OP Sequence

OP: 「1st Love Story」 by Luce Twinke Wink☆

「ネトゲの嫁は女の子じゃないと思った?」 (Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?)
“And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online?”

The source for this was really funny, so all that remains is to adapt it well. So far? They’re doing very well indeed. This was really funny!

Crazy Characters = Tons of Fun

When I previewed this show, the first comparison that came to mind was KonoSuba. I realize that’s a loaded statement, but it’s the character dynamics that bring it to mind. The characters here are all to some degree bonkers, as this episode showed. Nishimura “Rusian” Hideki (Toyonaga Toshiyuki) is the most sensible, but his “dark past” has given him some progressive ideas about in-game marriages, i.e. that an online girl’s real life gender doesn’t matter. Which, you know, is how it should be. It shouldn’t matter! Though it springing from his intense cynicism is perhaps not the healthiest attitude.

From there, they just get goofier. This only scratched the surface, but Segawa “Schwein” Akane (Minase Inori) (male version) being a self-hating otaku who didn’t realize what her avatar name meant was hilarious, Goshouin “Apricot” Kyou’s (Ichimichi Mao) (male version) confident attitude (despite having no friends at school) showed her level of disconnect with reality, and Ako. Oh, Ako! Tamaki “Ako” Ako (Hidaka Rina) is ditzy, clumsy, shy, overly-clingy, has a loose grasp on reality at best, and has yandere tendencies (as does Kyou). She’s so baka-cute. And her adorable quasi-romance with Hideki is so cute, hng~!

I guess the best thing I can say is that, even though I knew what was going to happen from reading the source, I still laughed out loud several times. The jokes are good, the delivery is good, and Toyonaga Toshiyuki is already making himself felt. If you liked the group dynamic you saw here, it only gets better. This was all introduction. The real fun starts now. Speaking of…

An Episode of Introductions

The setup for this series is a touch unwieldy. They have to introduce the main characters, show how they interact together, and sell us on their camaraderie. They also need to introduce Hideki’s dark secret of having proposed to a GIRL (“guy in real life”). Then they had to get through the reveal that three of the four guild members are actually girls, and show how their dynamic changes (and doesn’t change) in person. All in one episode! That’s a tall order. This is as opposed to KonoSuba, which took three episodes to introduce its main four.

Fortunately, I think director Yanagi Shinsuke and his team at Project No.9 did a pretty good job. Getting rid of the ED and moving the OP to the end was a good decision, because they needed the extra time. It did result in a rather odd feeling when the episode ended, though, because they didn’t do the one other item on the docket: introduce the central conflict.

We still don’t know what this series is about! It isn’t necessary that this be done in the first episode—Itsuwari no Kamen didn’t do it until twenty episodes in, though that’s not a series you want to emulate—but it’s nice to have. This episode felt like an OVA, where we got a nice resolution to the “Rusian doesn’t believe Ako is a girl” conflict, and now it’s done. Only it’s not done! It just feels like it could be, because they haven’t brought up what will drive future comedy. It’s not an entirely bad feeling, but it is an odd one. I’d think the studio would want us leaving the episode hungry, not satiated.

Rule #32: Enjoy the Little Things

Project No.9 is a noted fanservice studio, which is to say that they like their boobs large and jiggling. The male gaze (trope!) was certainly in effect, though since I went in expecting it, it didn’t come as a shock. I’m just saying, this is Project No.9. Expect the jiggle.

What I really liked was how they showed the game they play, Legendary Age. When the characters are playing, they portray them as in the game, even though it’s a normal desktop computer game. It’s not realistic, but it looks cool, right? Why not! But they also took a moment to show us the login screen, which made me nostalgic for a game I’ve never played. Nice trick.

The character designs are pleasing, the color palette is bright, and even the occasional action is good, though that’s not the focus. Compared to something like Sousei no Onmyouji, this is hewing more to anime norms, but hey, it looks good. I ain’t complaining.

Looking Ahead

I could go on, but here’s the bottom line: I knew what was going to happen, and I was still laughing. I was a bit hyped going in, and this did nothing to lessen it. I’m looking forward to seeing what this show can do once it really knuckles down and starts splitting some sides.

As we did last season, we won’t be announcing our coverage until 2-3 episodes of most shows have aired. Please comment if you want to see Netoge receive regular coverage. I’m excited to see what happens now that the setup is taken care of, so it’s still on my list. Tell me what you think.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – It turns out that there are girls online, they play MMORPGs, and they’re bonkers. But so’s the guy. Hilarious premiere! #netoge 01

Random thoughts:

  • It’s weird hearing Hidaka Rina as the busty dojikko instead of the tsuntsun loli. Weird at first, but I’m really jiving on her in the role now.
  • I forgot to mention, but the “we all go to the same high school” coincidence is the obvious early weakness in the setup. This is the kind of coincidence I’m willing to let slide because it’s foundational, but only if the story is good enough.
  • With Asuna it was always weird that she’d use her real name. With Ako, it makes perfect sense.
  • I feel like a high school comedy anime needs to have its male characters in ridiculous plaid pants. It helps with not taking them in any way seriously.

