After School Dice Club

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After School Dice Club
Hōkago Saikoro Club volume 1 cover.jpg
Cover of Hōkago Saikoro Club volume 1 by Shogakukan
放課後さいころ倶楽部
(Hōkago Saikoro Kurabu)
GenreSlice of life[1]
Manga
Written byHirō Nakamichi
Published byShogakukan
ImprintShōnen Sunday Comics Special
MagazineMonthly Shōnen Sunday
DemographicShōnen
Original runMarch 12, 2013 – present
Volumes18 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed byKenichi Imaizumi
Written byAtsushi Maekawa
Music byShūji Katayama
StudioLiden Films
Licensed by
Original networkABC, Tokyo MX, BS11
Original run October 2, 2019 December 18, 2019
Episodes12 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

After School Dice Club (放課後さいころ倶楽部, Hōkago Saikoro Kurabu) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hirō Nakamichi. It has been serialized in Shogakukan's shōnen manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Sunday since March 2013, and has been collected in seventeen tankōbon volumes as of October 2020. An anime television series adaptation by Liden Films aired from October to December 2019.

Characters[edit]

Miki Takekasa (武笠美姫, Takekasa Miki)
Voiced by: Saki Miyashita[2] (Japanese); Alexis Tipton[3] (English)
A shy girl with short blue hair and turquoise eyes. She doesn't believe she knows how to have fun and prefers to avoid crouds.
Aya Takayashiki (高屋敷綾, Takayashiki Aya)
Voiced by: Marika Kouno[2] (Japanese); Dani Chambers[3] (English)
Exuberant new student with long light brown hair and brown eyes. Cheerful character; has a tendency to treat new acquaintances as old friends.
Midori Ono (大野 翠, Oono Midori)
Voiced by: Miyu Tomita[2] (Japanese); Madeleine Morris[3] (English)
Class representative. A stickler for rules, she has shoulder length dark brown hair and brown eyes. She works in a game shop in the entertainment district.
Takeru Kinjō (金城タケル, Kinjō Takeru)
Voiced by: Takaya Kuroda[4] (Japanese); Ray Hurd[3] (English)
Man of rough appearance but amicable nature. Manager of the game shop where Midori works. He has tanned skin, always wears sun glasses, and is bald.
Emilia (エミーリア)
Voiced by: M.A.O[5] (Japanese); Mikaela Krantz[3] (English)
Blond German/Irish girl who moved from Hamburg to Japan with her father. Transfers to the school were Miki, Aya, and Midori go.
Shōta Tanoue (田上翔太, Tanoue Shōta)
Voiced by: Kōhei Amasaki[6] (Japanese); Jordan Dash Cruz[3] (English)
Blond boy with brown eyes. Classmate of Midori since preschool. Has a crush on Aya and a desire to get close to her.
Ryūji Yoshioka (吉岡龍二, Yoshioka Ryūji)
Voiced by: Shun Horie[7] (Japanese); Christopher Llewyn Ramirez[3] (English)
Somewhat socially awkward boy devoted to practicing kendo. He has a group of fangirl he actively tries to avoid.
Yūto Aoshima (青島悠人, Aoshima Yūto)
Voiced by: Taku Yashiro[7] (Japanese); Ricco Fajardo[3] (English)
Student council president. Broke his leg, left Ren in charge during his absence. Easy going and popular, he is good at identifying individuals strengths and weaknesses. He states that he ran for student council to make people smile.
Ren Shibusawa (渋沢連, Shibusawa Ren)
Voiced by: Kotori Koiwai[7] (Japanese); Kristi Rothrock[3] (English)
Student council vice president. She has short pink hair and pink eyes. She and Midori were a team in middle school, and she's determined to get Midori back into student council.
Hana Takayashiki (高屋敷花, Takayashiki Hana)
Voiced by: Hisako Tōjō[7] (Japanese); Amber Lee Connors[3] (English)
Aya's mild mannered older sister. She has long brown hair and brown eyes. Her best friend describes her as a magnet for weirdos.
Kyōko Maki (牧京子, Maki Kyōko)
Voiced by: Eriko Matsui[7] (Japanese); Michelle Rojas[3] (English)
Hana's best friend. She has blonde hair always pulled back in a short ponytail, has green eyes, and is usually seen chewing on a stick. She has a threatening persona, but has a track record of defending the underdog.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

