Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? Review

This is review number three hundred and seventy five. This anime is part of the Spring 2016 lineup, and it’ll be the last of six current shows that I’ll be reviewing. The anime is called “Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?” or “And you thought there is never a girl online?” You can tell from the title that it’s a light novel anime, and it’s a pretty basic one. By basic, I mean bad. This one is bad. Let’s read on.

Story

The anime is about Hideki Nishimura gaining a cynical view of gaming life after he confessed to a guy cross playing as a cute cat girl. After that, he decided that it doesn’t matter the gender in real life because the game world and real life are two different things to him. Imagine his shock though, when his current party decided to have a meet up in real life and all of his fellow players are actually girls. They’re cross playing as well, except for his in-game wife. She is an absolute cutie that is very much in love with Hideki in real life as well. Both worlds are different to him though, but having his “wife” in both worlds seems to blur reality a bit.

Taking the Pants Off

It has been too long since I’ve done a review. Anyways, I’m over all the worpress thing so let’s just continue pressing forward. Netoge is the last anime I’ll review for Spring 2016, and it looks pretty promising. I think the title is pretty self-explanatory. The anime is about a gamer that discovered his in-game wife is actually a cute girl. Doesn’t it just reek of wish fulfillment? It’s one of those light novels that just serve as fan service and wish fulfillment for its readers, and you can tell it is from a mile away. I honestly wanted to like this anime, because it has something original in it that I personally love. So far, a lot of MMORPG anime are all about players trapped in the game and it can get tiring after the sixth one. Seriously, that’s all they can do? This anime presented a unique spin to the MMORPG anime. The players, for f*cking once, is not trapped in the game. Instead, the players also know each other in real life and they try to balance their game and real persona. They interact normally in both worlds, and they mostly function like normal untrapped people enjoying MMORPG. Yes, this is the first one I’ve seen that tried it. Maybe this idea has already been done before, since I am behind in the current shows, but I love this premise. I wanted more of it but, unfortunately, I know for a fact that I won’t be getting much of it. For a fan service and wish fulfillment LN anime, there is really only one goal and it’s certainly not developing this promising premise.

Like many of its kind, this anime focuses on the same tired concepts you’ll expect in a typical wish fulfillment anime. It has loads of fan service, both visual and dialogue, and it takes place in a club where the main character is the only guy and he is surrounded by only female characters. The ever annoying Accidental Harem is present in this one, and this just killed my motivation. This cliché is not played as strongly as I’d expect though, because the main character really only has his eyes focused on one female character. I welcome this change of pace, because I’d watch anything instead of accidental harems, but this minor change in the show is a bit unpleasant as well. The girl in question, named Ako, is incredibly annoying. The anime’s entertaining factor really rests on how much you like Ako. If you enjoy big breasted girls always draped over the main character, then there’s no problem. If you enjoy the wish fulfillment the show is selling, a timid girl playing MMORPG completely in love with its in-game husband always willing to be dominated and ogled by him, then you’ll like this anime as well. If you like annoying girls constantly cradled and taken care of by the main character, because she’s a scene stealing nuisance, then yeah, you’ll like this one. For me, Ako really turned me off the anime. She’s not really a character, but more of an idea brought to life to satisfy a wish fulfillment. Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if the girl I married online is actually a really hot girl and she’s always by my side and ready to serve me forever? I would like a girl so dependent on me that it’s a guarantee that she’ll never leave me? Frustrated boys addicted to computer games suddenly turned their heads, and begged for more details. Yeah, this is Ako. She’s a shameless idea formed from the minds of unsociable nerds living in their computers. I think this is why this anime initially had a strong following to it. Because, deep down, we all want an Ako in our life, I guess.

I’m not completely sold on the premise, and the first few episodes aren’t really that interesting. The clichés feels a bit forced, and Ako just being Ako is a bit hard to take in. As I said from the start though, I initially liked this anime because of its other premise. The anime started with the main character playing with a bunch of male players online along with his in-game wife. As it turns out, these male players are actually female. There’s no big surprise here, because a lot of people switch their genders online. The fun part is that the characters all go to the same school, and they now have to balance their school life while also acknowledging people in their game life are in it as well. Ako turned this whole balance upside down when the rest of the characters find out that she can’t differentiate real life and the game world. They now formed a club to help her realize how retarded she is. Personally, since I’m a teacher, I would’ve called her parents immediately and guide her through the intervention process provided by a licensed professional dealing with her unique problem, but I guess we will miss out on some cute wish fulfillment misadventures here. The characters decided that they should just play games at school, so Ako will realize the two worlds aren’t the same. I like this approach, because the anime now revolves around a bunch of gamers. Their life in both worlds will be featured, and it’s fun seeing students play computer games after school because it reminds me of my own lazy life. I don’t think an anime has ever tried combining school life and the Sword Art Online mentality in the same show. This anime has a lot of potentials to it, because you can create conflict in one world and it’ll immediately affect the other. A big change in one world can also change the other, and this interplay has never really been explored properly before. I’m thinking back on anime like .Hack and Gantz, but I don’t think they really focus on an ordinary world and the game world. Balancing a story in that kind of setting is hard, but I would love to see Netoge try it.

