Recovery of an MMO Junkie, a 10-episode anime that no one really anticipated ended up being one of the most well-written and endearing series from the fall season.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Net-juu no Susume in Japanese) follows Moriko Morioka. A woman in her 30s who’s recently quit her job to dedicate herself to her passion: MMO games. As a NEET, Moriko’s social skills are very poor, so she spends all day hiding away in her room with her computer. At one point, Moriko starts realizing that the members of her guild are actually from her city.
It’s a beautiful coincidence. Even though these characters could have simply met via casual day-to-day interactions or in social events, they met in a fictitious world that only exists online. Some play because they’re bored, others because they’re shy, and others because they’re pretty much allergic to human contact.
Furthermore, gaming allows them to create an avatar in which they show a side of them they might have never shown to anyone else. Considering all these things, and while most of the comedy bits come from Moriko’s incompetence at adulting, the show never pokes fun at those who have trouble interacting with others.
If anything, Recovery of an MMO Junkie (notice the word “recovery”) is a love letter to all those who might need to take baby steps to get over their insecurities, anxieties, and even give love a chance.
And while Moriko is definitely a person in need of recovery, she never stops playing games either, nor is gaming put in a negative light by the story (something very common in this type of anime). If anything, the anime shows the viewer that it’s possible to live a fulfilling life while staying true to yourself, whether that’s getting into a sport or gaming until the sun comes up.
On a side note, if there’s anything that could be said against this anime is that it’s quite unrealistic. For starters, it’s hard to believe Moriko could afford to quit her job and play full time. How is she even paying rent? More than that, there’s the fact that everyone in her guild seems to be from her city. However, this is obviously something that is needed for this particular story to work. At the end of the day, this is still a light-hearted comedy series.
Regarding enjoyment, the first episodes are a bit slow. Moriko is pretty much the only character we see, and the best bits have to do with her fangirling scenes and her freakouts. The series definitely starts picking up around the halfway mark when other characters start getting introduced, and we are allowed to see more substantial interactions, some of which carry a surprising amount of emotional weight.
Instead of going with the cliché “misunderstanding” tropes, Recovery of an MMO Junkie surprises its viewers by showing how mature, and honest its characters are. It would have been effortless to just go with an online/offline misunderstanding galore scenario, but instead of that, the series opts for a much more interesting way of exploring these encounters.
Will there be a second round? For now, an OVA special will be available to watch on Crunchyroll on December 15th.
It’s hard to say whether there’s any chance of a second season being released because the manga has been on hiatus for a very long time, and the anime already ended in a perfect and conclusive note.