In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of gaming anime, thanks to popular series such as Sword Art Online, Log Horizon, and Btooom!. Many of these shows focus on their respective worlds, gameplay, and rules. The question is: how else could this genre expand in other ways?
From the studio that produced Napping Princess and Cyborg 009: Call of Justice 1, RECOVERY OF AN MMO JUNKIE revolves around 30-year-old Moriko Morioka becoming a NEET after quitting her corporate job.
In many gaming-oriented stories, we often encounter young male characters with NEET elements struggling with everyday life. Here, we have the reversal of everything. A main character who is female? In her thirties? Quitting corporate life? Playing MMO games? While it is a depressing scenario to be in, it is a common situation for many viewers.
It is no secret that being a Japanese salary person is difficult. They leave extremely early in the morning, and they often over-work very long hours. And in this instance, Moriko was pushed to breaking point and she inevitably decided to resign from her job.
Now that she has dropped out from reality, what can she do now? In search of a fulfilling life, Moriko decides to temporarily go back to the one thing that once made her happy: playing MMORPG games.
Since it is a MMORPG world, Moriko decides to embark on a whole new identity as a male character named Hayashi. Along the way, she meets a cute character named Lily who reaches out to help her in the quests (well, in Moriko’s case, him). Meanwhile, in the real world, Moriko has a chance encounter with a handsome guy who works at a trading company. But is there more to this guy than what the eye sees?
In Recovery of an MMO Junkie, this world feels contextually alien to us. Nowadays, 85% of anime shows stereotypically revolve around high school and college students. The fact that this story presents adults who immerse themselves in the gaming world whilst juggling with life, work, and gaming … it is a rather amusing scenario.
As the audience progress through the show, viewers will unanimously agree that the storytelling is refreshingly on point. For a majority of the times, we see the world from Moriko’s perspective and how MMO games appeal to her. And to be quite honest, we have never encountered an anime that portrays life as a gamer so honestly.
You know, that nice feeling when it’s okay to sit back at home and play MMOs? That feeling when you spend a lot of money on gaming credit and special items? That feeling of not feeling alone anymore — even though you’re technically alone in reality? With so many relatable feels, this show will no doubt hit home with a lot of viewers.
On top of this, we are blessed with the genuine character development in the story. Personal dilemma, unexpected romance and identity drama on and off the computer screen — Recovery of an MMO Junkie may seem basic at a glimpse but there is just something unique about the story that stands apart from its rivals.
Unfortunately, despite the storytelling being on point, the overall character design and animation is average. Nothing really stands out about the art direction — even the design and concept of the MMO world is bland. As a gamer, we would have loved to get an insight into the gaming world that the characters love so much. But seriously, when we take the story into consideration, the average art direction and animation is ironically unimportant to us.
Verdict: We don’t often recommend gaming anime as our general recommended list usually consists of action and/or rom-com anime. However, if the opportunity arises, we’d highly recommend Recovery of an MMO Junkie. This anime has a lot of heart, humour, and fangirl moments. And best of all, it accurately demonstrates a gamer’s love and passion for MMO games.