「他人任せで勝てると思った?」 (Taninmakase de Kateru to Omotta?)
“I Thought We Could Win by Delegating to Others?”

The setup for the finale was clunky at places, funny and heartwarming at others. All in all, the real question is how the series will finish out.

Mercenary Betrayal For The Lulz

It’s no surprise that buying the help of Wallenstein ended in a dissatisfying victory. The entire first half of the episode was dissatisfying and anti-climactic, though wasn’t that the point? Yet I didn’t enjoy it as much the account hack drama, because the reason for Wallenstein’s betrayal had so much less punch. Not that doing things for the lulz isn’t believable; certain segments of the internet run entirely on lulz. It just felt too . . . premeditated on Wallenstein’s part, maybe?

I’m having trouble putting my thoughts together on this one because I’m not entirely sure what rubbed me wrong. Maybe it’s the fact that the “buying victory will be shallow” aesop was so expected, or the fact that the Alley Cats didn’t react when they were betrayed, though that was the right move in the face of an asshole who was doing it for the reaction. Dunno. What I do know is that it set up a better second half and hopefully a great finale.

Maids, Blushing, and the Art of Asking

The second half was filled with more of the good comedy that I so love. Kyou asking Rusian to call her Kyou, and then blushing when he does it? Check, and hah! Maids? We’ve got three. (Let’s dwell on that a little more. Maaaaaids. *drools* *nosebleeds* *Stilts dies from dehydration and blood loss*) But what I most liked, from a plot/nerdery point of view, was Rusian’s solution to their predicament.

There’s a book I’ve been meaning to read: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. (That’s Amanda Fucking Palmer to her friends. There’s also a TED talk.) But my knowledge of the details aside, I’ve read and/or listened to her speak enough to know the thesis: that most people are deathly afraid to ask for help, even though those around them would gladly give it. Not even as a favor. People like to help people! We can take the Alley Cats’ quest to retake the castle as a small object lesson of this fact. Nekohime’s Elite Guard is certainly in it mostly for their own reasons, but what of TMW? They’re willing to be a deterrent even though they could get egg on their face if someone calls Rusian’s bluff and TMW doesn’t come to the rescue (despite what the Kuro no Majutsu-shi said, there is a potential demerit). Yet he decided to be their shield anyway. Because it could be fun, he said, but I dunno. Kuro no Majutsu-shi has a history of helping without any good ulterior reason. He just likes to help.

It’s clear that all of this is setting up to a finale that will have some punch, and one in which Ako finally wants to act instead of defaulting to inaction (which is a decision as well, remember). Though the antagonists are lacking, at least that feeling has the potential to lead to a nice climax. Besides, the art of asking is a lesson the Alley Cats would do well to learn, and learning it from net games still counts.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A strange betrayal sets up a spurt of training, asking for help, & also blushing and meidos. Those are extra #netoge 11

Random thoughts:

  • I realized this episode that I have no idea what kind of class Nekohime plays. A healer of some kind, I guess? Since she mentioned not helping Ako with the healing. Which makes me wonder why she logged on at all, other than the meta reason of compelling her elite guard to act since she got killed. The scriptwriters probably should have just let her be willing to fight, even though she never got the chance.
  • Compare these handshakes. It’s obvious which one is going to work out better.
  • I loved the post-preview clips, where it was all oppai, oppai, oppai, oppai, frustration! Poor Akane. Just remember, a flat chest is a status symbol! A rarity! There’s demand, right? You’re valuable!

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: I love sales jobs, Good realism is character realism, Dying idols, and Frictionless routines.

Full-length images: 25, 27, 28, 40.




  1. Guys who act like jerk, wearing dark armor, odd handshake. Yeah, they’re quite suspicious already. It was wise of the Alley cats to stay calm and leave. Wallenstein is going to get a beating out of them next episode.

    And what irks me is those bitches letting Ako do all the freaking work on the maid cafe.

    1. They already starved the troll by not having a fit. Wallenstein wanted them to be very angry to get their kicks. Not getting angry and leaving is how you “don’t feed the troll” very mature by master.

      Remember always don’t feed trolls. This actually comes from Phycological research developed for management and education where people crave positive and negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is getting someone angry at you so often the negative activity continues. So it was found Extinction of behavior is what often ends negative behavior. Extincting behavior is ignoring it. I’ve tried it, it works.

  2. I have to say, nothing Wallenstein did surprised me or made me dislike them in any way. Not because I condone their actions/behaviour, but because this is pretty much how people act online. Guilds usually only care about their own guild members and only mess with people from other guilds. Maybe things are different in the japanese gaming community, but in my experience (in EU & NA), guilds coming together like in Netoge, SAO, etc. is a very rare sight.

    For every ten people I ask for help, nine will suggest that I go do some inappropriate things to my family members before killing myself. And then that tenth person shows up and spends so much of their precious free time making sure I get all the help I need. It used to bother me back when I was a teen, but now that I’m in my twenties, I’ve learned that that’s just how people are in MMO’s. After a while I realized that even the guilds I’d join would have shitty attitude towards people not in the guild. I don’t join guilds anymore, not after a certain incident where my guild mates ganged up on two newbies who were asking for help and made them feel so bad simply because they were new to the game.

