「ネトゲとリアルは違うと思った？」 (Netoge to Riaru wa Chigau to Omotta?)
“I Thought Net Games and Reality Were Different?”
Games and reality are separate. Or are they? Yes. But how much should they be? That’s a better question.
I’m not much of a gamer anymore, nor do I play MMORPGs at all anymore, even though I used to be a raiding guild leader. (Now I write fiction and blog anime. I’m still King of the Nerds.) Yet the nostalgia remains, so I liked seeing the gang play together. Plus it wasn’t all for fanservice or lulz—they revealed character too, in how Hideki and Akane forbid Kyou from using premium items, or how Hideki started playing Ako’s character for her, or how Hideki and Kyou decided to prank Akane and dress up her character. What a powerful leek! I’m cool with a serving of nostalgia that builds character and is funny too. Plus, fire-mode Ako is hawt.
How Separate Should Games and Reality Be?
Such that this series has any philosophical bent, these question lie at its center: Are games and reality separate? If so, should they be? And if so, to what degree? The first of those being the least interesting, because of course games and reality are different. I say “different” instead of “separate” because of course it’s all reality, we perceive it with the same senses and mental facilities as everything else, but that’s not the spirit of the question. Are they different, and should they be kept as separate as possible? That’s a meatier question.
The answer this first arc seems to offer is that yes, they’re different, but they’re not entirely separate either, nor should they be. It’s taken as a given that Ako’s line between game and reality is too blurred, because of course a marriage in a game isn’t binding in real life. But Hideki’s line is too starkly drawn. This is an MMORPG they’re playing, which means there are players on the other side of each character, which in turn means that their actions can have real consequences. (That’s less true of a one-player FPS.) What’s more, even if Ako and Hideki’s in-game marraige doesn’t translate into real life, their affection can, and has—plus, he’s come to like her in real life too! Of course! Go get her, you idiot!
I like this exploration, because it treats the question as a real concern that many of us have no problem with, but which some do. It also makes us think about that line, and proposes the middle ground, which I think is where wisdom lies. Of course Ako should be wary about meeting a self-proclaimed middle age man when she’s a naive high school girl, but equally of course Hideki should look out for his friends. They’ve just got to find the right line, and bring both Ako and Hideki there.
Nekohime’s True Identity
At this point it’s become Netoge’s stock in trade that all the characters who play LA live improbably near each other and go to the same school, in one way or another, so Saitou Yui-sensei (Nanjo Yoshino) turning out to be Nekohime was no surprise. (Plus, ANN lists both character names on each seiyuu, so way to spoil it for us ANN.) Which is to say, this bit of convenience didn’t bother me, since it was expected. Also, it’s a comedy, so whatevs. I have no idea if she’ll be a constant companion to the main four or an occasional punchline, though I do know that I liked how she decked Ako, and then took advantage of being blackmailed to make sure Ako came to school. What a good and/or appropriately violent teacher!
Either way, I guess we’ll find out together, ’cause I’m picking this up. The season schedule will be out in a few days.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Where’s the line between game & reality, and where should it be? Also, Nekohime’s identity revealed nya~! #netoge 03
- Hearing Akane say “ore-sama” in her girl voice is so moe!
- Ako is a lot less scary when she’s openly miffed. It’s when she’s in jilted wife yandere mode, i.e. when she’s calm, that Hideki should worry. Fortunately she’s disconnected enough from reality to attack with a cosplay prop instead of a knife. For now.
- I love love looooooved how they interrupted the touching, romantic moment between Hideki and Ako when sensei appeared. The soundtrack ground to an immediate halt, and the hilarity got down to business. Wonderful! I was laughing out loud.
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: Dying idols, Frictionless routines, Even if you see it coming, it can still work, and Batman does not kill. Superman does not kill.