Character Log: Yonebayashi, Saiko | NEET in Anime

A new installment in the NEET in Anime series, I’d like to create a log to keep track of characters in various series. This time we’ll take a look at Tokyo Ghoul:re character Saiko Yonebayashi.

A NEET could be defined as a young person between the ages of 15-29 who is Not in Education, Employment or Training. The age range can go high as the mid-thirties in some studies. Social anxiety, lack of ambition, depression, and exhaustion are all conditions which could factor into one’s decision to choose the ‘NEET lifestyle’. Sometimes these individuals hold a part-time employment status for income (with the intention to save up before quitting), but often times they are supported by relatives or immediate family members.

Family members support the individuals because it is often viewed as a failure on their own part. There is still a strong stigma associated with mental health care in Japan and as a result, it may be thought of as less embarrassing to hide away ‘the problem’. This is not the case for every situation, but many seem to encapsulate this cultural undertone.

Outliers are frequently associated to hikikomori, or those who shut themselves in. Women are more likely to become NEETs than men. Despite gender, however, they are often referred to as ‘jobless youth’ or the ‘non-labor force’.

Although they enjoy a degree of self-imposed isolation, this is not to the degree of hikikomori. Regional Youth Support Stations along with New Start’s Rental Sisters and Brothers are a few solutions the Japanese government has employed to combat the epidemic.

(Personal opinion: Although as a millennial with an eternal pile of student loan debt, I can to my own degree, understand the desire to withdraw from society.)

saiko yedited

Name: Yonebayashi Saiko [米林 才子]

Age: 19

Show: Tokyo Ghoul: re

First Appearance: Episode one

Manga: TG:re Chapter one

Employment Status: No, Education, Employment or Training

Affiliation: CCG Quinx Squad

Description: A chunky girl with blue hair set in long pigtails. She appears to be shorter than most of her peer group. Frequently in what looks like loungewear.

Details of Note: As of episode three, Yonebayashi seems to enjoy playing video games, oversleeping and eating a variety of snacks. She is self-conscious of her weight and seems to have formed a close relationship with Haise Sasaki. Although a bit anxious, Yonebayashi does not seem to have a problem leaving her room and interacting with strangers. This is evidenced by her willingness to dance while on an undercover mission during the Nutcracker auction arc.  As for the oversleeping and overeating, they may be signs of depression and lack of control. Overindulgence in hobbies could also signal this.

Then again, I am no psychologist. I am a chunky girl who eats too many snacks, overindulges in her hobbies and recently racked up 70 hours in four days of starting a new save file in Stardew Valley. So the pot may indeed, be calling the kettle black here.

(will update as the anime series progresses)


Carol & Tuesday is Looking for Voice Actors | Anime News

A many anime fans have dreamt of lending their voice to an onscreen character. Oft times, I have attended conventions where a voice actor contest signup sheet was completely filled minutes after the showroom floor opened. How do these people act so fast? I always wondered before shrugging off to look at overpriced Black Butler wall scrolls. Well, now here is your chance but there is the catch: you have to be a singer.

Carol and Tuesday [キャロル&チューズデイ] seems to be a musical anime with the tagline:

“The two met and created a song. No one knew what a miracle it would bring.”

The news I have been able to find about the slated show is that it is set to premiere next April in 2019. Watanabe Shinichiro is involved (known for Zankyou no Terror, Samurai Champloo, and other classics) as well as Studio Bones (Full Metal Alchemist, My Hero Academia, Bungo Stray Dogs…).

The production is looking for Native level English speaking female singers under the age of twenty-five to serve as ‘dub’ vocals. Dubs are English or country-specific languages ‘dubbed’ over original animation sequences. If the (Japanese) audio is left on an anime and subtitles are added, it is known as ‘subs’ or subtitled.

Video submissions will be considered as auditions for both of the leading title roles.

Also, I may be a bit late on this news…as the submission period is March 8th – April 25th 2018. A simple reminder that Japan is a day ahead of most (American) time zones.

I don’t even have a good shower singing voice, but hopefully many talented people applied! Also if you applied based on this post, Good Luck!

Visit the official website here.

Do you have a favorite Japanese Seiyuu? Do you know someone who may be interested in applying? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I would love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Anime News!

