Everyone thinks gamers are nerds and have no life. Even more so they just stare in front of their screen doing nothing but grind the games they play all day. Hardcore. Even if that is true that they have no progress in real life, some have at least the success that can be said equalled to that in real life. You know, like being married. Virtually. I’m not really familiar if there are any the legal implications about marrying online or if it is just for fun whatsoever but there are such cases in real life. At least your virtual life is a success. So for our main protagonist in Netoge No Yome Wa Onnanoko Ja Nai To Omotta he swore off marriage after he found out the girl character he wants to marry was a man. Enough to give any straight guy the chills and trauma. But then a real girl both in reality and in the game bugs to marry him. Online of course. While it might seem like a dream come true, it soon dawned that this girl can’t tell the difference between reality and game. She treats real life like the game. I know every hardcore gamer boy would love such girls to be their wife in real life but if you’re just a normal and average person, wouldn’t that creep you out? Well, at least who says there aren’t any hardcore gamer girls around?

Episode 1
In the online RPG of Legendary Age (LA), Ako proposes to Rusian to get married. He rejects her, believing he will never fall in love again. However she continues to bug him until he gives in. Both are part of the guild, Alley Cats that also consist of guild master Apricot and Schwein. In school, Hideki “Rusian” Nishimura brags to his friends he has got an online wife. Fellow classmate, Akane Segawa hates otaku types like him. Since Hideki has no social life, whenever he goes home he always logs on to play LA. But he often gets owned by trolls since Ako always wrongly heals the enemy. Alley Cats meet up in a bar to talk. While talking about Rusian and Ako being a virtual married couple, when Schwein mentions he was confessed to in real life this causes Ako to go crazy. It’s like she could snap any time and kill him! What is the deal with her hating normal people? As Ako brags about being married to Rusian, she accidentally reveals Rusian once tried to get married online. The rest want to hear the details. Rusian proposed to Nekohime whom he thought was the ideal female character for him. Turns out behind that cute cat girl avatar is actually an old man!!! Rusian got so frustrated that he banged all the keys off the keyboard! He left the guild and went on being solo for a year. In which he arrived at the conclusion that it doesn’t matter who you are in real life as long as you are cute since it was the cuteness in the game he enjoyed. Ako reveals she is a real nerdy girl in real life but Rusian doesn’t believe. This has Apricot he is also a girl in real life. You don’t believe, right? Especially Apricot is a premium player who can purchase in-game items with real world cash! Apricot laments nobody believes the truth so he suggests their first offline meeting.

As Hideki waits, he is nervous when a girl believed to be Ako calls out to him. She is indeed a real girl and a real cutie! Ako immediately hugs his arm once she confirms he is Rusian. They are surprised to see Akane here. You mean she is part of Alley Cats? Which one. The student council president of Maegaaski High School, Kyou Goshouin pops up. She is Apricot. This means Akane is Schwein. In the cafe, they take turn introducing themselves. Kyou is confident as always. When Akane feels a bit shy introducing herself in her online name, Kyou thinks it is because Schwein could mean pig in German. Of course Akane never really knew its meaning and is now more embarrassed than before. Hideki admits he has no special talent and online games are his only interest. The rest finds out Ako is also her real name, Ako Tamaki and she is from the same school as them. They feel bad when she claims she has no friends so they assure they will always be her friends. When Hideki brings up about Schwein getting confessed to in real life, this triggers Ako and Kyou’s crazy mode. Akane explains she turned the guy down simply because she wouldn’t have time to play online games if she went out dating. Ako suggests killing 2 birds with a stone by marrying online. She can play the game and still be with her loved one. Akane passes on that idea.

Episode 2
Kyou explains she is from a rich family. The rest thought she used her parents’ money to buy stuffs. Initially yes but soon she was able to make her own money and even repaid her debts. So this even triggers Ako’s madness? Although he parents are strict, they allowed her to play online games. At the end of the day, Hideki apologizes to all of them as he thought they were all men. He always thought games and reality were separate but enjoys this offline meeting too. Ako almost got the wrong idea that when Hideki thought she was a man and didn’t mind it when he married her online, was he gay? Like Hideki said, it all doesn’t matter online because online and reality are separate. Ako loves him even more. After another online raid, Schwein warns Rusian not to act friendly with each other in school or she’ll kick his ass. But knowing each other already, it becomes harder and awkward even as they interact in class. Ako, who is totally clueless on net etiquette, comes into class and starts calling out to Rusian. Hideki pretends not to know her and it gets even worse when she ambiguously put her words about their romantic meeting, revealing to the class about him being her husband. Akane tries to hint to Ako to go out and talk but she is so dense that she continues calling her by her online name. Outside as they tell her to keep the gaming world and reality, Ako starts to feel sad and think they don’t want to be friends anymore. She is confused after spending hours together and Rusian even confessed he loves her, does that all mean anything? They decide to play along for now. They agree to continue to be friends as long as they call each other by their real names in real life. But with Ako still doing the same thing, they realize the bigger problem that Ako cannot differentiate between game and reality.

