「海に行ったらリア充になれると思った?」 (Umi ni Ittara Riajū ni Nareru to Omotta?)
“I Thought If I Went To The Beach, I Would Become a Normie?”

It’s a fanservice episode in the best of ways.

Fanservice, In The Best of Ways

This episode was all about fanservice. Yes, fanservice of the usual kind, but don’t let yourself get hung up on the usual titillating meaning of the phrase. Fanservice, in its essence, is about giving the audience something designed to please it, and not all fanservice is bad. Fanservice can be earned, or it can be used to wind up a punch that will hurt all the more. This episode did both.

First of all, earned fanservice. We’ve been watching these characters for seven episodes, we’ve come to like them, and they’ve gone through all manner of trials courtesy of Ako. Do we, and they, not deserve a little fun? Perhaps “deserve” is a strong word, and fanservice isn’t ever needed per se, but Netoge is a fluffy romcom with a surprisingly heartfelt center. A fun time is appreciated, and it feels earned after all the work the storytellers have done to get to this point.

But that’s not all this episode’s fanservice does. It’s in service of the plot, showing the fluffy raijuu day where Ako was supposed to get enamored by the riajuu life and break away from her life of total net game addiction, but granted, that could have been done in a montage. What it does is wind up for the menacing punch at the end. I don’t know about you, but those final moments worried me all the more for having just watched all the good stuff. It gave me immediate moments that I didn’t want Ako and Hideki to lose.

Betrayed Trust, Maybe

I feel like Netoge is entering a minefield, and good on it. Minefields need to be explored and, if possible, cleared. (That was a metaphor, but it’s definitely true in real life.) With what looks like someone having hijacked Hideki’s account through the password snafu in the lobby, things could get very uncomfortable, and fast. Will they threaten a loss of trust between Ako and Hideki? A cruel shock to shake her from her net game addiction? Or will things get rapey? This is a minefield, and I’ll be very interested to see where the story goes with it—and especially impressed if they wade in and don’t set off a bomb. Next week could be an interesting episode.

Author note: I’m going to be moving halfway across the country next week, so my Netoge and Sousei posts might be late. Some of the other writers are helping me out, but it could still be Friday or Saturday before I post. Thanks for your understanding, and I’ll try to get back to my usual good habits soon.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Swimsuit episode! It’s a riajuu summer, but Ako just doesn’t get it. Ends on a menacing note #netoge 07

Random thoughts:

  • Sensei’s outfit is pretty flashy for escorting a bunch of kids. I’m not complaining. Everyone’s outfits are pretty great though.
  • Stilts Swimsuit reactions, in order: (1) Twintail bikin Ako, yatta! (2) The sailor style is goofy, but it suits her. (3) Kyou really does like skimpy clothing, doesn’t she? Not complaining again. (4) Racing swimsuit. Nice. (And I guess Hideki was there too.)
  • 100 romantic lead points to Hideki for complimenting Ako on her swimsuit properly. I know that bar is low, but still. Well done.
  • All three girls? Die!
  • Nothing better than an angry sensei nyaa-ing in real life.
  • Ako saw Rusian’s greatsword. That girl is going to be dangerous when she realizes she can attack Hideki in real life.
  • Wait, they took a bath . . . and then changed back into their swimsuits? Not that I’m complaining, but c’mon. That’s strange.
  • There’s a simple solution to Ako’s marriage problem: tell her that in-game and RL marriages are two different tracks. Two different quests, if you will. She’s at the top of the in-game track with Rusian, but she’s technically only classmates with Hideki IRL. Wouldn’t she at least like to upgrade to bf/gf in the IRL track? And if things keep going well…

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: Good realism is character realism, Dying idols, Frictionless routines, and Even if you see it coming, it can still work.




  1. Oh boy, account hacked at the end?

    Wonder if this will end up shaking up Ako’s view of things a little.

    And Kyou and Yui-sensei! <3

    And I just lost it with that random bit with Akane and Yui-sensei.

    *spin spin spin, throw!* "Coaching complete!"


      1. You are correct but many wrestlers like to play around with professional wrestling moves for fun, normally not at the class or club. Plus you not getting paid for being a normal wrestler in most countries.

        In my limited wrestling experience the guy next door loved to come over and practice pro moves. Now that was long ago when they did not admit Professional wrestling was fake. So no true idea on today or in Japan for females I have the impression wrestling is not a socially popular thing for women to do.

  2. Waaait a minute here. How did he get hacked? Then what’s the point of the RNG token keychain they all got upon check in? Isn’t that suppose to prevent login attempts since the number changes every minute? Then, the “hacker” would have to be someone associated with the hotel staff or LA admins.

