net-juu no susume 9

Wait, there’s only one episode left?

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I don’t really understand why I enjoy Net-juu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie). The animation is passable. The plot is predictable. The characters are simple. Yet, I find the show utterly charming. Most of that has to do with the lead character, the thirty year old NEET MMO junkie, Morimori-san. She is easily overwhelmed and flustered, and she is so beaten down by life that her only escape and joy is logging into to play a 2010 era MMORPG. But she feels like a genuine person rather than a walking trope or anime haremette. You kind of empathize with what she goes through, and why she might retreat from life into an MMORPG.

In this penultimate episode, she takes front and center stage as she finally learns Sakurai’s secret. Now, it’s one thing that she just so happens to live near the guy who plays her best friend in an MMO, but it’s another thing that he’s also her best friend in a previous MMO that they played in. Morimori-san almost breaks down from learning all of this information, but she manages to compose herself long enough to tell Sakurai that she considers him an important online friend, which Sakurai interprets as a rejection.

Now, this scenario, minus the gender swapping MMOPRG portion, has played out in many shoujo, josei, and seinen manga before. Though TTRM (time-to-romantic-misunderstanding) would be 2 episodes, 4 episodes, and 6 episodes respectively. It’s rare to see one in the penultimate episode.

(Morimori-san also cleans her apartment with a lint roller when she is flustered or overwhelmed. That is both an odd and adorable behavior. Wouldn’t it just be easier to buy a small handheld vacuum cleaner?)

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What does Sakurai do? He does what every mid-twenties man does after a romantic rejection: he drinks himself silly and starts avoiding Morimori-san online. One, that’s a believable response. Two, how often do you see a romantic pairing in anime featuring an older woman and a younger man? Three, he still can’t be honest about his feelings toward Morimori-san thus further confirming that all men are just really boys until they get to be around 35 years old.

Also of note is that Sakurai’s favorite drinking spot reminds me of Torikizoku. Torikizoku is the $3 chicken skewer chain. They operate much like Daiso with most of their menu items set at $3– skewers, small plates, and even drinks. Their $3 highball is not bad. It’s one of my favorite cheap and easy places to eat at in Japan.

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Sakurai’s drinking buddy, Koiwai, is probably anime’s greatest wingman, usurping the title from Ore Monogatari‘s Sunakawa. He spends most of the series comforting both Morimori-san and Sakurai during their times of need, and he secretly tries to get Morimori-san and Sakurai together. At the start of the show, he acts like a sleezeball, but as the show goes on, it’s apparent he’s the exact opposite of how others initially perceive him.

If Net-juu no Susume has as theme, it is that looks and initial impressions are deceiving. Both Morimori-san and Sakurai lie about who they are online, and Koiwai is a character who turns out to be something unexpected. It’s not like he was an asshole for seven episodes and then had an ah-ha! moment… it’s more like his behavior earlier made sense once you realize what his goals were. And his goals were always to help out his friends.

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The show starts out mostly in the MMMORPG with some brief moments in Morimori-san’s apartment, but the later episodes are almost entirely offline with a lot of key moments happening in a convenience store (Cowson’s). This show is the real Combini Kareshi, as it actually has romance and chance meetings in an actual convenience store.

(I am both glad and sad that there’s no Japanese-style combini near me. They do make being a NEET a lot easier… so much delicious food for cheap…)

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The MMO portions of this show continue to be on point. Whenever someone doesn’t respond in game, the other characters wonder if that person has fallen asleep at the keyboard. That is always their first assumption, which is a nice touch. There’s an entire episode dedicated to loot boxes and how great they are as Morimori-san made money off of a loot box. There’s almost another episode dedicated to MMO fashion. There’s also a lot of complaining about how hard it is to find good healers. There’s a plot point centered around creating alts so you can avoid your guild and avoid guild drama. And fishing– of course there’s fishing in this anime. Whoever wrote this show obviously wrote it in between raid wipes.

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With only one episode left, I’m not sure if all the loose ends can be tied up. What will become of Morimori-san’s and Sakurai’s relationship? Will we find out what happened at her job that made Morimori-san quit? Will the guild be able to defeat the raid without Lily’s healing?

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Three MVPs…

1. Koiwai.
2. Torikizoku.
3. Japanese convenience stores.

3 Responses to “net-juu no susume 9”

  1. Was certainly pulled because series about 30 year old female NEET. I enjoyed the plentiful MMO references and humor and agonized juuust enough over the constant IRL identity teases between them. Hopefully we’ll have an unfrayed but no doubt happy ending. All that in 10 eps is a great deal. (Or add an additional 8 episodes of them wiping on trash mobs before Koiwai realizes something is amiss with their tactics, hamburgered in the middle on DVD). My one gripe was their knowing each other in the previous game, even for this show, but heyyy.

    Also, NEETs everwhere who dont have a QuikTrip nearby are missing out terribly.

  2. It seemed like an older woman was a common thrope, but perhaps more so in manga than anime. H&C provides a common example.

  3. Now that it’s ended (10 episodes is too little!), it’s definitely my favorite show of the season. I wonder how the lootbox episode would be written today given the backlash at Battlefront 2… I also want to know more about the girl in the ED that we never see. Finally, was definitely not suprised at the fishing considering the game is literally called ‘Seafood’.

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