They take their problem to Kyou who finds it really interesting. Ako explains she once played with others before but they all left her. Except for Rusian who was always by her side despite her constant failure. That’s why she loves him. This has Akane accusing Hideki to be an online predator. He makes up his mind that he is going to change Ako’s mentality. But how is he going to do that? Don’t worry, Kyou has it all covered. She brings them to the Modern Electronic Communication Club. Basically it is their own net game club where they can play LA for all they want. Akane doesn’t really want to join as she sees online game as just a regular hobby. But Kyou reminds her about her statement of not wanting to date as it would diminish her game play time. She tempts her that she can add 2 extra hours of game play as well as offering high specs PC specifically tailored to play online games. Give it up. Just join the club. Of course Kyou also established this club to help with Ako’s cause as this would be the best circumstances to show her the difference between game and reality though Ako doesn’t think it will change anything. Hideki makes a challenge that he will be shattering her dream-like illusions into pieces so she will also prove her love runs deeper than that. One day when Rusian logs on first and the rest haven’t arrive, he bumps into Nekohime. Long time no see.

Episode 3
They chat for a while but nothing of importance. Ako still treats Hideki like he husband in class. It’s even weirder when his classmates continue to stare at this WTF scene. His homeroom teacher, Yui Saitou talks to Hideki about Ako and wonders if they are dating. She believes this is good for her since Ako often skips school and doesn’t have friends. Now that Alley Cats can play together in a single room, we see some quirks like Ako being ill-equipped for a raid and the rest banning Kyou for using her premium items and got owned instead. Then when Akane takes a toilet break, the rest cheekily modify her avatar into a bear costume but her leek weapon is so damn powerful! Noticing that Ako’s personality has not changed and you might think, well they just started, duh. But Kyou mentions they have a time limit to do that. As they do not have an advisor, their club will be shut down soon. So Rusian goes to talk to Nekohime for advice. She tells him to believe in himself and this makes him feel better. When Hideki gives Ako the talk, she can instantly tell he has talked to someone and that someone is a woman! OMG! A wife’s intuition?! Scary. You can’t lie to her! She knows! Ako is mad but in a cute way. The next time Rusian seeks Nekohime’s advice, shortly after Ako pops up. She has spied on them. Spill the beans! But upon learning about Nekohime, she wants to teach this cat girl avatar a lesson for toying with her husband’s feelings.

Because of that she skips school and plays LA from another PC. She tells her members that she was trying to make arrangements to have an offline meeting with a man she hardly knows. Despite Rusian protests, Ako reminds him reality and games are separate, right? So he lets her do what he wants and believes the club’s goal has been achieved. Kyou and Akane find out about Ako’s meeting time and want Hideki to go stop her. He doesn’t care so Kyou reminds him despite Hideki and Rusian are different, the latter is inside him and so are his affections for Ako are inside there. They know he likes the real Ako. He admits so and it isn’t the game Ako he is worried right now but the real Ako. He makes his way to meet Ako and tells her right up that as her husband he doesn’t approve of her offline meetings with strange men. When Saitou pops up, Ako can tell she is Nekohime. But isn’t Nekohime a guy in real life? It seems Saitou didn’t want such trouble and often pass herself as a cross-player. Rusian falls into shock that he proposed to his teacher. He is confused now. Ako is mad at her for deceiving him and is going to kill her! With a wand?! But Saitou is fast enough and elbows down Ako. You lose. Eventually Saitou becomes their club’s advisor after Kyou pulled some strings. Her only condition is that they must come to school as much as possible. Ako wants Hideki to come visit her parents but he isn’t happy that she still can’t differentiate reality and game.

Episode 4
Rusian tells one of his adventures to Ako during his solo days after Nekohime’s rejection. He ended up in a guild that requires grinding and many of their members quit work and school just to level. Good thing Rusian passed this one up. Don’t want to be a zombie, eh? Ako might be getting worse since she forgot her wallet and thought she could pull out her inventory to sell stuffs. Doesn’t happen in real life! It even gets to Saitou as she speaks in her avatar’s accent. Or has she assimilated well with them? Kyou offers to lend money and try mystery boxes for rare items. Despite the 100 mystery boxes, Ako got not a single rare item. Whether in game or reality, a woman is still a woman and wreaks jealousy if she finds her husband talking to other women. Like in Hideki’s case as he is just casually talking to his classmate and Akane’s friend, Nanako Akiyama. When Ako later drops by the club and looking a little down, she explains her classmates have been picking on her. Actually they were just talking to her and asking if Hideki is her boyfriend since she often goes next door. Akane’s worst fears come true when Nanako enters the club and discovers what she is doing. She notices Akane has been sneaking around entering the club and decided to see for herself what the fuss was about. It doesn’t help with Kyou spilling most of the beans. Akane continues to cover up with the silliest lies and ushers Nanako out.

On a day when Rusian and Ako are just logged in, they feel bored waiting so they have an adventure of their own. It’s like a big date through various places. It just brings back memories of how Ako met Rusian although she exaggerates it with lots of coolness. But it’s not so beautiful a memory for him since after meeting Ako, it felt like she was a stalker popping up from nowhere and staring at him. I don’t think this is what you call love. Inside an inn, they see a couple facing each other on a bed. Ako gets this wildest idea to express their love. Get the hint? Luckily he is too embarrassed to even think about it. While passing the grave, they stumble into Nekohime. Suddenly a group of men defend her. They think Rusian has made her uncomfortable when he clearly did nothing. These guys are from the guild she was once in and now a devoted fan boy club of Elite Guards. Thinking this is some sort of orgy, the pair lets Nekohime be with the guys. Along the way, they see a female player, Sette being attacked by cute slime monsters. After Rusian saves her, he learns that she is a new player. As a fellow player he wants to help her, much to Ako’s dismay. After training and teaching her the basics, it might get sticky from here. Because Sette now takes over Ako’s job as Rusian’s serial arm hugger. No cause for alarm? Should we press the panic button yet?

