ANIME REVIEW: “And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online?” – Animation Scoop

ANIME REVIEW: “And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online?”

Hideki Nishimura (Dallas Reid), the hero of the adventure-comedy And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online? (2016), is a typically nerdy student at Maegasaki High. He’s not a math wizard or an unshowered programming genius. He’s just an insecure, slightly out of it guy with few real friends.

Nishimura finds the companionship he seeks in the cyberworld of the massive multiplayer online role-playing game Legendary Age (LA). As Rusian, a warrior of some skill (though by no means a star), he enjoys hanging out with the other members of the Alley Cats Guild: Master Apricot (Mallorie Rodak), Schwein (Jad Saxton) and Ako (Trina Nishimura). Apricot and Schwein are redoubtable fighters. Ako is a healer, but a rather klutzy one. Nevertheless, they’re all pals, and Nishimura assumes they’re guys from somewhere in Japan in real life.

When they agree to meet in person at a nearby café, Nishimura is shocked to discover his guild buddies are girls from his school. Apricot is Kyo Goshion, the class rep, who’s too busy to have any real friends; Schwein, who didn’t realize her nom de game means “pig” in German, is Akane Segawa, a snotty classmate who’s obsessed with her image. Buxom, lovely Ako is Ako Tamaki: it didn’t occur to her to use a different name online for security.

Ako poses something of a problem. After being rejected by the ultra-kawaii Nekohime (Monica Rial), a cat-princess he thought was an older man in disguise, Nishimura agreed to marry Ako in the game when she proposed to him for the umpteenth time. She insists on treating him as her adored husband, not only in LA, but at Maegasaki High.

Series in which players find themselves trapped within a game due to a bug in the software or an occurrence in the outside world have become almost a subgenre of anime. Nishimura and his friends aren’t trapped in the game—but Ako wants to be. the others can’t seem to convince her that Legendary Age and the real world are two different things. As exam time approaches, she considers quitting school to live exclusively in her preferred role in her preferred world.

When newbie Sette/Nanako Akiyama (Tia Ballard) joins the game and seems to be making a play for Nishimura, Ako’s jealousy assumes a terrifying intensity. When the gang tries a first person shooter game for variety, Ako scores points as a deadly assassin because she imagines her cyber-foes are rivals for Rusian’s affection.

And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online? began as a series of light novels written by Shibai Kineko and illustrated by Hisasi. It’s clearly aimed at gamers, and uses some of the subculture’s slang. Apricot/Kyo comes from a well-to-do family, and the others complain that buying so much pricey equipment and high end add-ons makes her a “Wallet Warrior.”

Director Shinsuke Yanagi keeps the action moving agreeably. Although there are more fan service elements than the really fit the story—Ako constantly threatens to spill out or her décolleté tops–Never a Girl Online is a pleasant, if lightweight entertainment. For jiggle fans, the “limited deluxe edition” ($59.99) comes with a mouse pad of Ako.

And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online? the Complete Series
Funimation: $44.49 4 discs, DVD and Blu-ray

Charles Solomon

Charles Solomon

Internationally known animation historian and critic, Charles Solomon has written over 15 books books including Enchanted Drawings: The History Of Animation, The Art of Disney's Frozen, and The Making of Peanuts Animation. Solomon's "The Art of Toy Story 3" will be published by Chronicle this spring.
Charles Solomon
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