(Kamiya Hiroshi is my favorite VA. He voices Natsume Takashi, Mephisto Pheles, Ranpo Edogawa, Orihara Izaya, Yato, Levi Ackerman and so many others. He is, in my opinion, an incredibly talented man.)

A New Breed of Tokyo Vampire | Devils Line Anime Review

You know how sometimes you’ll watch an anime, and the beginning is kinda crap? Like you don’t understand what is going on, the pacing is weird and the animation seems wonky? But you don’t want to judge an anime by its OP, so you continue on and actually enjoy the episode and then at the very last moment – boom – the show decides to tell you to go screw yourself? That was my experience watching Devils Line. Read on.

A lot happened as I watched this anime. A churning, erratic cycle of thoughts flooded my mind within the first ten minutes. I had no clue what was going on; I could not find a cohesive link between the two seemingly different stories I viewed on screen. My mind drifted to snarky remarks of how this may be the ‘poor man’s Tokyo Ghoul’. The mental trek continued toward associations with the Twilight franchise and Oshimi Shuuzo’s Happiness. I wondered if my interest in the episode would pick up.

Devils Line [デビルズライン] is a spring 2018 anime. It is one of several shows taking on the ‘a terrible creature is terrorizing the residents of Tokyo’ theme. Does that make it bad? No, not at all. What makes it curious, is its set up.

marie-philipe-boucher-542577-unsplash (1)

So the episode begins with this strange red tinged sequence of a vampire slaughtering innocent people under a full moon. I’m sure the red overlay was meant to convey the feelings of panic, fear, and anxiety in all of those being shown on screen. There were screams of agony with this sound of wind blowing through a funnel. Rewatching the scene as I write, I still can’t really tell if this is supposed to show Anzai (who we meet later) or some random vampire who is later caught in the episode. I’m sure it truly is clear, but it’s just not registering to me.

I heard that in the manga it is immediately clarified, but alas…

We are then introduced to Taira Tsukasa, a university student who realizes that she is being stalked by a man with terrible bags under his eyes. There have been ‘vampiric killings’ around their prefecture that are only covered by conspiracy websites. One person who seems overly dismissive of the killings is Akimura, a close friend to Tsukasa who also happens to be in love with her.

(In a very, very creepy obsessive Lifetime Movie way)

The two subplots of the vampire killings intertwine and culminate when Akimura is walking Taira home. They discuss his apparent off-screen confession shortly before the start of the series, and he seems to get adamant about her possibly considering him as a potential lover. No matter how long it may take. Red flags doing the hula in front of Pride Rock a la Timon and Pumbaa style aside, I felt more uneasy with their interactions than Anzai’s apparent hero-stalking.

Akimura gets a bad feeling and Tsukasa tells him about her stalker. The two decide to run away from the brightly lit, high foot traffic area with tons of witnesses to a dark, secluded back street. The gloomy background animation style seems to have taken combined pages out of Another, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia and Aku no Hana’s manual on how-to-creep-out-your-audience with a foreboding atmosphere in otherwise pleasant places.

At some point the two embrace, and Akimura decides now is the perfect time to let his freak flag fly. He seems to get overly excited and begins to sniff Tsukasa’s hair. Rightfully so, she pushes him away. Then Anzai, her other stalker, decides to show up. But since he stalks for good, it’s perfectly fine.

Anzai confronts the source of the unsolved murders. Akimura decides to say that he assaulted and murdered those three innocent women out of love for Tsukasa; she gets misty-eyed. Tsukasa tells him that he should have just told her he was an inhuman monster who may have secretly lusted for her blood. I believe she would have accepted him. I guess this is a nice gesture seeing as how they were very good friends, but the logical part of my brain can’t seem to not be creeped out by his actions.

Maybe my own past experiences are coloring my interpretation of this episode, but I just thought he was a really deplorable character.

This is coming from someone who enjoys psychological thrillers with a perverse passion. I am an avid fan of the Killing Stalking manhwa due to its exploration of mental illness and societal taboo. Mr. Robot, Death Parade, 13 Reasons Why, Pan’s Labyrinth, Alias Grace, The Red Road, Dark Mirror (somewhat – I find some episodes incredibly boring and I can’t get enough of others…It is a very mixed bag for me). Anything that is film noir or neo-noir, I will adore it. This is the case with many other sources of media that examine outliers to the accepted norms that govern our world.