Episode 5
When Schwein offers to train Sette, she dismisses her, sniggers at her name and prefers the kinder Rusian. For a change in pace, the club plays another game, Ultra Force which is an FPS. Ako is getting really good as a sniper! Next day, Nanako looks for Hideki and wonders why he wasn’t around yesterday. It didn’t take long for them to guess she is Sette. Nanako thought she could tease Ako by flirting with Hideki. However it backfires because Ako became heartbroken and runs away. So the gang discuss about it and thought leaving her alone till she cools down would be better. But she never turned up to school ever since. Hideki decides to go talk to Ako (in the virtual world obviously). It seems she is trying to reincarnate into a new character to restart her life again. She has decided to quit school and reality because LA is her life and reality. Before he could do anything, she disables the chat feature. Everyone knows Ako is just sulking and knows Nanako isn’t serious in snatching him away from her. Hideki has a plan to bring her back but he is going to do it his way. Akane talks to Hideki about Ako who is always a clumsy girl and have a hard time making friends. Akane feels she wants to hang out with them a little longer. And she meant playing the game, nothing else.

Hideki is outside Ako’s home. Her mom greets him and knows him since Ako told her a lot about her virtual husband. Hideki says he has skipped school too and is here to play with her. Ako is shocked to hear Hideki outside her door. Mom has given him the green light and the key to her room. There is a reason why she doesn’t want him to enter now. Because she is in her undies! So he gives her time to prepare and what do you know? She’s totally naked! Didn’t see this coming, did he? After order is restored, Ako thinks he is here to persuade her to go back to school. On the contrary, he is here to play with her and help her level up. By evening, their other friends log in so they virtually meet up to explain. They are worried about Hideki skipping class like that and if the board finds out, they’ll really come down on him. That is when Rusian decides to also quit school and play LA for life. Ako opposes. But then why can she do it and not him? He knows she is having trouble making friends and feeling uncomfortable at school. She doesn’t have fun outside the club and Nanako’s incident made her snap. He knows how she is feeling because he is her husband. Since she had fun today, why not they both drop out and just do this every day? He too thought having this game was enough. But thanks to everyone, they made him realize that reality is also fun. He suggests if she ever gets tired of real life, they can play the game. Play as much as she wants. Have as much fun as she wants. If she thinks she can tough it out some more, come back to school. They can’t play truant together so he will be waiting for her at school. This gives Ako hope that she can do it. She returns to class and her worried friends talk to her. Nanako explains Ako’s cool boyfriend coming to her aid. Her friends are impressed and this makes Ako happy.

Episode 6
Yet another sad story after Rusian got turned down by Nekohime. His friend Yuyun also experienced the same thing. But his case is that he is already married to that character but found out his significant other is also married to another. He dragged Rusian into this ‘pact’ to screw marriage forever. But shortly after, Yuyun divorced his partner and married another character. Ako assures him that she will never divorce him. Sette joins Alley Cats in a mission. At the end of it she becomes a summoner. With the exams around the corner, Kyou declares the club off limits until it is over. You would think everybody would do their part in preparing for the exams. But not Ako. Realizing she has nothing prepared, Hideki gets this idea to tutor her. Not only him but the rest of Alley Cats. It just feels weird Ako is doing real life studying online. It feels like interrogation… Can’t she just log out? After gruelling sessions, Ako thought of winding down via going on a mission but they tell her to rest properly. After everyone else logs out, Rusian needs advice from Kyou and Akane. He wants to confess to Ako in real life during summer break but doesn’t know how. I think they are not responding is because of shock rather than game lag. They think Rusian should just think about this himself as they have no experience and this is his wife after all. Besides, they are very sure Ako won’t reject him. On the last day before the summer break and final club meeting, Kyou puts forth a training camp for the club. This isn’t about playing LA but rather an outdoor camp to train physically. Hideki walks with Ako home. He decides to confess to her at the park. Kyou and Akane gave him notes to help him out on the confession but they sound vague and like fooling around. He sums up all his courage and finally confesses to her to be his girlfriend. She rejects him. Wait. WHAT???!!! Poor guy crying his heart out as Kyou and Akane are trying to figure what went wrong. What better way to find out fast by asking the source directly. Akane calls Ako directly and Hideki has to relive this nightmare and embarrassment. I wonder how many HPs he has lost. Perhaps still counting… Ako’s rejection is because being his girlfriend is like a demotion from her wife status. It would sound like getting divorced. Of course she wouldn’t want that. But still, Hideki is still the biggest loser…

