My Favourite Anime This Spring Is About An MMORPG-Obsessed Woman

I was not expecting my favourite anime so far this season to be about an unemployed, 30-year-old MMORPG addict with an unhealthy drinking habit, but here we are.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie, which is simulcasting on Crunchyroll, is a silly, playful anime about a woman who quits her demanding office job to become a trashy NEET, which stands for "Not in education, employment or training." With her hands free, Morioka Moriko one day considers restarting her long-lost MMORPG habit.

She searches for the most popular MMORPG du jour and stumbles upon Fruits de Mer, a Final Fantasy XIV-like game where she immediately goes about designing her "hot guy character." But, sadly, her hot boy is, at first, a little pathetic.

An oversized hamster defeats him, embarrassingly, several times. That's when Moriko encounters a sweet fellow player named Lily, who appoints herself Moriko's mentor and friend. Lily reveals Fruits de Mer's charms and idiosyncrasies to Moriko, and in the process, her own.

After some time, Morkio begins to wonder why wandering the digital landscape with Lily makes her so incomparably happy.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie

Outside of the game, Moriko's life is a predictable but not totally pathetic cycle of gaming, buying beer at the convenience store and sleeping. Around that convenience store one day, she runs head-first into a very kind, generous man whose charms, over time, begin to remind her of someone else's.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie is definitely cutesy and romantic. It's the kind of show that you watch three episodes of in a row and, when you're done, you feel like five minutes have passed. What's special about it isn't how easy it is to watch, though.

It's that it's a good as hell, low-brow anime about a woman that is 100% crowd-pleasing without resorting to gratuitous fan service.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie

It's rare to find an anime about a totally unglamorous and unemployed 30-year-old woman. Rarer still is it to find an anime where a woman's interest in video games isn't seen as special (I'm looking at you, Gamers).

It's a love story that isn't cloying with its sex appeal and doesn't treat Moriko like the bait at the end of a 10, 20 or 30-episode stick. In fact, the avatar Lily's pastel beauty is addressed in the anime as something that makes her gaming experience difficult — she confides in Moriko that getting so much male attention almost made her quit.

Also interesting is the way the show plays with gender norms. Lily and Moriko's avatars develop a closer-than-friends bond despite the fact that neither knows the other's IRL gender.

A lot of the show is about how Moriko chooses to wear her male avatar's masculinity, especially in contrasty to Lily's picture-perfect cutesy girl persona (spoiler: she's played by a man). Fruits de Mer represents a place where anybody can be anyone, unquestioned and accepted. That's pretty escapist.

Recovery of an MMO'S Junkie's level of thoughtfulness makes watching it a cathartic experience. Sad to say, but a solid anime about an unremarkable, and even pretty unendearing, woman who loves MMORPGs is worth celebrating.


Comments

    I was not expecting my favourite anime so far this season to be about an unemployed, 30-year-old MMORPG addict with an unhealthy drinking habit, but here we are.
    Dude. I dunno about 'unhealthy drinking habit'. One beer a day, two when stressed? C'mon.

    But yes, it's fantastic. There is MUCH that is relateable about the characters.

      According to NZ guidelines 1 litre of beer is the maximum daily limit. Fun fact but there you go.

        Whereas in Australia 1 litre is the minimum I put into my stein in one go :-D

      That's actually completely within healthy guidelines for a male. JUST over for a female.

    Pretty big bloody spoiler in the article Kotaku!

      Saw it coming though.

        True. Pretty obvious from the way the writer described the 'feelings' that Moriko got from the dude she met at the general store.

          And I imagine anyone watching the show would be able to pick up the telegraphing of that twist too.

            You can pretty much tell by the end of the first episode and it's basically confirmed in the second.

    I prefer to second title for it on thevopening credits "Splendure of an MMO Life" (or something like that)... cause I dont see any signs of recovery, its a massive relapse.

    The coincidences of the main characters life is way too clique... the girl she meets in gane happens to be a boy she bumped into, who asked her out, who happened to be a forner work collegue whos best friend in said company knew her, then his friend bumps into her and at a store... and the cashier at the store is possibly another player... ARGH!

    I am really just watching it to see what happens to them when they both come out of the closet as Digital Transvestites (people who roleplay opposite sexes in game). Its a gamble... hope it doesnt fizzle

    Thanks Cecelia, now what do I do? All 4 current eps watched and now I am hooked. This is a terrible article because it is 2 months early. Next time, be courteous and don't tell us until we can binge the whole series ????

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