Net-juu No Susume

February 24, 2018

The internet these days have sure come a long way. It is both a blessing and curse since we are allowed to do so many wonderful and yet heinous things. With net neutrality and anonymity, it gives rise to even more social issues like online net addiction. Unfortunately Net-juu No Susume doesn’t actually examine that problem. It is just that the protagonist of this series recently got unemployed and decided to spend the rest of her idle time playing online game where she meets a nice character not knowing that character is closer and someone she knows in real life.

Episode 1
Moriko Morioka looks like she just quit her corporate job. Now that she is so free, what is she to do? Why, return to her online games! Too bad the one on her desktop has its service terminated as she hasn’t been touching it for half a year. So she goes online to search the next game. Well, first on the list, try it out. After downloading, installing and creating her male avatar character (whom she somewhat named Hayashi), she goes fight some monsters but gets owned. Every time. Till she meets this cute and kind healer, Lily who offers to help her out. A friendship blossoms between the duo as Hayashi levels up under her guidance and manages to defeat that monster whom he could not have defeated before. Hayashi joins the guild that Lily is in, @Home Party. He fits in very nicely. But one day, Lily talks her troubles to fellow guild member, Himeralda who in turn tells Kanbe the guild’s master about Hayashi avoiding Lily lately and it is making her depressed. So Kanbe talks to him to remind him their guild’s policy that prohibits romance. Just be like normal friends like he has always been with her. After all, Lily just like many plays online games to escape reality of work. Hayashi feels the need to thank Lily by giving her a token that no in-game currency can be and is a rare drop item, hence he was trying to get it by himself. Hayashi manages to talk to Lily to ask if she is free on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile in reality, Morioka’s fridge is empty. Time to hit the convenience store. All those lovely couples on Christmas Eve must be pissing her off. Can she be mad on a hungry stomach? Well, it wouldn’t be so embarrassing had it not growl the entire way while queuing. More embarrassing when she ordered the same food at the exact same moment as the guy in the next line, Yuuta Sakurai. After she makes her purchase, she dashes home. Back to her game, Hayashi meets up with Lily and they exchange gifts. Hayashi wanted to give her a Crystal Rose but a mini rose brooch is all he can muster up for now. But it made Lily very happy and appreciative.

Episode 2
Hayashi adventures with Lilac. She is suspicious that Hayashi is always online and especially at this time of the day. Could it be Hayashi is the same age as her, 21 years old and looking for a job? Morioka is actually in her thirties and can’t reveal it so she lies by agreeing to her. Later he gets depressed to learn that the guild members were actually betting among themselves to guess Hayashi’s age! Talking to Lily about this, accidentally Hayashi asks her age and fears the point of no return. Probably spamming the crying emoticon somewhat ‘saves’ Hayashi (and Morioka) in this case after Lily ‘warns’ her about certain things in life are better off not knowing. Though, Lily admits that she is curious to know more about Hayashi and they can talk and divulge more about each other once they are closer. She also lets him know how @Home Party almost got dissolved as the previous guild master got a new job assignment overseas. But Kanbe forced the transfer of the leadership to him. Because it would be a waste for a guild with max stats to be disbanded. The talk has Morioka realize it is 5 in the morning. She might not be working but what about Lily? Fearing she couldn’t get up, Hayashi would accompany her to stay online till it is time to go to work. Because of that, Morioka now gets a bit of a flu. Time to head to the pharmacy. Unfortunately along the way, Sakurai is rushing to work and bumps into her. More accurately, elbows her face! She has this strange dream of, uhm, robotic corporate suicide?! She wakes up in the hospital. On IV drops. Sakurai feels guilty of what happened. He takes care of her medical bills and leaves his contact in case she needs to contact him whatsoever. Back in her game, since she is worried about not replying Sakurai, her guild members give some encouragement for her to do so. But Morioka will soon regret it because she didn’t expect Sakurai to quickly reply. He is asking to meet and go out to eat sometimes, something she doesn’t want. While she views Sakurai as a handsome hunk, she views herself as an ugly b*tch. Too bad, no filters in real life. Then she just stops thinking and returns to her game. I guess the pressure got to her. Hayashi talks to Lily since she is also having a rough day. They find they have something in common and it’s like their very own secret. This gives Morioka the motivation to properly reply Sakurai. When she did, she realizes it is 2 in the morning. Well luckily he is already asleep.

