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Recovery of an MMO Junkie is an interesting show as much for what it doesn’t show in its short run[1] as for what it does.

Moriko Morioka is a disillusioned salarywoman who quits her job and retreats to the life of an, in her words, “elite NEET” with the intention of spending all her time playing MMORPGs. Moriko elects to create a male fighter called Hayashi and rapidly becomes friends with the popular support character Lily.

Who, naturally, is played by the male Yuta Sakurai.

From there a series of coincidences play out[2] to bring these two together romantically, and in the doing challenge Moriko’s dismal self-image[3]. This process is aided and abetted by Yuta’s co-worker Homare Koiwai.

Koiwai is possibly the most active Shipper on Deck since Tomoyo-chan in Card Captor Sakura, and his motives for doing so are at least partially bound in respect for the work Moriko was doing before she quit[4]. Which only emphasises the mystery of why, exactly, did Moriko quit?

In terms of what you do see, there’s a reasonable examination of online vs real identity, as well as a decent look at performative gender roles. The romance is awkwardly sweet as Moriko and Yuta struggle to interact with each other outside of their MMO characters. This is especially true when they have to reverse the gender roles in their interactions, and end up feeling a like a fish out of water as a result[5].

The episodes themselves are generally intriguing, with a refreshing cast of adult characters, and the issues of living as a NEET are generally well handled.

In terms of what you don’t see, Moriko is an interesting character who has clearly had her confidence shattered at some point and the series cuts out just as it’s starting to come back.

So you don’t’ get to see how those issues are going to be resolved beyond the possible romance. There’s a sense that Moriko’s agency with respect to her life is coming back. That said I’d really like to see how, and what shape Moriko would bring to her life when she’s acting rather than reacting.

With that in mind Recovery of an MMO Junkie is best seen as a good but unfinished series. Which makes it a pity that we won’t get the rest of it.

Here’s the OP Saturday Night Question by Megumi Nakajima. I rather like the grittier, less J-poppy, vocals here as they fit both the song, and the series.

[1] 10 episodes plus two BD only OAVs per Wikipedia.

[2] Amusingly these coincidences are actively lampshaded by Yuta and to a lesser extent by Moriko (it takes her longer to notice the coincidences).

[3] Not borne out in reality.

[4] Although they only talked on the phone prior to the events of the series.

[5] That applies to both Yuta and Moriko BTW. It really is charming to watch.