Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? – 01 (First Impressions)

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It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve watched a long-titled school quartet rom-com—KonoSuba doesn’t count b/c it took place entirely in a fantasy world (and didn’t have any rom; just com).

NetoYome, which I’m shortening this to for now, has a distinct game world and real world, and the group of four close friends and colleagues in the online RPG Legendary Age are actually quite distant in the real world…at least at first.

That distance is there despite all four members of the Alley Cat Guild going to the same school. It’s that intrigue; that sense of dual personalities, one of which is concealed by the anonymity of the net, that provides appeal initially.

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Of course, we realize before Nishimura Hideki who his fellow guild members are in real life. The shy girl who doesn’t show her face is clearly Tamaki Ako; enough seems a bit off about Student Council President Goshouin Kyou to suspect her, and Segawa, turning her nose up at Hideki’s public otakuism, is clearly being a hypocrite.

The last hint needed is that Hideki once confessed to a cute catgirl who turned out to be a guy in real life, making him swear off falling for girls in the game until he got over it and realized it doesn’t really matter what gender people are in the real world, becaue LA isn’t real. As long as their in-game alias is cute, he’s fine with it.

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Of course, things change when the guildmaster Apricot announces an offline get-together, and the four classmates come face-to-face with each other and learn that rather than three guys and a girl, their party is actually three girls and a guy.

Despite all the telegraphing it’s a legitimately exciting moment, whether it’s Ako suddenly realizing it’s okay to act towards Hideki the way she does in-game, to Kyou being able to discern who is who, to Segawa’s hypocrisy being exposed, and having no defense.

She is who she is; it doesn’t change the fact she still thinks Hideki is gross!

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In fact, all four members are who they are; and that’s why they’re so likable; they’re genuine. When it comes down to it, even the tsundere Segawa doesn’t deny her nature. She won’t date anyone in the real world despite getting offers because it would take away from what she truly enjoys: playing LA with the others.

I was also touched when Ako voiced her relief and joy that she can consider her comrades real friends she can talk to, as to this point she’s had no friends (neither has Kyou). Or Hideki telling Segawa he much prefers who she is to her school persona. Or Hideki hardly being able to believe his luck that this time the cute waifu he chose in-game is actually a cute real girl offline.

It started a little slow (the RPG action early on was pretty lame), but NetoYome gradually grew on me. It’s cute, it’s earnest, and it’s got lots of heart and rom-com potential.

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Author: sesameacrylic

Zane Kalish is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

2 thoughts on “Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta? – 01 (First Impressions)”

  1. I spent a chunk of high school playing IRC/chat room RPGs and I can connect with the characters over real world/online world relationships. Offline gender often didn’t matter to online coupling. Online friendships could lead to offline international friendships. So I find the topic interesting at least.

    However, I needed tighter comedic timing or something more over the top to keep NnYwOjNtO on my watch list. The characters were pleasant enough — Ako’s weird eye spiral attack mode when others talk about normie-behavior was especially weird and charming — but the render style and theRPG world are budget in a way that turned me off.

    I get that the RPG side is really Hideki’s imagination of the game, which we can see on his computer is just a cheap isometric sprite game… but if that’s the case, I kinda wish they’d kept it isometric instead of not being able to achieve more fantastical graphics.

    1. NnYwOjNto…now THAT’S a tortured acronym!

      As I said, I also enjoyed the intrigue of the cast having dual personas that they are now aware of, and it will be interesting to see how their real-world relationships develop now that they all know who each other are. That, and the general charm and genial tone of the episode, are its strengths to me.

      The weaknesses include, as you said, the tameness of the comedy and, if I’m honest, the middling animation. It’s also weird to regard the RPG world as Hideki’s imagination and not an actual futuristic full-dive VRMMO after so many such shows (SAO, NGNL, OverLord, Grimgar, etc.) There are basically three levels of reality: real world, the isometric game as it actually looks, and Hideki’s imagination.

      That being said, it would seem from this first episode that the content of the RPG is peripheral to the relationships forged therein, hence not much attention (or if we’re honest, care) put into the game mechanics itself.

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