Are the Game and Reality Separate?: Talking About Netoge and Online Identity

I can’t seem to count how many times I heard the phrase “reality and the game are separate!” while watching Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta (or just Netoge for short). For those unfamiliar with the show, Netoge is a light novel adaptation following high school student Hideki Nishimura and his Alley Cats Guild friends in their Net Game Club. Hideki Nishimura and Ako Tamaki, the central protagonists, have strong, differing views of how they exist in and outside of their MMO of choice, Legend Age. Ako sees the world of the game and “reality” (let’s call them the digital world and the physical world, respectively), as one in the same. Hideki sees it as the opposite: that the physical and digital worlds are separate. Although I don’t think either of them really hit the issue square on the head, and the show tends to skirt around any conversations about this that could be pretty cool or enlightening, I’m actually inclined to agree with both Ako and Hideki to some degree.

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