Character Spotlight: Ako Tamaki

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A show that I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was last season was And You Thought There Is Never A Girl Online. There were a number of reasons for its success with me. It was a great comedy, a hilarious over-the-top representation of the normal daily lives of high school students who are deep into MMORPGs. There was a lot of realistic emotion along with the over-the-top nature anime normally gives to anything that it breathes life into. And of course, I won’t hide it, there was some great ecchi moments in there as well.

And out of any of the characters that were memorable and thrusted their way to the front of the screen, there’s no doubt that the one who did it best was the reclusive NEET, Ako.

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Right off the bat, I have to note how only in anime can they have a bunch of girls who are shut-ins and do nothing but play video games all day and yet they still look like models. Especially Ako, who clearly has no care in the world for the outside world (and hates “normies”), yet it’s clear that she must spend a lot of time with her hair and makeup and certainly pays attention to her figure as well. But I’m nitpicking anime logic, so it’s a lost cause.

Ako herself is really the extreme of all extremes when it comes to shut-ins, NEETs, however you want to describe them. She throughout the series has a legitimate psychological issue with separating the game world of Legendary Age and her real life, to the point that when she marries the MC in the video game, when she sees him in real life, she clings to him like they’re married in real life. However, to make things even more complicated, she initially doesn’t speak to him or address him as his real self, rather calling him Rusian, after his in-game avatar. It gets even further complicated when Hideki actually confesses his love for the real Ako and she refuses it, because she’s already given herself to Rusian and wants to keep it at that.

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It’s a weird dilemma to say the least, I can’t imagine how I’d react to that, a girl who I have legitimate feelings for and she doesn’t accept them, but yet continues to lovingly hang around me and treat me like a husband because my in-game avatar is her husband? How fucking confusing would that be for anyone and only in anime could a guy accept that and not get the fuck out of there. On the flip side, I can almost understand why Hideki is willing to hang in there with Ako and try his best to slowly work away at her psychological issues. When Ako isn’t acting like a child or being the biggest airhead in all of existence, you can see an amazing side of her where she’s super cute, super caring, the biggest ball of sunshine you could ever hope to have in your life.

Not only that, but going back to what I said earlier, the girl is beyond gorgeous, regardless of the fact that there’s no way she’s eating well, there’s no way she’s exercising and there’s no way she cares that much about her physical appearance to take care of her hair and makeup. Granted, the show goes out of its way to really accentuate her with a large chest that only Kyou can beat, but Ako in her own right is an absolutely gorgeous girl who if she wasn’t such a basket case, any guy would happily take as their significant other.

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I can’t talk about Ako without mentioning the moment that I remember the most from the entire show, something that I died of laughter from. After having a bit of a falling out with each other, Hideki visits Ako at her home for the first time ever when she hadn’t been going to class for a few days. After an awkward conversation with his mother where it’s clear she’s willing to let anything go if it means breaking her daughter out of her shut-in attitude (either that or her mother really wanted to fuck with the two of them), he gets a key to Ako’s room and leaves the house completely. So when he goes upstairs and knocks on the door, Ako is shocked to hear his voice and doesn’t want him to come in, but not because she doesn’t want to see him, but because she wasn’t dressed and Hideki discovers this after unlocking the door and coming in, Ako barely covered up with half put on underwear. Hideki slams the door and apologizes as you’d expect from a standard harem ecchi scene and then Ako assures him that everything’s fine now and he can come in. But instead of what we were all expecting, which would be a long conversation about things and making up with each other, Ako’s now completely naked and on her knees like a servant, telling Hideki “to be gentle with her”. I died laughing.

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All I can say is that holy shit am I going to have a difficult decision on my hands if Ako ever ends up in the Waifu randomizer for Tuesday’s articles. She’s a tough one to crack, that’s for damn sure, but at the same time she’s such a pretty girl and has a very fun personality when she’s not at her psychological worst. But then again, for an anime character, that’s what makes her so interesting. Because she’s not normal. And Ako fits the bill perfectly.

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