Episode 7
The gang is here for the camp. This means no internet connection for 24 hours. Can Ako deal with it? Of course there is a reason for that. It isn’t about telling her the difference between game and reality. The reason Ako turned to her games was because real life didn’t go her way. If they can show her the right stuffs, she’ll look forward to reality. So they are here at Kyou’s expensive villa. I think the maids got the basics covered. So all that’s left for them is to have fun in the beach. Swimsuit fanservice. Suntan fanservice. On Hideki, that is! After everyone is done swimming in the sea, Saitou notices that none of them played together. They explain it like a game. When a new map pops up, groups will go solo and explore to increase experience. So the beach is pretty much a new ‘map’ for them. Saitou tells them off to no waste their youth and do things together. Beach volleyball, making sand castles and splitting the watermelon. Night time they have BBQ and a well timed firework display. The mood is perfect for Hideki to confess he loves Ako. She also does the same but notes how they are like a real life married couple. But later we see him crying as it didn’t go out as planned (the camp was also a proviso for this). Being married feels like a level too high than being just a dating couple. Is that a bad thing? The gang now moves to a high class hotel. This is where their true training begins because now they will have internet connection! Yahoo! Currently the hotel is holding a collaboration with LA so there are lots of LA promotional stuffs and events going on. Like the room keys have tokens, the menu sounds like in-game items, same for the souvenir shop and the virtual map layout in the game takes after the hotel. They also try logging on but Hideki thought there was a glitch when he entered his username and password the first time. He manages to log in the second time. When they retire to their individual rooms, Ako wants Hideki to come to her room. Virtually. But of course. She has been waiting for this moment a long time for them to be alone and wants to exchange some couple’s chat. But for a split second there, it seemed somebody else hijacks Rusian’s account and is pretending to be him.

Episode 8
When Hideki tries several attempts to log back in and was unsuccessful, he realizes he has been hacked. He runs to Ako’s room and he can clearly see she is in shock. He goes through the chat log to find the perpetrator trying to make out with her. At that point Ako became suspicious because he wasn’t acting like the Rusian she knew. She is sure he is not when he wants her to send a sexy picture of herself and claims all gamer girls are nerdy losers. Although Ako is not at fault, she feels bad for that moment she thought it was him. The others find out and they discuss the PC at the lobby was a fake page used to phish for his account. In the aftermath after Hideki logs back, his Rusian character has been completely erased. Many of his items are also taken. Though it feels vexing to buy it back as much as he can, many items are of personal importance. One of them being the wedding ring with Ako. Everyone helps out as they can to find the culprit. Like Nekohime mobilizes her Elite Guards. Hideki uses a temporary avatar to seek help from an old friend Black Magician. Shockingly, he didn’t count on him to help him out so fast. Because as a gamer community, they help fellow players in trouble. Rusian discovers his items being sold at a market by a dude named Rontan at a high price. Hideki is upset not about his items stolen but rather the culprit acted as him and stole Rusian from him. Kyou points out thanks to their deep relationship, Ako was able to take precautionary measures just after a few lines.

The administrators cannot pursue Rontan further as they discover his IP address is different. Of course the rest believe he might have been using different IP addresses to mask himself. Black Magician arrives with some bad news. He leads them to a site called LON’s Scam Blog whereby the blogger runs several scams in many games. There is proof he joked about hacking Rusian’s account too. When learning he operates for RMT (real money transactions), Hideki has a plan. For 3 straight days the gang has been working on their PC. Hideki is surprised to find Ako at his doorstep. He slams the door on her?! She is here to visit him and give him food. But he reminds her that they are no longer married virtually ever since Rusian was erased. You mean it’s like divorced?! So now they’re friends? Meanwhile the perpetrator stumbles upon another scam blog supposedly claiming to be greater than his. When he finds the RMT rate is not bad, he takes the bait. Rusian meets an avatar by the name of Shouko as they try to conduct RMT online (which is of course against LA’s policies). Rusian manages to hold him long enough for the game administrator, Nyack to arrest them. Shouko realizes he has been set up when Rusian spills everything. Even more shocking that he is the guy he conned a few days ago. Because that fake scam website was what Rusian and the girls try to create using seemingly authentic posts dating many years back just to catch him! Take that for making his wife cry! In the aftermath the culprit is arrested and banned. It is revealed he used different IPs to do anything dodgy. Rusian also has his original character restored. But there is one thing still left to do: Getting married again. Exchanging the ring in their virtual marriage, Rusian says this incident has left him shocked and doesn’t want to go through it again. That’s why he wants to be a little more closer to her in real life. Her answer? No!!! Rejected again?! Well, it’s because she already loves him so much now. Awww…

Episode 9
Kyou invites the girls to her mansion for a study session and pyjamas party. Ah, maids… Glorious maids! Ako is of course in dire straits since Hideki isn’t around. The rest thought Nanako would be enough for Ako to practice talking to other people outside their group but she views her as a final boss and screams for her husband to save her. While studying, Ako excuses herself to the toilet so Kyou has Nanako accompany her to avoid her from escaping. After doing her business, Ako wants to explore the mansion like a quest. The duo stumble upon a secret area with a treasure chest containing what is supposedly Kyou’s photo album. The head maid discovers them and now that they have known the secret, she is going to force them to join the Kyou admiring club! Wait. What? They run and hide from her but get lost. So Ako yells for help from outside the mansion. Kyou and Akane join and resume their study session outside but they realize Ako has not made any progress at all. I’m sure they have the idea of watching her do her homework but it is time to stop and do other things. Like dinner followed by bath. And yes, why must the one with the smallest boobs be jealous of her counterparts who are more blessed? You know who you are. As they talk about Ako’s likes on Rusian, this is when Ako gets an idea to call him and do a live broadcast just to find out his preferences. It turns into a WTF chase trying to steal Ako’s handphone. Nanako ‘betrays’ Ako when the latter throws her handphone to her only to off it. Luckily Hideki wasn’t answering or it could have been the biggest scandalous disaster since last episode. The quartet sleep together. Don’t worry, the bed is more than big enough to fit all of them. When Ako keeps on talking about marriage and hypothetically suggesting the rest to do so, they start realizing she is more than they can handle. It’s like she’s brainwashing them. How the heck does Rusian deal with her? They really need him to save them this time! So everyone logs into LA using Kyou’s account as they plead to Rusian for help. He is confused why all of them are sharing the same avatar. So this is his first appearance for this episode?!

