Netoge no Yome wa Onna no ko ja Nai to Omotta?

Title:Netoge no Yome wa Onna no ko ja Nai to Omotta?
And you thought there is never a girl online?
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - project No. 9
TOYONAGA Toshiyuki
Hideki Nishimura spends a lot of his free time playing the online game 'Legendary Age', in which he adventures along with his party of two male and one female companions. One day a conversation about how virtual reality romances compare to real world ones (and some surprising revelations) leads the four to agree to meet in the flesh for the first time.

12 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch Stretch [series:3185#628]
(Nine episodes watched):

I like the idea of a story which bounces back and forth between virtual reality and the real world, rather than being about people who are trapped within a game for one reason or another. It implies that issues like whether playing such games are addictive and harmful to one's personality will be addressed, which ought to be interesting. Unfortunately, the hopes which spring to my mind as I watch the first episode of a new anime are seldom realized. Netoge turned out to be an amusing show, but one which avoids getting psychologically deep and engaging at all costs.

Netoge was an amusing show which introduced characters that while not remarkable were likeable. Each person in this show has two personalities, the virtual world one and the real world one, but the costumes they wear are about the only difference. By a fantastic coincidence, which is never really explained, Nishimura finds that his three virtual friends are in fact three people he already knows, and one of whom is anything but a real-world friend. At this point, some alarms were triggered within my head as Nishimura's game mates turn out to be pretty generic and stereotypical characters; the show threatened to devolve into a harem anime. Another thing I didn't like is that Ako, Nishimura's wife within Legendary Age, seemed pretty airheaded and obsessively in love with him. A typical, too-good-to-be-true harem girl, basically. Rather than an intriguing contrast between the personality she displays within the game and outside of it, it seems that her real-world personality has effectively been discarded, which seems like an awful waste of potential. The synopsis at ANN suggested that a fairly plausible reason for this will come along, but given the silly tone of the show so far I couldn't believe that anything seriously intriguing would come of it.

Unfortunately, while the basic premise was intriguing, afterwards the story did not live up to expectations. The basic conflict here seems to be that somehow Ako cannot discern the difference between the real and virtual worlds. That's a serious problem which strongly suggests that she suffers from some sort of mental illness. But here it is largely treated as a joke, which her friends will fix somehow (in part, by spending even more time in virtual reality!). Video game addiction is a very real and intriguing problem, and I almost want to beat my head against a wall each time it is laughed off. I get the feeling that everything that was unique about this show was packed into episode one, to create an interesting premise; but once that has been done, the premise is largely wasted on a very uninteresting and unbelievable way of solving the potentially intriguing problem which is at the heart of it. Not funny enough to be a good comedy and not engaging enough to be a good drama, basically. Instead, Netoge is a silly but not terribly funny lightweight comedy (with a fair amount of fanservice). I largely lost track of the longterm plot, and what, if anything, the teens were trying to do to fix Ako's problem, etc. I was tempted to drop the show, but it was modestly funny, and maybe we would figure out what Ako's problem is and find a semi-plausible fix for it, perhaps in the last episode or two.

In episode six male protagonist Nishimura announces that he has decided to confess to Ako. When did that happen? Why did that happen? I didn't noticed any sign of them getting closer as they played Legendary Age, just the usual confusion as additional game characters turn out to be real world people that Nishimura and the girls already know (what were the odds that in real life pretty much every character turned out to be in the same country, the same city, and the same school?). Some genuine romance might have been a good idea here, given that the jokes are pedestrian and the plot pretty nonsensical, but that would demand us getting to know Nishimura and Ako better than we have, and character development seems to be a low priority here. I think it is safe to say that they will never so much as kiss, much less get married in the real world or anything like that. This is a show which is determined to remain a modest comedy and not push the envelope with things like a moving confession. That, unfortunately, is all too often the case nowadays. Remain average, the strategy seems to be, employ tested anime storytelling techniques, and while the show won't be a hit it shouldn't be a total flop either. The results will be fairly predictable, which seems to be important to the people who make them. In the end I never watched the last couple of episodes, because a new season had arrived. But if I had not become so pressed for time (and had not had trouble downloading them), I probably would have. Not exactly an enthusiastic endorsement of Netoge, I realize, but it will tell you something nevertheless.

Last updated Sunday, October 06 2019. Created Thursday, April 21 2016.

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