Netoge: And You Thought There is Never A Girl Online Series Review: What Sort of School Actually Approves an Online Gaming Club?

Overview:

Nisimura plays online games but after previously asking a girl to marry him in the game and being told she was actually a guy, he’s decided to not get married online again. That is until Ako wears him down with her persistence. However, after meeting Ako in the real world the boundary between online and real world relationships is going to get seriously blurred.

Review:

I have a problem reviewing this series because to be perfectly honest, it is pretty ordinary to dreadful depending on how cynical I’d like to be about the entire thing, and yet that didn’t stop me from having a fairly good time watching it through what was an intensely busy and tiring work week. In honesty, my sheer exhaustion probably worked in the show’s favour because it meant that rather than being critical of the various female stereotypes or wondering why they would continue to show us the real characters rather than their avatars in the game, or just who thought anyone would be stupid enough to try to video chat from a bath, I just kind of shrugged and kept watching.

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The basic story is pretty simple with Nishimura (or Rusian as pretty much everyone calls him all the time to the point where the one or two times his real name is said you kind of forget that is was his name for a moment) trying to convince Ako that even though they are married in the game they aren’t in real life. Only, he isn’t trying very hard because he has enough feelings for her, even though he keeps insisting their online lives a different to their real world lives, that he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. Ako on the other hand gets used for every insulting female/beginning gamer cliché you can imagine as well as an excess of fan-service throughout the series.

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Or at least, that would be the story except that at some point even the characters seem to forget that they were caring about whether Ako thought they were married or not and we have training camps, accounts getting hacked, Rusian choosing to remarry Ako in the game and more or less accepting their slightly weird real life relationship, and then some random club activity to get a photo of them occupying a fort in the game for a school festival. It is all very much ‘and then this happened’ kind of storytelling where they’ve started with a basic premise and realised that this isn’t enough to carry a full season so just kind of thrown other tropes and ideas at the show until it was full.

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Despite that, there’s a basic overall progression in the relationships between the central four characters that actually feels fairly natural (given the starting point – which admittedly is a bit off). And despite the fan service, the ridiculous cliches that they all are, and the questionable plot progression, each of the characters is kind of charming in their own way. Even Ako manages to have her moments where she actually is just a genuinely adorable and shy girl who uses online gaming to make connections and avoid a painful reality. And she manages to develop from that point to someone who is still painfully shy but is starting to find her feet both in the game and in reality.

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Likewise the plot is what it is, but each event is actually quite well done even if the overall sequence isn’t. Particularly the final story about the group taking on a fort and a mercenary guild. The training sequences, the reaching out to friends, the using all the strategies you would expect them to use given the previous episodes, all just come together to make a fairly cohesive mini-story, even if none of it has anything to do with the original premise other than they are still gaming and there are in fact girls involved.

Visually the show is quite pretty to look at. There’s lots of very bright colours and the in game world is quite lovely. I particularly like the contrast between the scenes where we are just inside the game and when we see the screen that the character is looking at. It kind of shows the level of immersion gamers feel sometimes and then shows what an onlooker who doesn’t quite get gaming would see.

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This one is tagged as a comedy and a harem, though I didn’t find it particularly funny and other than Ako there really is no girl actually serious about getting with Nishimura. A few of the other girls reveal some general fondness for him, but they aren’t actually pursuing him or doing any of the usual things you would expect if this were actually a harem.

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All and all, this isn’t an anime I’m likely to talk about or remember overly in a few months time, but it was kind of fun enough for the once watch. Still, I’d put warnings on this for anyone who gets annoyed at female characters being used as fanservice or just generally lacking agency and being rescued by the male character. If you can ignore that, don’t overly care if there is a strong narrative, and you enjoy stories about gamers and gaming, then you’ll probably have enough fun with this.


Thanks for reading.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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3 thoughts on “Netoge: And You Thought There is Never A Girl Online Series Review: What Sort of School Actually Approves an Online Gaming Club?

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