Anime: D-Frag! Released By: FUNimation Release Date: April 29th, 2015 Retail Price: $69.98
Kenji Kazama is a well known delinquent in school, and views himself as the ultimate badass who is feared by his fellow students. In passing, Kenji helps put out a fire (caused by a group of girls) who then decide to attack him and wipe his memory of the incident. After a futile attempt to escape, Kenji is forcibly entered into the Game Creation Club with four girls who needed a fifth member to remain in tact. A rivalry between two “Game Creation Clubs” sparks initial humor and brings out the shows comedic elements instantly, and members of both become integral parts of the series. Many of the provisional group pretend to be like a powerful character from an action series, for example: they each claim an elemental attack like Sakura Mizukami splashing water, Minami Ōsawa tasing people with her “lightning element” and Roka Shibasaki who claims darkness, rightfully so with her direct attitude despite her young moe appearance (a sweet, cute anime character who appears to have an innocence about them). The club members are basically a group of extreme role players, who on occasion actually seem intimidating for average students. Video games, card games, and role playing games; no form of fun is lost on these gamers. Almost immediately D- Frag can be seen as an inherently amusing series, with every episode bringing a new crazy/mischievous adventure for this eclectic game club to tackle next.
Kenji begins to become inadvertently amused by the group, and agitated at times as he decides to partake in their activities that share elaborate imaginations. The series tries to capture a gamer’s mentality, while giving each character their own unique traits, almost used to fulfill a specified role. The youngest, and the leader Roka, is a typical sweet young moe-esque character like I noted above, but she also happens to be one of the only characters to break that role when her threats cause any character to quiver, or her dark gaze that petrifies Kenji. In the beginning, we are additionally introduced to Takao, president of the original game creation club, who at first is cold to the gaming group, but warms up over the course of the series run. In D-Frag one of the most surprising developments is the romantic setup for Kenji and Takao. She is mainly recognized as a “fan-service” character, often discussing her – curves.. When she and Kenji begin to mingle more throughout a connection becomes obvious, one more noticeable moment being when he saves Takao in a tournament and tries to dismiss it as nothing. In that moment both of the pair show some sense of mutual respect, that is until Takao shoves him awkwardly concluding the moment. Takao and Roka are often used as comedic relief as the both continue to vie for the attention of Keni, with an entire episode dedicated to the girls trying their best to impress his sister (unsuccessfully.)
Towards the end of the series, more characters are given air time including the faculty, and mainly the former student council, made up of senior with a grudge against the game creation club. The ex-council president Tama makes an abrupt appearance late into the series, kidnapping Kenji and seriously irritating the game creation club in the process. Tama is one of the only people who actually rivals Roka, and furthermore has pre-existing conflict with Chitose since childhood, while she ended up bonding with Roka. By the end, you really feel that the story has progressed for certain character such as Kenji, who begin with specific reservations, and close with a different outlook on the game creation club he was forced to join. One of the best qualities to the series is how it can be self deprecating and address hilarious anime tropes, video game tropes, and the overall wacky ways of a devoted but incessant fandom. (come on...we've all been there at one point or another, right?)
At its best, D-Frag is a slice of life series that humorously tackles the serious demeanor behind gamers of today, and is driven by each very different character that makes the overall appeal more attainable to fans hoping to enjoy a fun series that stands with multiple viewings. With sharp writing, a fun- yet goofy voice cast, and genre specific humor, the anime accomplishes its goal of entertaining. If you are looking for a laugh, or are perhaps a devoted gamer, D-Frag may just be worth your while.
Aedans Final Thoughts-Every character brings something to the group, I can’t find one character who I actually dislike -The comedic moments in D-Frag work successfully and often, and will use a joke throughout an episode which I prefer to constant out of place dialogue. -The use of “gangs” in this series is one of it’s most entertaining tropes, as none of the characters seems to be dangerous at all (except for Roka of course) -Instead of constantly bringing a harem vibe to the series, an unexpected relationship development seemed natural and intriguing –Season 2 perhaps?