Episode 10
Rusian tells Ako one of his old stories. In his ex-guild, there was a healer named Isana and he knew she herself wasn’t strong enough to heal everyone for this raid they are going. True enough, she couldn’t and the entire party was wiped out. Before they take on another raid, Rusian spoke out to the others to remind everyone to mind themselves and not be a burden as they have only one healer. She personally thanked him later. What Rusian wanted to say was some people have trouble asking for help when they need it. When they feel overburdened, it takes some compassion to realize that and help them out. But all Ako understands is that he was bragging about his ex-girlfriend! Rusian hopes they can act like normal when school resumes but she thinks he is joking. As the cultural festival is around the corner, Saitou is appalled that they aren’t too enthusiastic about it. Kyou suggests showing off their game play results. LA recently released a new content called siege warfare. It is a large scale PvP battle held once per week on Sundays. Winners will become castle lords for the week and she plans to put their school’s emblem on it. So to start PvP training, Ako takes on Rusian but the duo don’t feel like hitting each other. When they end their ‘fight’, they are so lovey-dovey that it pisses off Akane as she jumps in to deal with them but got owned by their awesome combo. The power of love? Kyou then fights Akane. Lost. Then against Rusian. Instant lose. Heck, how the heck can she lose to Ako too? Is she the weakest link?!

So Kyou thinks her character isn’t suited for PvP but they don’t have time to create a new suitable character and there are not many siege battles before their cultural festival. So they just decide to raid a castle first. They thought of watching the invading team doing it but they got wiped out in 10 seconds from all weapons and magic thrown at them! Even worse, Kyou orders her party to charge in and they too meet the same fate. Not even her premium items can work since it is not allowed in siege battles. All that money for nothing, eh? And then Nekohime’s Elite Guards easily raid and bring down the occupiers. But that lasted for a while before another bigger team cleaned them out. Back to the physical preparations for the festival, Ako is in a pinch. Her class was supposed to do food exhibition but it turned into a maid cafe since they want to make money. Worse, they thought Ako knew what it takes to be a maid and made her the head maid. I guess she doesn’t want all that responsibility of scheduling and coming up with serving manuals. For Alley Cats’ next siege battle, they are going to raid a smaller castle that is occupied by a small guild, Emperor Sword who has only 20 players. Even if Kyou has got Nanako and Saitou on their side (teacher wished they’d show as much enthusiasm for the festival as they put in the game), she used her money to hire top class mercenaries, Wallenstein to help them. Let’s hope her money is put into good investment.

Episode 11
Kyou meets with Wallenstein’s leader, Bats as they shake hands to form an alliance. Because of their massive experience and maxed out equipment, it does seem logic for them to be giving orders but don’t they sound like jerks? As the raid begins, Bats sends out non-combative players as decoy to thin out the enemy’s frontlines. It is a tactic Alley Cats doesn’t like but that’s what the boss ordered. When it is time for Wallenstein to move in, they swoop in on the enemy so fast like as though they read through their every movement. It’s like Alley Cats don’t even need to do anything. Before they know it, all enemies are down and the castle is theirs. Alley Cats feel unsatisfied with the victory since it doesn’t feel fun. Just then, Wallenstein dissolves their alliance and kills them off one by one to take over the castle! Kyou wonders why they betrayed them. Because it is more fun to do so here. Surprisingly, Alley Cats didn’t get mad. They’re like cool with it and get going. Of course in reality they didn’t like what happened but that’s the game for you. Later Ako talks to Hideki about her regret for being useless despite it wasn’t her fault. She felt she couldn’t do anything. But Hideki believes she has levelled up because instead of running away, she faced it head on. He hopes they can strive to win next time since next week is their final chance. When Hideki enters the clubroom, he sees the girls dressed in a maid outfit! OH YES!!!!!!!!!! They borrowed it from Kyou’s maids and made a few alterations. However Hideki knows Ako hasn’t prepared anything else and true enough she hasn’t. Panic time? So Hideki has to go with Ako to plead help from her fellow classmates to help out. Instantly they take action for everyone to pitch in whatever they can. This gives him an idea. He seeks an alliance with Elite Guards and they agree to ally with him seeing they humiliate Nekohime and want revenge. Then he goes to request for Black Magician’s alliance too. However he has no men to spare since they have a hard time against another tough guild. But Rusian doesn’t require their presence. Only their guild’s name to act as deterrent from any Tom, Dick and Harry to attack them. Black Magician agrees seeing this would be fun. Kyou has trust issues from the last time but decides to believe in it. Everyone then goes all out in practising.