Episode 3
Sakurai gets a shock when he reads the message when he wakes up. Is this considered a wakeup call? Sakurai talks to his friend, Homare Koiwai to ask more about Morioka because it seems she worked at a company he was at previously. He did liaise with her before in place of her superior whom he was supposed to be contacting. He considers her good at her job though it sounded like she was trying too hard and she cried?! He has a picture of her and she looks quite decent in a business attire. Sakurai later ponders about Morioka’s reply in which she rejected his invitation. Morioka is feeling pretty good about her reply to Sakurai. So much so her appearance in public tells a lot. No more that zombie look. This really boosts her confidence to play her online game. When Hayashi receives a gift from Lily, he talks to fellow guild member, Pokotarou. This vest seems expensive and it makes him feel the need to give something in return big time. Pokotarou also relates something similar that happened to him. Long ago, another guild member, Nico gave to him an amazing weapon and fretted about it. Since she told him it was prior investment, he ended up accepting it. It all boils down to Nico just wanting to cheer for him and he believes it is the same for Lily. But the mere mention of Lily’s ulterior motives makes Morioka worried. Now she can’t stop thinking about it. So Hayashi talks to Lily and again accidentally he asks her straight. Lily tells a bit of herself. When she first started playing, she used to get requests from all sorts of people and slowly this turned her into a famous healer whom everybody wants in their party. One day she was suspected of having a relationship with the guild’s leader and it broke her heart. It would have been easy to quit it all but she wanted to continue playing. Also, she met someone precious to her in a game she used to play. Morioka could also relate something really similar too. But still, being popular has made her cautious with others. Till she met Hayashi. It made her enjoy the game even more. Then she asks him if he would like to be her partner as she enjoys going on quests with him. Do you think he would decline? Of course not. This also excites Morioka as she’s acting like a teenager in love. The other spying guild members are happy with this development. Lastly as seen, we should have guessed by now that it is no surprise that Lily is Sakurai.

Episode 4
Morioka isn’t really into loot boxes but since things are looking up (in the game at least), she thought of splurging a little. So as she heads to her usual convenience store to make her purchase, the cashier, Kazuomi Fujimoto tells her it is currently down for maintenance but she can wait a little while more before it goes back up. As she does, Fujimoto shockingly strikes up a conversation with her. It seems he too plays the same online game and apparently they are the only ones who buy the electronic money in this store. Their vibe is getting good till a rude customer cuts her off so Morioka quietly takes her goods and leave. In the game, Lilac shows off her super cute and expensive prizes. It must really cost a lot. Because Hayashi also notes he wants top prizes like that, the rest throw caution to him about once that happens, the greed sensor sets in. It’s time to buy those loot boxes and sadly, Hayashi only got ordinary potions. A few more tries, he finally lands a few top prizes. It might be the world for Hayashi to get those but people like Lily who spend money until she gets what she wants won’t understand that feeling. In fact, she’s got her entire full collection of her top gear. Lilac gets disappointed when Kanbe didn’t like how her new outfit makes her barely unrecognizable. So she throws a fit and returns to wearing her old gear whenever they go on quests. Kanbe’s logic is that he is used to that old outfit and is what makes Lilac who she is. Koiwai can tell Sakurai has fallen for Morioka since he is acting particularly like a stalker. I mean, going to the convenience store at different times in hopes of trying to catch her? One night when Koiwai is at the convenience store, he so happens to bump into Morioka. Not that he recognizes her at first. But her boobs somehow made the connection. Morioka is freaked out when he tries to talk to her. After learning she quit her job and is currently unemployed, he wants to treat her. Morioka is disheartened there is no way for her to worm her way out of this one since all ‘exits’ have been blocked. Next day, Koiwai brags to Sakurai about Morioka’s contacts in his handphone. At first he thought he stole it from his but that turn into shock when Koiwai tells him he is going on a ‘date’ with Morioka. When Hayashi rants about all the recent real life events to Lily, Sakurai fears he has a hunch the player behind Hayashi.

