「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.

Playing Together

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

Random thoughts:

  • 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.

Full-length images: 06, 33.




  1. Only one left to reveal is that pink short haired girl, Show Spoiler ▼

    . Gotta say too I’m impressed with Baker-sensei…I mean Nekohime-sensei. I assumed she’d give an exaggerated surprise reaction to finding out Rusian was her student, though the clothesline was surprising. After finding out their identities and blackmailed to be their advisor, she’s pretty calm about the whole thing and even used it as an opportunity to help Ako. I guess the reaction I assumed was like how Sawa-chan-sensei in K-ON got all panicky after her secret was exposed. I definitely like how Hideki didn’t take long to accept that he likes Ako. Not to mention his and Master Kyoh’s idea of fun. The bear and leek equipment was a riot and so cute on Schwein. That and it was fun too to see Kyoh can be as goofy as the rest of them, when she got KO’d.

  2. Hideki: (To Ako) “You don’t actually have to type out your chats, you know.”

    Yeah, you’re in the same freaking room, for crying out loud. If anything, communication should be a bit easier.

    Also… Eep. Just eep… Makes me wonder how long it will take before there’s fanart (or an actual scene) of Ako doing the infamous Mirai Nikki “yandere trance”… (I took a look at Chapter 1 of the manga version of this series and one frame used the “ゴゴゴゴゴ” [GO GO GO GO GO/”Menacing”] unsound effect from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, so a shout out to Mirai Nikki might not be so farfetched…)

    Anyway… On the whole “games and reality being separate” topic (which I could also connect with balancing one’s online and offline life) I can only offer this personal maxim:

    “Don’t do something online that will come back to bite you in the ass offline.”

    And yeah, an offline meeting with a stranger one barely knows is an instant red flag. Luckily for Ako that Nekohime is actually Saitou-sensei. Otherwise, the whole scenario would turn into something out of an h-doujin (and I’m pretty sure those Rule 34 artists are furiously drawing that exact scenario)…

    Finally, I never thought that I’d find another teacher character that I’d like besides Sawa-chan-sensei and Kuzehashi-sensei. Good to see Saitou-sensei follow in their footsteps.

    1. Ah, one more thing: Ako mentioned in this episode that her parents are rarely home, otherwise, she wouldn’t be spending more time on gaming. I’m starting to get a clearer picture of her home life, though I’m now wondering if she’s the only child in her family. Because if she is, that’s rather lonely…

      1. I would bet she’s an only child, or if not, her sibling(s) are markedly older than her. Though I’d expect only child. Most characters seem to be only children unless there’s a story reason for them to have siblings (which isn’t how it works IRL, but authors can get lazy sometimes).

      1. Technically, I’m also a Millennial (albeit one born in the ’80s), but back in my day, when friends and I play Counter-Strike or StarCraft at a gaming/Internet cafe we talked to each other across the room. If we’re lucky, we shared the same row of seats while other friends are still nearby in another row (similar to the setup in the Net Game Club’s room). Rarely did we use something like in-game chat. Most video games nowadays have an option for voice chat, however.

        I do see some younger ones doing exactly that, though (silently texting each other even though they’re all in the same room). It gets a little awkward both ways: On one hand, everyone can just simply converse directly but for some reason or two choose not to. But on the flipside, if you don’t have a smartphone to see what they’re silently discussing, you can’t join in. (Instant isolation, so to speak.)

  3. surprise! it is a double trap!
    Teacher actually playing MMO is nothing new (see: Lucky Star), but this one has been rotecting her privacy by pretending to be older man IRL…
    Guess that’s good cause this avoids the problem of teacher-student relationship. Still she is able to use violence to defend herself in off-line meeting… Notabene, ako with her replica of game wand as weapon was hilarious! I am surprised she didnt try to cast spells with that…
    Also been kinda guilty of chosing equipment on looks value, but fortunately most games i have played had either moddable equipment or transmogrifying system…

  4. anothercat
      1. After reading that the light novel version of the scene used a (toy-like) box cutter, I couldn’t help but remember these lyrics:

        Kanashimi no mukou e to…
        tadoritsukeru nara…

        *record needle scratch*

        I’m so glad that my first thought of that scene was, “How did Ako fit that wand into her bag?” instead of, “Holy s**t, Ako’s gonna go (anime!)Kaede Fuyou on her sensei!”

