D-Fragments! (TV)

I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a gaming person. Sure, I’ve played some video games like Mass Effect, Pokemon, and the Batman Arkham games but I’m not a hardcore gamer like other people I know. For some reason, I always find some of the games people create to either be uninteresting or its premise to be the weirdest thing I have ever heard. Munchkin? Dota? Kittens in a Blender? I’ve seen some rather odd games before, but took part rarely often. But what if you’re in a gaming club where all you do is create games for others to enjoy? Does this sound like a gamer’s dream come true? Well, maybe you should consider the potential for such a club and what crazy concoctions could come out of it. D-Frag does that.... kind of.

The story is set up how you may imagine it. Kenji Kazama wants to make a name for himself as a delinquent, so he and his friends create a group called Kazama’s Party and they begin to gain a reputation all throughout their school. However, when the trio of boys assist in putting out a fire in a club room, suddenly things get a little weird. They’ve stumbled into the Game Creation Club, where a group of girls are desperate in recruiting a new member in order to keep their club from getting shut down. After witnessing the terrifying power these girls have, Kazama is forced to join their club in order to keep himself alive. But being a part of the Game Creation Club isn’t easy, as Kazama gets thrown into a whirlwind of problems and crazy times with club president Roka Shibasaki, student council president and club member Chitose Karasuyama, Sakura Mizukami, and their advisor Minami Ohsawa.

If I had to describe this series in one word, that word would be random. I know it’s a rather generic word to be using here, but I honestly can’t think of a better way to talk about this anime. Much of the series is fueled by sporadic moments and gags that somehow manage to push the story forward. Granted, there isn’t a difficult story to follow to begin with. Once Kazama joins the Game Creation Club, it’s competition after competition with breaks in between for some breathing room. For a comedy series that is about games, it’s actually a rather logical choice. This isn’t the kind of series like Sword Art Online where you see the characters only playing one, maybe two, games. Instead, we see many different games from PISS (Push It Super Strong) to Musical Chairs and even a board game about porn magazines. It works since this is a high school club, with some games kept as recurring gags while others as one off plot points. Not only that, but games are what solve debates and problems in this series, not just for the Game Creation Club. It apparently solves love triangles and old rivalries as well! Bottom line, playing games is a plot device/solves all problems in D-Frag, which at least keeps it at a consistent flow rather than jumble it up all over the place. But, seeing as how there isn’t a very strict plot line, you have to carry the series somehow. The characters are what drive this series, while the games give them an assist.

Much of the characters of D-Frag are rather stereotypical comedic characters, with some of them taking on multiple forms. For example, Kazama’s friend Ataru and another club member Shiou have rather odd masochistic bonding fetishes. Every character in the series has a place and every single one has a specific personality that is played out in the series. From the delinquent with the heart of gold to the busty, yet slightly oblivious, girl from another club we see many classic comedic stereotypes throughout the entire series. Many of the characters in the series, as different and cliched as they are, are tons of fun to see act as complete goofballs. Yet, at the same time, there seems to be a moderate focus on four characters in the series, though not exactly who you’d expect. Of course much of the focus is place on Kazama and Roka, but Chitose and Takao also get some focus in the series. These four characters may be considered the major players of D-Frag, and not just for obvious reasons. While Kazama and Roka are seen as the leading duo of the series, bits of development can be seen in Chitose and Takao as well. Maybe even a little more than Kazama and Roka combined? I think so! As fun as Kazama and Roka are in the series, I actually enjoyed Chitose and Takao much more because they are more well rounded characters (both literally and not literally). Their experiences are what I managed to latch on to a lot easier compared to the leading duo whom I don’t really share the same experiences with. All things considered, has anyone really gone around in real life bagging people and saying you’re a Darkness type in order to justify it? I know I never have. Regardless of how you look at these many stereotypical/cookie cutter characters, they don’t fail in bringing in the funny!

The kind of comedy that D-Fragments uses actually has multiple forms. It mostly takes on the form of verbal gags and dialogue that gets poked at by Kazama on a constant basis. There’s even some little moments of slap-stick comedy hiding out as well, such as the baggings Roka gives out. Here in lies a potential problem. With the amount of comedic moments and outbursts, it means that the timing for those moments really has to count or else the joke will fall on deaf ears. D-Frag is one of those comedies that will either hit or miss with its viewers. Some people will enjoy the punch lines Kazama throws in every ten seconds of each episode, while others may find it annoying after a while. For me, I’m in the latter category. There were times where the outbursts would make no sense or just weren’t that humorous to me. However, D-Frag did have the ability to rejuvenate my interest, whenever it would get to that point, thanks to the story arcs and filler episodes in the series. Without a straight and narrow plot, it gives the viewer room to relax and have new gags introduced to them when a new arc comes around. This helps keep the series from using more stale gags over and over again when it isn't actually necessary.

Luckily enough, you don’t have to know much about gaming in order to enjoy D-Fragments, because the games are either ones we are familiar with as kids or because they were created during the course of the series. Granted some of the games mentioned in the series can be called into question as real or not. For example, after much research I could not find anything about a 1980s Marilyn Monroe video game that the characters play in one episode. It’s great for the more casual gamers, like myself, because we’re more likely to believe it to be a real game compared to the more hardcore gamer. Though if we ever brought it up in conversation to a gamer friend, the casual may end up completely embarrassed for being wrong. The games that are created throughout the series are right in line with the crazy personalities the characters have and their desire to go all out in their creations. I mean, do I really have to go into detail about that porn magazine board game I mentioned before?

What D-Fragments lacks in comedic timing and strong ongoing plot, it makes up for with it’s characters and the games that are played in the series. There’s nothing new or innovative here since much of the characters have been seen in many other forms whether it may be anime, TV, or film but having something familiar in a different kind of comedic scenario helps give it a breath of fresh air. You will laugh your head off at the many gags the series throws at you, though which gags they may be may be different depending on the person’s sense of humor. But for a fresh comedy for the start of 2014, it’s not a bad way to go if you’ve followed it while it was airing. Especially if you were watching Space Dandy and Noragami as well. It’s good to have a break from action ya know!


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