I do (on some level) understand that Akimura did what he did because in his mind, he was protecting the woman he loved. I also can understand Tsukasa’s reasoning for wanting to accept a man that has never harmed her and seemed to deeply care for her. But do I myself have to accept it? Absolutely not.

The series goes completely down the drain after that (for me) when Anzai takes Tsukasa home. Since he’d been hero-stalking her, he had a broad sense of where she lived and correctly guessed her apartment number. The two have a somewhat heartfelt conversation about the nature of ‘demons’ and how humans could never co-exist with them. Anzai then notices that the victim is bleeding after he shoved her onto the hard, concrete street earlier in an effort to…urge her to run away? Which then ended with her injuring her leg and thus bringing us to the current situation.

Anzai decides to vampire it up and instead of trying to bite her neck, starts full out tongue kissing her? After we just had the conversation about how violation and murder are bad, and demons and humans shouldn’t mix? MyAnimeList seems to list him as a half-vampire, so I guess he is exempt from his own cryptic advice. As he is forcing his tongue down her throat, a hip J-Poppy love song begins to play and the credits roll. I laugh uncontrollably between inhalation of oxygen wondering what I just watched.

It seems the two begin a forbidden relationship a la Bella and Edward style. There is also a character that is the spitting image of a young Victor Nikiforov. Apparently, his name is Johannes Kleemann, no doubt he is probably from the UK or Europe.

(After writing this, I tuned into episode two based on a dulled sense of curiosity. Moreso to try and find closure after the hodgepodge of a twenty-three-minute episode I sat through. I found no such closure. It’s a bit depraved for the sake of depravity, but I won’t knock the anime based on my own perceptions of its storyline thus far. Also our female lead might have the absolute worst luck in the history of any vampire anime I’ve ever seen.)

If this post got you interested in the series, feel free to check out Devils’ Line Vol. 1 by using that link. It supports the series and also helps out the site at no additional cost to yourself!

Have you watched this show yet? Or read the Devils’ Line manga by Hanada Ryou? What is your take on the ‘monster in Tokyo’ genre that seems to have re-emerged in recent years? (I mean, I know Godzilla was really the kaiju that made it popular, but anime has had a lot of creatures terrorizing big cities lately)

Leave your thoughts in the comments, I would love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us on Twitter, Reddit and Instagram for more updates and reviews!

Yuri!!! On Ice Themed Hotel Lodgings in Ikebukuro | Cool Japan Anime Hotels

Wow, has it really been over a year since Yuri!!! On Ice first aired? It feels like just yesterday when I was huddled around my laptop with my headphones in curled up on the sofa cheering for Yuri and wishing I had some katsudon. Do you dream of curling up surrounded by characters from Yuri on Ice and Sanrio? Read on to find out where to go in Japan to make your dreams come true!

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I took a break from anime for about a year. During that time I did indeed live like a shoujo maiden in a slice of life anime. Actually, I may have watched one anime during that time, but it was Natsume Yuujinchou Roku and since it’s my all-time favorite series it was mandatory.

Awkward Segway aside, Japan has this really cool way of incorporating pop culture into tourism. Sure, all countries do but admittedly I don’t pay attention to marketing I have no interest in. The Prince Hotel in Ikebukuro, Tokyo has a Yuri!!! On Ice X Sanrio character mash-up promotion going on from February 13th until May 31st of 2018. May I say that it’s pretty glorious that Sanrio, known for Hello Kitty, is not shying away from the ice-skating sensation with leading queer characters! It’s so refreshing. Most brands in America would not do something like this.

Prince Hotel sits in an area known as “Sunshine City” which is located in Ikebukuro’s Toshima-ku, a city that “has been selected as Japan’s candidate city for the 2019 Culture City of East Asia.”

For the ladies reading who identify as fujoshi and relish the simple pleasures of reading BL and yaoi, be sure to check out Otome Road while you’re in the area. For those of you who might not be familiar with that term, fujoshi are women who enjoy manga and light novels that depict male | male relationships. These relationships can be referred to as shonen-ai, Boys Love or yaoi.

BL is generally tamer than yaoi, which can get sexually explicit and learn towards the sphere of hentai.  The word 腐女子, or fujoshi has a negative connotation within the Japanese language. It is often reclaimed in the same vein as the word “otaku”. A male counterpart for fujoshi is fudanshi (腐男子), or fukei (腐兄 ).

