Light Novel Review: Netgame Volume 1

Who Would Like this Series/Volume?


It’s about a bunch of self-proclaimed otakus who like to play a certain MMO the most. It’s not about fighting in-game but about the relationship between Hideki (protagonist) and Ako (main heroine). There’s a bunch of nerdy references to MMOs in general and comedy. If you’re allergic to dense protagonists, better avoid it.

For: If you wanna see a dense, open otaku protagonist getting closer to not be dense with a bunch of MMO references and okay-ish comedy on the side, this one’s for you.

Difficulty


Lots of slang, lots of MMO terms, lots of made-up terms, lots of MMO slang. There’s a bunch of things in here you’ll hardly find in a dictionary, so it’s browsing nikoniko and stuff if you don’t know certain words. The grammar itself is pretty damn basic, so I’m reluctant to give it a 7, but all the weird terms and slang will probably demand you to have a stronger grasp on Japanese than you’d need for Kou1 for instance, so I’m going for 7, anyway.

Difficulty 7/10

Translation Where?


Only the prologue’s been done by the past me and the guy who picked it up then seems dead and it reads pretty damn bumpy anyway. So you’ll have to look for a manga or be satisfied with the summary below.

Translation: Apart from a few fragments, no for the light novel.

Premise


Hideki plays an MMO character named Lucian. In his guild, there’s a female character named Nekohime who’s his personal angel and so he takes all his heart and confesses to her to please marry him (in-game). Turns out, however, that Nekohime’s an old fart who only plays a female character. Traumatized by this turn of actions, Hideki decides to never ever believe that there are girls playing online games. And he tells this exact story to Ako – another female character who confesses to him at a later point. She doesn’t care though and still wants him to marry her.

Contents


NOTE: These summaries can never give you an accurate impression on how the book reads or what the book is really like. It simply gives you the gist of the novel, but don’t judge the book by this alone. It can’t be helped that things read rushed and colorless in a summary. You can get an idea by reading the conclusion and, finally, by reading it yourself!

The Whole Damn Thing

Conclusion


Volume 1 Cover

Now that’s nostalgic. It’s one of those series I tried to translate because the premise seemed interesting, soon realized it’s over my head, and now I can just read through it and even be glad to not have translated it as it’s not really worth it. Ha.

First of all, I don’t know how you feel about it after having read it or having read the summary, but in my opinion every single twist was foreseeable. So the tension in the story shows the author’s goodwill, but it’s not enough. At the same time, the protagonist’s an idiot. He basically realizes he loves Ako and even his surroundings do, but he sticks to his questionable logic like a retard. Basically, the character development’s stuck on him being stupid while he believes that Ako’s the one who has to change.

The other “heroines” can’t really gain color. They seem utterly unimportant in the face of Ako and really feel just like background actors. Furthermore, the MMO aspect of the series isn’t well-implemented. It might as well not be there at all. It feels forced in that regard, “I have to put some MMO stuff in here! Nowadays, that’s all the rage!”

Another weird point is how the author seems to love to simply leave things out. What happened to the bento Ako made? Was it good? Who got the super-duper equip? Why the hell doesn’t Hideki ask Saitou-sensei about the character stuff? I don’t get it.

One of its biggest sale points are probably the illustrations – or rather, the illustrator. I was told that guy’s drawn a bunch of H stuff before doing this, so people know him from… a cousin of a friend’s mum, I guess? The illustrations look pretty good in my opinion, but at the same time really seem like something you’d find in some doujinshi. And why does he color textile in a way that makes it look as shiny as plastic?

Anyway, back to the story. Would I read volume 2? The “side heroines” are rather unappealing and lack really interesting sides. The protagonist is dense and I feel like I’m reading towards him stopping to be dense. The MMO part feels random. The comedy’s okay but nothing big. And that’s about all the series has so far. But then there’s Ako. Her obsessive love and naivety feels refreshing at least and slaps at least a bit of color over this monochrome self-discovery/-denial story. I’d probably try volume 2 at some point to see whether she can hold up the series or not. At least the most interesting character gets the most screentime, too. So it’s a 6 very close to a 5 for now. For Ako’s sake. And I’ve no idea why the ratings on Amazon Japan are so high.

Rating 5/10

 

10.26.2015: Downrated from 6 to 5 since it falls way behind “Shomin Sample” and “Shurabara!” in terms of appeal and a 5 (read: okay-ish) fits it better.

 

CDJapan | Amazon | BOOKWALKER

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