Of course, how much faith can I really put in a wish fulfillment anime? Good gawd, it doesn’t take long for Ako to really sour the experience. I believe the anime has four chapters to it, and they feature different stories. The first chapter covers the first three episodes. In the show, the main character develops this cynical attitude about real life and the game world that it caused Ako to worry. Being the unstable psycho that she is, Ako decided to track down the cause of the main character’s apathy towards life. This leads to a comical blow off that doesn’t really mean anything in the long run. This anime has a lot of problems to it. First of all, the way the characters treat Ako is really frustrating. They cater to her delusions and they spoil her. I guess Ako’s main appeal is that she is clueless, but she has strong convictions about what she believes in. She’s also cute, so she has that going for her. I’ve personally handled people like Ako though, and I just cannot accept how they treat her. They don’t put weight on the consequences of her actions, and they just let her be while they grind in a dungeon. Seriously, you really want to help her? Secondly, the story is pretty pathetic. The anime forces conflict out of nothing and the resolution to the conflicts are pretty unsatisfying. They don’t really build up the conflict, and they don’t do anything to really have it alter the pace of the story. I don’t mind that it’s predictable, but it needs to mean something. When Ako stopped going to school in the first chapter, the story just geared towards its conclusion without much alteration to the mood of the show. The crazy girl is gone, but she somehow reappears in the end of the same episode to set everything right again. Why even put conflict in there in the first place?

The second chapter leaned even more on Ako and the main character. I do think the whole idea of helping Ako overcome her delusions is a pretty great story if the show worked for it. Unfortunately, the story really only serves as a vehicle for the fan service and wish fulfillment. In the second chapter, a new addition to the accidental harem caused Ako to act unpredictable once again. This shocking change in the real life affects her terribly, and the main character must now find a way to drag her back to school. Again, if the sole purpose is to truly help Ako then I’m all for this kind of story. This is not the point of the anime though. We only needed to add conflict so we can shove some satisfy visual and dialogue fan service to the audience. The entire point of the second chapter is the main character slowly realizing he likes Ako as well, and, more importantly, this:

Yeah. I’m not going to lie, I love seeing Ako naked but it’s a bit much. You had the main character peel away layers of Ako’s crazy personality, and you ruin it by forcing fan service in it. It’s a very light novel thing to do, but it really tests my patience. The rest of the girls aren’t being constantly cradled and used for wish fulfillment, so it’s annoying that Ako always gets to show off. Anyways, the second chapter is only two episodes and it really only leads to the main character seeing eye-to-eye with Ako. He likes her now, and their relationship can only move forward.

I also gave up watching the anime after the second chapter. It’s hard for me, and a lot of stuff is happening in life my right now. I did decide to hop back on it and push through the third chapter. This chapter is the undying summer arc featuring a beach episode. Good gawd, it feels like a punishment. Again, nothing really significant happens and the story just flows on a boring pace. Once again, Ako as fan service is the main point here. I initially liked the idea that a bunch of shut off gamers are spending time together doing a very social activity, and they’re very much unaware of how to do it properly. As I said before, the anime does have its pockets of potential but it doesn’t really lead to anything. They’re just ideas and untapped potential at this point. We’re halfway through the anime, so you must really grow to love Ako at this point if you want to continue on. But more on the wasted potential, this became all clear when the conflict is presented after the beach episode. The main character got his game character hacked, but it harassed Ako’s game character before being deleted. This presented a very wonderful crisis for the anime, since there are now inconsistencies in both worlds. This could play into helping Ako realize the two worlds aren’t the same. After all, she freaked at the idea that the main character was very friendly with a neko character, so the possibilities for her freaking out knowing the game world main character is gone has some great potential to it. So, what does the anime do? Nothing. They waste the potential away.