    Then again, Alley Cats are indeed kids in their teens so this is just them encountering this type of behaviour for the first time.. Poor Nekohime-sensei, I felt for her when she went “Iyaah! I’ve given my students yet another negative memory!”

    1. Aye, people can be a bit of dicks online. It’s the whole Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory in action. Maybe what bothered me is that they weren’t dickish enough until the silly betrayal, or that they weren’t baldfaced enough about screwing the Alley Cats (like un-allying with them on the spot and attacking there—less effort, basically).

      Sensei is great. She cares about her students above all else :3

      1. Didn’t they say that the only way to unally during the siege event was for one of the guilds to leave? Also, I think not telegraphing the betrayal would generally lead to a better reaction later, which seems to be what Wallenstein was going for.

    2. Ouch been in many guilds and never had them troll newbies. I did have one I had just joined have everyone higher level join a different guild with a level requirement for raids because they could not work up the nerve to kick the players they did not like. But I started joining MMO guilds in my late 30’s so I know what type of helpful personalities I want and what offline type of connections the guild has so I can know about the players more fully. Often I have a 50 percent or greater female group sort of like my real life, confirmed on voice chat and Facebook. Poor me sometimes I feel like their gay friend except I’m not gay 😛 The secret is active listing, in simple terms listing a lot, using conformation words so they know your listening, and open questions it works wonders. Also the guild I have had good results with have older members even though we normally allow under 18 in part because some have kids playing too.

      The bad things I have ran into the most is a tribal split between two leaders with the guild splitting up, this is very normal in real life groups so it just something you have to expect from time to time if you deal with groups.

      So advice is mature sounding players who are in voice chat or have a old fashioned forum and guild can be great fun. A few married couples really stabilizes as well.

  3. I think it’s just me but the past three episodes of Netoge felt as if they took filler episodes from the middle and tacked it on at the end. The wedding in episode 8 would’ve been a good end to the series, but the show continued onward. Don’t get me wrong, I like this show but it just feels a bit strange.

    1. The pacing for the last two episodes has been a little off-kilter. It also could have been that this woulda been a better two-episode arc, but they either had too much to do during it (likely) or they wanted to use it as the finale (also likely), so they had to stretch it a bit.

  4. Nyoro~n Akane-san

    Welp, the only thing lacking when Wallenstein decided to stab Alley Cats in the back was the “Rains of Castamere” playing in the background… Money doesn’t always solve everything, Kyou.

    That’s one reason why I’m not into MMORPGs or playing multiplayer video games with random strangers…the potential for GIFT is just too damn high. Then again, the same could be said every time someone steps inside an online community.

    Oh well, at least seeing the girls in maid uniforms more than made up for that.

    1. Money can solve a bit though. If they advertise their services and have a reputation she can not only sue them for failure to see through their agreement she can spend money to really hammer home how shitty they are as mercs. If they legit make money from that they just shot themselves in the foot.

      Then again, you would think the game would have a debuff kind of thing where if you were involved in a PvP area and left it even if you broke the contract you couldn’t return until the period reset. I mean, yes, Wallenstein were assholes but the game allowing them to do that is just idiocy on the developers’ part.

      1. Depends, I have the impression that real world payment for in game services is a violation of the terms of the game. If that is the case you might win a suit but get banned in the process. If it was a in game payment of items normally the game will not enforce that type of thing, don’t want the labor cost of resolving that type of thing. And if the mercenaries were not from your area or country it might be difficult to sue. Have not idea and not curious enough to find out how countries handle lawsuits over player agreements in a game.

  5. The thing about this was so unbelievable especially considering this guild is a “mercenary” guild which means they sell runs or wins or whatever the contractor wants them to do , yet they trolled somebody that paid them money to do this, this goes public they will lose the trust of tons of ppl that use their services. Its not possible for anyone to be this stupid to lose their guild trust, even if they re strong. The rest of the episodes was mehh, not a good episode tbh

    1. Wallenstein is probably more respectful towards those who give them proper jobs (like raiding an epic dungeon where even the help of Wallenstein may not be enough). But this job was a joke: a weak guild paid one of the strongest guilds to bully a mediocre guild, and allow the weak guild to take all the credit. A lot of people would buy them drinks for screwing them up.

    2. It is true on the reputation angle, and that bugged me too. Though Nayrael isn’t wrong either. It’s not unbelievable that things would happen like this, but it’s not entirely compelling either.

    3. Mercenaries screwing their employers is the historical norm in the real world. Historically with a few exceptions mercenaries are viewed as rotten over all by military historians and the later civil servant armies, normally called professional defeated mercenary forces so often that mercenaries fell way out of favor from the time before professional armies when mercenaries were very common and at least better than the peasant levies and equal to the noble retainers often.

      Yes keeping a good reputation has rewards but as you get tired of the same old, same old I can easily see mercenaries slacking off or going rouge for the fun of it. And hey for awhile they will still get some jobs as they will claim they did not do it.

