The Watchening: Phantasy Star Online 2 the Animation, Episode 4

[Slice of Life Intensifies]
[Slice of Life Intensifies]
There’s been less and less game time in these episodes…

So we start things out with Izumi asking Itsuki to accompany her someplace for the upcoming weekend.  The atmosphere and evidence points to this being  a date, which naturally means it isn’t.  Turns out, they’re going to ARKS Fan Festa, a PSO2 convention / offline gathering.

Of course not. If it were, Sega would ban all the foreigners.
Of course not. If it were, Sega would ban all the foreigners.

Since Itsuki thought he was in for a date, he turned down his friend’s invitation to the same event.  He happens to see them together and also comes to the conclusion that they’re on a date.

Happiness is a crime worthy of death!
Happiness is a crime worthy of death!
Kill them both. It's the only way.
Kill them both. It’s the only way.

While he’s moping, Aika manages to shove her way into the episode, cosplays as her character, and blends in flawlessly.  Actually, she gets comments about how good her costume is even though, since this is anime, she looks no different from all the other cosplayers.

Compare these average cosplayers to...
Compare these average cosplayers to…
Eh, if you say so...
Eh, if you say so…

She gives Koa a Monomate, and he seems to be so completely refreshed that he forgets whatever he was mopey about.

Would you prefer a Burger or Cola?
Would you prefer a Burger or Cola?
Dude, it's just 1/3 of your max HP...
Dude, it’s just 1/3 of your max HP…

He follows her but gets lost in what appears to be a storage area.  Something happens, and he disappears.

Meanwhile, Itsuki and Izumi meet up with the group of players Itsuki partied with before, and we get a reaaaaaally drawn-out series of overreactions.  “Ehhhhh, YOU’RE that player?  You look nothing like him!  EHHHHH, you’re THAT player?  You look nothing like HER!”  This goes on for a couple of minutes.

After spending some time with the two, they come to the conclusion that they must be dating.

To be fair, she DID just pick a grain of rice off Itsuki's cheek and eat it. You know DAMN WELL what you did.
To be fair, she DID just pick a grain of rice off Itsuki’s cheek and eat it. You know DAMN WELL what you did.

Anyway, Kao messages Itsuki through PSO2 and says something vague about him being in some kind of trouble.  The rest of the party mentions some rumors about strange happenings going on like people disappearing.  It sounds like some crazy .hack shit, right?

Long story short and one moral ignored, it turns out that no crazy sci-fi shit is going on.  Kao got lost looking for Aika, suddenly had to go to the bathroom, and then did his business but found out there was no tissue left in his stall, resulting in him being “trapped.”  The rest of the party is disappointed and walks away, dismissive.  As they should.

Meanwhile, we see Aika apparently slaying something in the same area Kao got lost in.

OK.
OK.

So, in a bit of a twist, rather than players getting trapped inside the game, what SEEMS to be going on is elements from the game are showing up in the real world.  And I say it’s a twist or a reversal simply because the recent TREND is the other way around, but we all know video game characters (or movie characters or book characters) showing up in the real world has been done for decades, so ultimately, it’s nothing new.  I’m just surprised at how little I care about where this could be going.

That said, this was probably my favorite episode so far.  It pretty much does what the PSO2 anime does best: entertain you through a series of funny moments sprinkled throughout the episode, but with minimal cohesion and minimal attachment to any of the characters.  It’s surprisingly good for how bad it is.

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