It would be easy to dismiss And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online? as just another one of those Issekai (Trapped in a world) style anime shows given that it involves an online video game in 2018. However And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online? is a slightly deeper anime than most that is done so well that it’s easily one of the best versions of gamers shown in any medium.
Title: And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online?
Genre: Online Game, Comedy, Romance, Ecchi, School
Details: 12 episodes
Release Date: May 5, 2018 (Australia)
Languages: English 5.1, Japanese 2.0
Subtitles: English subtitles
Number of Discs: 2 (DVD) | 2 (Bluray)
Runtime: 300.0 mins (24mins per episode)
Distributor: Madman Entertainment (DVD)(Bluray)
Special Features: Episode 03 Commentary, Episode 05 Video Commentary, Promo Video, Luce Twinkle Wink “1st Love Story” Music Video Promo, Commercial Collection, Textless Opening & Closing Songs (BLURAY ONLY)
Rating: M15+: Mature themes, sexual references and nudity
In the MMORPG Legendary Age, Hideki Nishimura (in-game name Rusian) receives a marriage proposal from his guild mate Ako who has been persistently asking him. Along with players Schwein and Apricot, they are members of the Alley Cats guild. In the real world, Hideki is a high school student who openly expresses otaku behavior amongst his friends, leading to regular disapproval by classmate Akane Segawa. In game, Rusian ultimately accepts Ako’s proposal, and reveals to his guild mates that his hesitation stemmed from his previously proposing to a female character named Nekohime, only for the latter to turn him down and confess to be a cross-player (a guy playing a girl). Apricot organizes a real life meeting of the guild members. While Hideki is shocked that Ako is actually a real girl named Ako Tamaki, even more surprising are Apricot and Schwein’s real identities, which are student council president Kyoh Goshoin and Akane respectively. The members formally introduce their real life selves and share their common dislike for “normies” (non-gamers), Hideki is still in disbelief at Ako’s true beauty in contrast to her 2D appearance.
Voiced by: Toshiyuki Toyonaga (Japanese); Dallas Reid (English)
Hideki Nishimura is the main protagonist of the series. Hideki is a first-year high school student who plays Legendary Age (LA), under the name Rusian, a male knight. He is Ako’s ‘husband’ in-game, and he does not trust girls, due to the fact that a long time ago he confessed to a girl in the game, but revealed herself to be a guy. Hideki is what people consider as an ‘open-otaku’ as he has no trouble talking about having an in-game wife and other several game-related subjects. However, Hideki has trouble talking to and trusting girls after he proposed to Nekohime, who then revealed herself to be male, later shocking and traumatizing him. Despite liking games better, Hideki still knows how to act in a social life. Hideki is easily offended when insulted, but he usually gets over it.
Voiced by: Rina Hidaka (Japanese); Trina Nishimura (English)
The cover girl of the series, Ako is Hideki’s schoolmate who goes by the game name Ako, a female cleric, in LA. She is Hideki’s in-game wife as a result of her repeated in-game proposals to him and his reluctant acceptance. In real life, she attends the same school as Hideki, but is often absent due to her heavy addiction to the online game. She is shy and a loner at school, but is extremely happy to meet Rusian in real life. She has a hard time distinguishing between the gaming world and reality, casually calling her guild mates by their character names at school, and going into psychotic trances in reactions to non-gaming “normies”, saying that they should die.
Voiced by: Inori Minase (Japanese); Jad Saxton (English)
A petite twin-tailed blonde classmate, she despises otakus and scolds Hideki whenever he acts like one or tries to interact with her. However, she is actually a gamer herself under the moniker Schwein, a male knight (sword dancer). Her character name is German for pig, which she did not know until Kyo informs her offline, much to her chagrin. Although she is popular at school, she has turned down many boys so she can have more gaming time.
Voiced by: M·A·O (Japanese); Mallorie Rodak (English)
The student council president at Hideki’s school and the leader of the Alley Cats guild in LA. She has long dark hair and goes under the character name Apricot, a male mage at the beginning of the series. Her guild mates call her Master. She comes from a wealthy family; her father is on the school board, and her family has several companies. She often uses in-game purchases to boost her game attributes, but does not depend on her family’s money but on her personal investments to fund it. Outside of the guild, she does not have any friends as her family does not give her much chance to socialize. She sponsors the creation of the school’s game club.
