Recovery of an MMO Junkie

After days of plunging into Fall 2017’s deep, dark anime coal mines, I have emerged with a few diamonds… and some sludgy crap I’m still trying to wash out of my sweater.

There was a lot of sludgy crap.

Watching through the 52 anime we showcased in our Fall 2017 anime preview, four anime stood out to me as innovative, moving or binge-worthy. So curl up with some mulled cider and a seasonably plaid blanket and check out our picks:


Inuyashiki

Genre: Drama, sci-fi

Studio: Mappa

Where to Watch: Amazon’s Anime Strike

Plot: An elderly man who has little to live for is diagnosed with cancer. As he’s crying alone, a supernatural explosion encompasses him. When he wakes up, he’s become a state-of-the-art mechanical killing machine. Ater he encounters a teenager who met the same fate and turned evil, the man decides to fill the emptiness in his life by saving others.

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Why watch it? The sense of deep psychological discomfort Inuyashiki inspires reminds me of a Satoshi Kon movie (Perfect Blue, Paprika), which means it’s at points hard to watch, but ultimately very, very good. Its pacing is slow enough to build emotional tension, but in its quicker moments it delivers on adrenaline. Slice-of-life moments centered on the elderly protagonist are deeply heartbreaking, which made me fully appreciate how brave he is to devote himself to justice.

Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World

Genre: Adventure, fantasy

Studio: Lerche

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, Funimation

Plot: In this reboot of the psychological 2003 anime of the same name, we again join the androgynous traveler Kino and his talking motorcycle as they bike to idiosyncratic countries and learn the strange ways of new people. Armed with a .44 revolver, Kino stays in each town for only three days and two nights as a rule—long enough for them to question their own principles and values, but not too long that they’d be tempted to settle down. Kino’s mantra: “The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.”

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Why watch it? Kino’s Journey is a triple threat: badass, thought-provoking and full of wonder. I love how the show’s gorgeous animation and careful plot pacing make me more open to considering ways of life so different from my own.

Urahara




Genre: Comedy, sci-fi

Studio: Shiroguma, Inc. and EMT2

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, Funimation

Plot: Japan, and specifically Harajuku, a district famous for kawaii fashion, is taken over by a race of aliens without culture. To defend their beloved Harajuku from having its culture sucked up by the invaders, schoolgirls transform into psychedelic magical girls to defeat the aliens, who explode into cute food.

Why watch it? This one’s a doozy. There’s a talking shrimp tempura sidekick. The aliens are floating pink, sucky, bell-shaped things. One of the magical girls fires a cannon twice her size. This is a pink pastel, lolita acid trip of a show, and it’s about girls defending the rich culture that they helped create from empty beings who want to steal it.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie

Genre: Fantasy, romance, slice-of-life

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll, Funimation

Plot: A 30-year-old woman named Morioka Moriko quits her job and downloads an MMORPG she quickly becomes addicted to, where she meets an adorable, kind-hearted girl avatar who helps out her “hot boy” avatar. Outside of the game, Moriko encounters a charming salaryman whose good qualities remind her of someone else’s...

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Why watch it? I’m a sucker for shows that pull off a good plot set in an MMORPG. And it’s just so cute. The MMO sequences are funny, tender and exciting in equal parts. Outside of the game, Moriko’s life is a comedy of errors. Recovery of an MMO Junkie is easy to watch and, days after binging its first few episodes, I’m excitedly waiting for the next.


Honorable mentions: Black Clover (great show, too much yelling), The Ancient Magus Bride