Episode 5
Despite the hints pointing Hayashi is Morioka, Sakurai in the end believes it is just coincidence. Koiwai continues to tease Sakurai of his ‘date’ with Morioka and since she accepted him but rejected Sakurai, you know what this means, right? But with Sakurai visibly depressed, he brushes it off as a joke and says he is the reason why he set up all this to begin with. Meanwhile Morioka shops at the convenience store for some makeup. Looks like she has got a lot of levelling up to do. At the counter, Fujimoto continues their talk since the last time they were interrupted. When he finds out they play on the same server, Morioka is shocked to realize Fujimoto’s avatar. Lilac talks to depressed Hayashi about people often using a different gender online than their real life. Kanbe joins in the conversation and from the way his condescending tone towards Hayashi, it’s safe to say that Kanbe is Fujimoto. They talk about this issue and promise to keep this a secret among themselves. Kanbe also warns not to ask too much real life advice from Lily. Later when Hayashi asks Lily for advice on how to dress when one goes to drink, Kanbe also joins in on this. Ironically despite his earlier warning, Kanbe asks Lily directly for that advice. It seems that Kanbe and Lily know each other’s real identity too. Because of that, the duo enter into an argument of how a girl should look best. Long hair or short hair? Now Morioka as at the salon thinking if she should cut her hair. She should probably take some online lessons for applying makeup too. Sakurai discovers that the outing Koiwai is supposed to have with Morioka today isn’t actually today as he is scheduled for a business trip. So when Sakurai logs online and notices Hayashi not online, he still thinks it is coincidence. Meanwhile Morioka is all dressed up and waiting at the appointed location. As Koiwai didn’t turn up, she wonders if he had stood her up. On the other hand, Lily is too distressed thinking about the coincidence so she quickly logs off just when the party is about to start their crucial mission. Sakurai goes to look for Morioka and finds a stunning her in semi-long hair waiting. But she is just leaving alone when he calls out to her.

Episode 6
Morioka at this point gets a call from Koiwai. She is shocked to learn he is on a business trip and their meet-up was supposed to be tomorrow. Who on earth did she mess this up? Koiwai knows Sakurai is around and requests to speak to him. It’s just to tease him how cute Morioka looks. With Morioka embarrassed and being pessimistic about herself, Sakurai tells her to have more confidence in herself because he does find her cute. With nothing else for the night, so as not to waste it, the duo go out drinking. She wonders how he knew she would turn up today. Although he knows it was from a hint during the online game, he says he heard Koiwai telling him about it and coincidentally saw her when he got off work and decided to talk to her if she got it mixed up. She gets a bit tipsy from the drinking so he helps walk her home. She notes that if only her workplace had more employees like them, she would have enjoyed her job more. Next night, Morioka goes out with Koiwai. He is as lively and a teaser as ever. They talk about their age, the online game she is playing as well as Sakurai. She mentions about her new hairstyle was because of an argument between her online teammates so she went for something in between. Koiwai becomes the usual teaser again because he snaps a picture of Morioka sleeping (after having a little too much of a drink) and sending it to Sakurai. Because of that, he had to instantly log off his game and ran all the way to Koiwai’s house (he said he might bring her back to his place). I wonder if for that moment Sakurai became Japan’s fastest sprinter… Of course she isn’t here and has gone back home. Koiwai takes this chance to chide Sakurai because he lied about knowing how Morioka messed up the meeting date. Sakurai couldn’t answer but Koiwai lets bygones be bygones. Morioka feels great to be back home especially that feeling she used up her entire life’s luck on going out with men. It couldn’t be better for her to log back on to her game. Hayashi meets up with Lily and tells of the great outing she had. Lily couldn’t be happier since Sakurai now knows Hayashi is definitely Morioka.