      1. Indeed, Machiavelli himself pointed out that Florence needed to build a national army because mercenaries could not be trusted. Also, because for all their fame in the Italian wars against similar armies, the condottieri tended to fail hard against the national armies of France and Spain.

        Also, I’m surprised no one has mentioned that Wallenstein is most likely named after Albrecht von Wallenstein, one of the most famous mercenary contractors and imperial generals in the Thirty Year War. He was infamous for his disloyalty too: when Bohemia sided with the Protestant cause he fled with his troops and the Moravian treasure to the Imperial side, and when he started having problems with the Emperor he planned to change sides again (but the Emperor was faster and had him assassinated).

        Yes, with that name, he had a “strong but not trustworthy” sign on his head.

  6. I don’t think that Wallenstein were such jerks for doing this. Look at the situation from their perspective: some unskilled n00bs pay you to win their fight for them and then wanted to show the world how cool they were for taking over the castle. And I don’t remember the last ep that well, but didn’t the Alley Cats actually buy the strongest Mercenary Guild to help them beat one of the weakest Fort Holders?

    In their eyes, Alley Cats looked like spoiled rich kids that wanted to look badass without earning any of it, possibly planning to tell all their friends about “their accomplishments”. From their perspective, they trolled a bunch of rich assholes. We may know better because we watched these characters for 10 episodes, but Wallenstein never met them before.

    And quite frankly, they did deserve what happened: win this fairly, Alley Cats. Don’t cheat!

    1. During the episode I tried to imagine it through Wallenstein’s eyes and came to the same conclusion; thinking if you’re struggling to take down one of the tinier forts and decided to resort to paying others, you may want to rethink how you’re playing the game. Although if I were actually playing I probably would’ve ditched the alliance after taking the throne and left the Alley Cats to deal with the other PvPers who were likely to roll straight through them

    2. Goes to a lack of empathy even so. Which is not to say that they’re evil for betraying their alliance, though they are a bit of dicks, in the same way that the Alley Cats (Kyou, really) were acting spoiled/entitled by buying help instead of earning their victory.

    1. Well this makes the story a support harem by TV Troops standards. That is both Akane and Kyou have shown some light interest now and the other two females have either flirted with or shown care for the main male. My personal term I like better is “Not really a harem” when it’s clear the One true Pair are staying together and the others are being civilized and keeping it friends. Sort of the same with a Gentleman and a friends hot lover. You put a note in back of brain, pick her up if he drops her but don’t admit that, and then be fully supportive of the relationship.

      Again this is a full harem for this viewer but not the main character.

  7. Definitely feel that these episodes should have taken place earlier since it just feels like more of the “typical” episodes. With the way the hacking episodes went with the greater amount of drama and the way it ended on such a high note, it definitely should have finished the series with that. I even mentioned on the site where I stream the episodes that felt like the series was over already with that episode.


    Kyou is still best girl to me.


    …but I’ll never get tired of Akane’s smug smile.

  8. the thing is, akane is not a complete flatboard; she’s got breasts, it’s just thaat ever other female cast member around her is a double D and up. It’s almost as if the world is trying to convince her that the average breast size is a DD cup. Eh, if anything, she’s the best of the female cast in terms of character (even tho i didnt like her in the beginning) with kyou right behind her

  9. I think i know what might have nagged you about this ep in particular. For the most part, netoge has had built up situations around some sort of emotional or character dilemma. In the first arc, it was ako retreating to her gaming delusions every time something went wrong; in the account hacking arc, it was about Hideki trying to make ako realize his feelings for her and overcoming the hurdle of someone inconsiderately waltzing in on ako’s safe haven with hideki and possibly trampling the grounds to which their relationship had been built on. With those two arcs, there was a lot more emotional resonance behind the character’s goals and convictions. The stakes were a bit higher because the arcs highlighted the growing friendships and connections the characters had with each other. It highlighted what these guys meant to each other.

    With this arc and ep in particular, you dont really have that. The stakes dont hold up as well as the other arcs did. There doesnt seem to be any build up to an emotional catharsis like the other two arcs did and as a result, this one doesnt feel as strong. There are good moments for sure, but they dont coalesce as well as the eps of previous. There isnt much tension or major conflict to really get invested in. Sure this arc is kinda showing development for ako because rather than retreat when there’s trouble, she has reached some rational middle ground that finally allows her to feel frustration for not doing as much as she possibly can. She’s also learning how to ask for help and as a result, becoming less closed off. These are good points, but situations surrounding/leading up these developments dont have the gravitas or the cohesion of the previous arcs and that’s why there’s this feeling of clunkiness. That’s how i feel about it anyway so i assume that’s probably what might be nagging at you.

  10. I enjoyed it, some parts were cool, and I like Ako development. I think we into a problem where the set 12 episodes left us where the show probably needed to end shorter or power on though this book middle type thing to a better point with more than 12 but less than 24. But of course the number of episodes is a TV limit we have to live with. That the superiority of books and short stories they can end where they need to, within limits a publisher might put on.

    1. That’s why it’s nice being my own publisher. I have no limits 😀

      (Though limits are useful from a productivity/creativity standpoint. That’s a whole other thing I’m not gonna get into, though.)

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