I have a soft spot for gaming stories… especially if they are centralized on the gaming itself and not just some story that uses gaming as a rarely-used sub-plot. That’s what attracted me to this original work, Boku no Ameiru Protocol (Our Rainy Protocol or Protocol: Rain depending on who you ask.) Either I was going to love it and wish there was a source so I could continue my journey after it ended or I was going to laugh maniacally and how poorly they portrayed the world of video games and eSports. Which side of the fence did I land on for this one?
Protocol’s story revolves around Shun who was a top player in the online game Xaxxerion. One day, his father and sister went out and were involved in an accident. Their father died and his sister, Mio, was left with the inability to walk. Shun knew that he was supposed to go that day instead of his sister and blamed himself for the fact that she was paralyzed from the waist down. Because of this, he ends up quitting Xaxxerion.
Despite that, he works at a café owned by his former teammate and real-life friend Nozomi and her father. Her father is the manager of pro-sports team, Team Fox One; however, after a dispute between him and their top player, Jonathan, the team disbands. To make matters worse, he’s behind on his debts for owning the gaming café and needs a way to make some cash quickly. That’s when he turns to Shun, Nozomi, and Akito about becoming the new Team Fox One… the only problem is that they are missing two members.
They hold tryouts and pick up Ryuusei who goes by the online handle Fallen Angel Winged Cat Princess, and a “mysterious” masked woman who is actually Yuu… a famous teen actress now going under the name Phantom Ninja. Jonathan ends up joining the pro team Sleeping Owl; however, he is quickly erased as the top antagonist when the team’s ace, Rox, takes a keen interest in Shun, dubbing him as the one who has the potential to become his eternal rival.
Now, the team participates in Xaxxerion tournaments to earn money to pay back the café’s debts, to earn a chance at going pro for a living, and to possibly earn enough money to send Mio to rehab so that she can walk again.
As stated above, he was a pro-level player of Xaxxerion until the accident. Now, he swears that he’ll never pick up the game again; however, when Nozomi and her father Souta need his help, he regrettably gets sucked back in. Throughout the series, we see Shun deal with so much pressure it’s amazing he didn’t crack. His mother was initially against him returning to gaming, his sister is… well… that’s for later… he has Rox pressuring him to cast everything aside to go pro, he’s losing sleep to the point where he’s fainting, his grades are slipping, and he’s just becoming a hot mess. When he learns that Xaxxerion could end up paying for Mio, he uses that as a legitimate reason to get back into the game, figuring that the thing that took Mio’s legs away from her could be the thing to give them back. Despite him doing all of this for her, she acts as if she has zero appreciation for it all because… well… that’s twice I danced around her. Let’s talk about Mio.
Mio has a big brother complex like no other. She believes that she doesn’t need to walk ever again because all she needs is Shun to be there for her for the rest of her life. That’s why she’s against him going back to Xaxxerion for her sake. She’s refusing rehab because she knows that if she walks again, she might have to leave home to live her own life or Shun won’t need to stick around to take care of her, and that eats her alive to the point where she has mild psychotic episodes where she fears that her personal reality is about to come crashing down all around her. But at least she doesn’t blame Shun for the accident, right? I mean, I guess that’s a silver lining. While I feel Shun was a solid main character working through hardships, I was kind of annoyed with Mio. Later on, they shed some light on the situation with her legs and it makes sense given the type of character she’s in but learning that reason only made me hate her more.
I think it’s because she was a lot younger than Shun so her character had to be portrayed from an immature child’s perspective. I guess that was also done because if she were older, it would be an easy excuse to pull the incest love angle (although there were times I thought the show was going down that disturbing route.) I just think it could have been handled better as the drama seemed a bit too forced and unnatural. Honestly, Mio was the first thing I disliked about the show. The only other thing is a single moment that I’ll get to in the next section.
Nozomi is a childhood friend of Shun’s and part of his original team when they played Xaxxerion together. Outside of helping her father run a gaming café, she’s about as vanilla as she can be. Everything from her attitude to her role is about what you would expect from what should have been a secondary main character but someone who came off feeling like a supporting character instead. She’s there to prop up Shun when he’s feeling down, to offer him some words of encouragement, all while strongly hinting that she has a love interest in him but is unsure if Shun’s feelings match her own… which is why she hesitates on the subject and hesitates often. Plus, when Yuu is introduced, she suddenly has a bitter love rival that runs way deeper than just “famous actress loves my man.” I felt that she was fine for what she was but definitely was far from the best character on the show’s roster.
In addition to being a teen actress, Yuu is pretty good at Xaxxerion and is in love with Shun but as I said, it’s not just a love-at-first-sight ordeal. Unbeknownst to everyone on the team, Yuu used to play in their group under the name of Explosion-kun. In fact, Shun consults Explosiun-kun a number of times throughout the series. The only way he doesn’t realize it’s her it’s because each time they talk, her microphone is always mysteriously broken and she never intends to get it fixed. As Explosion-kun, Yuu confesses that Shun is a hero to her and they miss playing together. She even tries to comfort him through his darkest times and offers encouragement… similar to Nozomi. Of course, being Explosion-kun on the side, a Xaxxerion player trying to go pro, and juggling an acting career isn’t easy, and soon, her manager finds out about the game and makes life miserable for her. Of the two girls, I loved Yuu WAY more than Nozomi. She had MUCH better depth and even though Nozomi and Shun are childhood friends, there’s no way in hell I can’t see Yuu and Shun ending up together. They get my official ship!