Here is a little trick that helps me remember the differences when browsing for manga in Japanese.

Although a kanji can have multiple uses, it typically will not be pronounced the same. Remember to memorize all of the on’yomi  (reading based on Chinese pronunciations) and kun’yomi (reading based on Japanese interpretation) throughout your kanji learning journey early on. I made the mistake of ignoring these differences and suffered greatly until I got my act together.

One way to remember the difference between these words in Japanese is to take a close look at the kanji (or hiragana) after “fu”. The “joshi”(女子 => じょし) in fujoshi is a term for women or girls, (although I’ve never really heard it in spoken conversations before.)

Josei (女性 => じょせい ) is also a word for female/encompassing femininity, which has more relevant usage today.

The “danshi” (男子=> だんし )  in fudanshi is a word for a young man or a youth. Have you ever heard of a show called Daily Lives of High School Boys? Danshi koukousei no Nichijou => 男子高校生の日常. If you watch subs, they also use the word ‘danshi’ a lot to refer to themselves as a group.

Fukei uses the kanji for ani (あに => 兄) which is the casual speech version of older brother. So, 腐.

Next time you’re browsing for non-English manga, see if you can recognize any of these kanji in the BL section!  After reaching the Prince Hotel in Sunshine City’s complex, walk towards the Animate building which serves as the gateway to this fujoshi haven.

If you have a chance to visit Prince Hotel or if you just enjoy Yuri!!! On Ice in general, let me know in the comments below! What is your favorite sports anime? I was really into Free! Iwatobi Swim Club when it came out.  I tried getting into Haikyuu!! and Kuroko no Basket…but no dice. Go figure. Be sure to follow us for more anime-real world crossovers!

Would A Yokai Turn You Into A Tree?|Gegege no Kitarou|Anime Review

An obnoxious YouTuber accidentally releases a centuries old spirit who wreaks havoc in the Shibuya and Ikebukuro districts of Tokyo. All for views. He is then turned into a tree along with other helpless souls whose noses stuck to their phone screens. If only things like this happened in real life to Yt click-baiters, the earth would be a much greener place. (well, technically purple since that’s what color the trees leaves were…but you get my meaning)

Welcome to the Spring 2018 Anime Season!

Gegege no Kitarou (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 ), or Kitaro of the Graveyard is a 2018 anime based on the 1960s manga series created by Mizuki Shigeru. The opening song has a very old-timey feeling to it, reminding me a lot of an episode of Mushishi. It also has elements of my all-time favorite show, Natsume Yuujinchou, but strangely enough it reminds me the most of my favorite manga – Aku no Hana. I’m positive I am making this association due to the unsettling atmosphere and Papa Medama, who is quite literally a talking eyeball with legs.

The series starts off with a group of middle school friends. There is a set of siblings, the big sister of the group and her neighbor. They are discussing the current events and Mana-chan is defending her neighbor from callous comments made by the siblings. For some reason, I thought the nameless youngin would be our main character. I’m still surprised he wasn’t even consulted or brought along on Mana’s later adventures. His grandparents seem to frequently tell him folklore stories about youkai, and he is the reason Kitarou is able to be summoned. He could have added something to the conversation, but I digress.

Kitarou is a youkai in humanoid form. His name seems to obviously draw on The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy folklore legends. His father Medama is a small red eyeball with a body. Not sure of his backstory yet, but it would be interesting to find out if somehow his power had been diminished and that is the reason for his small stature. In Shinto culture, spirits and kami (or gods) derive power through prayer. In Natsume’s Book of Friends there is a common theme of divine kami leaving our plane or yokai losing power due to the newer generation’s lack of prayers. The deities are sustained through the older era’s prayers, and slowly as they die off their power is relinquished.


After the inciting incident with the YouTuber, residents of Tokyo are being turned into trees indiscriminately. Well, I shouldn’t say that because there seems to be a theme emerging concerning the divide between the digital age and traditionalist era. Those who stopped to take photos for Instagram and other social media were planted with seeds of the vampire tree by Nobiagari.  Turning those addicted to their phones into vampire trees seems to suggest that modern digital culture can literally suck the life out of you and turn you into something hollow. Although trees do still have roots – a connection. In a vague interpretation, the spirit could want people to reclaim their link with the earth.