They did try to hunt down the hacker, but the entire thing feels so subdued. There is no big crisis for Ako to face, and the adventure to finding the hacker is a bit uneventful. They did some smart things to lure the bastard out, but it just wasn’t told properly. There are also a lot of inconsistencies here. Ako is the main focus for a very long time in the show, and she barely did anything in the third chapter. She was just there, and it’s frustrating. You expected her to freak out, but she really just…took up space. Isn’t the story more about her? What about her relationship with the main character? Isn’t that greatly affected as well? Technically, she’s no longer married to anyone in the game world. Doesn’t that mean anything? You shoved the character down our throat for seven episodes, and you suddenly decided that she isn’t needed in this one. That’s f*cking wonderful. I do think the main character was more on focus here, but the story just really isn’t that interesting even though it should be. He tried to fix things for Ako’s sake, but there is really no weight to the plot. Things really just happen, and then it ends uneventfully as well. It’s bland to bland to bland story one after the other.

The fourth chapter is pretty much the same. The initial premise of saving Ako from her delusions is promptly abandoned though. The last chapter focused on the school’s cultural festival and the thing the harem club will be doing. I think it was supposed to feature more action oriented episodes, but the animation is never really that impressive to begin with. It does have Ako in maid uniform, and that’s basically the main take away in this chapter. As you can see, the anime only functions as fan service and the chapters are really just empty pretense at this point. I think the fourth chapter is about attacking a castle, or something stupid like that. It doesn’t really matter. It’s still a bland story with a bland twist, and it also had a ton of potential wasted from one episode to another. The shift to the game is also a bit weird, since we don’t really know how the game functions. While even I have some background in games like these, the lack of explaining the job classes and their skills really made the story feel bland. They also ended the show with a stupid twist about a character using an item, but it’s pointed out early on that you can’t use items when seizing castles. Yeah, let’s just stare at Ako in a maid uniform now.

Characters are bland. You can’t expect anything else here. While I initially liked that there are two versions of the same characters acting in the real world and the game world, with Ako being the only one occupying both, this idea is abandoned early on. Characters soon just did random sh*t or whatever without ever affecting the story. I think there are six club members, and there are three more minor characters in the game world. All of them sucked. The tsundere and the student council president are bland characters, and they didn’t even add to the fan service. Ako did all the work, and that’s not fair. Sure, one of them is shirtless in the game but that’s different from the three occasions Ako is dressed up slutty for the sake of it and even gloriously naked at one point. Here’s the third time, in case you’re curious:

The main character is your typical light novel lead. He indulges in the wish fulfillment, and he really just goes with the flow. He lacks any real personality, and he doesn’t really grow on you. He’s as bland as you’d expect from this kind of a bland anime. Ako is really the only saving grace here. You must like her if you want to last long in this anime, and this’ll be a chore if you truly don’t. As I said before, she’s not character. She’s an idea formed from a lot of frustrated gamers, so her intrigue only lasts there. It’s a good accumulation of wish fulfillment for a character, but she still sucks. I think the problem is that she’s not pushing it too far with the fan service, even though she is blatantly created for that purpose. Just go full Ecchi on her. A lot of frustrated nerds would love that. Of course, there’s the other end of the pole. As a character, she isn’t drawing any emotions from the audience. I should feel sorry for this confused little girl, but I mostly feel ire and annoyance. How exactly am I supposed to like her?

It’s sad how far Project No. 9 has fallen. This studio showed promise in their first solo produced show, but it got a bad rep and got the stations airing it under fire. ImoCho is a really promising anime, and I was extremely bummed that it failed. Project No. 9 showed promise though, but I think this company is a big bust now. This is the latest anime I’ve seen from them, but they’ve released two more prior to ImoCho, and it just feels sad. There is a feeling of a distinct lack of effort in this anime, and I can’t believe they churned out a bland anime. ImoCho is controversial, sure, but it also got a lot of people watching. Their risk didn’t produce good things for them, but that’s no reason to stop risking it. Netoge lacked the spark, enthusiasm and the effort that their first anime had. This is actually normal for anime studios, since a lot of them are having a hard time with their footing as well. For Project No. 9, it just feels like they’ve given up. It’s not easy to produce anime, and it’ll bum me out as well when my 100% effort only returns less than half of the intended profit, so I don’t really blame them that much. It’s the nature of the industry, but I do hope they keep hanging on there. JC Staff got back after loads of failures, and they shocked us all with Prison School. I’m sure Project No. 9’s next ImoCho is right around the corner, but only if they decide to take risks again. This anime is directed by Shinsuke Yanagi. He’s a mainstay in Project No. 9 it seems, since he also directed to previous shows before Netoge, and Ryo Kyu Bu as well. His directing style certainly feels lacking, and I truly believe this anime won’t look as bland in the hands of some other more season director. It’s the writer that ultimately failed this show though. Tatsuya Takahashi lacks experience as well, and he mostly did a lot of fluff works in the past. Kiniro no Mosaic and The IdolMaster series doesn’t really boast a great story. The poor bastard suddenly took on a light novel adaptation, and you can tell he had no idea how to do it properly. Going from light exposition to extremely heavy does show his lack of experience. If he decides on doing more LN anime, I do hope he keep the adaptation tight. The bland pacing of the story does feel like someone is just listing off the general events of the original source without really understanding how it affects the story. He can go back to doing shows like Bazblue though, because you cannot trust him with LN anime. It’s too much for him.