Episode 12
Alley Cats’ plan is to invade the castle and hold it is long as they can. However Hideki mentions they will have no problem invading it. He went to personally ‘warn’ Bats about it and he assured him they won’t defend it as Wallenstein prefers conquering others who are desperately trying to defend. This means there will be other guilds who will tussle to control the castle. True enough, Emperor Sword beats them to retake the castle first. Alley Cats and Elite Guards charge forth with an all-out attack that includes Nanako summoning and using her giant golem and everyone saying contradicting stuffs about Black Magician’s guild coming to lower Emperor Sword’s defence so that Akane can chop them from behind. Alley Cats take over the castle but the hard part of defending it till the end of the time limit comes. A few minutes later, Emperor Sword returns to try and take the castle back. As everyone tries to push them back, Kyou uses her power enough to rain a meteor to wipe them all out! With 10 minutes remaining, the biggest threat as arrived: Wallenstein. They’re back. In no time they bulldozed past the first line of defence. Akane is in charge of the next line of defence. Everyone in her team is owned and Akane would have too if not for the fact she drank lots and lots of elixir to increase her health. Despite her final efforts, she manages to take out only a member before bowing out. Hey, it’s better than nothing.

Outside the final room, Rusian is the final defence. Nanako casually walks up to them and talk but this surprises them as they use up their special skills on them. As there is a cooling period, that is where the other Elite Guards rush out from their hiding and try to hit them with all they’ve got. A slick sacrifice move from Nanako. Another 2 down. Bats’ comrade keeps Hideki busy as he heads into the final room where Kyou is waiting. As much as Bats is trying to slash her down, Kyou keeps spamming some healing barrier. With time running out, Bats calls his comrade for help. This is when Ako sacrifices herself to take their blow. She is surprised that everyone is pleased with her sacrifice instead of being mad at her stupid decision. The timer reaches zero and thus this castle righteously belongs to Alley Cats. Bats wants to know what Kyou used and she explains some healing elixir bottles she has 500 of them before the fight. She only had a handful during the fight so their victory was a really on thin ice. But how did she come up with money to buy all of them? She sold her useless items and premium items. That sounded like RMT but something about the game policy allows it. Something about she used just one coin. It was the second most beneficial use of money in her life. Bats laughs at her craziness and his guild accepts defeat. So what was the first beneficial use of her money? Spending to get PCs in the clubroom. Alley Cats’ victory is displayed during the festival. Although it didn’t draw a big crowd but at least they achieved something. Ako almost run away from her real life duties but Hideki tells her to do it properly. She then greets him like a wife. Well, she isn’t maid material but his wife after all. At the end of the day, Hideki would love to reward Ako anything she wants. As long as it is from the game. She seems to be ready to kiss him when the rest come in to relay the good news of a new content for LA. Did they interrupt something? Hideki tries to explain himself but Ako doesn’t see the difference. Game and reality are the same, right? Back to square one.

The Couple That Plays Together, Stays Together
Since I am not quite familiar with online RPG, the final episode was a bit confusing to me as I was trying to figure out the tactics and strategy they played. It wasn’t explained very well and in the case if it was, then probably it was my lack of understand of how an RPG game works that hindered my comprehension of the final battle. Because as far as I understand, Kyou and Akane were like ‘cheating’ when they spammed and over-maxed out their health bar or something. Yeah, why didn’t the rest do it? Money. Lots of ‘em. Sure. But shouldn’t Wallenstein be doing it too? Too cocky and confident nobody can best them? Maybe. So with Alley Cats being victorious in the end and getting their due revenge, everything else doesn’t seem to matter of what happens next. The story and the characters, it feels like they are all nearly forgettable by the time the final episode runs its course.

The story feels a bit lost along the way because from the way I see it, they aren’t making any progress in making Ako differentiate from the world of gaming and reality. It feels like it is an excuse for them the hang out together playing LA, grinding and doing quests as a party. Because seriously, the fastest way to make a person who is hooked on online games to realize how dependent she is, is to take away the internet, right? Yeah, the internet. It has become a basic necessity these days surpassing physiological needs of food, air and water. But cutting off the internet these days no matter what the cause is akin to human rights abuse so I am pretty sure Hideki and co wouldn’t want to cause Ako anymore unnecessary trauma. This drastic method may just backfire and she becomes more reliant on online games ever more.

Eventually the entire series is basically about this group of loners and losers of a certain high school whose only connection that is maintaining their friendship is a particular online RPG. When you have small stories like a training camp, the hacking incident, a sleepover and the siege battle, it only further solidifies the fact that it is just a bunch of online game nerds doing things together. And what the heck was the cultural festival for? It just felt like trolling and unnecessary. It could have been done without but it was there just to show us that our LA players have more to life than just logging on and going on quests and a reason why they are participating in the siege battle as the final story arc for the series.

