Net-juu no Susume

Title:Net-juu no Susume
Recommendation of the Wonderful Virtual Life
Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: NOTO Mamiko
SAKURAI Takahiro
UEDA Reina
Moriko Morioka is 30, a 'corporate dropout' and a NEET, although she insists she willingly chose to become one. She attempts to create a new life for herself within 'Fruits de Mer', a fantasy MMORPG.

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OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3446#628]
(11 episodes watched):

Although I generally love otaku themed stories, I'm worried that Net-juu doesn't seem to be pressing very hard to develop an intriguing plot with well developed characters. Nothing about this show has really grabbed my attention so far; what has happened has been very pedestrian and predictable. No major conflict that needs to be resolved has been revealed. If I were to compare this show to Grimgar, another story taking place in virtual reality (I think), the simplicity and lack of ambition within Net-juu becomes obvious. I found Morioka's real-world life to be far more interesting than her shallow one as 'Hayashi', a male adventurer, but even so, it wasn't all that intriguing. Does she worry about how she will pay her rent now that she's unemployed? Will she become seriously addicted to this game? I can't be very optimistic that anything really fascinating is forthcoming. I really wish at least a half-hearted effort would be made to explore in a semi-novel manner what it means to get wrapped up in virtual reality, but so far I'm not seeing it. If things do not make a rapid recovery in episode two, I will not watch any more of Net-juu.

But again Net-juu is an otaku-themed show, and when I finally moved forward to week two episodes, for some reason this was one of the first I wanted to watch. That may have been precisely because it's relatively unambitious, and I was not in the mood for something demanding at the moment. It's pretty obvious what the link between Morioka's virtual friend, Lily, and Sakurai, the guy she keeps running into in the real world is; I sort of wish this show would hurry up and make it clear, since we have already guessed it and they aren't fooling anyone. The real question is what will become of this relationship. While I really, really wish this show had delved more deeply into the feelings of people who get addicted to virtual reality (it's easy to pretend that no serious problem exists, since to do so would sort of reflect badly on the video game and anime industries), this show seems good enough. Morioka strives to keep things like how old she is a secret, and as a result she gains some personality and you can sympathize with her. What happens in the real world seems much more interesting to me than what happens online. In episode four the two main characters begin to suspect the truth, and the way hints appear to them seemed fairly fun and believable. Previously I had almost wanted to beat my head against a wall over the seemingly unambitious manner in which the story was being pursued. I felt genuinely moved in episode five when Morioka runs into Sakurai on a crowded Tokyo street. I guess we have gotten to know her well enough that we can care how things will work out for her in her real-world life, and the story is indeed taking place mostly in the real world rather than the virtual one. For the moment, real people are still more interesting and more easy to relate to than avatars.

It had seemed that the story was nearing an inevitable conclusion, with Sakurai no doubt about to reveal what he has deduced to Morioka and confess to her--but the show was only six episodes old. In episode seven a new level of deception and misunderstanding is created when Morioka reluctantly creates a second avatar in order to appease Koiwai, Sakurai's nosy co-worker who wants to try the game himself. It appears that a one-in-a-million coincidence has occurred on top of the similarly unlikely one that the premise is based on. But since the tone of this anime is harmless and fun, I don't mind all that much. The plot still sort of seems to plod forward however, and I wish it would pick up the pace a little. It seems that the characters are afraid to say or do anything dramatic lest they offend someone. That may be realistic, but it's hardly exciting.

Is it finished? I was certain that there must be at least a twelfth episode forthcoming, but several weeks have passed without one. A number of things seemed unresolved; like, who's that woman who seems to come to a front door in the OP sequence? She hasn't appeared yet. Maybe this is a two-season show which has been taking a break over the holidays.

Last updated Saturday, January 06 2018. Created Saturday, October 28 2017.

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