Episode 7
Sakurai looks back at the coincidences of meeting Morioka as well as the fun times playing with Hayashi. The more he plays, the more he can’t help feel conscious that Morioka is Hayashi. Had he not find that out, he could have continued playing the game as they always have. The next time Lily logs in, she allows her party members to see the items in her inventory she has accumulated. Many of which are dresses. Later Hayashi talks to Lily about the coincidences in real life but Lily knows she has to realize this great coincidence before him. This makes Sakurai happy even though he feels bad Morioka doesn’t know about it. During the weekend, Koiwai calls Morioka to ask for guidance to download and setup this online game! Morioka creates another avatar, a female named Molly. She goes to meet the character that Koiwai is playing as: A large female with muscles named Harumi! Being a noob in the online gaming world, Harumi almost gave away Molly’s real identity since he is on public chat and Kanbe and Nico are watching them. Harumi becomes friends with them as Molly notes how friendly Kanbe has become. When she first met him, he was like a very cold and unfriendly person, treating newbies like strangers. They agree to go on a small adventure together. Koiwai then messages Sakurai that he has download and is playing an online game with Morioka. Sakurai gets worried as Koiwai sends him a picture of Molly. Sakurai finds it familiar like as though he has seen her somewhere before. He thinks back of the previous game he played whom he had a very close friend who looked like this. She wanted to quit her job since the company keeps getting new employees and she found it hard to put it in words to tell the HR manager. Harumi then announces his friend will also be joining them. Immediately Morioka wonders if that will be Sakurai.

Episode 8
Sakurai narrates the previous online game he played. Playing as a character named Harth, he met this girl Yuki. They quickly become friends and enjoy the limited time they have adventuring since Yuki was often busy with her job and can only play on weekends. She told him about her job and her intention to quit. She often sounded positive. But the last time he saw her (in the game) was after she quit her job. Now Sakurai creates a new character also under the name of Harth. Meeting up with the rest, it seems he gets disappointed when Molly didn’t show the reaction he wanted. Did he really think Molly was Yuki? Actually, Molly’s reaction was because she doesn’t know how to pronounce his name. So after finding out, we see that shock reaction on Morioka’s face. We see the story from her side and indeed Morioka is Yuki. This brings back old memories of that game. Later when she calls him, she confirms as he admits he is Harth from that old game. They talk about the good memories they shared then. Morioka starts to feel bad for deceiving him because she was so different in the game than in real life. This prompts Sakurai to say he is the one being dishonest. He reveals he is Lily. No reply. Is the shock too much for her to handle? Turns out his handphone battery is dead. It always ends up like this… Later she texts him to meet up and from the way she said things, she definitely didn’t hear that confession. Morioka talks about the 2 kind people to her: Sakurai and Lily. She thinks Sakurai reminds her a lot about the latter because when she talks to him, Lily comes to mind. She hopes the next time they log in, she can introduce him to her. He declines and she thinks it is because he is busy and this is way too sudden. She didn’t see this coming as he admits he is Lily.

Episode 9
Morioka’s first reaction to that is of course disbelief before exploding into confusion. Then she asks how long he has known her as Hayashi. He wasn’t sure at first but the more he talked to her online, the more certain he was. Sakurai says he will quit playing the game from now on as it will only further damage their relationship. Quickly Morioka apologizes too. He has helped her a lot and it was also her fault for hiding her gender online. Thankfully they didn’t take all night to apologize to each other… After he sends her home, she hopes they can still be good online friends. However this causes Morioka to not be able to focus in her game. Her party almost lost and it is obvious that Hayashi has been dragging the party down. Kanbe hints he can talk to him about anything and even if Hayashi declines, he can probably tell the problem has something to do with Lily. Sakurai too is depressed. Koiwai teases him like hell until Sakurai mentions he got rejected. Hence Koiwai has Sakurai meet up with him at the park at the certain time. To his shock he sees Morioka there! You know Koiwai has set them up together and the amateurs took the bait. It gets awkward as they just sit there. Like déjà vu and even more awkward because the ice breaker again is Morioka’s growling stomach. So they head to the convenience store to buy some food. Morioka is glad Fujimoto isn’t here yet. However the old lady store manager, Yashiro recognizes them as frequent patrons. When she wonders if they are dating, they quickly bolt out in embarrassment. Fujimoto shortly comes in for his shift as Yashiro tries to cheekily hint that Sakurai is with Morioka. It confuses him since in that case it couldn’t be Hayashi behaving strangely because of Lily. But we all know it is… Morioka feels ‘ugly’. She regrets she should have dressed up more. Oh dear. Now the tears are coming. Cue cliché for it to rain. Without thinking, Sakurai brings her to his apartment so she could take a shower. Too late to realize what the heck they’re doing.

