Recovery of an MMO Junkie Episode 6

“I’m So Embarrassed I Could Die”

Fridays at 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Moriko learns she showed up on the wrong day for her date with Koiwai so she has dinner with Sakurai instead. Misreading the situation, Sakurai backs off and Moriko still goes on her date with Koiwai the next day. Also, Marlin joins us this week and I try to subliminally sabotage his argument with my choice of screencaps.

Jel’s thoughts

I really don’t like the implication that there’s some kind of love triangle going on here. As we’ve discussed, Koiwai is kind of a creep. Could he be worse? Sure, but I feel like the only thing that may be holding him back is his friendship with Sakurai. Had Moriko been any other woman I’m guessing he’d be laying on the charm and doing whatever it takes to get laid. I mean, even when he’s ostensibly trying to hook these crazy kids up, he still can’t get through a full sentence without flirting with her.

I’m not going to let Sakurai off the hook either. He’s way too old to be waffling on whether he likes a girl or not, and he needs to just admit it. The fact that he can stop this rollercoaster at any time but doesn’t is kind of infuriating. That said, I’ll take a shy, awkward nerd who is nervous about navigating this bizarre coincidence that fell into his lap over a wanna be alpha male that we’re supposed to give credit for NOT date raping someone (he did make a joke about it though).

This is where the game world becomes important. Both Sakurai and Moriko have trouble expressing themselves in the real world. In Moriko’s case, she’s been so beaten down by the realities of adult life that she seems to have forgotten how to be herself at all. Playing the game has given them a safe place to open up and be who they really are without having to worry about unimportant things like what clothes your wearing or how you cut your hair… OK, so they DO worry about those things in the game, but in a fun way! As soon as the truth comes out and they realize how close they already are, they’ll be fine.

I guess it all makes me think about something you realize as you get older and see relationships come and go: the “opposites attract” thing only works in fiction. Well, they might “attract” at first but those kinds of relationships are likely to burn out. A strong couple is usually passionate about the same things and is always moving in the same overall direction. Something like playing an MMO together may seem trivial, but there’s a reason you actually see a lot of couples come out of them. If you’re both doing what you love together, it will probably work out.

We don’t really know enough about the characters in MMO Junkie, at least not the guys, to do a proper projection of where their relationships would go. But based on what we DO know, it seems like Sakurai is a much better match for Moriko. I just want these two nerds to figure out they love each other and play games all night together and live happily ever after. And if we must, let’s find Koiwai some hot, outgoing babe that would be comfortable going out drinking every night and joking and teasing right back at him. That would make everyone happy, right?

Marlin’s Thoughts

Man, this is the romance show I have been waiting a long time for. It says something about my own age that I want to see this kind of stuff just like how Golden Time stole my heart when I was fresh out of college. I was about to have a heart attack three different times as Sakurai and Moriko fight to see who can be the most sheepish person in the world. Thankfully, with the nudge from Koiwai the two finally get some time to get to know each other. Since we’re dealing with adults, it’s nice to see they’re a bit freer with their thoughts, but they can go further. Sakurai’s attitude at the end really does puzzle me. Does he feel an inferiority complex? Does he really think she is better suited for Koiwai? It’s really disheartening after how naturally they could talk to each other that he seems determined to remain friends. I get there would be some game-world ramifications of them being together, but he has to understand there’s something more important than that. Hopefully the rest of this episode started to put that together for him.

Jel and I had quite the debate on the nature of Koiwai’s character. While I would not for a second argue he’s more virtuous than Sakurai, I think what we’ve seen of him isn’t really giving him a fair shake in context. Sure, it is never in good taste to joke about Moriko the way he did after their date was over, but I think he’s really trying to send a shock through Sakurai’s system. He knows just how much Sakurai is sabotaging himself in his dealings with Moriko. It clearly left some impression on him when he realized just how hard he was sweating going to Koiwai’s place. His nature of not taking things too seriously is making him run into some bad jokes, but I just don’t think we can say he’s a bad person from what we’ve seen of his behavior.

My exhibit A in that respect is the first time him and Moriko talked to each other. He primarily knows how to disarm people with humor, but even beyond that he consoled Moriko in her weariness when he really didn’t have to. He’s shown himself to be surprisingly adept at picking up on people’s problems and encouraging them. Even in the date with Moriko, he’s trying his hardest to show her that she has real worth. I don’t think it’s wrong for a guy to compliment a girl he’s taking out, and during the date he even tries to make her realize that Sakurai sees that worth in her too. He also makes sure to highlight that what he’s seeing is not just her looks, but her confidence. She has had nothing in life to make her at ease lately, and as the English title implies, her MMO life should not be her whole life. It might be a step on the path to regaining some normalcy, but it shouldn’t be the end for her.

With the story so heavily invested in Sakurai and Moriko right now, it’s hard to see how the other characters really fit in anymore. Lilac hasn’t even met anyone in person yet despite the fact so much screen time has gone to her real life. Is the show going to pump on the breaks in order to develop the rest of the cast? There’s also a bit of a wild card in Kanbe. The next time she comes into his store, how is he going to react to her change? He knows she’s not really a college student, so I wonder what he thinks she’s really been up to the past few days. Overall, I loved this episode and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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