Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin Ep. 2: Welcome to the first level

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I wish I could enjoy pudding this much.

Episode Summary
The show introduces us to a whole bunch of characters. Granted, we saw some of them last week, but Juugo really gets to know both Tensai and Daruku in this week’s episode. Afterwards, he’s recruited into the Adventure Club, which is he is hesitant to join at first. When Nanana tells Juugo that he might be able to solve the mystery behind her murder by locating her treasures, however, he promptly signs up the very next day. But things are not so simple. In order for him to officially join the Adventure Club, he’ll have to pass the entry test, which involves overcoming a room full of traps. With Tensai’s help–… actually, scratch that, Tensai ends up doing everything and Juugo just tags along. In any case, they reach the end of the room and pass the test.

Notes

• I’m getting an inkling that this whole thing is a video game. I’ve already mentioned last week how everything in this show is virtual, i.e. Nanana’s a virtual girl, and the island itself is a virtual community. In this week’s cold opening, Juugo asks Nanana about this strange stone that had fallen out of the sky. According to the ghost, it’s a lie-detecting stone. When you put the thing up to your eye, a cloudy effect will appear if the person before you is lying. You know what that sounds like? That sounds like some sort of Zelda-esque Lens of Truth artificat. In other words, it’s an item you wouldn’t be surprised to find in any standard adventure video game. I still don’t know where the anime is going with this, but it’s worth noting that the patterns spotted in last week’s episode don’t appear to be a one-time thing. And of course, the endgame will be to save our maiden Nanana from her earthly prison, right?

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• These are the world’s most inept thieves: “After all the trouble we went through to break in… After I put a parachute on the stolen jewel’s case, just as planned, and dropped it in the alley.”

• I like how female characters in an anime can just barge into a guy’s apartment and he’ll just be a complete doormat. “Let me use your bath!” *stare slack-jawed at the girl* But hey, how else are we going to see some blonde babe strip down to her underwear?

• Then for some reason, it turns out that Daruku is a trap. I would hope this revelation adds something to the story, but let’s be honest, it most likely won’t.

• Tensai has a tendency to ask for people’s real names as if she expects them to have two different sets of names. I wonder how this little quirk is all about.

• These characters are dumb. I’m sure the anime expects me to laugh as Yuu is beating the crap out of Juugo, but whole thing is just lame and immature. We’re not even talking about slapstick violence. This is just a girl beating a guy up for disrespecting her “Isshin-sama.” How is that remotely funny?

• Isshin: “Yama-kun, would you mind if I paid a visit to your apartment?” I’m pretty you can just walk right in and the main character wouldn’t do anything about it, bro.

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• But in any case, this guy and his violent assistant want Juugo to join their club, the Adventure Club. Naturally, the goal of this club is to locate and retrieve Nanana’s Collection. So again, we’re playing a video game.

• Nanana: “[The pudding’s] so good, I’m gonna die!” Well, about that…

• But Juugo actually says something I didn’t expect to him to say: “I don’t mind joining [the Adventure Club], but I don’t have any reason to.” Damn straight. Too often, anime characters just go with the flow and the audience simply accepts the characters complete lack of compelling motivations. Now that we’ve established that Juugo doesn’t currently have a good reason to join the club, the story can now justify why he should join it anyway.

• Having said that, I’m not sure why Juugo thinks Nanana would be mad about people taking the ghost’s treasures for themselves. She’s a ghost, after all, so why would she bother holding onto her collection anymore? They’re of no use to her. Plus — and this isn’t knowledge that Juugo would be privy to at this point in the storyline but it’s worth noting anyway — if we continue to fly with the idea that this whole set up feels like one live video game, then Nanana would be the game’s developer. And like any developer, she should be more than proud to see people have fun taking part in it.

• So I guess the impetus her for finding Nanana’s Collection is that it might help our protagonist solve the mystery of the girl’s death. Hmm… eh, I guess. Still, putting myself in Juugo’s shoes for just a second, while I personally would be curious about the identity of Nanana’s killer, I’m not sure I would go to such lengths for a ghost I have no emotional connection with.

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• In order to join the Adventure Club, Juugo will have to pass the entry test, which involves conquering some special room at school. Right. When Juugo enters the unassuming room, it goes from what you see above to this.

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So at this, I naturally have to wonder if this is even a legitimate school anymore. Or, like everything else on this island, it’s a virtual school. Sure, you can still learn things at it — just like you can still grope a virtual girl’s boobs if the first episode is to be believed — but what the school really is… is a dungeon. At the very least, it contains a single level. He has to beat this level to hopefully move onto the next one, if it’s even located at the school.

• But this then raises the question of just how “real” this entire place is. As we see Juugo fall through the level’s many pits and traps, he ends up being ejected from the school through its sides. Juugo doesn’t even get injured or tired out either no matter how many times he loses and falls from a rather painful-looking height. We’ve therefore officially done away with real world logic; in its place, we have video game logic instead. But if that’s the case, then why should I believe that this island is a real, physical location? Why wouldn’t I suspect that our protagonist isn’t trapped in some video game, or even worse, maybe he’s dead too? Why has a disowned, abandoned Japanese kid ended up at an island where he gets to play a real life video game in order to “save” his maiden (from having to haunt a single apartment for the rest of her ghostly existence)?

• The solution to the puzzle was rather lame though.

Closing Thoughts
The thing is, I’m really only interested in the show’s premise, and this episode simply reinforces this even further. The characters themselves are not only generic but kinda annoying as well.  Plus, the humor is really dumb and immature. Still, the set-up is intriguing enough for me to keep watching, and the animation is pretty good too. It’s just too bad about that we still haven’t gotten to the point where anime characters can put themselves in CGI backdrop and not stick out like a sore thumb.

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