Posted by psgels on 21 April 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


It’s not often when an anime is made about a manga that went down after only one volume. Apparently, the original mangaka ran into trouble with the magazine that Bus Gamer was published in, and only one volume ended up published before it was cancelled. Still, the premise had potential, which is probably why three anime-episodes were made out of it. Obviously, the budget was short, so don’t expect an epic storyline, high-quality graphics, deep characters or an ending that wraps everything up.

What you can expect from this series, however, is a well-developed cast of down-to-earth characters, interesting fights and three episodes that become increasingly more interesting as they go along. It’s especially the down-to-earth-part that makes this series worth watching, as it provides an interesting look at the concepts that were explored by Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji. Kaiji was basically about the scum of society, and made it very apparent that these guys were at the end of their line, piled up in debts and used the sick games as a last resort to get some money.

Bus Gamer is different: it just features three guys who just need some money, are willing to risk their lives to get it and are well aware of all the involved risks. There’s no attempt at all made to make any of them look pitiful, and instead it focuses more on the relationship between these three guys who are so different, and how they grow to get used to each other. The different teams also have no overmoralized respect to the other teams (“thou shalt not kill”, “thou shalt save thy enemy when he’s in trouble”) that is overplayed in so many other anime.

This is really one of these series that you want to watch on a rainy day when you’re bored. It’s nothing special by far, but it’s one of these series that is perfect for entertainment. Bus Gamer could have gone much worse: there’s zero filler, the characters are actually developed a bit (which is the reason why the best episode by far was the final one, rather than the opposite), it’s got a small police-subplot, explaining why the police isn’t doing anything about a bunch of punks, killing off each other.

3 Responses

  1. Necromancer says:

    I enjoyed Bus Gamer (I laughed at the shot of a load of buses at the end of ep 3) and hope they make a proper full length show once the new version of the manga has enough material (mangaka’s apparently remaking vol 1 and the anime was basically a big advert for the rebirth of the manga)

  2. BlueYoshi says:

    To me Bus Gamer was pretty average, but as you said, it could have been much worse. If what Necromancer says is true, then I’ll probably try the manga.

  3. Daniel Cloud says:

    I’m kinda sad that just the first issue was made. I haven’t read the anime, but I watched all three episodes…and I was actually interested in what was going to happen. It’s a pity that the manga didn’t get picked up more. It could have been quite entertaining. Lets hope that the anime does help things along.

    ~cloudy!~

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 06:09 PM)
    *our
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 06:08 PM)
    The single main issue I have with the newer series is the style. I absolutely dug the classic, more realistic character designs, environment and movement. They also tended to be more dark and edgy. Now they whiplash back and forth between camp and violence which generally undermines both. Kids can have all these moe shows, but can we get are characters with regular-sized heads back as well?
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 06:03 PM)
    Regarding writing the anime industry has always been a mixed bag, so that depends more on the production than the era (although they tend to be mostly bad or inconsistent).
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 06:00 PM)
    @Ninja: No they were quite terrible, but at least they had the decency of making them concise and so gratuitous that it became pretty fun to watch. One main gripe back then was that given 2-3 disjointed OVA episodes the shows didn’t really get anywhere, nowadays you watch two full seasons to realize that a lot of these new shows also don’t go anywhere.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:54 PM)
    @Bam Sure, I agree with you, but that’s a taste judgement. In terms of quality I think it’s unfair to suggest that something like Violence Jack or Mad Bull 34 is quality writing. The writing in a lot of old anime is extremely dated and just not that great.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:51 PM)
    @Emma lol, sorry. I wasn’t trying to cut off your point. I thought you were done talking about it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:49 PM)
    I’ll take anime like Violence Jack or Genocyber over SAOII anyday.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:47 PM)
    @Realist: Got there first before I said it =< =D
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:34 PM)
    @Emma Yeah, people who say that anime has gone down the toilet have just not watched very much old anime. A lot of the stuff that came out during the “classic” anime era was just terrible.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:15 PM)
    Urotsukidōji always wins.

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