    1. My best guess is that the PC terminal Hideki used has keylogger malware. Computers used in net gaming cafes are usually for public use, and unless the hotel has staff that are tech-savvy enough about computer maintenance and Internet security, it’s possible someone from the outside (though I’m not discounting someone associated with the hotel staff or LA admins being the culprit) installed keylogger malware on that terminal, or worse, on all those terminals.

      Also, Kyou mentioned reports of LA game accounts getting hacked during the previous episode. I thought it was an offhand mention/warning for the Net Gaming Club members to be careful, but I didn’t expect them to encounter that kind of scenario so quickly in this episode.

      Speaking from experience, some PCs from shady net gaming cafes may have viruses, spyware or malware, so be careful about plugging in your thumb drives/external hard drives willy-nilly to public computers, as well as logging on to your e-mail account/game account on public computers.

    2. Given the way it was explained I think the key was more of an event code and less of a 2-factor-authentication code. A static event code could just be tweeted out and everyone could access it.

      Then again it’s an anime. I would be (pleasantly) surprised if they used realistic security protocols.

    3. Yeah that keychain wasn’t an authenticator but rather displayed event keys.

      And my guess is, that Hidekis first login attempt actually was a phishing site. Seeing how he typed in all his data and nothing happend after he hit enter (not even a “username/password incorrect” message).

      Could be that the hacker is in the hotel. Propaply went to said terminal and set the site adress to his phishing site and left it for the next person.

  3. Shit’s goin down real fast son, I’m terrified about what’s gonna happen in next week’s episode, let’s just hope that Rusian notices the situation in time!

    Nishizawa Mihashi
  4. see, didnt i say ako still didnt get the message? well aomewhere deep inside she kinda does but at the same time she doesnt. i knew it wouldnt be that easy

  5. Please tell me we’re not getting NTR…
    I just knew something was going to happen when Rusian had trouble logging in.

    If Akane hadn’t dragged Ako away, she probably would have pounced on Rusian.

    BTW, good luck with the move, Stilts.

  6. This is why you should never log into your important stuff on a public PC.

    Also, fuck NTR. I understand it’s just another fetish like lolis and huge breasts, but doesn’t work for me.

    1. I’m hoping this isn’t some NTR plot line, and instead is about Ako learning more about the real world (and perhaps retreating from it further because of this . . . or retreating into the world further when LA no loner feels safe? Dunno). Either way, that’s my hope.

  7. Ako’s going to call the guy out on it. While it’ll probably give Ako a good shock, she’ll also shock everyone back because she knows Rusian too damn well and the thief is going to screw up.

    Also proving that Rusian should wake up and realize this woman should be in real life married.

    Dorian S.
  8. Well I guess Ako will either realise taht something is wrong, or Hideki will visit her in RL because he lost his connection and can’t relog. So Ako can see RL Rushian and LA Rushian acting seperatly (Or i will be Kyou and Akane and nothing happens).

    1. This really is the only scenario that makes sense. Hideki isn’t a moron, so even if the failure to reconnect doesn’t raise a red flag, he’d still contact Ako. They’re in the same damn building! If they do something stupid like he just went to bed and she spent all night getting chatted up by a fake without realizing, I’ll flip tables. Lots of tables.

      Neither is that dumb, so please don’t let them be degraded for the sake of “drama”.

      1. I agree. This show has been pretty good about avoiding the typical romcom annoyances (we have an MC that actually confesses, for one) so I’d be dissapointed if this storyline suddenly takes a turn into bloody soap opera territory. I mean, there’s plenty of good character development that could come out of a event like this, but I’ve watched enough shows (even good ones) screw this up to trust that this one won’t do that.

        Netoge, don’t fall into that pitfall, please.

      2. Have faith, have faith. The storyteller could still make a mistake, or be trying to tell a different story than we assumed, but they’ve done everything to earn our trust so far. I won’t go in with delusional optimism—I’m no Ako—but I have a reasonable amount of faith they’ll see this through well.

  9. While this is a good minefield if used right, putting it as a friggin cliffhanger is not good. Well it’s not like I can’t handle this kind of thing, but this show after all this time has been very nostalgic heartfelt vanilla. I don’t need those in my netoge 🙁

    Also, I don’t want to be reminded of 2 things I dislike: NTR and having my online account hacked 🙁

    (That moment when my Ragnarok Online account 10 years ago was hacked when I played in some random net cafe, and the entire hard earned equips and money from my hunter character was gone. I actually stopped playing RO after that since I was broke, and being forced to move another grinding spot because I need to play with no-card no-buff equip is terrible. Good thing private servers exists some years after that.)

      1. I never intending to watch Netoge for a Best Stories candidate though. Just some guilty pleasure show with some surprisingly genuine warmth and nostalgic sweetness.

