Morioka Moriko (♀) is 30, single, and a NEET. She has dropped out of the real world. Searching for a safe place, the place she ended up… is the online world!! In this online game, Moriko starts a new life as a handsome young man with silky hair named Hayashi. However, she’s an obvious noob and ends up dying numerous times when a lovely girl named “Lily” lends her a helping hand. Meanwhile IRL, she ends up having a shocking encounter with a mysterious handsome salaryman named Sakurai Yuta. After meeting him, the real world starts to change and starts affecting her online world as well?!
Moriko Morioka quits her job in the corporate world to become a NEET. Since this is the life that she has actively chosen, she likes to think of herself an an ‘elite NEET’. She quickly gets sucked into the consuming world of a popular MMORPG and begins a new, virtual life. But what she doesn’t expect is for her real life to become complicated as well as the virtual one she has dedicated herself to.
With the usual anime NEET stereotypes being teenage boys, it puts an interesting turn on things to see an older woman walking away from her job to dedicate her time to video games – if only I could do the same thing! Moriko is a shy, retiring character in real life and she considers just going down to the shops to be a real pain and will stay up until all hours gaming. So when Yuta invites her to dinner to apologise for knocking her over when they first met, her social anxiety battles with the fact that she does find him rather attractive. As Hayashi, she has an avatar to hide behind and so is a bit more sociable to her fellow guild members, but their quick attempts to learn more about her IRL persona has her telling lies in order to keep them at arms length – so now they think she is a 21-year-old male at university. And Moriko thought her life would be simpler if she were to just stay at home and play video games…
The irony and humour of Recovery of an MMO Junkie is the fact that Lily and Yuta are the same person, and Moriko and Yuta are unaware that they are both getting to know the same person both on and offline. As Hayashi and Lily get to know one another, they realise that they have similar reasons for playing these games – making good friends with which to enjoy them. They both talk about meeting good people in previous games, both sounding like they were talking about one person in particular. Would it be too much of a coincidence, even more an anime, to assume they are still talking about one another? Probably not. At the same time, I’ve begun to feel like Hayashi’s guild members are close to Moriko in real life that she actually thinks.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie has one of the catchiest opening themes of the season, in my opinion: “Saturday Night Question” by Megumi Nakajima and we have “Hikari, Hikari” by Yuka Aisaka to end with – both really consistent songs that coincide with the material well and are enjoyable to listen to again and again.
When Moriko accidentally reveals her online alter ego to a guy that works in her local convenience store, she discovers that he is a member of her guild on her server. Now that someone knows that she’s a female playing as a male, her secrets become increasingly more difficult to keep under wraps. She can’t seem to find a way to tell Lily, and it seems that Lily is reluctant to let Hayashi know that she is a male playing as a female – and that they know one another in real life. Thus things get even more complicated, particularly when Yuta begins to suspect Hayshi of being Moriko Morioka after all…
Recovery of an MMO Junkie jumped right in with its entertainment and has continued on the pace right through to the halfway point so far and I’m looking for a bit of a surprise plot or twist just to keep things going and stave off the predictability. I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes and what happens with our small group of characters both online and IRL.