After School Dice Club, written and illustrated by Hirō Nakamichi, began its serialization in the April 2013 issue of Shogakukan's Monthly Shōnen Sunday magazine, published on March 12, 2013.[8] Shogakukan has compiled its chapters into individual tankōbon volumes. The first volume was published on September 12, 2013.[9] As of October 12, 2020, seventeen volumes have been released.[10]

Volume list[edit]

No. Japanese release date Japanese ISBN
1 September 12, 2013[9]978-4-09-124407-9
2 February 12, 2014[11]978-4-09-124601-1
3 July 11, 2014[12]978-4-09-124768-1
4 December 12, 2014[13]978-4-09-125516-7
5 May 12, 2015[14]978-4-09-126067-3
6 December 11, 2015[15]978-4-09-126337-7
7 May 12, 2016[16]978-4-09-127238-6
8 October 12, 2016[17]978-4-09-127436-6
9 March 10, 2017[18]978-4-09-127543-1
10 September 12, 2017[19]978-4-09-127738-1
11 March 17, 2018[20]978-4-09-128196-8
12 August 9, 2018[21]978-4-09-128468-6
13 December 12, 2018[22]978-4-09-128723-6
14 May 10, 2019[23]978-4-09-129219-3
15 October 11, 2019[24]978-4-09-129458-6
16 April 10, 2020[25]978-4-09-850086-4
17 October 12, 2020[10]978-4-09-850262-2
18 March 12, 2021[26]978-4-09-850469-5

Anime[edit]

An anime television series adaptation was announced in the October issue of Monthly Shōnen Sunday on September 12, 2018.[27] The series is animated by Liden Films and directed by Kenichi Imaizumi, with Atsushi Maekawa handling series composition, Yukiko Ibe designing the characters, and Shūji Katayama composing the music. It aired from October 2 to December 18, 2019 on ABC, Tokyo MX, and BS11.[28] The series ran for 12 episodes.[29] Miyu Tomita performed the series' opening theme "Present Moment", while Saki Miyashita, Marika Kouno, and Tomita performed the series' ending theme "On the Board".[30]

Episode list[edit]