        This kind of conflict might be good as a mid episode conflict that is resolved in the same episode, but as a cliffhangeer like this? I say it’s a poor placement. Making all those vanilla in the middle felt bitter with this kind of aftertaste, imho.

        It’s like watching Aria and suddenly you have a thriller scene in it. It’s just not what I order for this. I know that this ain’t going to become some kind of nasty NTR, but I still don’t really like it.

      2. As I mentioned in a comment below, the issue is probably that you’re trying to impose what YOU want the story to be, and it’s under no obligation to oblige you. It’s not that it’s bad placement or anything. It’s just not what you wanted. Those are two wholly different things.

        This series has always had a strong element of character drama, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that the drama will intensify as all the low-hanging fruit fails to shake Ako out of her delusional mental state. What would be uncharacteristic is if this actually turns into something horrifying and rapey, since Netoge has a fundamentally optimistic view of humanity. It remains to be seen if that will happen.

      3. I don’t think that it’s imposing. More like it’s the general tone that have been established this far, and suddenly getting an evil active antagonist (even if used simply for short term plot device) in the end of a full vanilla episode is simply an unpleasant surprise.

        Did personal taste took a role in this impression? Of course! However, they using a more omnious plot device in a suspended timing is a fact, and some people not really liking them is normal. I won’t go as far as telling the author/director to change things, or dropping my score just because of some conflict in an episode with great comedy and heartfelt scenes. It’s just not what I would prefer if I had been given the option.

  10. I’m thinking maybe Rusian being hacked and no longer acting like Rusian, sends Ako into shock. Then Hideki comes in, and he’s still himself/old Rusian, so she finally starts to separate the two?

    Also, this is why I wouldn’t trust public computers with log-in info. If there’s a live event occurring, would it kill them to have a staffer there to monitor those computers? They didn’t appear to use those computers for anything beyond log-in and a simple event, and taking advantage of those computers would seem like an easy way to hack a lot of (probably hardcore) accounts.

    1. I have a feeling you’re wanting this show to be something other’n it wanted to be, so yeah, probably best to drop it. I don’t feel that “too generic” should default to a negative though, even if I’ve used it that way myself. Uniqueness is an element of the mix, but even a fairly typical show can be good.

      Plus, I don’t happen to think this is generic by its genre, but agree to disagree. Hopefully I’ll catch you on another/future show!

  11. Fun that the ending whipped from most’s comments. The opening was so cute and funny, with tired Ako catch getting the evil eye and the wonderful Ako reaction to finding out there would be no net activities as the clock hits the hour.

    Like how the Master is teasing sort of with her skimpy suit enjoying the reaction I’m sure it got part of, unfortunately no nose-bleed, or running off. But it is not serious she just wants to feel like a women.

    And then the girls teased the safe guy, I’ve been there one of the up and down sides of being friends with lots of women.

  12. I’m surprised Akane didn’t feel anything after hitting her head on the car window for who knows how long. Admittedly with what Kyou and Ako were wearing, I was expecting Akane to follow suit, so I didn’t expect her choice of swimwear. Personally I wouldn’t call it goofy Stilts but we both agree she really looks good and cute in it. Fanservice really doesn’t need to have a girl wearing less. The episode pretty much balanced it out with Ako and Kyou on one side, and Saito-sensei and Akane on the other. And speaking of Sensei, so I wasn’t the only one who noticed she looked pretty daring in her casual attire. It still suited her though. What also caught my attention was the fact that the hotel had a collaboration event with LA. I’ve heard of collaborations by fast food joints but an entire hotel? It’s pretty clever how they linked in-game items to the food menu and gift shop, not to mention also very dangerous as things I think items in hotels are pretty pricey. If I were in Akane’s situation and bought so much hotel stuff, I’d cry for my wallet right after.

  13. Funny how Hideki and Akane complain so much about Kyou blowing all that cash on a game, and yet spent money at the hotel just to get in-game items. What’s the difference, really?

    1. I thought about that too. To be fair to them though, they were probably hungry anyway, with no readily available alternatives (and we don’t know if the hotel’s food was noticeably more expensive or anything), so at that point it’s just letting their in-game item choices direct what they get for dinner, right?

      The souvenirs are more straight-up cash shop style purchases, though. They still get souvenirs they can give to people I guess, but it’s definitely much closer.

    2. I’m assuming that at least some of the in-game items linked to hotel purchases are event-exclusive, so it could have a certain value (ie. bragging rights) beyond any gameplay benefits. If you’re gonna go out in person to an event, might as well get a souvenir for the special occasion. For me, it would seem kinda weird to go to this kind of event and buy absolutely nothing; why would you even go there in the first place? Also, some people are more willing to pay if they get some sort of physical product versus a purely digital one, even if that product is overpriced because it’s bundled with some in-game benefit.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *