Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Anime review : Netoge no Yome wa Onna no Ko Janai to Omotta

Netoge no Yome wa Onna no Ko Janai to Omotta

What is Netoge?

Also known in the west as And You Though There is no Girl Online?, Netoge no Yome wa Onna no Ko Janai to Omotta is the adaptation of a light novel, illustrated by the popular hentai artist Hisasi, which follows the story of Hideki Nishimura, who were confessed by a girl in the MMORPG but rejected it, fearing that the girl would be a man. However, it was later revealed that the girl, whose name is Ako, is actually a girl in real life and she doesn’t really know real life. It is up to Hideki and his friends to set Ako straight.

And what do i think of it?

I am going to simply refer to this anime as Netoge from now on since the full title is mouthful.

Perhaps it’s the burden that the anime bears that causes the anime to falls short. People kept saying that the novel is good, and it is illustrated by a very prominent hentai artist that has a distinctive and stylistic art style which was one of the strong draw point of the light novel, and there’s even an Universal Studio logo when the anime starting for crying out loud. But, despite all that, this anime didn’t live up the expectation.

Netoge is a romantic-comedy genre which is set in between the MMO world and the real life. But, the romantic part and the comedy part are done separatey and half-baked at that. It does not funny enough to make you laugh and it’s not romantic enough to make you feel that you are watching romantic anime. The premise are there and promising, and inventive to be honest, but it's just that the anime could not really capitalize fully on their innovative nature and just plain botched the entire performance of it.

Take another Romantic comedy anime as an example, Mikakunin de Shinkoukei [Enganged to the Unidentified]. There’s romantic appeal, there’s comedic appeal, and both of them play their part equally to make this anime a good, romantic-comedy genre. But Netoge isn’t.

The premise are promising, but the performance is the one that begs the question.

Like I said, the jokes are not that good, if not, forced. There are actually a few times I laughed out loud when watching Netoge, but that few times is actually two times. When Ako jokes to Hideki that she peed in the bottle and when Hideki calls Kyoh by her first name. Those are the times when I actually laughed out loud, but I think that’s that. There’s other moment worth mentioning when Kyoh repeatedly get aced by her teammate because of her lack of skill of playing PvP but, like I said, that’s that. It’s not enough.

When the comedy genre part is filled for the anime, it NEEDS to be funny. Funny enough either to make you chuckle, laugh out loud, or just say “What?” in real life. And the genre romantic comedy is even harder to make, since it needs to both equally funny and has it’s sweet moment at the same time. Frankly and sadly, Netoge isn’t really packed with all that. It only has some moment which can make you laugh, or go “aaww”, but not at the same time. Rom-Com is actually designed to make you laugh and go “aaww” at the same time. Oh yeah, this Ore Monogatari reference is going to return for the longest time. When you watch this, you are reminded of Dagashi Kashi, of which jokes are not really that good and mostly misses it's mark or has a weak punchline.

The jokes are mostly misses than hit. But those that hit are actually funny.

Moving to another thing, it’s the fanservice shot that bothers me a lot. I’m not really a huge fan of Fanservice shot. What is that? It’s when the shot is focused on a girl’s bossom, bottom, or any other thing deemed sexual. I’m okay with any swimsuit scene, onsen scene, or any fanservice at the right moment, but fanservice shot is not really my thing.

And there’s actually a lot of fanservice, and fanservice shot at the same time. The camera really loves Ako’s bouncing boobs, and Kyoh’s figure when she’s in MMO. Some people may love it, but I don’t.
Characterization were okay, if not, so-so. I can’t actually pick who I like, but there’s one I dislike, Akane’s friend Hanako. Maybe other people might disagree, but it’s my choice, right? Anyway… The reason I dislike her is because of Ako’s hostility toward her. I can feel Ako, who thinks that her husband is going to be taken away, and there’s no need for Hanako to act so closely to a guy she isn’t really interested with. And I don’t like the fact that, after a few episode, she became a full-fledged unofficial member of the Netoge club, despite her half-hearted passion to the MMO.

Speaking of the characters, most if not all characters were unique to be honest. The blandest character honor has to go to Nishimura Hideki, who acted like any other light novel protagonist around. There is nothing memorable about him to be honest. Ako is unique for her apparent Yandere-like behavior whenever Hideki is around and to be honest, her premise itself was enough to be called unique. Segawa is, while her trait and personality are commonly seen in this genre, quite good at her role. It was refireshing to see her interacting with either the team or her friends. Goshoin is also decent at her role for being the rich-girl of the team and the fact that she always bought the premium items given her rich-stature. Oh, did i mention that she obtained the money for all of her premium items by herself? So yeah, compared to all of the girls, Hideki falls short, like really short.

The characters were all unique, save for Russian/Hideki.
And the entire plotline is really bland. The story moves forward, with several brakes at times to let us rest from the main plotline, but the main story was not really that good and was boring to be honest. I did not enjoy the plot focus on Hideki and Ako at all, and simply enjoyed the moments when the club were just having fun playing games while discussing what to do next. However, praises have to be showered on the Siege Warfare arc, as it shows the maturity of each character and the entire arc itself was really interesting to watch and serves as a good finale.

The Siege Warfare arc was the most interesting arc around.
The animation and the art style of the anime is the two thing that really let down most of the audience to be honest. The animation of the characters were okay and looks decent at times so i think this one is passable. However, the same cannot be said for the art style. Remember when i said that the original light novel illustrations were done by a prominent hentai artist who bears her [According to sources, Hisasi is a female illustrator] own distinct art style that was looked up by most up and coming artists at times? Well, the anime's art style differs greatly from the art style of the original light novel, and bears no resemblance whatsoever to it.

I know that when adapting a light novel to the anime, the art style will undoubtedly differ from the original, but this was by far the worst-case example of when this happened. Take a look at the more recent anime that aired Classroom of the Elites, an adaptation of light novel series illustrated by yet another prominent hentai artist Tomose Shunsaku. The anime adaptation of it bears a slight resemblance to the original illustrations according to some people and i too checked it out and yes, i can say that the anime art style is similiar, albeit a little, to the original illustrations of the light novel.

The settings are divided to two, real life and MMO world. Despite having two background, the real-life one looks bland most of the time, while the MMO world shows some innovative background, such as undead crypt as a date spot and graveyard as an assembly. And the contrast to the color was really good that i was able to enjoy the background when i was watching it. Perhaps this was one of the strong factor of the anime?

The backgrounds looks colorful and innovative at times.
Then again, who am I to judge? This is a decent, but not a really good anime. If you want to see a rom-com with MMO spices in it, this is the anime for you. But, if you want to watch a rom-com, I recommend watching other anime.

The good : When the joke hits, it’s really funny. Ako’s character is a bit relatable to some girl gamer. The Siege warfare arc.

The bad : Art style of the anime differs greatly from the original source. Jokes mostly misses than hits. Half-baked attempt at Rom-Com genre

Highlight moment : See above

Final Score : 2.5 out of 5. Perhaps it could have attained a higher amount of score had the original art style resembles the original source.

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