No.Title [29][a]Original air date
1"A New World"
Transcription: "Shiranai Sekai" (Japanese: 知らない世界)
October 2, 2019 (2019-10-02)
Miki Takekasa is a loner who typically doesn't enjoy being around her classmates. She declines an invitation to go to karaoke with her classmates. On her way home from school she barely misses being hit when new students Aya Takayashiki loses control of her bike and crashes in the river. After changing her wet clothes Aya asks Miki to explore the city with her. Miki is woried about getting lost, but Aya insists that if you don't have a destination in mind you can't possibly get lost. On the way home from their adventures they spot their class rep Midori Ono heading into heading into the entertainment district. There school bans students from being in the entertainment district after 6 pm on week nights, so they follow her to see what she's up to. They catch up to her in a game shop, where she informs them that she works there and has special permission from the school to do so. She tells them to leave but the store manager Takeru Kinjo asks them to stick around and play a game with him. Midori refuses to join, so Takeru teaches Miki and Aya the game of Marrakech. However, she later starts advising Miki on what plays to make. At the end of the game, Aya asks for a rematch. Midori reminds her that she shouldn't be in the entertainment district in the evenings, but that she can come by on the weekends if she likes. Miki wishes to have more days like that day.
2"This is a Cockroach!"
Transcription: "Kore wa Gokiburi desu!" (Japanese: これはゴキブリです!)
October 9, 2019 (2019-10-09)
Aya greets Miki at school. Miki is surprised to be on a first name basis, but doesn't object. Aya then greets Midori in a similar way and is lectured about taking steps that are too big. Midori then decides to call Miki by her first name, making Aya jealous. Aya asks Midori if she has any games with her, which Midori confirms, but says that Aya will have to wait until after class to see them. Meanwhile, Miki notices their classmate Shota Tanoue staring at them. In his inner dialogue, Shota expresses a desire to get to know Aya. He tries to talk to her all day, but is interrupted every time. Midori catches him lingering outside the classroom after class and tells him to go home, but he lies and says he forgot something. Aya sees them together and asks if they're friends, to which Midori responds that they've known each other since preschool but they aren't friends. Aya invites Shota to play with them. Midori teaches her classmates how to play a card game called Kakerlakenpoker. During the game, Miki notices Shota's behavior around Aya and wonders if he has a crush on her. Aya can't manage to lie to anyone and loses every turn. Shota stresses over how to keep her in the game, but accidentally deals the finishing move himself. Meanwhile, Miki proves herself a natural at spotting lies. After the game, Aya confronts Shota, saying that the only reason he would stay and play with them was if he had a crush on one of the girls. Thinking she's figured it out, he shyly agrees with her. She decides that he must have a crush on Midori and declares that she will help him. Aya tells Midori that next time they play, they should invite Shota again.
3"Not Alone"
Transcription: "Hitori to Chau Kara" (Japanese: ひとりとちゃうから)
October 16, 2019 (2019-10-16)
Miki has a flashback to being bullied as a child. She cites this incident as her reason to think it's best to be alone. Coming back to the present, she notices a woman bent over on the sidewalk. Fearing the woman is unwell, she approaches and asks if the woman is all right. It turns out the woman's cat was hiding under the house and Miki coaxes it out. The woman is surprised saying the cat is shy and generally doesn't like strangers. Miki wonders if the cat felt a kindred spirit in her because they're both shy. Miki meets up with her friends and goes to Aya's house. She's surprised to see the same woman from earlier and finds out she is none other than Hana Takayashiki, Aya's older sister. Hana and her best friend Kyoko Maki join in for a game. Miki is initially intimated by Kyoko, but soon decides she's all right. Kyoko insists she's met Miki before. Hana reminds her their age difference is large enough that they couldn't have been in school at the same time, but Miki has the feeling Kyoko is right and they have met. Midori teaches the whole group how to find Incan Gold. At the end of the game, Miki realizes that Kyoko had been the one who'd chased away her bullies in the memory from earlier. She compares bad memories to be like dark caves, but if you have the courage to delve into them you can find jewels like Kyoko.
4"Midori's Dream"
Transcription: "Midori no Yume" (Japanese: ミドリの夢)
October 23, 2019 (2019-10-23)
Student council vice president Ren Shibusawa is stressed over planning the school festival. The class president broke his leg, leaving Ren in charge until his return. Determined to make the school festival the best, she asks Midori for help, who refuses on account of her job. Midori explains to her friends that she used to be student council president in middle school, that's why Ren was asking her for help. Ren tracks down Midori at work and asks her to quit her job so she has time for student council. Midori explains she's passionate about her job, and that she wants to develop board games some day. Ren scoffs at that dream, but Miki and Aya both stand up for Midori. Ren refuses to quit asking so Midori challenges her to a game of 6 nimmt. If Ren wins, Midori will rejoin student council, but if Midori wins, Ren must leave her alone. Ren loses and leaves in a snit. Midori explains how her brother used to have the same job she currently has. He introduced her to bord games, and she'd wanted to make her own ever since.
5"A Message for You"
Transcription: "Kimi ni Tsutaeru Messēji" (Japanese: キミに伝えるメッセージ)
October 30, 2019 (2019-10-30)
It's summer break and Aya is complaining about the heat, she decides they should go to the beach. Miki's aunt has a seaside inn, so they arrange to go there. In the inn, Aya comments on some strange looking shogi pieces. Midori realizes they're not for shogi, but goita, a local specialty game that she's heard of but has never played. Since it's a four player game, Miki's aunt joins them. She reminds Miki that she played before as a child, but Miki doesn't remember. The next day the girls plan on going to the beach, but a rainstorm prevents them. A young boy is crying about the rain, so they invite him to play with them. The child keeps making mistakes and Miki suddenly remembers making those same mistakes when she was his age. She asks to team up with him and shows him how to play without actually telling him what to do. Miki's aunt notes that her niece is growing up well.
6"A Fledgling Designer is Born!"
Transcription: "Hiyokko Dezainā Tanjō !" (Japanese: ひよっこデザイナー誕生!)
November 6, 2019 (2019-11-06)
Midori announces the prototype of her own game, one room, but she insists it's not ready to play. A professional game maker visiting the game shop tells her that a game cannot be made by one person alone, and that her game will never be finished if she doesn't allow other people to play. She gets mad at him, but asks Aya and Miki to play one room with her. At the end of the game both of her friends list of several suggestions they believe would make the game better. Midori goes and apologizes to the professional, saying she now understands why it takes multiple people to make a game. However, she will not give up and she is still going to be a game author.
7"Opening Up"
Transcription: "Kokoro, Hiraite" (Japanese: こころ、ひらいて)
November 13, 2019 (2019-11-13)