        Makes me wonder if the manga version also did that change…

  5. Games with costumes wearable on top of gears/equipment would be ideal for Ako, so she don’t have to choose them by cuteness.

    What a twist to Nekohime, just when you almost got over your trauma of Nekohime being a bloke, it turns out to be your sensei and you proposed to her.

    1. I feel like LA is an old-style MMORPG that doesn’t have costume slots, the cash shop aside. Or maybe it’s just one that uses whatever parts of old and new MMOs the author thought would be most funny. Probably that.

  6. Picked up, yay!

    Like last week, I appreciate how well Netoge manages to blend its story with its comedy. Ako’s situation and her relation to Hideki are taken seriously, moreso than in most comedy shows, which causes this show to have a strong foundation that elevates it from your average gag comedy. And it doesn’t let it get in the way of the laughs either, as there’s still plenty of funny to be had, even amongst serious scenes. That’s a balance a lot of shows screw up, and I appreciate this one doing it right.

    Anyways, I think my favourite gags this episode revolved around them playing together (them changing the gear on Schwein was such a typical prank, haha) as well as the meeting with the teacher. Loved how Hideki’s reaction to finding out Nekohime was his teacher wasn’t one of ‘omg she’s actually a hot older woman!’ but rather a ‘oh god no!’ – the same reaction a lot of high school boys would have in reality, to be honest. And her decking Ako like that, didn’t see that coming. Poor, poor Ako. Though I guess she had it coming in a way.

    This one’s easily passed the three-episode rule for me, so I’m looking forward to the rest.

    1. Good point on Hideki’s reaction. He instantly realizes that this isn’t a hot thing, it’s an extremely socially embarrassing one, and he doesn’t know how to deal. It doesn’t matter if your sensei is hot, in real life a sensei is a sensei above all else.

      Except for me. Stilts-sensei is also your onii-chan. AND YOUR RULER! BOW DOWN TO MY BAD SELF/ORE-SAMA!

    2. In the novel, he actually accused the teacher for being a lesbian who pretends to be a guy online in order to lure some naive girl. He even went as far as trying to call the cops.

      1. That moment where your girlfriend sees through you wrong, makes wild assumptions and almost commits (admittedly cute) assault.

        Ako seems the type to snoop through your phone messages, Rusian.

  7. All the players except MC being a girl is a stretch, but the characters being located near each other actually makes some sense if we presume LA is a relatively popular game. Usually the game “world” is spread between multiple servers, with players initially being assigned to one that is near them to cut down on lag. This takes the latter a bit to the extreme (I could see a server just for Tokyo), but then it may all be something StuCo Pres’ Dad set up given the situation there.

    Just to say it’s not quite as outlandish as it may seem.

    1. I wouldn’t bother justifying it. If I were playing such a game in the states, I’d be assigned to a central server, and would be playing with people from San Antonio to Chicago—not exactly a quick jaunt. And yes, Japan is smaller, but there are a lot of damn people, so them all going to the same school is a huge stretch.

      That’s fine. It’s a comedy. I let it slide as long as it enables the funny. No need to contort yourself to justify it.

  8. Thinking of the time line here.. The guild has been created for approximately a year when we come in at Episode 1. Hideki said he played solo for a year after he got shot down by Nekohime. So 2 years earlier, he would have been a 2nd year middle schooler? Which would put Nekohime most likely in college?

  9. I’m surprised Hideki is getting is feelings in check so quickly already (he basically admitted he likes Ako in real life as well… right?). Is this a sign? Are things actually going to happen? Will Hideki and Ako’s relationship actually progress, instead of beat around the bush like most other anime???

  10. well, the anime is on rush mode I felt they missed out to explain why the teacher aka Nekohime decided to revael herself to Ako.. After she heard about Ako from Hideki, she wanted to help Ako out in real life… 100% made her an even better teacher…


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