Recovery of an MMO Junkie – Anime Preview
Synopsis: 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?! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: This first episode of Recovery of an MMO Junkie is a slow build. Rather than diving us right into the thick of things, we go all the way back to the start of how Moriko first ends up even getting into the MMO game she’s currently obsessed with. The title of the show might have led some to expect her to already be deep in the dredges of a NEET lifestyle and the premiere episode showing her suffering because of that lifestyle but instead we actually get to see her only just start to dip her toes into it.
Tom: Moriko is a fun character, a girl obsessed with games and interested in little else. She’s the only character truly explored in this opening, and I might even argue we barely get to know what makes her tick outside of the most superficial understanding. We don’t much know exactly why she’s become a Neet, outside of losing her job. We know she finds cute game characters terribly cute, and gets easily embarrassed in public. As Linny said for a show titled “Recovery of an MMO Junkie”, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of Recovering going on. But one assumes that the show will gradually turn around as Moriko’s online network of friends come to understand she has a bit of a problem.
Linny: What’s intriguing about this series is that for once, our lead is an adult woman diving into the NEET way of life, rather than the usual male protagonist. Though we don’t really explore that avenue, her decision to play as a male character and keep her true gender a secret makes for some decent comedy and added intrigue.
Tom: While the comedy is decent, it’s terribly infrequent. There’s an almost slice of life vibe to the series as we get more of a day in and out of Moriko’s gaming life. There’s a through line of pseudo budding online romance and the twist it seems to be setting up comes across near painfully obvious. (It’s even shown directly in the key art for the series.) Because of this more laid back approach, MMO Junkie feels slow. Jokes are too far apart and the average day for Moriko comes dangerously close to boring. But there’s this current of potential that has me believing that if we can directly confront Moriko’s troublesome NEET tendencies, we’ll see a marked improvement in drama and comedy.
Linny: Compounding these aforementioned issues for me is the fact that MMO Junkie doesn’t have the best art. There are lots of shot throughout the episode where character faces and movements look crude and as someone who has to rewatch and skim the episode repeatedly as I make images and gifs for the articles and promotion, it only became all the more glaringly obvious to me. It’s not a complete disaster by any means but go in with lowered expectations when it comes to animation quality.
Tom: Overall, I’m more hopeful than satisfied with Recovery of an MMO Junkie. There’s promise, lots of it. The few jokes we get are chuckle worthy, the concept brimming with potential, etc. But what’s here feels like a very slow introduction, and is more a hindrance than a boon.
Linny: As a female viewer, I was rather disappointed with how bland our female lead felt. Her reactions to a lot of situations felt very generic and she was little more than your run of the mill, socially awkward NEET. Maybe further episodes will make better use of her and the story itself will pick up in pace and comedy as we get past the slow set up and get to the meat of the story. But for now, it’s an average show at best.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.