Kyoko finds Miki sitting by herself and asks her where her friends are. After learning her friends are both busy for the day, she insists Miki spend the day with her. They go to the river and after a brief water fight they play a game of manjiro. Manjiro is a game without winners and losers. The players use a set of dice with characters on them to take turns spelling out words that fit their chosen theme. They start with insults, and Miki fails to faze Kyoko, while taking everything Kyoko spells to heart. She admits she wants to be more like Kyoko and spells 'thank you'. Kyoko thinks it's a misspell, but Miki goes on to thank her for a time when she was little, and Kyoko chased off her bullies. Kyoko recalls the incident and explains her own selfish reason for getting involved; to blow off anger at her dad. She tells Miki that there's nothing wrong with her and that her inability to insult isn't because she's weak, it's because she's compassionate. Miki then wants to trade compliments, which is difficult for Kyoko.

Back at school, Midori makes an application to the student council for a board game cafe at the festival. Ren, now determined to make the festival good without Midori's help, declines the proposition. Soon after that, student council president Yuto Aoshima returns to school and finds Midori's application still out on the desk. He goes to Midori's place of work and pretends he's just browsing, then accepts an invitation to play a game with Midori, Miki, and Aya. He loses the game but has fun doing it. Midori and Miki reveal they both recognized him all along, while Aya is completely surprised. Yuto overturns his vice's decision and approves their game cafe.
8"The Fourth Friend"
Transcription: "Yon-nin-me no Tomodachi" (Japanese: 4人めの友だち)
November 20, 2019 (2019-11-20)

Miki, Aya, and Midori enter the game cafe Cafe Geschenk. There they find Emilia sleeping while sitting upright. After they wake her up she is excited that girls her age in Japan are interested in board games and invites them to play any game they like. Aya asks her to play with them and she is so happy she cries. She and Midori explain the rules of Keltis to Miki and Aya. Emilia warns them it's her favorite game and she's never lost. Aya recognizes Emilia's necklace as a Celtic knot, which she confirms, saying her mother told her Celtic knots are good luck. She believes it's true because she'd seen the three girls before and wished to make friends with them. Midori ultimately wins the game, which surprises Emilia, but she is pleased by the challenge. The girls tell her they're going to use their experience in running a game cafe at their school festival. She asks them where they go and is excited to learn that is the same school she will be transferring into.

