Typical company employee Tanaka Daichi (38-years-old, single) loves games and plays a new type of VRMMO called "One More Free Life Online" under the username "Earth." Inside this free world he chose several skills that are generally regarded as useless. Be it wasting time crafting potions, cooking up pointlessly tasty food, or hunting monsters with some absurd weapon he crafted, he simply enjoys playing the game.
"Toaru Ossan no VRMMO Katsudouki" is a comfy manga which follows a Japanese business man that plays a VRMMO that essentially feels like I am reading a let's play. The mechanics that are introduced and delved into seem to cover every little detail which always catches my attention in manga that take place in a game. All the important characters look cute and kind of remind me of the art style in Nichijou (https://myanimelist.net/manga/3082/). The interactions between the characters never tire me even though the comedy skits don't have a large variety per duo but there is enough variety in the cast for this to
not be a problem thus far.
I can recommend this manga for those that want to read a let's play of an over powered protagonist. (The reason my score for enjoyment is a 9 while the rest are much lower is due to how comfy I find this manga.)
Before I write this review I would like to preface that I am a fan of the isekai genre. I enjoy the escapist ideas and can usually scrounge some enjoyment out of even the worst isekai stories. That is probably me just being an edge lord or something but getting transported into a video game or fantasy world, which I spend so much time enraptured in, sounds awesome. Now when I tell you that Toaru Ossan no VRMMO Katsudouki is the most god-awful and generic manner in which you can tackle the subject of an isekai, trust me, it is.
TL;DR the work
displays no effort on the authors part and isn't worth anyone's time.
Now that the market has been so saturated with isekai stories, a writer needs to distinguish their story from another's story. We aren't in a world where you can simply write a story about someone trapped in a video game or a fantasy world with video game like traits. The way this manga tackles the subject is okay at the beginning. In our story, the protagonist, Earth (Stupid name, would have been taken) is unique from others because he chose skills that others deemed worthless.
Slight spoilers if you can even call them at, only form the first four chapters of the manga.
I don't know a single MMO that would force the person to choose between a combat skill or a crafting skill. The description of each skill also annoys me. The story states objectively that some skills are worse than others, which is an awful idea for any game. If there is something that does the same thing better than another thing at the same cost in a game as a skill, then it is an awful game balance.
For the premise, Earth chooses these bad skills because he claims that he wishes to be a "solo player", which I am all for but there is no argument to take these skills. For example, he chooses the 'Apothecary' which allows him to create potions on his own. The manga then proceeds to point out that the NPCs in town sell the potions for at a price cheaper than the cost of creating your own. As far as I know, buying potions from an NPC is still playing solo, but the manga doesn't say anything past that. Would he want to play without the help of NPCs? Is that his definition of solo? Then how would he take a quest from an NPC? We are shown he is willing to play with other players by the fourth chapter so he obviously wasn't that dedicated to playing alone.
Another thing that bugs me is that from looking up information on the story, people claim it is nice and relaxing, that they wind down by reading it. Those people clearly don't know how to differentiate something that is calming and something that so boringly mundane that it puts you to sleep faster than watching paint dry. Maybe I haven't read enough to get to something chill, but I'm guessing that they describe the story as such because it follows a crafter. When it chooses to lecture the reader on crafting, it does it in such a dull way possible. I can sum up the author's train of thought as he thought out the crafting system and how he would explain it: "CRAFTING HAS SKILL LEVELS GUYS HURR DURRRRR AND WHEN YOU CRAFT YOU LEVEL UP HURRRR DURRRRR". The manga delivers the information so objectively that it leaves nothing to the imagination. It chooses the most generic concepts as well as the manner in which it describes those concepts.
To cut off my ranting about the story, I'll move on to art, which is similar to the story, boring and uninspired. If you show some art without context to someone who is a fan of this, I firmly believe that they wouldn't be able to differentiate it from something else. There is nothing unique about the art. For all I know he could have copy pasted some backgrounds, maybe changed a couple of the characters face and swapped body types to achieve these results. The design of the story is bad and doesn't try to contribute to the desired calming effect.
Onto our protagonist Earth, who is just the most infuriating protagonist. He is a robot. A literal robot. He constantly gives the reader expository dialogue and shows no emotion. Sure he may act surprised when he discovers he can cook, but there is no weight to these emotions. I don't give a crap if he is surprised at cooking. When he learns something new, the author bashes it over our head that WOW, this guy can play an MMO. He has the brain function to combine skills to make them stronger, which the author needs to point out to the reader. It is amazing that he can use STEALTH AND SHOOT A BOW AT THE SAME TIME. The author displays his lack of MMO knowledge and general interest in the genre, simply writing this as a cash grab.
Back to the actual character, why do I care. There is no trait that can be applied to him other than dipshit who chose useless skills and got lucky the game was also as mentally challenged as he was. I'll keep it brief since I already talked about but what I am referencing is how we learn that NPCs in the game can run out of stock of potions. This again displays poor game design since this fucks new players as people are dicks and would obviously buy out the potions. So yeah, the game bends to his stupidity.
Overall, this work is stupid and probably the worst manga I have ever read. I don't know how I made it through 4 chapters, I must be dysfunctional as well. This is an insult to the mangas as a whole by how out of touch the author is with his audience. It is obvious his audience should be people who play MMO's so he should pander to their desires to profit the most, but instead here he is describing what taunt is for two pages. Even if someone doesn't play an MMO, if they read manga, I'm sure they can put two and two together to understand what it means by the art and definition. In conclusion, Toaru Ossan no VRMMO Katsudouki is one of the most soulless things I have ever seen. I wish I could be as uninterested in a topic as whoever created this because then I wouldn't give a flying fuck about anything in life.