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Even if you see it coming, it can still work, Batman does not kill. Superman does not kill., Inside Out: What Emotion Drives You?, and Superhot: Storytelling through gameplay.


  1. This is why I’ve never trusted these online game marriages, because you have no idea if your net spouse is Pizza the Hutt’s cousin, or a psycho killer who deserves their own episode on crime shows like Criminal Minds.

      1. People like to connect with people, even if the person they’re trying to connect with is a mask worn by someone not exactly like they envision (which, to be fair, is true of in-person dating as well, albeit probably not in a physical sense). It makes sense to me, even if I’d rather play the actual game and leave my dating elsewhere, personally.

      2. I was actually speaking more of those who act like creeps on online games, and there’s plenty of them out there. I think people like that are quite awkward socially and thus have to turn to the internet but aren’t sure how to properly act around people of the opposite gender.

    1. It’s your character marrying another characters… Not you… It’s a game.

      Just like when in a figthing you beat the shit out of another players… You’re actuallt beating the other person in real life. lol.

    1. Decided to check out some of his artwork on Danbooru (and another h-doujin site I frequent)… Hot damn, Hisasi really loves his A’s and TT’s…

      BTW, Ako’s hairstyle (her cowlick, especially) reminds me of KanColle‘s Ushio. Makes me wonder if Hisasi has done fanart of her on Pixiv. (He has already done fanart of the Kongou sisters based on what I saw on Danbooru.) And on the flip side, I wouldn’t mind seeing Ako do an Ushio cosplay.

    2. On the manga side, we have Ishigami Kazui/Red Crown as the artist. So yeah, there’s some high caliber art for both mediums and no shortage of ‘health’ from the girls.

    3. Wait… Hisashi? Now that I think about it, wasn’t he the guy that does vanilla ero-manga? Kinda brings back some memories I guess. Anyways, I left the life; or at least, I try to do so everyday.

      Mihashi Nishizawa
    1. Well, it depends on how many days they spend being ever more lethargic than the previous one working part-time or full-time. And of course, there’s the case of people simply leeching of their ‘owner’s’ fortune. But generally though, they’d spend enough to render the latest games and that’s it. FPSs and MMOs are big over there, alongside VNs and games for handheld consoles. Also lately, companies have been trying to ‘push’ smartphone games and attempt to drain people’s electronic digits to zero via free-to-play shenanigans.

      *Screams in anechoic room*

      Mihashi Nishizawa
      1. @Mincemaker: AFAIK, the Call of Duty series is quite popular there. Same goes for Halo. And IIRC, seiyuu Kana Ueda is an FPS gamer. (Heck, she even voiced Alena Vorshevsky in the Japanese release of Modern Warfare 3.)

        Though part of me is curious if Sumire Uesaka–a well-known Russophile–plays Company of Heroes 2.

      2. Hmm, speaking of strategy games… For some reason, they just don’t seem to be very popular over there. I mean, there’s stuff like Disgaea but does that count? I’m not too sure. Even Shogun 2 Total War had no localization despite it being focusing completely on Japan.

        Mihashi Nishizawa
      3. @Mihashi, re:strategy games –

        It might depend on what exactly your definition of ‘strategy game’ is, but my impression is the opposite – there are so many Japanese-made strategy games of various types across a broad spectrum that there might not be space for that many Western-made games to break into the market. And also, localization isn’t always a good indicator – there are a lot of Steam games with fan-mod translations into Japanese, although being fan-mods many of them are… less than accurate.

        As to the show itself, it utilizes a lot of Japan-internet humour that I suspect many non-Japanese watchers will have no clue about. Like the bit with Ako making muscleman poses – that’s a Japanese ASCII art internet meme essentially meaning ‘angry enough to hire someone to punch and break a wall for you’. I can see a lot of future gags in this fashion completely escaping the non-Japanese audience.

      4. Aaahhh, speaking of which. I have seen a few mods made by Japanese people on Steam, or at least I think are Japanese. In any case, I’ve lurked the Japanese Twitter-nets enough to understand Japanese internet hijinks. And boy oh boy can it get ridiculously chaotic at times. But they’re also the ones that made me laugh the hardest 😀

        Mihashi Nishizawa
  2. I laughed so hard when Ako carelessly screws with mobs when Rusian’s supposed to tank them, effectively shifts the aggro to her. This scene just hits really close to home. In many MMOs, you often find dumb party members who are too clueless (or just don’t give a crap) about the roles they’re playing, and screwing with aggro is easily the most frequent of all.

