When I read the synopsis for Bokura no Ameiro Protocol (Protocol: Rain), I noticed it was about eSports and gaming. I MIGHT have a slight interest in that seeing as how I wrote a 12-volume book series called A.R. Dragonfly that wrapped romance around eSports and gaming. Just a slight connection of interests there. However, when I wrote that series, I didn’t like the way gaming was portrayed in most series that I’ve watched. Does Protocol: Rain do things in a way that finally gives me what I’m looking for?
First Episode Synopsis
Shun (or Syun according to his online name) plays an online game called Xaxerion. He’s on a team of four players and seems to be pretty good at the game. His little sister wants to play but he says that he’ll let her play next round. She gets a bit pouty as little sisters tend to do and then… time skip!
Shun is now the cook at an eSports café while Nozomi, the daughter of the owner, waits tables and serves the food. There, we also meet Akiho, someone who claims to be BFFs with Nozomi and dreams of going pro one day. They invite Nozomi to play with them and despite her protests, caves and joins them for a round. After everything is all said and done, Nozomi’s father returns with an eSports team. Apparently, he became their manager.
One of the video cards is going so Shun decides to fix it using the highest level of I.T. methods… baking it in the oven…
With the card “fixed,” he placed it back in the system and became tempted to play the game. When he went into it, he experienced a flashback where his negligence caused his sister to wind up para…. I mean… a mysterious situation that is not obvious whatsoever replays in his mind. He freezes and decides that he’s not going to play after all.
Things go south between Nozomi’s father and the assumed leader of the eSports team, Jonathan. Jonathan ends up quitting and so Nozomi’s father is afraid that all the other team members will walk out and he won’t be able to pay off the debt he owes for his shop. There’s only one solution…. For Shun to come out of retirement and get over the fact that his negligence caused his sister to get para…. I mean… to overcome the mysterious and totally not predictable scenario that has haunted him for the past three years.
YES – I may have poked a bit of fun at the obvious reason as to why Shun stopped playing the game (I mean, his sister DID suddenly lose the ability to use her legs after the time skip so…. Yeah… there’s that.) but this was actually pretty good.
The first episode gave us a set-up, introduced who could very well be the main antagonist in Jonathan, gave our main characters a goal, and delivered a plight for Shun to overcome. It almost feels like a rags-to-riches story amongst friends who want to make it big as eSports players. I can also see some hints of romance being tossed in, especially when Shun finally plays a game and runs into their old teammate Explosion-kun (No, her name isn’t Megumin).
A lot of groundwork was laid out but if there was anything I would have to complain about would be that even though the groundwork was laid, it’s very shallow. None of the story points are deep or complex in any way, shape, or form. It keeps everything simple which can be a good thing as, oftentimes, simple is the best way to go. There is a lot of room for adding layers but this just doesn’t seem like the kind of series that will invest the time to do something deep.
So, that does make things a little campy but I still enjoyed it and anyone who is into video games should find some enjoyment here. Plus, if you watch it, you can join the rest of the world in saying that Xaxerion’s graphics suck and they really should switch to Unreal 5.3.