For some reason, I find it cute and amusing. It isn’t high art nor does it really make one think, but honestly, this week’s episode made me smile. Yeah, I’ll admit it. I actually found Moriko’s guildmates endearing, especially when they attempted to give her dating tips. Most of all, I really appreciate the fact that the show kept the MMO adventuring shenanigans to an absolute minimum. Not every MMO anime has to be the same. Not every MMO anime has to involve people going on epic adventures or conducting some sort of grand social experiment. Lots of us log onto MMOs simply to socialize, and this is what we get. Recovery of an MMO Junkie isn’t trying to be a jack of all trades, and I like that. I didn’t have to deal with copious amounts of exposition or world-building. I can probably rest assured that Moriko’s Hayashi won’t suddenly become a badass, dual-wielding sex god either. Instead, I got to see people build online relationships, and while the anime isn’t attempting anything particularly ambitious on this front, it’s refreshing nonetheless.
It’s also refreshing to see that these characters are not kids. Moriko is not just an adult, she’s 30. She’s had a job before (it appears as though she burned herself out from working too hard, which is a bit topical considering the recent news about the reporter who died from too much overtime). Her guildmates are adults, too. One of them might be a university student, but hell, I’ll take it. I still don’t know how Moriko is sustaining this lifestyle — maybe she has a lot of savings — but as I said last week, hopefully that will be addressed at some point. I’m not saying it’s a good anime simply because the protagonist is an adult. I just appreciate that there’s actually a show I can somewhat relate to. Yeah, I used to play MMOs a lot. Every now and then, I still get the itch to dive back into Final Fantasy XIV, and I’m also around Moriko’s age. Unfortunately, I can’t just quit my job and become an elite NEET, but I can’t say it doesn’t sound alluring…
From our heroine’s perspective, it appears as though she has to juggle two budding relationships at the same time. She has the pretty blond boy in the real world, and Lily in MMO land. A layperson might ask why anyone would choose the MMO relationship over something real and tangible, but to someone who spends hours online — Moriko even freaks out at one point when she realizes it’s 5 am and she’s still playing — the e-relationship is just as real. Perhaps even realer. She barely knows a thing about Yuta. He seems like a nice guy, but they’ve had one conversation thus far. As the series progresses, this relationship will catch up to the one she has with Lily, but for now, Moriko has an actual bond with her MMO companion. So even though she might know anything about Lily’s actual age, gender, name, so on and so forth, these are not soulful details. They’re important details, don’t get me wrong. But Moriko still knows Lily intimately.
It’s almost a shame that Lily and Yuta are the same person. I almost want to see how she would pick between the two individuals. Even though I have advocated for the online relationship, it’s not that simple. They might be compatible emotionally — they might be on the same wavelength mentally — but you still need physical compatibility. Plus, there’s always that fear that the person on the other side is catfishing you. Then what? How would Moriko react to that? People can lie to you in real life too, but it’s harder. But alas, this is a light-hearted show. Again, Recovery of an MMO Junkie is not an ambitious show. As a result, I don’t expect Moriko to have to struggle with her feelings in a very heavy way. Eventually, she’ll come to see that Lily is actually her blond prince, but if the show can remain as charming as this week’s episode, I guess I won’t mind it too much.
Other loose thoughts and impressions:
— It isn’t a good thing for a university student to be online all the time either, but then again, I’d be lying if I said I never skipped classes back in my early twenties to play games.
— A million gold just to guess someone’s age? Either the game has rampant inflation or these guys are high-rollers.
— Is it really bad manners to ask a fellow guildmate how old they are? Maybe in Japan. I wouldn’t really know. I just know it isn’t a big deal in the West. I just find it odd that you can spend weeks and months talking to someone, but it’d be rude to ask them how old they are in real life.
— Back in my MMO junkie days — yeah, I went through the same phase — it was pretty normal to stay up till 7 or 8 am, sleep for a couple hours, then drag myself to my afternoon lectures. Or y’know, just don’t go so I can spend more time gaming.
— Moriko might have an addictive personality. She spent too much time working, and now, she’s arguably spending too much time on the MMO. Work-life balance, girl. C’mon.
— She seems impressed that Yuta has a solid Japanese name. As a non-Japanese person, I have no idea what that means. I don’t even know what a solid American name is. Ron Swanson?