At the festival, Miki, Aya, and Midori are discouraged because their game cafe has been assigned a room that's hard to find. Emi has trouble finding them, but when she does she tells them, not to worry, she has a secret weapon. The scene cuts to Shota wandering around looking for the game cafe. A notification appears on his phone showing a picture of all four girls in maid costumes, along with directions to the cafe. Along the way he runs into Ryuji who decides to go with them. Once there they are greeted by Aya in her costume. She explains that they're really short staffed and asks Shota to teach Kakerlakenpoker to a group of boys. He doesn't want to do it but is flattered into it by Aya telling him he's her only hope. Midori notices Ryuji looks uncomfortable and tells Miki to entertain him. Miki is at first uncomfortable, but seems to relax while explaining Dobble to Ryuji and a group of others. Ryuji wonders how people have fun with such a game, and questions how he's supposed to know what to call all the shapes. Miki tells him it doesn't matter what he calls them as long as others know what he means. He calls one of the pieces by a name that makes everyone laugh, and embarrasses himself. Miki tells him that he played it right, and that's what makes it fun. He blushes in return. The episode closes with Miki saying the festival was a lot of work, but that fun and new friends made it worth it.
9"Daruma-Doll Fell Down"
Transcription: "Daruma-san ga Koronda" (Japanese: ダルマサンガコロンダ)
November 27, 2019 (2019-11-27)

All four girls, now including Emi as a regular member of their group take time off of board games to study for midterm exams. When exams are over, they celebrate by taking Emi to the game shop where Midori works. On the way, they discover that Emi is "directionally challenged". Once in the game store they play Elfenland, in which they have to navigate the board to pick up as many of their pieces as possible. Emi wins and her friends tease her that her terrible sense of direction doesn't apply to games. She remembers her friends back in Germany telling her the same thing and cries. She tells her new friends about a promise she made with her old best friend - they were going to design a game together. She says she hopes they can still both fulfill that dream separately. Upset to hear that Emi has the same dream as her, Midori storms out. Emi expresses her disappointment to Miki and Aya. She'd overheard Midori talking about her dream and wanted to discuss it with someone who felt the same way. At home, Midori worries that she could never make a game as good as Emi could.

The next day, Emi asks her friends to teach her a Japanese children's game. The three deliberate and pick Daruma Doll Fell Down. Emi notices there is no point system in the game and develops one. She says all games are permanent works in progress. Midori is inspired and says she would like Emi to play her game sometime.
10"Happy Holy Night"
Transcription: "Happī Hōrī Naito" (Japanese: ハッピーホーリーナイト)
December 4, 2019 (2019-12-04)
Aya's father comes home after years abroad as a wildlife photographer. Aya is excited to introduce him to her friends and invites them all to a Christmas party. Shota is invited, but is so nervous about meeting Aya's family that he asks Ryuji to come with him. Aya's father gets a new job offer and has to leave before the Christmas party. She is mad and says she doesn't want anything to do with him. He follows her trying to make up and ends up at the game shop where Takeru makes them sit down and play a game of Blockus with Miki and Midori. The two resolve their conflicts over the game. At the party Emi brings out a game called Ladies and Gentlemen. Ladies and Gentlemen requires players to play as husband and wife, with the man earning money and the woman shopping for the highest possible score total. Midori plays as a boy and pairs with Emi, Shota pairs with Aya, and Ryuji pairs with Miki. Both boys comment to themselves that the game is not a game but a test. Over the course of the game, Shota is unable to keep up with Aya's spending. Meanwhile, Ryuji is amazed how easy it is to please Miki, he thinks to himself that he would like to provide for her for life. After the party, Shota presents Aya with a present. He says he hopes it makes up for what he couldn't get her in the game. She says she hadn't expected a present at all and accepts in gratefully. Ryuji tries to work up the courage to tell Miki he wants to see her again, but only manages to wish her happy New Year. She returns the well wishing and mentions seeing him again in the next year, causing him to blush.
11"A Game By Everyone"
Transcription: "Minna no Gēmu" (Japanese: みんなのゲーム)
December 11, 2019 (2019-12-11)
Takeru tells Midori that the game designer she met earlier has a message for her. His company is holding a game design contest and he suggests she enter. Midori playtests One Room with all her friends and her boss, but Takeru thinks it's still missing something. Midori withdrawals herself from her friends to work on her game. Aya and Miki are worried, but Emi says to leave her alone. Midori remembers an employee at her dad's furniture store saying his work was his passion. He could never afford all the furniture he wanted in his personal life, but at work he had access to all sorts of furniture and could arrange it however he wanted. This inspires Midori and she makes cutouts of all the furniture pieces, as well as room cards where players can arrange them as they please. Her friends are amazed by the game, and Midori tells them she couldn't have done it without them. As the rest of her friends talk about Midori's future, Miki realizes she's a little sad at the idea. She doesn't want to think about the future because she's happy where they are.
12"The Place We All Love"
Transcription: "Watashitachi no Daisuki na Basho" (Japanese: 私たちの大好きな場所)
December 18, 2019 (2019-12-18)
It's the end of the school year and Aya expresses a wish that they all be in the same class the next year. Midori reminds her that can't happen because they're going into separate majors. Next they make plans for spring break, but Emi tells them she'll be going back to Germany on break. Miki worries to herself about being separated from her friends. On their day off she calls each of her friends, none of whom answer. She goes to the game shop looking for Midori and ends up buying a card game she saw. Sitting alone on a park bench she acts out a skit using the cards she bought. Shota spots her and calls Aya. All of her friends find her and tell her they don't want to be separated from one another. So that they can still be together while in different classes, they form the after school dice club.