Episode 10
I dub this the awkward-cum-apologizing episode. We start off with Sakurai wondering what to do but thinking can only get him so far. Morioka then requests to use the dryer herself because she doesn’t want him to see what kind of underwear she is wearing. Though she borrows his clothes to wear, it is a bit loose and hence Sakurai can’t help feel awkward staring at her and give his thanks for that loose size. Yeah… More awkwardness as she ponders if she should sit on the floor before noticing his PC. He has her take a look at it and for the first time she gets to see from Lily’s perspective. Of course more awkwardness because he has to be this close to her as he guides her around with his character. The awkwardness continues as they make dinner, eat it and cleaning up. When Sakurai is grateful how the online game allows them to meet, she starts crying. I am sure those are tears of joy. Just when the mood is good (after taking soooooo long) and we are expecting them to confess, the stupid dryer beeps! Too cliché! She goes home and he changes her mind he wants to walk her home. At least they both manage to eke out that they want to know each other more in real life. Here’s a beautiful rainbow as distraction. As they continue to play online, Hayashi and Lily have this very good vibe between them. Kanbe/Fujimoto is confused. They then get to see the great view of the moon. Online and in reality. Eventually one evening, Sakurai and Morioka meet up to date. Somehow Koiwai knows about it and teases them (though they obviously won’t admit their outing is looking very much like a date). Morioka hopes she would try to do stuffs that would not embarrass herself or him. She almost slipped on her high heels but luckily he catches her hand. It got super awkward and embarrassing at first but after getting used to it, see, they’re like a real couple now.

Episode 11 (Special)
Morioka’s motherboard crashed so she calls Sakurai to go shop for a new PC for her. Without skipping a beat he agrees and sets a time to meet. This makes her realize her place is in a mess. Time to go into overdrive and clean up. Will you stop overthinking about the bathroom and bed?! Once everything is done and they’ve done their shopping, Sakurai helps bring the PC to her place. While he is setting up, somehow she is spacing out and overspills the tea. This causes Sakurai to somehow trip over her. Something steamy going to happen but… Saved by the bell? Because weird ‘aliens’ at the door. After setting up the necessary, she logs in online to test. Sakurai has brought his laptop so he too could play the online game with her. It’s odd that they are still conversing online because they are so used to it despite being just inches away from each other. Because in the game they are in a hotspring, Sakurai accidentally invites her for one. This causes a lot of awkwardness and flustering. The day is ‘saved’ when he suggests that he will bring Koiwai along so it will not be so awkward. Oh, you don’t know how much worse and awkward it will be under this guy…

Morioka suddenly finds herself inside the online game. She receives a quest to save Princess Sakura (obviously Sakurai in drag – Princess Peach?!) from the evil demon king who is no other than Koiwai. Better save him quick because Koiwai has no qualms doing gay stuffs to him! Morioka is not levelled up and could have been defeated by a low level monster had not Hayashi and Lily come to her aid. They agree to join her quest but need to get some gear first. At a store owned by Kanbe, Fujimoto is oddly his staff. They have to play some lottery to win the gear in which the first prize is a bikini armour said to be able to defeat the demon king! Thankfully Morioka just won some ordinary armour. After defeating a few of the demon king’s lacklustre army, they face the demon king himself. Koiwai is disappointed Morioka isn’t in the bikini armour. He purposely rigged it so she could wear it and defeat him! Well, Fujimoto brought it just in case. Sakurai will not allow this so he breaks out from his chains and wears the bikini armour! Koiwai should have been more specific on who can wear it. With Koiwai defeated, there is now a new problem: Sakurai cannot take off the bikini armour! Then he wakes up from this nightmare. Phew. Lesson: It isn’t healthy to spend too much time playing online games!