The character development centres mainly around Hideki/Rusian and Ako. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with that but sometimes I feel that it makes the other supporting characters feel a bit redundant. Like as though they don’t get enough screen time to make an impact and become a group of characters that you would want to support and root for. Even worse are minor extra characters who don’t really matter say for example Hideki’s male friends-cum-classmates. It’s like they are just there so that Hideki’s loser otaku status can be enhanced and also at the same time in a way to show that Hideki is more successful than these unimportant people because hey, at least he got a (virtual) wife. What about Ako’s friends-cum-classmates? I don’t know. They’re not that bad but they aren’t memorable too. So what they’re normal friends in real life assuming Ako considers them to be so? It doesn’t mean anything. Too bad this means Kyou’s maids are predominantly wasted seeing from what I heard they aren’t her real maids but paid to put up this gig. What a shame because I would really love to see more of them. As though the maids are just a precursor for Ako and co to borrow their maid outfit for a cultural festival that don’t even matter. And a lousy reason for me not to rate this anime lower as it would have ;p. Because. Maids :-).

That is why I am unsure if there are any harem elements in this romance comedy series. Because I keep wondering if the rest of the other girls really have secret feelings for Hideki. My guts tell me that they should because otherwise why would they stick around so close with him and even still continuing to play online games together despite knowing he has a near yandere-level wife. Okay, maybe Ako is the reason they don’t want to get close because the important thing is to spend time together enjoying the game as a team. So we’ve observe Akane is acting like a tsundere because in reality she acts like she hates his guts but online they’re quite on friendly terms. And then Kyou is like the big sister of the group and there wasn’t any indication that she would have feelings for him until somewhere near the end of the series whereby he called her by her first name only for her to blush like a level we’ve never seen before. So make a good guess what that kind of reaction means. Then there is Saitou as the older woman trope and I’m not sure if Hideki still harbours any hidden/misguided crush on her. Because it was her avatar he fell in love with. But you know, you can’t really tell. Finally Nanako. New girl in (virtual) town? Well, she loves teasing and pretending to flirt with guys until she realizes her prank has gone too far. As long as Ako keeps her guard up 24/7, I’m sure everyone else won’t make any moves. Sure, they’re both married virtually. But don’t you think virtually cheating is also possible?

So back to Hideki and Rusian duo, they aren’t the strangest couple in anime I have ever seen. Well, if you could consider Haruhi x Kyon as strange then Araragi x Senjougahara is certainly at a psychotic level in that sense. Hideki is by no means a knight in shining armour at least in reality and is only one in the eyes of Ako. He is generic, weak but also a nice and kind chap and typically what many main characters in other similar genres are. Just that he has got an online wife. Better than not having a girlfriend, right? So while his goal might be to ‘cure’ Ako from her online reliance, but I feel it is to get her into entering a normal dating relationship with him in reality. Something which is going to be hard to do seeing Ako has placed being his wife a much higher status than being his girlfriend. Nobody wants a downgrade, right? And I suppose they can’t marry yet in real life as they haven’t reached the legal age yet.

I just feel it is a bit strange for clumsy Ako and wonder if she entirely cannot see the difference between game and reality. Or perhaps she might be turning a blind eye, selective thinking and in denial for aspects she doesn’t want to accept. Because if she logs in and out of LA, then in her case wouldn’t it be like playing a game inside a game? At times she does come to school, take exams and ‘interact’ with other of her friends so is this all part of the game to her? Yeah, I can see why it is no fun. The fact that she keeps calling Hideki as Rusian in reality and believes they are really married feels like she cannot let go these habit or else she would lose her identity. Imagine Ako who is completely normal. Not interesting, right? Also the fact that she goes crazy thinking what normal people would do further adds to that. She doesn’t want to be normal (even if it means annoying her jealous heart) because she would lose her identity and the possibility of the perfect image when she first met Rusian. That all has been crystallized into what she has turned out today.

While we have heart-warming romantic moments between Hideki/Rusian and Ako, it isn’t something you would expect of a level from series like Kimi Ni Todoke and Sukitte Ii Na Yo. Okay, so these 2 have nothing to do with cyber romance at all but you get the point. We just hope that their online love and matrimony would continue to stay and grow in the real world as well. Because there is literally no save button and you can’t undo and go back to an earlier save point when something goes horribly wrong on that route.

As for the rest of the other characters, like I’ve said they didn’t get much screen time to make an impact and in a few cases I thought they are a bit forced like how Kyou loses in every PvP practice match with her fellow members. I mean suddenly it feels like she is thrust into the limelight just like that albeit for a short while. Other than that, I can only say that Kyou and Akane are like poles apart. Filthy rich girl with a busty rack and a cool assertive attitude not to mention holding the school’s highest position for a student level compared to a poor girl with a flat chest who is prone to flustering and is just a normal student. Big difference, right?

Saitou just like many other characters in real life and in the anime, they lead a double life. The online portion of who they are very much differs as they act in reality. So who is the real (insert character name here), please stand up? In real life Saitou is a strict but caring teacher but a childish one when she is in her avatar. I wonder how many hours she has logged in to play LA considering she is already reached this legendary idol status among some of the players. Maybe she could just quit her day job and live life as Nekohime online forever. I’m sure there are many fans who would love to give in to her whims and fancies. Although it is not shown if Saitou is logging as much hours as her students, we see she is almost becoming like Ako in the sense she sometimes mixes up her separation game and reality. Sometimes she accidentally speaks in her cat meow and addresses Hideki as Rusian (like the other girls sometimes too). And Nanako. Why do we need her in this anime? Perhaps for extra manpower if Alley Cats ever needed any (why doesn’t she join them anyway?) and somebody to be there to make it look like Akane and Ako aren’t total losers because it isn’t all that bad when you have a friend who doesn’t judge you for being an otaku gamer and doesn’t disclose it to others.

