Boy, I do love spending half the episode learning how to play a made-up video game.
— So the opening is a throwaway. We just get to see Karen take out that professional team once more with her sick dodging skills (read: unfair hitbox). The only cool new addition is a shot of Karen in a suitcase.
— M tells us that he has good spatial awareness. Okay. As a result, Karen thinks that M must stand for “Mapper,” but the guy just looks off to the side. If Pito is really that bloody idol, then M probably stands for “Manager.” I dunno, it seems kinda obvious at this point. At least he isn’t “P.”
— Including our heroes, there are only three teams left in this… this… uh, shit, I’ve already forgotten what this tournament is called. That’s how memorable this show is.
— Oh right, right… Squad Jam. Anyways, Karen is pleased as a plum that they’re at least guaranteed third place, but M insists that Pito will only accept first place. Well, she ain’t even here, and she’s depending on a rookie.
— M keeps mentioning something about an hour from the start. He also tends to pull out a letter that he’s about to read, but something always comes up. Odd.
— Their attackers have congregated in a nearby lake, which is kinda foolish. Wouldn’t you want some of your people to flank from the side? Because they’re all in one place, M is able to put down some heavy duty cover. It’s apparently strong enough to repel a lot of bullets. Still, a simple grenade would flush him out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though the opposing team carries any. How conveniently beneficial for our heroes.
— Once again, Karen uses her speed and unfair hitbox to her advantage. As she draws enemy fire, M is able take out members of the opposing team one-by-one.
— Oh hey, someone actually has a grenade.
— Karen has the honor of taking the last guy out. For some reason, she fired her P-Chan for ten continuous seconds just to kill the guy. Geez, shouldn’t you carry a handgun on you for this? Just take it out and put one bullet through his skull.
— The girl is amazed that M took out most of the opposing team, because he didn’t depend on the game’s built-in aim assist. For a shooter, GGO is surprisingly very newbie friendly. Normally, when you use aim assist, a bullet line would appear. This allows gun noobs to successfully hit a target from far away, but at the same time, it lets the enemy know when to dodge. M bypasses this completely by using his pure sniping skills. He must be some sort of gun nut in real life.
— I still think GGO is weird, though. Plenty of shooters rely heavily on the gamer’s actual aiming skills. Sure, most weapons are still hitscan, so you don’t have to learn how a bullet travels through the air. Nevertheless, no robust FPS would ever have something like GGO’s Bullet Circle. This would defeat the purpose of even playing a shooter in the first place. I agree that the game doesn’t have to be completely realistic, but a shooter should at least require actual aiming skills.
— We soon get a really long tutorial scene where Pito explains how aiming work. Talk about shutting down the show’s momentum right in its tracks. The show has terrible pacing, because it constantly needs to interrupt the action. But why do we even need to include the Bullet Circle thing at all? Even without it, M’s ability to snipe the enemy would’ve already been impressive.
— Back to the actual game, our heroes check the latest scan and realize too late that the final team is right on their ass. Karen suddenly takes a shot to the torso. Luckily, it didn’t hit any of her vitals.
— M immediately grabs his diminutive partner and books it. He also takes a hit, but only to his thighs. Karen is wincing and everything as if she’s in actual pain, but I can’t imagine that she is. After all, these VRMMOs are designed to automatically boot you from the game if your heart rate climbs too high. As a result, pain sounds like a bad idea. So why does Karen look and sound like she’s hurt? After all, when I have low health in the middle of a gaming session, I don’t actually start talking on Skype or Discord as if I’m out of breath. I guess this must be some sort of feature applied to a player’s actions to simulate them taking actual damage or whatever. Or maybe the anime just doesn’t really give a shit about being consistent. It’s probably that.
— Hey look, the final enemy team is composed of all female avatars. Isn’t that funny? You’d think that the distribution of the sexes would be a little more spread out, but so far, it’s been mostly teams of all men and one team of all women. Karen’s team is the only one that appears to have both sexes.
— Thanks to M, he and Karen are able to get away and heal up on a hovercraft. They decide to camp out on a plateau, because this would give M the high ground. Unfortunately, when the guy reads that letter he’s been carrying around all this time, he suddenly takes out a gun and aims it right at Karen.
— But our Pink Devil is unnaturally fast, so she immediately dodges his shots and toggles the safety on his handgun. With her P-chan aimed right at his neck, she now demands to know why he had turned on her. Unfortunately, the show wants to end on a cliffhanger, so all we get to see is M blubbering with snot coming out of his nose. They really included that into the game. Yeesh… this guy is kinda pathetic.
— All in all, this episode is a step up from last week’s offering, but it’s still a mixed bag. The game itself doesn’t seem very fun, and neither Karen nor M have any sort of character development. The two of them remain uncompelling as protagonists; Karen has nothing going for her other than that she’s a cute loli (in game). Basically, I have no real reason to root for her at all.
— Worst of all, the show wastes so much time on simply teaching how to play the game. That scene with Pito ate up over three minutes of runtime. Three minutes completely gone.