Second Life, Second Chance
Even though it is all predictable and boring, you have got to agree with me that if you are looking for an anime series about love online and offline, this series is still way much better than Sword Art Online! Very true! At least this one in a way is more ‘believable’ with down to earth and modern day technology. Sword Art Online was just about the adventure and they try to boost the main characters by having some romance in between them (not even counting Kirito’s waiting harem, mind you) and that nearly virtual sex scene was the cringiest. I don’t think we could ever recover from that. Yeah, the chance of recovering as an MMO junkie seems more probable. Haha!

Honestly, the overall plot and pace of the story feels boring. This series is just one romance (waiting to happen) genre but using online games as its connection and theme. Right from the start when Morioka quit her job and decided to dedicate the rest of her idle life playing the online game, you would have this feeling that the friends she meets online would be someone we will be very familiar with. After all, it wouldn’t make sense if she had an online life that doesn’t connect to her real world life. At least not in the context of this anime’s story. True enough, the person she is close to playing with online is as close in the real world. Then it becomes the question of when they will know each other’s identity. Perhaps this was the only ‘exciting’ moment of the series because you will get to see their reactions and all. Otherwise, the story is pretty much bland.

If you have been following my blog for many years, you would probably guess what I am going to say because it is only a matter of time. And that time is now. Because despite this series being just normal and boring, the one and only factor that made me happy and look forward to watching it every week is, wait for it, THE ONE AND ONLY MAMIKO NOTO!!!!!!!!! YAHOO!!!!!! VIVA NOTO-SAMA!!!! How long has it been since I heard her in a leading role? Even the recent fourth season of Jigoku Shoujo as the titular character is pretty much taciturn. So with this series having Mamiko Noto in the lead and more lines than supporting roles in other anime series, it was like my ears were having orgasms listening to her voice. Don’t let the lines stop! It is fun to hear her in different moods and feelings of Morioka. From the monotonous internet junkie to when her character is flabbergasted and shocked (in a funny way). Though I won’t go so far as to say she is having a lot of fun in her character role (because that still goes to her character Liszt in ClassicaLoid), but nevertheless it is still very much fun to hear her breathing in some life to a ‘dead’ character.

As for the other voice casting members, I only recognize Takahiro Sakurai as Sakurai as well as Yuuichi Nakamura as Kanbe. For some reason, I thought it was Ami Koshimizu behind Lily’s voice but it turned out to be Reina Ueda instead (Mira in Dimension W). The other casts are Ryouta Suzuki as Hayashi (Teruaki in Ousama Game The Animation), Tomoaki Maeno as Homare (Junichi in Amagami SS), Takuma Terashima as Fujimoto (Stone River in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Yuka Aisaka as Lilac (Muse in Amagi Brilliant Park), Kazuhiro Sunseki is Pokotarou, Takanori Yagi as Himeralda and Taya Fujimori as Nico.

As for the characters, they aren’t anything impressive. They are just young adults playing online games. It might be a growing trend because teenagers of the last decade playing games would have grown up into adults and still playing them assuming they have not left the gaming scene. The one thing that bugs me about Morioka’s lifestyle is how she could continue playing the online game like normal like as though she does not run into any financial obstacles. Although she quit her job and in her 30’s, it is not like she was working in a job where you’ll be a millionaire by then. Does she have tons of savings? Does she inherit some wealth from her parents? Not too sure. But looking at how she lives her NEET life comfortably is pretty much mind boggling. Not sure about the internet subscription in Japan if it would really kill the wallets of those who spend a lot of time online especially playing games. Heck, Morioka even has the extra cash to buy online transactions. Maybe she doesn’t use much electricity other than her PC and she eats mostly cheap junk from the convenience store. So I can see why she isn’t facing so much financial trouble because she would have been trying to look for another job or maybe settle down as someone’s wife… Just saying…