Okay, this kid is just damn creepy. He’s also a childhood friend of Nozomi and Shun’s but he has this unhealthy obsession with Mio. Like… “I want to love her and pamper her and spend the rest of my life with her” type of obsession. SHE’S A CHILD, BRUV. THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!? I’d get it if it was like a “protective older brother” syndrome but it’s not. It’s a straight-up “I’ll do anything for my perfect little buttercup because one day I will make her mine” syndrome. What’s worse is that Shun is fully aware of it and does next to nothing about it. Sure, he scolds him from time to time but I would have plunged my fist through about 6 layers of messed-up brain matter by now. Also, his personality is kind of annoying to boot. He comes off as that young kid who dreams big but is unaware of the fact that they suck at whatever they’re dreaming of… except Akito doesn’t suck at Xaxxerion but he’s not really pro material either. Just seems like he’s riding their coattails as a fast track to fame and fortune… for Mio’s sake, of course. Ugh. Did not like him at all.
Okay….Talk about a character that comes in as someone who could be the hidden gem in this show only to fall into mediocrity faster than Akito can rush to Mio’s side when she says his name. When he auditions, he comes in like a badass. He sets up and calibrates his own personal equipment. Talks about how he adjusts things to match his playstyle, and even goes all out and proves that he is an unstoppable force despite being a typical fat guy with a name like Fallen Angle Winged Cat Princess. It was the perfect storm for the ultimate gaming anime character… and then… it all gets thrown out the window and he just becomes another member of the team.
In the beginning, when some of the hokey crap the team has to go through, his character seemed like one that would say “screw this, I made a mistake” and leave. But… he does state that he’s loyal to his team so I’m like “Okay. He’s pro and he’s willing to tolerate their obvious non-pro hijinks. Awesome.” But… he slowly just slips into being a random player that’s about the same level as them. How did he go from displaying his skill level being leaps and bounds above theirs in an audition to being on the same level? And I mean before any of them became better at the game? It was so inconsistent! Plus, all of his unique qualities disappeared just to become another face in the crowd. The only thing that happens to him that fits his character is that (SPOILERS) he dyed his hair pink at the end of the final episode for… um.. eluded reasons. A character with wasted potential for sure.
Mutsuki “Rox” Naito
This guy has a serious hard-on for Shun for a reason that’s still unknown. I mean that metaphorically and possibly literally as there were a few scenes where he’s shown sitting in his room, butt naked, staring at footage of Shun and getting all hot and bothered over him… but not in a homosexual way… but rather in a way where it “excites” him to know that there is potentially someone out there that’s on his level as a pro-gamer. I would say it’s surprising to know that he’s a few bricks shy of a house but he eats curry roux for nourishment stating that things like meat and vegetables induce after-dinner fatigue and he can’t risk that in any of his matches.
Yikes. Still, he confronts Shun on a few occasions and he wants Shun to abandon everything… friends, family, school, work, even his quest to save his sister’s legs… and join him in “his world.” By that, he means doing nothing but playing Xaxxerion 24/7 while only resting when absolutely necessary to preserve health at an acceptable level. The reason why I say his reason for being interested in him is still unknown is because we know that he’s been watching Shun but we don’t really know WHEN all of that watching and taking notice in him started to happen. There had to be a deeper reason for it but it was never revealed which makes his interest in Shun rather shallow. He could have picked anyone within the Xaxxerion community but why Shun and Shun alone?
Seshiru Satou and Emiko Takanashi
They are simply fans of Xaxxersion. Seshiru had a crush on one of the members of the old Team Fox One but then she learns he quit the team and retired from gaming. She can’t believe that the new Team Fox One is as bad as they are and feels that they are bringing shame to the previous team’s legacy. So… she and Emiko do the only reasonable thing possible…. They replace Nozomi’s father, Satou, as their coach.
Oh, did I mention that neither one knows jack S*** about the game? Just thought I would throw that in there; however, despite not knowing anything about Xaxxerion, they are able to point out all of their mistakes, how to fix them and formulate winning strategies. I’ll just let that speak for itself and move on…
Art, Animation, and Sound
The artwork for Protocol wasn’t bad in most aspects of the show. It’s your standard fare with typical animation. The cast all looked unique and were well-designed; however, what stood out the most were the cool Team Fox One uniforms. Combining black and orange is a nice touch we’ve seen before but we also got hints of blue and purple on the sleeves that really made them pop. No lie… if there’s a Team Fox One official shirt for sale anywhere, I’m grabbing one. I loved it that much.
Also, I liked Yuu’s mask as Phantom Ninja. Then again, it was a black and red neko mask with purple accents. It may have been a kitsune mask but something seemed slightly off about it to be sure. Either way, it looked good on her and I wouldn’t mind buying one of those masks for myself either.
