Untold riches are hidden somewhere on this island, we’re told, so let the rat race begin.
• Our heroine laments that modern society lacks adventure. There’s nothing to discover or explore anymore. There’s nothing to really keep the young heart pumping with excitement. And to a certain extent, I can understand where she’s coming from. Growing up, you learn all about these explorers and their exciting conquests of distant lands. Of course, they ended up colonizing those places and murdering millions upon millions of indigenous people, but that’s neither here nor there. For the most part, the surface of our world has been mapped out. We haven’t explored much of the ocean, but it’s doubtful that you’ll stumble upon any hidden treasures, ancient civilizations or talking crustaceans under the sea. As a result, space is often said to be the final frontier. There’s just one small problem: everything up there is just too goddamn far apart. So what’s an aspiring adventurer to do? That’s why in recent years, there has been a huge spike in interest for virtual worlds. Like our heroine, other aspiring individuals with adventurous dreams have opted to create excitement in lieu of discovering it.
So I suppose it is somewhat peculiar that our heroine will actually create a physical space in the real world with traps, mazes and whatnot. Or is it? Hm…
• God, this cast is huge. Usually, when this happens, no one in particular stands out. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if this anime can deliver where so many other shows have failed.
• Our show takes place on Nanaejima, some manmade island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that is full of nothing but schools. We’ve got your middle schools, your high schools, your colleges. But, well… w-why exactly would you want to create an island filled with nothing but schools? We’re told that this is a place for young people to pursue their dreams, but even if that’s really the case, 21 different schools seem like overkill to me.
• So meet Juugo, the 16-year-old main character of Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin. He has been exiled and disowned by his own father for reasons we aren’t quite privy to just yet, but it doesn’t appear as if he has much to complain about. Like most anime protagonists, he’s been set free. He can now run wild on some island filled with attractive people his age. Even his own landlord is a hot, sexy babe with a large rack. Ah, talk about living the anime
cliche dream. To top it all off, his rent is only 5000 yen per month. Jesus Christ, just 5000 yen per month. On a manmade island. In which goods will have to be transported to from the mainland unless you’re telling me this manmade island is self-sustainable in more ways than one. Oh, I saw those windmills, so you don’t have to remind me about them. Plus, there’s more to being sustainable than having cheap, renewable energy. But I digress. Ultimately, Juugo’s living a dream. It’s almost a little too convenient.
• When Shiki goes to hand Juugo the key to his apartment, she pulls it out of her cleavage. But this isn’t pandering though! What grown woman wouldn’t want to stick a jagged key in between her breasts? Fuck pockets? My soft flesh is exactly where I would love to keep potentially sharp metal objects.
• Unfortunately, the brochure failed to mention that Juugo’s apartment would also be furnished with an equally sexy ghost to match his landlord. Not only that, this sexy ghost loves to watch TV and play video games all day. I suppose that’s why the rent is so cheap. Still, even 50000 yen would be a bargain. With all the money you end up saving, you can easily afford to fly an exorcist to Nanaejima and banish this pudding-eating ghost to the depths of hell. Later in the episode, we’re told that interested parties had tried exorcism and it didn’t work, but they probably hired some hack to do the job.
• Nanana sure seems cheerful for someone who was viciously murdered by some unknown assailant. Oh well, live and let die, right? And unfortunately, like most ghosts, you can’t touch her. Nanana can touch the main character whenever she wants to, but he can’t be the one to initiate the physical contact between them. So for all her hotness, things will have to remain onanistic between them. Well, you get what you pay for… I’m sure 10000 yen per month would’ve fetched a nice tangible zombie roommate instead.
• If you were expecting our two main characters to have a groundbreaking relationship dynamic, you came to the wrong place. Guy proceeds to wrestle girl. Guy gropes girl. Girl beats guy up. It’s anime, basically.
• But even if Juugo doesn’t get to score with the kawaii apparition haunting his room, his shining high school life is about to start. And like all shining high school lives, this one is full of equally attractive girls to pick from. First up is Yumeji Yurika, the meganekko:
Not only is she the class officer, she is an aspiring novelist as well. And right off the bat, she thinks our main character is both nice (as nice as a groper can be) and attractive. Gosh, living girls are just no challenge. No wonder the dead are so moe. Nanana’s late night online game excursions are just a small price to pay.
• Juugo says, “The things [Koma] designs almost seem to be alive, don’t they?” Meanwhile, I’m watching a shiny, jagged column rotate as water pours from the top of it. Alive, huh….? Riiiight.
• Ah, I see: the real cost in living here comes in the form of the pudding tax: nubile ghosts can’t maintain their ectoplasmic perfection if they don’t get a billion daily servings of gelatin in one sitting.
• In the middle of using the toilet, which just makes this situation all the more comical, Juugo stumbles upon a hidden compartment. Inside it, he finds a notebook from a previous tenant. Essentially, it’s Cliff’s Notes to Nanana. Yeesh, talk about having it easy. Back in my day, anime protagonists had to suffer much abuse just to unlock a girl’s good ending.
• But that’s the thing: the girl comes equipped with a guide because she hasn’t matured in the past ten years. She’s a ghost, after all. Ghosts supposedly appear in the real world because they can’t move on to the afterlife. Something is keeping them here. In our heroine’s case, perhaps it’s her unsolved murder that’s keeping her around. Perhaps it’s something else entirely. But what’s certain is that Nanana’s character will remain static until someone can do something about it. To put it another way, she’s an NPC in a video game with her very own questline. She’s the love interest that’s just waiting for the right player to trigger her flags. So of course, she’d come equipped with a guide.
• So this isn’t a real society. Again, it’s a manmade island full of nothing but schools. That’s not a society. And Nanana isn’t a real girl either. We’ve pretty much established that. Yes, she’s a ghost of a girl that once existed, but this makes here more of a simulacrum than anything else. After all, you can barely even touch her. I said this at the start of the post:
So what’s an aspiring adventurer to do? That’s why in recent years, there has been a huge spike in interest in virtual worlds. Like our heroine, other aspiring individuals with adventurous dreams have opted to create excitement in lieu of discovering it.
My mistake was in thinking that something being virtual necessarily meant it had to pertain to computers in some form or fashion. Now, while Nanaejima isn’t exactly made of 1’s and 0’s, it still fits the definition of being virtual: “very close to being something without actually being it.” Nanaejima is a virtual island, and likewise, Nanana is a virtual girl. And like some video game, there’s a hidden treasure somewhere on this island. It’s even called Ryuugajou Nanana’s Buried Treasure, and it’s “said to be worth hundreds of billions or even trillions of yen.” But why? Why create an island full of physical simulacra? I guess this is the real mystery behind everything.
• Elsewhere, a pair of thieves and a “master detective” are on the move.
I dunno… like most A-1 PIctures productions, Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin is definitely beautiful to look at. And I’d be lying if there wasn’t something potentially thought-provoking about the mysteries surrounding the island and its conception. Still, I also can’t deny that 95% of the episode is just standard anime fare without much of a twist. All in all, it’s an okay first episode with some fanservice sprinkled here and there… certainly nothing to get worked up about just yet.