Sight and Sound

netoge14

Hisasi seems to only care about Ako, and I think that makes sense in the context of the show. His design is pretty ordinary in terms of light novel visuals. His illustrations of half-naked Akos are pretty good, but he doesn’t give much care for the other characters. In terms of design, there’s really nothing to really note here. If were talking about the other characters, they just look extremely plain. From the hair design to their game costumes, the entire visual aspect sucks. This is another wasted potential here, because even awful O. Screenplay anime are smart enough to create decent visuals to their characters. In this show, everyone except for Ako just looks bland. I see Ako in a lot of the light novel covers, so you can argue that maybe Hisasi never had a chance to actually illustrate the rest of the cast. It’s funny that every single cover I can find only has Ako prominently displayed in them sporting the perverted style Hisasi puts on his work. It’s fair to say the rest of the cast are just created from the descriptions in the original source. It just makes me sad though that even the original source didn’t put much effort in the characters aside from Ako. This is like Super Sonico all over again.

The animation is pretty low budget. In terms of 2016 standards, this is pretty much the bare basics you can do in computer animation. From the use of visual colors to the lame movements, it just doesn’t look that impressive. I do like the sort-of chibi design of the game characters though, because it just adds a bit of dimension when it comes to the comparison of the real and game world. The animation is pretty uninspired though. The fight scenes are bland, the pan up shots (where I took all those pictures of Ako) doesn’t emphasize the subject properly, and the use of fan service just feels lacking. If you fail at boobs, then you just failed at everything else. Basic motions like walking and talking also feel cheap in this anime. I don’t really expect high quality animation, but they don’t look presentable as well. It is “good enough”, I guess, and that’s good enough for a lot of studios too. It does make me sad when you realize ImoCho is ten times more interesting in terms of animation. You can tell the studio lacked fight from the way the animation is presented, and the director’s inexperience shines here as well.

The anime’s OP is “1st Love Story” by Luce Twinkle Wink☆.It’s a pretty decent song, but it’s not really that much of a stand out. I do believe an upstart idol group sang it, so there’s novelty in it. The lyrics aren’t that special as well. It’s about someone being in love, and the lyrics describe how deeply in love the individual is. I think the OP sequence is something to like about the anime though. It certainly has a different animation that the actual show, and it gives you an idea how much potential is wasted in the animation alone.  It plays with its camera angles, and the color palette is a lot more impressive than the actual show. A lot of studios right now put emphasis in the OP since most viewers judge a show by it. This OP sequence has the effort that is missing in the show, so it just sucks more knowing the few minutes of the OP is a lot better than the actual show.

The anime’s ED is “Zero Ichi Kiseki” by Yoshino Nanjo. This is a song sung by the teacher, so that’s pretty weird. It’s another decent song, and this one is about the marriage the main character and Ako had in the game. It’s basically a song about Ako’s love for the lucky bastard, and I find it cute. I just wished the ED sequence is able to give the visual impact the song is trying to execute. It mostly just features Ako doing her role as the intended fan service character she is meant to be. It also has shots of the couple together, but it’s not something that visualizes the intentions of the song. It’s too bad. The lyrics somehow capture Ako’s delusions nicely, and I’m sure there’s potential for the ED sequence to be a lot better.

Overall Score

5/10 “It’s bland and a massive waste of potential”

This show has a lot of great ideas to it, but it couldn’t execute it properly. It’s also lacking in a lot of areas. From the story to the characters, this anime feels like a chore to watch. It rests solely on Ako though. If you like her, then you can surely finish (and even enjoy) this anime. I struggle to find a good thing about this show though, and I’m even going as far as to consider how good it presented the boobs and the asses. It did not deliver at all. If you can tolerate heavily clichéd light novels, then you’ll enjoy this anime. If you prefer a more light hearted show with much sense to it, then lower your standards to enjoy this one. As it stands though, I do not recommend this.

One thought on “Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? Review

  1. The “regular people playing an mmo but still having regular lives and realizing they go to school together” aspect is part of what I really enjoyed about this one otome/visual novel called Re:Alistair. It’s too bad it was a wasted premise here :T

Thoughts~

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