What’s it about ?
Players trapped in a MMORPG world. Which is on the verge of becoming its own subgenre.
Shiroe, our protagonist. Technically a mage, although his core role in the party is the strategist : the guy who keeps his cool, stays at the top fo things, and finds the best tactics for everyone. Which is a lot harder when you’re busy fighting monsters in the flesh and have trouble focusing on the menus.
Naotsugu, his mandatory perverted best friend. A fighter. Not too bright. The comic relief of the group. He’s damn happy to find his old pal : he hadn’t played the game for two years, and certainly wasn’t expecting this. (Not that anyone was expecting this, instead of the announced “update”.)
Akatsuki, the assassin. Unfortunately, while Shiroe just about gets by now having the body of a character a foot taller than he used to be, she just can’t deal now having a male body twice her former size. (Hey, it’s a fantasy game. You don’t have to play what you are.) The good news is that she remembered Shiroe had a (very rare) shape-changing potion that solves the problem. Since she insists on repaying him, they have her join their party. (She seems to be a hardcore roleplayer who takes the “lone ninja” thing seriously, however impractical that may be in these circumstances.)
Marielle, leader of the Crescent Moon Alliance. Cutesy and teasing… but clearly an old friend of Shiroe’s. They go and see her because of course networking for information is the thing to do at this point, but our heroes aren’t joining ; they don’t do guilds. (Cue talk of Shiroe leading the most badass non-guild group some time back, before they disbanded.)
They’re some dude with the head of a cat lurking in the shadows. Presumably he’s important.
Not bad, although we’re far from the highest budget in the season.
The OP features some mightily old-school rapping. You’ve been warned.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room : how does this compare to Sword Art Online ? Well, of course it looks nowhere as good. But it already feels like a better show on all other levels : it takes more time to explore the novelty of the setting, and gets some good jokes out of it. It’s got decent comedic pacing. The characters have more personality and charisma, and the leads already have some good chemistry. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to feature any of the creepy NTR that made that other show so painful to watch.
Now, let’s be clear : this isn’t a masterpiece. But it’s a perfectly pleasant show, and that’s all I’m asking from it.