Reception[edit]

Anime News Network had four editors review the first episode of the anime:[1] Theron Martin was unsure of the "cute girls do games" premise following a pre-established formula, but gave it a "tepid recommendation" on the assumption that it will lead to "good character development" and give the board games a more dramatic presentation; Rebecca Silverman felt underwhelmed by the game scenes but said that it could get better in future episodes along with exploring Miki's social anxiety problems; James Beckett was critical of both Miki and Aya's characteristics being overly familiar but was intrigued by the board game of the week template that will build the ensemble's chemistry and individual development, saying "[T]hat 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." The fourth reviewer, Nick Creamer, found "an engaging relational dynamic" among the three main leads towards the end but found the journey lacking with Miki's "incisive characterization" being centered by a "generally weak script" propping it up, concluding that "All in all, After School Dice Club certainly isn't breaking any new ground, but it's a reasonable example of its genre centered on a very appropriate gimmick. If you're a slice of life fan, I'd definitely give it a try."[1] Fellow ANN editor Caitlin Moore reviewed the complete anime series in 2020.[31] She was initially put off by the generic first episode displaying the typical all-girls hobby show tropes, but was won over by both the main cast's camaraderie and exploration of their lives outside the club, and having thorough understanding of the various games they played each episode, concluding that "After School Dice Club offers the best of both worlds in terms of narrative and iyashikei anime. It takes the emphasis on friendship and good times and adds just enough development and structure to keep the tension and interest of people who normally don't care for storyless series."[31]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ All English titles are taken from Funimation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Fall 2019 Anime Preview Guide - After School Dice Club". Anime News Network. October 2, 2019. Archived from the original on September 7, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Pineda, Rafael Antonio (May 9, 2019). "Hōkago Saikoro Club Anime Unveils Main Cast, Visual". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on August 8, 2020. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "[Master Thread] After School Dice Club (Dubbed)". Funimation. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  4. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (May 25, 2019). "Hōkago Saikoro Club Anime's Teaser Promo Video Reveals Takaya Kuroda as Shop Owner". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on November 7, 2020. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  5. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (August 8, 2019). "Hōkago Saikoro Club Anime's Video Unveils Opening Song, New Cast, More Staff, October 2 Debut". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on January 2, 2020. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Pineda, Rafael Antonio (September 12, 2019). "Hōkago Saikoro Club Anime Casts Kōhei Amasaki". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on March 1, 2020. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e Pineda, Rafael Antonio (September 19, 2019). "Hōkago Saikoro Club Anime Casts Shun Horie, Taku Yashiro". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on September 21, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2019.
  8. ^ ゲッサン一挙に新連載4本開始、モリタイシ、中道裕大など. Natalie (in Japanese). March 12, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
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