it having “dark horse of the season” flavor. But I enjoy it nonetheless in its simplicity, and I think that’s okay. 

So, this is going to be me encouraging you to try this premiere out and see what you think: for me, it’s solid b-minus material, which is perfect for just throwing on to watch while crafting or just winding down. With a day-one dub (something I’d like to advocate for because it made this review sooooo much more accessible for me) you kind of can’t be beat on this show. Just don’t expect it to be one of the heavy hitters this season.

About the Author : Cy Catwell

Cy Catwell is a Queer Blerd journalist and JP-EN translation & localization editor with a passion for idols, citypop, visual novels, and the iyashikei/healing anime genre.

You can follow their work as a professional Blerd at Backlit Pixels, get snapshots of their out of office life on Instagram at @pixelatedrhapsody, and follow them on their Twitter at @pixelatedlenses.

Read more articles from Cy Catwell

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