Aright Blerd fans, this article may be a bit different from what you are use to seeing on our site. I felt that it was needed to divulge some of my personal experiences to do an authentic review of the show. So if you hang on for this glimpse into my journey, you might gain some deep insights.
Recently, I was able to watch Recovery of an MMO Junkie/ How to Have a Wonderful Virtual Life via Crunchyroll. I was introduced to this anime as one of the prerequisites for the, “Passport to Japan,” contest last year. It was one of the eight shows required to watch, with the minimum of watching at least one episode, to enter. I found that after watching the first episode, it seemed like something I could relate to. A few years back, I hit a really rough patch in my life. Everything around me was falling apart. I was going through an unyielding extent of illness, someone dear to me was experiencing their own, various people around me were making life difficult, and I found myself no longer being interested in my career field due to profits and losses. All the while, I was being abandon by a partner when I needed them the most. This girl hit rock bottom like no one else could have foretold.
My gaming brother, amongst other people, tried to reach out where they could. I found solace in playing a few online games with him. Then one day, he introduced me to my first MMO. Like a typical brother, he did not explain the control or the rules. (He’s my biggest Troll) Even though I managed to get a users manual, I found it very daunting to read. So, I jumped right in. Quickly I realized why the world of MMO’s are vastly utilized. MMO’s can be a great international social meeting place, but you can use the world for basically anything you want it to be. Making avatars, engaging in conquest missions, experiencing new discoveries, learning about history/lore, and raising my skill level while testing my limits; made the noise of reality fade for a few hours at a time. Being in the virtual world gave a new sense of accomplishment to my inner child. Which had been badly damaged. I also learned that I really hate jumping puzzles. But, I advanced quickly in ways that my guild, and guild master had never heard of. Once the screen was shut off, the overwhelming task of rebuilding my life, social status, and recovering from many failures; had to be taken moments at a time.
The once naive headstrong lady who thought by the time she was in her 30’s she would have been half way through her goals list, was without a home of her own, taking on the responsibility of looking after a loved one, and reevaluating her purpose in life.
Making new friends while playing in game, gave me encouragement to be more frequent in social media opportunities, and meet new people in real life. This was different for me because for a extended period of time, I stopped all forms of social media all together.
Most people know I watch a lot of anime. (About 80% of the shows I watch are anime.) So during this down time, I stumbled upon Sword Art Online after reading the description for the tale. Thinking I might learn something to enhance my gameplay, I binge watched all the episodes. Being able to relate to the emotions of each character, loving the lingo, and every level of the dungeon runs to be freed from the deadly VR game; spoke volumes to me. To this day, Sword Art Online is in my top 5 Harem Anime of all time.
Jumping forward to the anime created by Kazuyoshi Yaginuma based off the manga series by Rin Kokuyō , Recovery of an MMO Junkie made my week bright with each new episode. Moriko Morioka has recently quit her job, and lives in a super small studio apartment. Her tale begins with her coming to grips that she will be living off her savings as she recluses to becoming a full time online gamer. Not a gamer for fame or money, but because it’s something she likes to do.
When she tries to log on to play her favorite game, she finds out it has been shut down. Bummed out, she will have to find something new to play. She stumbles upon an MMORPG called, “Fruits de Me.” Like most MMO’s, she has the option of becoming a Male or a Female character. She chooses to be a male. She wants to have a different experience then that of her prior gaming adventure.
Her level 1 obstacles on how to navigate the vanguard, and overcome the objectives reminds me of my own early gameplay experiences. I didn’t even know spacebar was jump in my MMO until after Level 20 with my main character. (I know.. super funny right. Told you my gaming brother was no help. He is a big Troll.) Moriko doesn’t have that problem because she is befriended by a very sweet player named, “Lily,” to show her the ropes. She then joins her guild to learn all that she can about the game.
Embracing her new virtual life, her daily real life tasks, such as, going out the house and getting grocery, poses anxiety filled challenges. She has let her self go. This is based on traditional beauty, and appearance standards for women her age. She even ditches her professional, and “lady like” clothing to embrace the comfort style consisting of sweat pants, large t-shirts, not shaving all the time, and no makeup. (I think all 30 something ladies that are Neet/Otaku do the same kind of things, and have this same blue sweatsuit. I do, and rock it often. Lol)
With her desire to just be happy, not engaging in the outside world, their pressures, dating or having kids, being proper, or overwhelmed by normal ways of life; Moriko gets more and more involved with her character, and the other players in Fruits. She does struggle with the fact she is playing a male character, and her best friend/ partner is female. She toggles back and forth between the bond building in the relationship online, and her real life lie she told people on why she is able to play so much.
Her lie, is a very common in the online community. More often it’s the reverse situation. Many male players play female character, but it’s still the same concept. Some people are ashamed of being over the age of 24, and playing online games for hours on end. This is contrary to the norm of having a career and/or raising a family while you are young. At least there is a word for it, Neet. Sited directly from Wiki:
“A NEET or neet is a young person who is “Not in Education, Employment, or Training“. The acronym NEET was first used in the United Kingdom but its use has spread to other countries and regions including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.”(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEET)
Where as in Western culture, some may be call you lazy, or living off the system. (Even if you don’t receive any form of government assistance.) Now, just to clarify, Otaku is a bit different. Directly form Wiki:
“(in Japan) a young person who is obsessed with computers or particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills.” (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=otaku)
Her real life encounters circle around a dedicated man, Yuta Sakurai, who accidentally knocks her out while they are walking to their own personal destinations. Moriko’s awkwardness around men, and lifestyle makes her jump to conclusions. Even though she is very respectful in nature, compassionate, and sometimes oblivious to her surroundings; she recluses even more into her virtual environment. This is where she feels more at peace. I am not going to give any spoilers for those who may want to watch this show, but I highly recommend adding it to your queue. There are many purposeful things going on at once.
The reason why I recommend Recovery of an MMO Junkie is because we all know someone who is socially awkward, has social anxiety, experienced losses, is on a different driven purpose, and/or has been down on their luck. Plus, Moriko’s attitude to certain situations, comments, and responses; I have found to be accurate of a typical 30 something lady. Even when they don’t like to admit it. Overall, the anime is very well written, and illustrated. Also, I found it to be a refreshing take on probable real life experiences. So tune in to this slice of life comedy, grab some popcorn, and prepare to have a good time. You might learn more about what some people may be, or have been going through. You might find a new appreciation for them, and your position as friends, family, online buddies, etc., in their lives.
Being in your 30’s is what you make of it. Most ladies are a bit wiser, know what they want, and really start to appreciate themselves. So tread lightly when they come around. They have choices on how to be social, and do things that suits them. Also, don’t look down on Neet people. Not all people make Neet life a permeant lifestyle. All human beings are entitled to have different experiences as they come.
So tell us what you think! Have you seen this show, and would you recommend it? Do you know someone like Moriko, or the other characters in the anime/manga? Drop us a comment below and/or on our social media pages. We would love to hear from you. Also, do you have an anime, or manga that you would like us to review? Message us and we will get the Blerd team on it to see whats up.
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As always, Stay Awesome. Tahulla Setsena Out!- January 13, 2018