  3. Oh Ako. The girl all gamers think they want in real life, but only 1/4 of us could really deal with. I’m only slightly confident I’m part of that 1/4th.

    Looking forward to this!

    1. To be fair, the other two are the kind of gamers (who happen to be girls) that other gamers (who happen to be boys) would want to play with: competent in the game and fun to talk to. Albeit a little crazy.

  4. This show was surprisingly fun, and it was the first comedy this season that actually made me laugh. While the premise may take some serious suspension of disbelief (there’s 127 million people living in Japan, yet all the players he knows are in his school?), it is a fun one, and the characters seem promising as well. Their behaviour in the game felt genuine too, and I liked the jokes about pay-to-winners and the like. Not to mention Ako is adorable, and I like her design (maybe because she, in her real-life garb, reminds me a bit of Hex Maniacs from Pokemon).

    So yeah, in terms of comedy this season, this seems like my best bet. Might be a fun show to cover too (seeing as Onmyouji will probably go on for 50 eps, which is overkill). I’ll be tuning in for it in the coming weeks, anyways.

  5. I think out of the shows I’ve watched so far this is by far the most enjoyable and if this keeps up I will have something to really look forward to watching every week. I love it when a series doesn’t take itself too seriously(4 players in same school, 3 of em girls), it allows me to just sit back and relax instead of nitpick at stuff because it’s not meant to be that “deep” or thought provoking or whatever.

    The fact that it has some pretty nice service doesn’t hurt either, obviously it’s par for the course for this kind of series but the amount of shit any show gets when it has fanservice in the form of T&A rather than uguu-kawaii or flashy battles is sad to see. I can’t remember what show it was but I remember ANN reviewers went ham on something last season and it was really hilarious and sad to see.

  6. This is the ultimate wish fullfilment show…

    But it’s still funny and kinda cute so I’ll watch (and read your coverage if you will). Plus it’s Hisasi so why the f not?

    p.s Actually I dated a girl I met in online games once, and actually all IRL girl that I know playing online games have at least played male character once (for various reasons), so it’s not thaaaat rare. Having everyone you met online in a guild turned out to be in the very same school is a much more wtf-inducing coincidence lol.

    1. Sometimes, wish fulfillment isn’t bad. Provided it’s funny 😀

      Agreed that women play male characters for the same reason men play female characters. It’s a game, part of the reason is to shake things up and be someone NEW … and that can mean being a different gender, or a different species, or a sentient spaceship or whatever. That part doesn’t strain credibility a bit. It’s just like you said, having everyone be in the same school does, but eh, I’ll allow it.

  7. I feel like a high school comedy anime needs to have its male characters in ridiculous plaid pants. It helps with not taking them in any way seriously.

    I swear I laughed more at those pants than at everything else in the episode.
    They are even worse than the surgeon-green pants I once saw on a guy ( IRL, not even an anime).

    1. I also thought the character designs from this series were from Buriki. Looking at their lips it looks so similar for me to the designs from Haganai and Denpa Onna. In fact Ako reminded me so much of a younger Touwa Meme, with Erio’s personality.

  8. Ayss, Titties, Ayss Ayss and Titties…”
    (Damn you Just Coffee and Angry Joe for that ear worm!)

    And here I thought I High School DxD, To LOVE-Ru or (*insert any fanservice-y anime here*) already filled my quota for A’s and TT’s. I guess fanservice is like Ork “dakka”–you can never get enough.

    Anyway…so Ako is less of a chuunibyou (though it’s possible she still has that aspect–we’ll see in the next few episodes) and more of a socially awkward person like Watamote‘s Tomoko, except cuter and bustier. Most of the time, she’s a shrinking violet, but I can’t help but smile seeing her “genki” side whenever she’s with Hideki a.k.a.: “Rusian.” And now that they met in real life, the two just look cute together. I hope Hideki’s past experience doesn’t make him throw away this chance for romance!

    Also, even though I’m no longer into playing an RPG (and I can’t relate to those who play its MMO brethren), it’s pretty cool that Hideki’s in-game character reminds me of Diablo II‘s Paladins (or Crusaders if you’ve already moved on to Diablo III). He had a shield bash and tanks enemies pretty decently. Well, almost. (Bonus points if his gear is rare, unique/legendary or a complete set and he got it from gradual grinding and not “pay-to-win” BS).

    Overall, this is a decent show to pick up… And should fill the comedy gap left by Dagashi Kashi quite nicely.

  9. I’ll start with humor is very subjective (YMMV) of course. Personally I didn’t find Netoge no Yome wa particularly funny. Maybe a couple mildly amusing moments (e.g. “real girls don’t go nya~. You should know that”), but that was it.

