Twelve Days 2: NetJuu

Yes, this one’s still airing! I actually watched a thing the season it came out! That, on its own, would be enough to celebrate this show in our holiday festivities. But it’s also really good! And it’s adorable, too. You should watch it. Yes, you, the one person who’s not already watching it. Go. Do it.

Anyway. Net-Juu no Susume, or Recovery of an MMO Junkie (the Japanese title is, really, something like “Wonderful Online Life,” but the English title is official, so ehhhh) is basically about a woman who gives up on corporate life, willingly becomes a NEET, and starts playing MMOs again. Through a series of coincidences, she meets her best MMO friend in real life, and romantic hilarity ensues.

The show’s charm is the gentleness with which it handles events that would be huge and ridiculous in other shows. They’re ridiculous here, but soft and quiet(er). Every character is likable (so far), and the conflict mostly comes from misperceptions rather than any ill will. The misperceptions aren’t classic American sitcom gags, though (mostly), since they all arise from two fundamental assumptions on the main character’s part: she’s trash and everyone else is not. Neither of those assumptions are true.

It’s currently airing, so I don’t want to spoil anything, but that’s definitely going to happen when we get to the reading portion. So let this be your long forewarning: from henceforth there be spoilers.

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I’m trying to think of a spread other than past/present/future that would work here. Naturally there are tons that would work, but it seems really appropriate here to stick with that structure. Morioka is obviously in a transitional phase in her life. She’s running away from something, but not yet running toward something (that’s obviously changing). So I feel like the chronological structure works in this case.

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That’s cheerful looking, right? It actually maps to the show so clearly it’s almost not that helpful. But we’ll do what we can.

In the past we have the 8 of Pentacles. This card shows that Morioka did a lot of hard work in the past, which we know is true. She put her time in, practicing and doing the “grunt work” that’s not necessarily glamorous. We know it took a toll on her, though: since she wasn’t building up skills for something satisfying, she felt she was just hammering down her own personality against the anvil. The dream where she loses herself among faceless salarypeople shows us how she felt about that. Now, the 8 of Pentacles is usually a positive card. But it can show a confusion of practice with product. She wasn’t producing anything, in a figurative sense; she wasn’t making herself into something. So she quit. Which brings us to the present.

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Here’s an aside: WHERE THE HELL IS SHE GETTING HER MONEY?

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In the present is Death! Everyone is scared to see Death. But no one’s gonna die here. Death brings change, specifically changes in state. That’s exactly what Morioka is experiencing. She changed her state from salaryperson to NEET, and her state is changing again through her new relationships with friends and a possible lover. She’s growing, yes, but she’s changing. She’s cutting off the old parts that are dead. That’s what death is: a pruning of what no longer works. That allows new growth, which you can see at the edges of the card: flowers and plants surround death as it works. If Morioka is transforming, she has to transform into something, right?

In the future we see the 10 of Swords. This is not a positive card. The figure on the card is pierced by several swords and their eyes are Xs. They’re dead, and not in a nice, transformative, flower-growing way. They’re just plain old dead. The more traditional image for this card shows a body, face down, with the swords stuck in its back. How does this relate to the show? Surely no one is going to “stab her in the back?” Well, it’s probably not that literal. What is it that Morioka does? What’s her bad habit, the one that causes everything else? She engages in negative self-talk. She only speaks about herself negatively; she also only speaks about others positively. That is not a healthy way to go about living. That is going to come to a head sooner or later. Maybe it will be slow and gentle, through the social interactions she’s found for herself. But it’s more likely to be big and weird, at least one more time. If you want a prognostication that will be easily proven right or wrong in a matter of weeks, I’m guessing that the female character we’ve only seen once or twice is going to complicate things. Morioka is going to engage in more negative self talk, probably comparing herself to the new character. And she’s going to be lying there, with her own darts in her back.

Probably things will get better after that. And I’m also guessing that will help her begin to change her self-talk. But something in that vein will happen before it all shakes out.

~

So if you know what’s coming, from a novel or comic or something, you can just amuse yourself. No spoilers, please and thank you. I’m enjoying the show a lot, and I really like the week-to-week anticipation.

2 thoughts on “Twelve Days 2: NetJuu

  1. I followed this page from the 12 Days spreadsheet and…this is a really interesting way to use tarot cards! It’s not something I’d think of or have the skill to do, that’s for sure.

    The exact translation of the Japanese title is “Recommendation of the Wonderful Virtual Life”, but I guess you knew that already…

    Like

  2. Pingback: 12 Days of Anime 2017 Omnibus – Better Living through Symbolism

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