「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
- 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.