Mana seems to ask a message board for the location of the Yokai Mailbox to summon Kitarou and receives a reply. The group arrives at a street with high foot traffic and many office workers wrapped up in their own lives. Down a shady back alley is an old dingy straw mailbox reminiscent of Gassho-style farmhouses. I keep wondering if Mana saw the black cat above her on the pipes. The cat later turns into a rodent who turns into a bird who delivers the message to Kitarou. As promised, he appears to her at dusk with the “clop clop” of his geta signaling his arrival. In spirituality, dusk and dawn are attributed to sacred times; as is midnight or three a.m., which is commonly referred to as the witching hour depending on who you ask.

This kicks off Mana’s supernatural adventures and her belief in yokai, which grants her the ability to see them. Kitarou tells her countless times that there is more to this world, even if you can’t see it. Before being saved from Nobiagari’s seeds, she can only see a faint outline of the creature. After spending more time with Papa Medama while his son is incapacitated, she is able to see more than a faint outline. Although not stated in the anime, I believe spending time with the spirits also aided her new ‘gift’.

The contrast between generations is something that will definitely keep me watching this show. The technology age does have enticements with the ease of accessibility to virtually anything, but there are many drawbacks. Mana doesn’t remember or know how to write a proper letter before summoning the yokai. I admittedly cringed at this, before realizing that these kids probably were born in the early 2000s. I was born in the 90s, a time where landline telephones were still a thing and the internet consisted of AIM chatrooms and spaceship dial-up internet sounds. It makes me wonder how different our realities would be if we did remember the stories our grandparents might have grown up on. Would it change how we interact with the world? Or would things stay the same?

If you watched the first episode, how did you like it? Have you read The Birth of Kitaro? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more anime reviews. It’s a new season, and we’ll have a few more coming for you all!

Twitter Reddit Instagram

Natsume Yuujinchou Utsusemi Movie is Coming September 29th 2018 | Anime News

We are getting more Natsume Yuujinchou this year!

For those of you who have never heard of it or don’t know, Natsume Yuujinchou [夏目友人帳 ], or Natsume’s Book of Friends is the absolute best Slice of Life hybrid anime. No ifs, ands or buts. It is immaculate. I am overtly biased but I seriously have a soft spot for shows like this; focuses on personal growth, overcoming past trauma and coming of age. It also has strong supernatural and mystery elements rooted in Japanese Shinto practices and folklore.

The six season series focuses on Natsume Takashi, a boy who can see yokai or Japanese spirits. Natsume is an orphan frequently shuffled around to various relatives and foster families. Some of these people are kind, but this never lasts as he is gifted with the ability to see spirits. As a child he could not decipher between human and yokai, causing misunderstands that lead to rumors to spread about him. Word of mouth detailing unexplainable occurrences surrounding the small boy crept to local town folk ears.

Misconstrued by peers in school when attempting to make friends resulted in frequent loneliness.

Now fifteen, Natsume is placed with a distant relative on his grandmother’s side. Unbeknownst to him, Shigeru-san heard tales of his mistreatment at a funeral. He and wife Touko-san never had children and wanted to give Natsume a proper loving home.

Natsume arrives in the countryside of what is speculated to be the island of Kyushu. There are a few “sacred sites” in Kumamoto, and years ago I came across a Japanese YouTuber who found forest temples that inspired the show.  Sacred sites (or otaku pilgrimages) are locations around Japan that serve as the basis for dwellings in your cherished anime.

Think of it like this: manga is (usually) anime’s source material as sacred sites are to a mangaka’s inspiration.

Bad analogy aside, there is a historic site in Gifu prefecture called Ogimachi Village. This serves as the origin of Hinamizawa Village in Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni. Using sites such as this are in part to garner local regional tourism; other reasons being the author just may envision their story unfolding there. Other times a memorial is built for fans when there is no tangible place. Satsuki and Mei’s house from My Neighbor Totoro can be found in Nagoya’s Nagakute-cho district.

In a similar vein, I am reminded of the extras on the Spirited Away DVD that show Miyazaki’s inspiration for the infamous bathhouse the witch Yubaba runs. When I was younger I often watched that second disc to see the behind the scenes creation of its Foley track. Or each time it rained I’d watch Kiki’s Delivery Service. The soft pitter patter of the rain on the house was so comforting. It makes me very nostalgic, sharing things like this. I have so many good memories thanks to Japanese animation. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

But, back to the main focus of this article.