The biggest complaint is the game itself, Xaxxerion. This is both really bad-looking and genius at the same time. First off, it’s bad-looking because it’s 2023 and this game looks as if it belongs on the PlayStation 2. Maybe there just wasn’t enough budget for this show to animate a game or make the game look more modern but it is a bit of an eyesore to look at. On the other hand, I don’t recognize this game anywhere so it’s pretty damn impressive that they used a game engine to make a game for the purposes of this show. Sure, it wasn’t a full-blown game as they only showed one map and a handful of character models, but it seems as if it was a fully-functioning game that they did some machinima on to record scenes for the anime… which is why I say it was genius. I’d still play it. It’s got that GunZ: The Duel charm to it.
Now… I mentioned that there was the second thing I didn’t like about this show aside from Mio… and that’s this one scene where Rox taunted Shun and Shun ended up punching Rox in the face… which made me cheer for Shun FINALLY standing up for himself… and that would have been an awesome moment had Shun not just randomly grip the sides of his head, scream in Rox’s face, and then run away in some of the jankiest animation that the entire series produced.
It went from a super cool moment to a trademarked Krusty the Clown “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!?” moment. It was so jarring and unnatural that it’s the one scene that lives rent-free in my head. It stuck out that badly and that’s not a good thing. What made things worse was that it was the only scene like that in all twelve episodes… which means there was nothing to make you forget that you saw it…. Except for naked Rox… that’s just disturbing, too.
As for music… Protocol’s OP is a BANGER! That song had no right to be as good as it was and I thought it fit the show perfectly. The ending is fairly average; however, the anime’s OST was just there. The background music was toned down during tournament play for good reason… so that the action and sound effects of the game wouldn’t get overshadowed by the OST which was a pretty good call but it was there just enough for you to hear what was playing and how it enhanced the mood. In other words, it served its purpose but it’s not an OST I would rush out and buy.
My feelings on Boku no Ameiru Protocol are oddly mixed… I say oddly because for as much as I complained about certain aspects of this show… I still made this a priority to watch every weekend as soon as it dropped. There was something about this show that drew me in and captivated me. Also, I know that I said that I only had two problems with this show but listed off so many others but the thing is… the other problems were kind of forgivable, and here’s why…
Protocol’s story was about Shun. It was about his journey to finding his place back into the ranks of Xaxxerion’s upper echelon of players while being the big brother to Mio he felt a heavy responsibility. This was about him getting kicked in the nuts by life and fighting through the pain to come out on top and for the twelve episodes that we were given, that story was told from beginning to end(?). Some of the side characters being annoying or just poorly written is a bit forgivable because it’s not their story. They are along for the ride and while I would have loved to have seen them treated better, it wasn’t necessary to get Shun to his end goal which is why I didn’t have as much of a problem with them.
Had this story been about THEIR journey to the top rather than “Let’s do it for Shun and Mio!” then I would have had a much bigger problem with it. Still doesn’t excuse the ball being dropped on their development but in this type of show, their development didn’t carry as much “weight requirement’ if that makes sense.
Mio, on the other hand, was a terrible character AND was central to Shun’s story so that’s why I dubbed her as one of the two big problems. In the end; however, she kind of realizes what she had become and shows some redeeming qualities which I admired but the journey to get to that point could have been told so so much better… and it wasn’t. It is what it is but it was told just well enough for me to believe in Shun’s journey and connect with him as a character.
The other issue was that glaring animation faux pas with Shun randomly just screaming and running off in the oddest way possible. I know animation studios often have tight deadlines and sometimes an episode is handed to a TV station right before it’s scheduled to air, creating massive stress, panic, and a bunch of people yelling at each other but, if it can be helped, at least review what you’ve created and fix some of those issues… especially when it was the ONE AND ONLY weird moment in all twelve episodes. It’s like.. you took quality control seriously for 11 episodes but this one time you let that moment slip through the cracks? Come on Quad…
Overall, I enjoyed this show for what it was but I am miffed because there is no manga for me to see how it continues… and I hope it does. With the way things ended, there needs to be a second season because if there isn’t, then there are some things touted throughout the series that were never resolved… and, again, with no source, there’s no way to resolve them unless it gets a manga adaptation or a second anime season. If this is it for the show, then I will have a third problem with the series… unresolved plot points… but the fact that they left them open gives me hope that a second season is on the way.
Boku no Ameiru Protocol
Boku no Ameiru Protocol takes us into the world of gaming and eSports with a ragtag group of teens who want to make it big; however, the story is more about the main character Shun, and his journey to overcoming his roadblocks that are stopping him from jumping back into the game he once loved so much. The characters are well-rounded but have their developmental hiccups but the story is solid enough and focused on the right characters to make those hiccups not as glaring as they could be.
- Great premise
- Solid story
- The fact that they created a game just for this anime
- Absolute BANGER for an OP
- Xaxxerion looked a bit outdated for this era
- Mio as a character could have been told way better
- Some of the characters had the ball dropped on their development
- Plot points unresolved (IF there is no second season)
- Overall Rating