Who Would Like this Series/Volume?
Volume 5 still has the same kind of feeling volume 1 had. If the only thing you’ve experienced so far is the anime, then volume 5 will be less exciting drama- and action-wise, and a bit easier on the MMO part although it is, of course, still its big theme. A rom-com with heavy emphasis on the comedy part, harem aspects are there but extremely weak.
It’s pretty much the same as volume 1. The only thing I’d like to add is that you’ve really got to have your contextual understanding together since the characters will keep their lines as short as you’d expect from colloquial Japanese – and Japanese is a context language.
Nothing that I know of.
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!
After weeks of abnormal weather in Europe and me basically being steam cooked at 30 degrees celsius room temperature without any sort of AC whatsoever, the weather’s calmed down and I am finally able to formulate a clear thought again; back to writing up some reviews that’ve piled up.
Netgame is the series that made me realize my limits back in the day. I tried translating it, had to acknowledge that it’s over my head, and dropped it. Then, once my Japanese was up there, I tried reading it, didn’t find it too interesting, and forgot about the series. Later, the anime came out, I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised. It was well-made and very entertaining to watch.
And that inspired me to read volume 5. It picks up where the anime left off: After the cultural festival where the Alley Cats conquered a small pvp stronghold. The big themes are Legendary Age’s new housing system on one, and Schwein’s computer meltdown on the other hand.
To get a small – or rather none-aspect – out of the way, there is no character development worth mentioning. I consider Netgame as a comedy, so to me it’d be surprising if there was.
However, the jokes really don’t hit as hard. It had me grin a few times, but never laugh. The anime felt more impactful in that regard. While I’m at it, overall Netgame feels like a series that works much better animated. Reading Schwein’s, Ako’s, Lucian’s, Apricot’s, and Sette’s exchanges without hearing the voice actresses and without seeing the character’s body languages has nothing but a “meh” effect on me. Now you could say that that’s just me not liking books as much as anime, but Shomin Sample did make me laugh a lot. There’s something about either the quality of the jokes or the writing that just isn’t as funny when you read them; as dry as Europe right now – well, maybe not that bad.
The story arcs in volume 5 aren’t boring or anything, nor are they exciting. They kept me hooked enough to finish it in a reasonable time, but not hooked enough to suck me into its story. It lacks memorable or big moments and excitement.
I’m also under the impression that Netgame does disturbingly seldom take place in the netgame. Or rather, doesn’t revolve around the MMO. Lots of volume 5 is about part time jobs, Schwein’s PC issues, and her MMO addiction. It kinda feels like they got nowhere in the game. It’s just the housing thing. And in the end, it doesn’t feel like they got anywhere; an unsatisfying lack of progress.
What does, however, make Netgame a satisfying reader experience is how homogenous it is. The story feels very consistent, there’s a clean chain of events, it all comes together and makes sense. No unnatural turns of events, no unnatural character behaviors, no forced relationships, it feels real, it feels plausible. Extra points for the author pointing out how the whole dilema could’ve been fixed in the first place: Lucian still has Apricot’s gaming notebook from before (as seen in the anime). Minus points at the same time because that’s the one thing I don’t buy. I doubt he stuffed that expensive gaming notebook into a closet or under his bed, so Lucian must’ve somehow caught a glimpse of it, and seeing how hard they try to get Schwein a new PC, he would’ve seen this solution. Sorta feels like the author remembered that there was that gaming notebook when it was already too late, so it’s just in there like “Guys, I know, I didn’t completely forget, let’s just say Lucian forgot about it, alright?”
All in all, Netgame 5 is a streamlined experience that won’t let its fans down, but it’s just not as enjoyable as the anime. It’s a series that works best on screen and in pictures, not on paper and in letters. At least that’s my personal opinion after volume 5; I’m not exactly burning to read volume 6, but I will probably give it a shot for good measure. For me, it’s a strong 6 since the general story writing is commendable.