This is an anime who’s somewhat ridiculous premise and subversion of the, honestly rather tired, Isekai genre immediately caught my attention when I saw the trailer video pop up on my facebook newsfeed, where I seem to find a lot of anime for the first time.
Imagine the scene, you get to travel the videogame world in real life, live your dream as a handsome hero adored by all, and then it all comes crashing down when your doting and clueless mum follows you there, and overshadows you in almost every way.
The premise was great, and seeing the dynamics between Masato and Mamako was quite relatable for any fan of RPGs. You just have to feel deflated when someone just walks up and does everything you want to be able to do but even better than you likely could ever accomplish. It’s easy to lie and say you are happy for them, but it hurts, and Masato isn’t afraid to say that both internally and externally, which is a great change from the social pressures put on us by society, and a lesson we could all learn.
Mamako is also wonderfully happy-go-lucky and very realistically-portayed mum who is just happy to be there and to use her powers to benefit those around her. She provides lots of hilarious moments such as insisting her son’s party be vetoed by her, and just casually and delightedly swinging her swords and destroying everything in her path, and of course, the sailor uniform scenes in last week’s episode had me laughing for a long time!
The supporting characters haven’t disappointed either, with Wise’s overconfidence initially and then being at the mercy of magic silencing, Porter’s charm when collecting all the little gems, and Shirase’s frequent deaths, constant use of the verb Shirasu (to inform), and rather outlandish contexts in which she appears.
But there’s a lot more to the anime than its comedic exterior, and it’s something I was reflecting on over the weekend. The main purpose of the game is to bring children and their mums closer together, and it hits home on both sides of this how family relationships are so important, and how it is important to try and repair them when they go wrong. It also does a very good job at portraying just how behaviours from one side will hurt the other.
Mamako really does seem to be one of the ideal mothers, doting after Masato and giving very good life lessons on the importance of family. It makes me wonder where Masato’s issues with his mum come from. maybe he finds her too overprotective, and while she does act a bit immature, she does have a very good reason to – who wouldn’t want to enjoy life in an MMO for a while. I also have appreciated the motherly puns in the names of places and inns.
The lessons from this anime are important, and ones that really make me think. At the moment, I have no desire to have children, as I appreciate all the sacrifices my parents have made for me and I honestly don’t think I will ever be in a position where I am happy enough in my life to start sacrificing my hopes and dreams for those of someone else. This is very much like Wise’s mother but on a different level. She feels trapped by her daughter, but as Mamako says, it’s how you deal with this, and points to her unconditional love for her child. I guess it’s so easy to get caught up on bad things that you forget the good times too, and they joys of parenting that Mamako loves.
Medhi and Medhimama’s case was also interesting, and one I am sure resonates with a lot of people, when your parent suffocates you with high expectations and doesn’t listen to your own desires. I luckily never had that problem as a naturally high achiever anyway who wanted to be the best for my own sake, but there’s still relatable content – breaking from your parents’ expectations and carving your own path. Medhi gets trapped, suffocated, and has no way out so whenever things reach breaking point it gets terrible. But Mamako provides a wonderful contrast to Medhimama throughout the school arc, and shows the thoughts every parent surely has deep down – that they are proud of their child and happy for them to do their best and be happy.
Medhimama loses sight of what is important and starts thinking of her child as an object to show off, but luckily Mamako reminds her of the importance of unconditional love for a child as just that – a person. Even when Medhi says that she cannot forgive her mother, they manage to reconcile in the end, which I think is a very important point – that family relationships in particular, can always be repaired as long as both parties work and listen to each other. Another very good point raised is how so many parents struggle with the pressure of raising a good child.
Behind the hilarious exterior of this anime (and it’s the one that has made me laugh most in a long time), there are some very good messages, and touching moments, and I would encourage anyone interested in a very different twist on the rather stale isekai genre to give this anime a try, but do wait a few episodes before dropping, as there are a few questionable scenes in the first episodes but these are worth sticking through if it’s not your thing (such as for me)!