When you’re a 38-year-old salaryman, you just don’t have all the time in the world to sink into an online game. But no matter the age, gamers still get excited about new releases. So what do you do when the latest greatest VRMMO comes out? Well, in this case, you create a very plain-looking character, name him “Earth,” and start him with all the underpowered skills so that no one wants to party with you. By being an archer, having wind magic, using the sneak ability, being able to create potions, and so forth, your characters become less than valuable to the community of players. You’ll get to play solo and avoid joining parties that will grow to depend on you though you might not be available to help. And even with all these seemingly lacking skills, you can still find a way to enjoy the game. But what if this new game is a little…tricky? What if it changes the rules for all the players on day two? What will you do when despite all your best intentions, the underpowered abilities you have end up not being so underpowered at all?
The latest series in the “chill” subgenre of VRMMO anime, A Playthrough of a Certain Dude’s VRMMO Life, isn’t particularly interested in accomplishing anything new. Player approaching the game on “hard mode”? Check. Nice people teaming up with the protagonist? Check. Player is actually really good at gaming? Check. Bullies get their comeuppance? Check with an exclamation mark (!), just because I love that sort of storyline. Check check check. VRMMO Life also features a generic story, mundane character designs, and animation that’s solid but not noteworthy. Still, the opening episode is undeniably fun. And indeed it’s because it knows what it is—just a relaxing, cute, fun VRMMO series—and does well in meeting that standard. So if these kinds of shows are in your wheelhouse, you’ll likely enjoy this one. I should add, though, that there are also a couple of exceptional aspects to episode one, both revealing themselves toward the end. First, the ED: The series goes full-out kawaii with it. Featuring the female companion in the party, the ending employs chibi characters, adorable symbols and logos, and pastel colors galore. So cute. And then something I probably should have noticed right from the get-go: the RL player is approaching middle age and has a very chill attitude (“a certain dude”) but plays his character with tenacity and youth. The anime is definitely trying to emphasize that dichotomy, and it adds a layer that makes the show more enjoyable. So while this series won’t shake anyone’s world, it looks like it’ll be plenty of fun for those who choose to tune in.
A Playthrough of a Certain Dude’s VRMMO Life can be streamed on Crunchyroll.
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