The TV show is based on Midorikawa Yuki’s work. She also created the source material for the short film Hotarubi no Mori e [蛍火の杜へ]. Comparable to the Kintaro folktale of Japan, a mysterious human boy named Gin is raised in the forest by yokai. Takegawa Hotaru meets him as a child and the two develop a relationship over time. Watching the film you can see the similarities between Gin and Natsume, especially in their ethereal demeanor and physical appearance.

The town Natsume lands in proves to be a hotbed for paranormal activity and he is constantly chased by spirits requesting their names be returned. In an old box at his new home, he finds a ‘book of friends’ or book of spiritual contracts collected by his grandmother, Natsume Reiko. After a particularly nasty pursuit by unfriendly spirits, Natsume stumbles into a local shrine and accidentally breaks a barrier. This unseals the powerful spirit Madara who is initially stuck, but grows to enjoy the Maneki-neko cat form he had been sealed in for an unidentified length of time.

(I once read somewhere that Kyushu itself is thought of as a portal for spirits and is cursed land. Well, not a ‘you will turn into a tree sort, but a place where you should tread lightly. This was many years ago at the start of the series in 2008. Sadly the websites I see in my mind’s eye may not even exist anymore. This is also the case with the YouTuber I referenced. The videos were in Japanese and used some of the OST. With YT being super extra with copyright claims of late, they may have been wiped from the net to a place I cannot tread. ((Regional blocked sites where I’d have to fire up a proxy)) I will update when I find more information about this or can confirm that it is not some queer fever dream of mine.)

‘Nyanko-sensei’ is what Natsume affectionately calls Madara, and the two slowly return the youkai names. In the real and spirit world, Natsume gains companions who understand and value him as a person. He searches for more information about his grandmother and in the recent season, Natsume Yuujinchou Roku, his grandfather.

I am excited about the upcoming film, I am excited at the possibility of more seasons and each convention I attend I literally hunt specifically for Nyanko-sensei merchandise. The more prevalent the show becomes in America, the more overpriced-UFO-catcher-licensed-merch I can find. I am determined to assemble a small army of plushies and ceramic figurines to guard my nightstands.

Based on the incessant fangirling you’ve just witnessed, hopefully, it sparked a bit of interest in the series.

Natsume Yujincho ~ Utsusemi [夏目友人帳 ~うつせみに結ぶ~ ] is scheduled to premiere on September 29th of this year. Here’s to hoping I can somehow see the Japanese release by proxy of subtitled indie movie theatres.

For now, since the spring anime season has begun the next few posts will focus on currently airing episodes. I am still debating on whether I would like to pick one or two shows to review weekly, or just do first impressions and wait until it’s over to do a series review. There are quite of few series reviews from last season I have on the backburners that I would like to trickle into the mix somehow.

Are you a fan of Natsume’s Book of Friends? What is your favorite anime with yokai? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you. Also be sure to follow us for more Natsume Yujinchou news! We may have some youkai themed content in future articles…

Why Recovery of an MMO Junkie Starts a Positive Discussion|NEET in Anime

I may have fallen back into hell. No, I am certain I have. It’s been over a year since I’ve watched an episode of anime, and I have finally sunken back into the familiar world that carried me through a million and one troubled times. So, do you want to know the first anime I’ve watched – now that I am back into my addictive abyss? Read on, my fellow anime enthusiasts.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie [ ネト充のススメ], or Netojuu no Susume is an anime I’d heard whispers of back when I was actively not watching anime. For reference, I was working almost every day surrounded by Japanese culture, Japanese people and Japanese food – I felt like I was in an actual anime. I was living my best life, as a shoujo maiden running for the train with toast in my mouth each morning. Okay, the toast thing is an exaggeration but the shoujo maiden thing is totally legit.

I love the ‘video game within an anime’ or virtual reality genre. It started with the first season of Sword Art Online, transcended with Accel World, fell off a bit with No Game no Life and still rests somewhere between hoping for a season 3 of Log Horizon and occasional rewatches of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash. Maybe it’s because I actually love real life virtual reality; maybe it’s because I desperately wish to play an MMO with friends on Discord. Either way, I was really surprised at how fast I got invested in this show.