    The characters were OK I guess (your standard types except maybe Ako), but nowhere near KonaSuba’s deliciously outrageous (except for Kazuma of course) and I dare say quite personable/likeable cast. I found Ako an odd mixture of cute, annoyingly co-dependent, and uh… kind of psycho, “normals” hating (“they all should die!!!”) super-otaku. I tend to like the “baka-adorable” types, but she didn’t strike me as such. Hideki was serviceable in his otaku ML role (point for “Hey, I like this stuff so what’s the problem?”). Akane was the usual flat-chested tsundere. I’m not sure if her otaku bashing is “self-hate” or simply trying to look cool at school. Maybe a bit of both. Kyou was maybe OK+. She didn’t come across to me as arrogant about her wealth/status so there is that. I did wonder how someone who supposedly has no friends becomes SC President. O.o Came across as a box checked of the trope/cliche’ list.

    Personally I thought introducing the group together in RL at the end of EP 01 was fine and arguably a good idea. Different setting/situation than KonaSuba IMO. I found the first half or so a bit choppy, but it got better towards the second half. If nothing else, Ep. 01 got the job done setting up the story & premise without too much issue.

    As someone else noted, having them all at the same school (let alone same city) is plot convenience, but it’s the story setup so not a problem IMO. The story wouldn’t work well if they lived a couple hundred miles or more apart. Question: Is this a harem, because I did find it kind of odd that everyone but ML in the party is female (and attractive at that, but what else would you expect)? I mean, I would think this is OTP (one true paring) with the whole “wife” and all right from the start, but then why the all but ML female party? Not a problem for me, just curious.

    All in all, IMO by no means a bad introductory episode for the story, and I can see why some may like the show – especially if they enjoyed the comedy. However, it just didn’t work for me so I’ll probably pass on this one.

    1. If you have the time, I’d consider giving it a second episode. Like I said in the post, this was all setup, and we haven’t really seen how the characters operate yet. KonoSuba was able to be outrageous from the beginning because it could dive deep into each character as they were introduced, whereas here they have to dive deep into all of them simultaneously. That mean it might take longer to get up to speed, but if it does get up to speed, it could be just as funny.

      Mind you, I’ve only read a little more of the source, so I don’t know if it does. But at least the next little bit was funny to me. But comedy is subjective and all that, so don’t feel like I’m pressuring you.

      I don’t actually know if this is harem or not, but I’m pretty sure it’s not. (Probably.) I think it’s more OTP, at least based on the girls’ early actions (and maybe not wanting to get yandere-stabbed by Ako). Which would be my preference, so the record. I think they’re just girls for some early gags, and because the author/artist wanted to write about and draw girls instead of guys, lol 😛

    1. That’s fine and all, but basic net literacy (as Hideki calls it) is pretty common sense. I’ve never met anyone who defaulted to their own name, or if they did, everyone just thought it was cool that they were apparently one of the first players on the server since they managed to pick “John” and no one realized it was their name. Asuna always seemed too sensible for such an amateur move, whereas with Ako, it completely fits.

    2. I always use my real name when playing MMORPGs too, mostly as I’m terrible at deciding names. I only play on the Japanese PSO2 server occasionally these days though.

  10. So correct me if I am getting this wrong but would it be accurate to say we finally have an MMORPG anime making appropriate commentary/analysis of the socially driven aspects of an MMORPG? Or am I giving the show too much credit?

  11. That wasn’t that bad. Certainly a show to just watch and enjoy. I hope you do cover it Stilts, for your discerning commentary on such…titillating fare. After all we know you are the ecchi loving reviewer on RC. 😛

    Gouka Ryuu
  12. It wasn’t bad. Wasn’t a KonoSuba, at least not yet, but not bad at all. I hope there’s an explanation for the little blonde lady behind a righteous asshole to Protagonist-kun when she presumably shares a lot of his hobbies.

    I don’t think I’ve ever actually HEARD ‘Mai Waifu’ used in an anime before.

    1. To be fair, I’m not sure KonoSuba was a KonoSuba until at least the second episode, though it also required less setup. And I think Segawa will get less unfairly angry, though I’ve only read a little more in the source, so that’s conjecture. Mostly I think she’s just adapting to people knowing her secret. She’s a good comedic foil regardless.

  13. The chances of your online guildmates being three cute girls that go to the same high school as you is as likely as winning the freaking lottery. Actually, I think winning the lottery is more plausible, lmao.

    Jokes aside, I like the premiere. The setting is pretty interesting, and the characters are kind of funny. The nyan part is definitely true, no girl actually types like that in-game, aha. Will follow up to see how it turns out.

  14. Having read the source I can say that this was pretty good in terms of adaptations. I never found this series overly funny, but definitely a nice read-through. Plus it is appealing to look at (yes you lecher in that way as well!). Thus I vote in favor of a series coverage Stilts-aniki.

  15. KF

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