Voiced by: Hitomi Ōwada (Japanese); Tia Ballard (English)
Akane’s friend who discovers she plays online games, and agrees to keep it a secret. Shortly afterwards, she begins playing LA under the character name Sette, who is a summoner. Nanako’s shown to be very friendly and understanding, not judging her friend, Akane’s, love for games and kept it a secret. Nanako enjoys teasing others and pretends to be interested in other guys to make certain females jealous as a joke, but soon backs off and feel guilty when the teasing went too far.
Voiced by: Yoshino Nanjō (Japanese); Monica Rial (English)
Yui Saito is Hideki’s teacher who watches over him and the girls, and becomes their club’s advisor. She gives him advice on how to interact with girls and balance his gaming life. It is later revealed that she was the LA player Nekohime, a catgirl who rejected Hideki’s in-game proposal two years prior, stating that she was actually a guy. In school, Yui is a hard-working and strict teacher that cares deeply for her students. Yui scolds them whenever they are doing something that is against the school rules or when they are acting out. Despite that, Yui wants nothing, but to help them and feel better in school. In the game however, Yui acts more childish, cheerful to the point that some would mistake her for a teenager. Yui is known to be wise and understanding at young people, knowing how to handle them and treat their problem in a positive way.
And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online?is an interesting anime that starts out with the usual bunch of character tropes and begins something deeper than most anime would try to do. Focusing around that character Ako, who suffers from stress and anxiety to the point where she will miss class a lot. Using the medium of video games as a means to keep Ako interested and happy enough to keep coming to school (Though Ako’s obsession with Hideki also is a reason for Ako to keep coming back) is a great idea in the beginning, but it falls to the side very quickly as the show turns focus to the game itself instead of helping the characters with their personal issues.
Outside of the beginning ideas, And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online? is the usual amusing gaming parody and High School Harem show that I love to watch. It’s got a great mix of dirty jokes and moments for that aspect, but also tells a good story of friendship through gaming, something that western media tends to shun away from it their shows. While the Otaku culture isn’t exactly a thing of high respect in Japan, it’s good to see a piece of media that shows more of the positives than the negatives when it comes to gaming culture. Too often we will see the NEET lifestyle of the loner guy/girl in their small apartment playing the game with others and eventually meeting up and becoming friends in real life. This time around we get all that out of the way in the first episode so that we see these characters not only hanging around in the school club playing the game, but also being more and more social with each other outside of school and the game. A great positive outlook on the gamer life.
The biggest flaw with And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online? is that all the character problems are either pushed aside for more in-game stories or resolved too quickly for anyone to actually learn form those issues. Ako’s whole character in the beginning has issues with being around people in general, to the point where the gaming club is established specifically to help Ako deal with those issues and become a more normal member of society. However this gets dropped and picked up at random as they need a plot device to cause drama. Then there is the whole thing with Hideki having trust issues around women after being rejected after a confession to a girl who turned out to be a guy in real life (Though this was proven wrong later). Not only does this do nothing to him outside the game where he is surrounded with women from his school, but he also marries Ako’s character in game; making the whole part of his character completely pointless. Which only gets worse when he meets up with the “guy” once again in game, only for it to be revealed that it was his Teacher at school, a female, the whole time. There was a lot to explore character wise in And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online?, but it just doesn’t get looked into enough, something that comes with the anime lasting a whole 12 episodes. Given a much longer run and a return to focus on the characters and their problems, And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online? could have been one of the best and deepest looks at the life of gamers of all types ever made. However we don’t get that and it’s a real shame.
And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online? is a decent anime. It has a good mix of gaming, a beginning of deep characters, humor and fan service to be worth a watch. Though it does need a longer series in order to become something truly great. It’s worth a good stream for a day or a binge watch on home media once the price tag goes down a bit. At the end of it all And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online? is one of the better and more positive takes on gaming in a long time.
©2015 KINEKO SHIBAI/PUBLISHED BY KADOKAWA CORPORATION ASCII MEDIA WORKS/LA OPERATION TEAM
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An interesting look at the psychology behind gamers
And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online?is one of the better looks at the gamer lifestyle to come out of any culture in a long time. The characters have flaws that keep them tied to the game world but at the same time they are not completely shut off from the world and needing to rediscover it like a lot of shows will do. Instead we see a bunch of characters who come together in game and in the real world to help one of their fellow gamers with her problems and also solving the problems within themselves too. A great mix of comedy, fan service, and story to keep you watching in a single sitting.
- Great flawed characters who need to grow in the show
- Gamers that aren’t just alone in an apartment the whole show
- Plenty of comedy and fan service to keep anyone entertained
- Characters problems need to be explored deeper than shown
- Needs at least 13 more episodes to go from good to great
- Focus change from characters to a whole in-game finale fails to give the show the ending it deserves