I am not sure why I thought the production studio who made this series was the one who also made Love Live but as I found out they aren’t. Is it because Akane looks like one of the Muse girls in Love Live? Niko, maybe? Come to take a closer look, I guess not. But really, that was what I was thinking for most parts of watching this series. This anime was produced by Project No.9 and is the only one of the two series (the other being Saikin Imouto No Yousu ga Chotto Okashiinda Ga) to be produced solely by themselves. They usually paired up with Barnum Studio to make a few other series like Ro-Kyu-Bu, Shoujo-tachi Wa Kouya Wo Mezasu and Zettai Junpaku Mahou Shoujo. Only Momo Kyun Sword is co-animated with Tri-Slash. Say, that is about all they’ve animated so far.

One thing that slightly bugged me throughout the series is the characters’ lips. At first glance they look like normal but upon close up, uhm, how should I put it? It is like they put lip balm to make the lips looking sweet enough and having this impression you want to kiss it. Holy cow! I hope I explained that right. But seriously, those lips look a bit glossy and the kind where anime guys look at them closely and go, “OMG, I never knew this girl was this sweet and those luscious lips are just tantalizing”. Uhm, something like that. And there’s something a bit strange about their eyes too but I just can’t really explain this one well. On a slightly positive note, at least the mid-intermissions are good to look at because they are real snapshots of buildings and sceneries. They might seem ordinary but for an anime with an online game theme, looking at the fantasy world can be tiring from time to time. Sometimes you need to take a break and look outside at the real world.

I don’t know why I keep thinking that Rina Satou was the voice behind Saitou/Nekohime when there were many times I knew it wasn’t her. Maybe at some other times she sounded close but I was still pretty sure it wasn’t her. Instead, she is voiced by Yoshino Nanjou (Eri in Love Live). Koji Yusa as Black Magician and Sho Hayami as Nyack are the only seiyuus I recognized. The rest of the casts include Toshiyuki Tonaga as Hideki/Rusian (Mikado in Durarara series), Rina Hidaka as Ako (Yuniko in Accel World), Inori Minase as Akane (Hestia in Dungeon Ni Deai Wo Motomeru No Wa Machigatteiru No Darou Ka), Mao as Kyou (Claire in Hundred), Hitomi Oowada as Nanako (Midori in Shirobako) and Toshiki Masuda as Bats (Miyamura in Yama0kun And The Seven Witches). The opening theme is 1st Love Storey by Luce Twinkle Wink. It sounds like a generic anime pop sung by idol groups fit for romantic comedy series. Well it does. As for the ending theme, Zero Ichi Kiseki by Yoshino Nanjou feels a bit like anime pop rock but nothing too special.

By now we should all be wary and cautious of the pitfalls of not only online gaming but any sort of online activities and transactions. I’m not saying this anime does a good job in doing some sort of PSA but with the small hacking and phishing incident that they encounter, it serves as a good reminder that the internet isn’t all that good. Yes, it is good for the greater part but it is not perfect and should be exercised with extreme caution. You know what they say about better to be safe than sorry. Even in the gaming community there are good and bad people, the ones who play by the rules and those who cheat outright. Then there are those sneaky ones operating within the grey area and what might seem as unethical and dishonourable, the loophole in the rules allows for it. So it is a good thing that Alley Cats didn’t blow their sh*t out when they got betrayed by Wallenstein. After all, they can only blame themselves for being weak and relying on a much stronger group who is possibly bored with being so strong that they had to resort to betraying others for thrills. And thankfully karma doesn’t discriminate being online or reality.

Thanks to the anonymity of the web, even sometimes people you interact with can turn out to be very different from what you think. There are lots of deception behind a pretty profile picture and cute avatar. All that glitter is not gold. There is more than meets the eye. So while my guts were correct because I predicted Nekohime was after all a female in real life (because seriously how can this kawaii cat girl avatar not be a cutie in real life. At least for anime standards), it goes to show that nothing on the web is certain until you get rock solid proof from reality.

Overall, this isn’t exactly a great love story, isn’t exactly a great romantic comedy, isn’t exactly a great harem (at least it has a decent amount of fanservice like a scene of Ako in her undies, bath time fanservice and Kyou in her Apricot avatar that has a flimsy pair of strings to make it look like suspenders although they barely enough to cover her tits), isn’t exactly thought or emotionally provoking, isn’t exactly the greatest RPG element and isn’t exactly a game changer that would evolve the anime industry to the next level. It would most probably be forgotten by the time the next season arrives and the next romantic comedy or RPG genre would have wiped this series out of your memory. That’s the internet these days. You continue to stay relevant or you’ll be forgotten like the dinosaur age in no time. And that itself is like light years speed on an internet level. But still, averagely decent enough that I wouldn’t call it a disappointment. Because it made me believe in my dream to have a 2D maid waifu one day… Yeah… Let’s just hope Ako doesn’t play and get addicted to Yandere Simulator… I mean, she’s like a natural pro in Ultra Force, right? What happens online, stays online.

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