Miki Takekasa is an introverted high schooler who does not socialize with her classmates. However, she wants to know what "fun" really is, waiting for someone who could help her understand its true meaning. One day after school, she crosses paths with her classmate Aya Takayashiki, who takes her on a little adventure. Miki discovers wonders she had never seen before, opening a way to change her withdrawn life. On their way home, Miki and Aya see their class representative Midori Oono entering Saikoro Club, a store specializing in board games. After trying out a German board game, Miki soon understands the kind of fun she had been looking for: playing various games after school along with the friends and acquaintances she makes from her newfound pleasure. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
For me, After School Dice Club has exactly one thing going for it. Sure, the characters are the same gaggle of vaguely nice high school friends you see every single season, the art and the music are mostly generic mush, and the show generally thinks it’s a lot more emotionally affecting than it really is. However, the focus of this after-school-hobbies slice-of-life anime is esoteric European board games, the kind of hand-crafted and adorably niche items that have really blown up here in the West in the past couple of decades, which will have you living out the dreams of a 15th -century merchant, or delivering goods across the galaxy in a space-truck, or constructing an empire of small-chain noodle restaurants out of hexagon tiles.
I love these kinds of quirky board games, with their eager and un-ironic love of rules and minutiae, and that gave me enough buy in to stick with After School Dice Club, even though most everything else about the show feels pretty forgettable at this point. For one, our protagonist, Miki, is the kind of overly-withdrawn heroine that I have a hard time buying in to – she doesn’t just have a hard time making friends, she’s the kind of wispy wallflower that has practically never even experienced the very concept of “fun” before. Likewise, Aya is such a Manic Pixie Dream BFF that she approaches literally everything she does with a blank-eyed enthusiasm that borders on mania. She can plunge-head first into a river, strip naked in front of a complete stranger, and wander her way into the lives of a whole mess of people without batting an eyelash, which isn’t bad so much as it is flimsy and played out. Midori, the class president, fares a little better, because she at least seems like a real human person, but that also means that she comes across as a bit flat compared to her co-stars. The ensemble works best when they’re playing games together, but that’s mostly because the games themselves are pretty interesting; if they were engaged in any other kind of hobby, I can’t imagine being anywhere near as invested.
At the end of the day, though, this is an anime about girls getting together to play neat looking board games, and I’d be willing to check back in with After School Dice Club from time to time just to see what kind of games the girls are getting in to week after week. That might not exactly be a glowing recommendation, but it means the show is just good enough to avoid the seasonal chopping block, at least for the time being. You can also free Houkago Saikoro Club anime watch online and free anime download.