Have I also mentioned that I enjoy NEET characters? For those of you who might not know, NEET stands for Not into Education, Employment, or Training. It’s usually people in their late teens to even later twenties in anime, but statistics from the Japanese government suggest that those in their forties could even be qualified as NEETs. However, these individuals are usually not included in surveys – causing the overall number to be lower when it really may be much higher. These people tend to live with parents or alone in their own apartments, being supported by said parents or relatives. Some are self-sufficient, but this is not always the case. NEETs and Hikikomori share the traits of not liking to leave the house, as it gives them anxiety. They would rather order things online and have them dropped off in front of their doorstep, and do not socialize much. Many indulge in their hobbies, but some not even that. I have a demur enjoyment of learning about all aspects of Japanese culture, even the taboo bits that are usually hidden away.

We’re still getting to know one another with this new blog, but I’m really into this type of stuff. The subject of hikikomori in Japan interests me. It’s more of an interest in those people’s lives and how society perceives them, which although different from NEETs, episode two seems to focus on this subject based on the teaser preview. Our main character Morioka is a self-stylized “chosen NEET” who has retired from office work and honestly, I cannot blame her. The rat race is exhausting. I went from high school to college to internships all the while holding jobs without a break; until now that is, and let me tell you – I’ve been overwhelmed by having so much free time for the first time in literally eight years. Time to watch Netflix, time to watch my backlog list of films, anime, read manga, read books, finish reading the ASOIAF series. I think what really resonated with me in the first few minutes of watching this show is that Morioka jumps up hearing her alarm in a panic before realizing that she doesn’t work anymore. I still get anxiety anytime I hear my alarm go off…those are real feelings in our society today that I’m sure anyone reading this can relate to – whether it be an alarm for school, college or a job you’re not too fond of.

Morioka – which I am using her last name because it’s simply how I’ve grown accustomed to referring to anime characters and real-life Japanese people – reinvents herself as a turquoise haired male named ‘Hayashi’ in an MMO called Fruits de Mer. She is a newbie to the game and is kinda trash until she finds help from an angel in pink named Lily. Lily is actually an office worker, or 会社員 named Sakurai Yuuta. The two quickly hit it off, and through a somewhat nonchalant passage of time it’s almost Christmas and the Guild Master (Morioka joins a guild at some point, again super nonchalant passage of time) tells Hayashi that there is no romance allowed in the guild. Hayashi acts kind of dense and the episode ends with Hayashi and Lily exchanging gifts in a tree watching the stars at night. Romantic, but it was even more romantic that earlier in the episode the two (unbeknownst to them) met in their real-world avatars.

Maybe the camera panned in a confusing manner intentionally, but it seemed like when Morioka and Sakurai were in a discount Lawson’s together, the Fruits de Mer points card she was buying caught his attention. (Lawson’s is a popular convenience store chain in Japan, known for delicious chicken.)

The pair tries to purchase the same piece of konbini chicken, which happens to be the last. Sakurai recedes his offer, and Morioka leaves embarrassed. Again the passage of time is vague, but it seemed like she hadn’t left the house for at least a few weeks. Morioka upgraded her PC setup, but as I mentioned earlier she could have simply ordered it online. Her fridge was completely empty, but we have no determinate of how much she eats daily to calculate the exact amount of time she’s been NEET.

I enjoyed the first episode much more than I expected to, and I hope Morioka – rather Hayashi- has a supportive group of friends in regards to her new lifestyle choices. I will keep watching, but I wanted to make a first impressions post as I will most likely write more about this show.  It’s only ten episodes and seems to have an unaired eleventh episode special according to my anime list. I’ve had a habit since before film school of binge watching shows, even staying up all night to finish a season (here’s looking at you, Riverdale) but I am going to try my best to pace myself. I’ll share more thoughts on this show after I finish the series, but for now I’ll leave our conversation of NEETs here.

If this post got you interested in the series, feel free to check out Netoju no susume. 1. and Recovery of an MMO Junkie: The Complete Series [Blu-ray] by using these links. It supports the series and also helps out the site at no additional cost to yourself!

Have you seen Recovery of an MMO Junkie? If you could play any game for an extended period of time, or enter any video game – what world would you choose? Leave your thoughts in a comment below, I’d love to hear from you! Be sure to follow us for more episode reviews (also analysis of NEET and hikikomori in anime) in the future!

(I will let you know which game I’d like to live in when I make my after-show post)

Twitter Reddit Instagram