The romance between Sakurai and Morioka was just waiting to happen and explode. But we all know it will happen anyway. Because why not? The online game could be a blessing in disguise for them since it allowed them to meet and of course fall in love with each other. Of course they like each other ever since the first time they bump into each other. Their sluggish depressed behaviour whenever not behind the keyboard while thinking about the other person is so obvious. It could have been more straightforward had not this online anonymity thingy come between them. Or maybe not. It allowed them to slowly build up their relationship albeit mostly online and through their characters. So in a way, it does make things less awkward when they meet in real life. But then again, it is still awkward for them nevertheless. Not too sure that if they will be spending more them in real life or online. Won’t be too surprised if it is the latter since that is where their relationship started and was built upon. Like they say, the couple that plays together, stays together. Hopefully their relationship will bloom and not break down later just because they spend too much time online together (ironically) and back to square one.

Their romance mainly happens thanks to busybody and interfering people like Koiwai. A big chance that it would never have happened had not this guy made the push. He is the kind of friend who is the annoying type and loves teasing you just because he is more hyperactive than you. Everything he does might seem irritating but he does it for the greater good of his friend-cum-colleague. After all, it isn’t that Koiwai can read minds or an expert in relationship, it just that Sakurai is such an easy person to read and from his body reactions to his words. A person like Koiwai can literally tell what is going just at one glance. Koiwai should be his best man at his wedding. If they ever go that far. I’m assuming they would.

I swore I guessed Fujimoto as Kanbe correctly because again in the context of this show, why bother introducing a character or at least make him have this ‘important’ impression when he isn’t going to be in the story in the first place? Unless it is for red herring but this series isn’t of that kind. Even though the internet is such a wide place, the irony is that many of the people you play with are closer to you than you think. And I’m not talking about inviting your friends to play as a group. When you randomly join a group and hook up with certain members, sometimes it is surprising that person could turn out to be someone you know and close to home. Therefore the irony of the endless internet but still a small world after all. But then again, the online game they are playing is on a local server. I thought they would reveal the real personas other characters in their party too like Lilac, Nico and Pokotarou but I guess they aren’t that important. Even if they do, it serves no purpose and a distraction to the main characters.

Animation and artwork looks decent. The characters look a bit simple but not surprising the avatar characters look better than their real life persona because to show their online adventure is much more colourful and exciting than their usual mundane life. Contrary to all the memes and the touch up of Photoshop pictures online of gamers, Morioka doesn’t typically look like one of those sexy female gamers you see all over the internet. Her appearance isn’t too shabby but anybody would have looked like her state if they did not intend to go out and meet others and spend the rest of their lives facing the internet. Proof that the power of makeup can actually do some good in making one more presentable and decent.

The pop rock opening theme is Saturday Night Question by Megumi Nakajima while the rock ending theme is Hikari, Hikari by Yuka Aisaka. Interestingly, the ending credits animation is mostly watching Morioka stare through her monitor. In other words, through the ‘eyes’ of the monitor. It is like telling us this is how we look like when we engage the PC. In the sense that we stare in wonder, amazement, surprise, astonishment, shock and everything else that probably our monitors might be one of those view objects who have ‘seen’ us making a variety of faces. Including the zombie face. Yeah, I can imagine it as I am typing this blog myself! Oh, why am I now so conscious about my monitor looking at me?! Sadly, it’s the only thing that you will often face if you’re an otaku loner. :’(.

Overall, I find this series slow and boring and my only reprieve is the one and only Mamiko Noto. Even though she too cannot save this series from its dull pace, at least I still enjoyed listening to her voice. Yeah, that heavenly angelic voice… The slow and budding romance feels pretty normal and only relevant to a few who have found love in this manner. I mean, it is better than going on Tinder only to find perverts and sexual predators, right? At least while playing online, the act of falling in love with each other in reality feels like an added bonus and reward. Hmm… Is this series saying that the recovery for an MMO junkie and the recommendation of the wonderful virtual life is to fall in love in real life? I guess kicking the online addiction and getting on with the real life would be the greatest achievement and victory ever. Level: Real, unlocked! Welcome back to the real world.

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