First Impressions: Toaru Ossan no VRMMO Katsudouki

It just so happened that since starting on the ‘New Manga binge’, I’ve started reading a number of series based on virtual reality game premises. This is one of them.

Manga: Toaru Ossan no VRMMO Katsudouki  「とあるおっさんのVRMMO活動記」 A Certain Middle-aged Man’s VRMMO Activity Log

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Vol 1 cover

Toaru Ossan no VRMMO Katsudouki is a Shounen, action adventure, fantasy, comedy manga series that was adapted from a web novel series of the same name. The story is by author Shiina Howahowa, while the manga art is by Rikudou Shuuya. The manga started publishing in 2014.

Toaru Ossan no VRMMO Katsudouki is basically exactly what it’s title means: A certain middle-aged man’s virtual reality massively multiplayer online game log. The series follows typical 38-year-old, single, game-loving, company employee Tanaka Daichi as he plays a new type of VRMMO called “One More Free Life Online”. Under the username “Earth” in the game, he chooses several skills generally regarded as useless, all so that he can enjoy the game as a solo player.

I’ve only read until Chapter 10 of the manga, the latest chapter of scanlations online, so these are just my impressions until then.

WARNING: Game violence… Pretty much nothing, honestly.

Instead of building on the VR fantasy world like a few other VR game story plots, it follows the simple, lackluster main character and how he goes through the game by himself. Or at least that’s how the first few chapters start out.

It’s pretty interesting to see how the Protag Ossan (How I remember him as) makes use of all the (seemingly) useless skills at the beginning of the game, ultimately allowing him to survive in the world without relying on other aspects that are usually taken for granted, like potions and food. It’s a breath of fresh air especially when a lot of VR game stories put a certain importance on team battles and the roles in a fantasy game party.

Because it’s a ‘game log’ for the protagonist, there isn’t that much of a developing plot to follow at the beginning. It’s basically just short episodes of how the protag ossan plays the fantasy VRMMO. You can see how he levels his skills and crafts, and the situations he unwittingly gets into when he enjoys the game in his own style, even when minding his own business. As the series goes on though, new events are introduced that contribute more to a continuing plot and you get to learn more about the VR fantasy game world of the series.

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Chp 1 cover

Due to all the world and skills explanations though, the manga is pretty wordy. And it just gets worse as the series goes on. It’s almost to the point where I’ve started skimming through walls of text and not fully reading. I guess most VRMMO stories are pretty similar in this aspect; explanations. I don’t mind continuing in this way though. As long as I understand what’s happening in general, I’m happy.

Toaru Ossan’s art is very simple and kind of cute. Nothing fancy at all, extremely straightforward and easy to follow. With its mellow pace and atmosphere, it almost feels like a ‘nichijou’ (daily-life) telling of Earth’s adventures and experiences in One More Free Life Online. Almost. What’s setting it apart from that is the strategic approach that the experienced Protag Ossan takes to every single aspect of playing his game. It gets a little more intense that way.

It’s been pretty amusing and interesting so far. Plus I kind of want to see how far the Protag Ossan gets into the game XD

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