If The RPG World Had Social Media explores the implications and advantages of web tradition with a fantastical twist.
The web has come a good distance because the early days of Netscape Navigator, dial-up and web boards. It’s now a spot the place info is out there in a matter of seconds, films and television shows can be streamed online, and other people across the globe are capable of join and type relationships in methods by no means achieved previously. In a decade outlined by social media, on-line gaming and digital content material creation, there’s no query the web has profoundly modified the best way we expertise life for higher or worse. That is the very playground the light novel If The RPG World Had Social Media explores.
Written by Yusuke Nitta with illustrations by Yukinatsu Amekaze and character designs by LOL, If the RPG World Had Social Media takes place in a world much like an online RPG. It follows a 16-year-old hikikomori identified solely as “the Hero,” who reluctantly accepts a mission from a king to avoid wasting his daughter, the Princess, from the extensively feared Demon Lord. Alongside the best way, he meets the Demon Lord herself by way of textual content message and strikes up an surprising friendship together with her regardless of his mission. Alongside the best way, he makes 4 surprising allies as he continues on his journey.
Proper off the bat, If the RPG World Had Social Media is a narrative about web tradition, however it’s additionally way more than that. Whereas the story references widespread occurrences that occur in on-line communities, it additionally makes use of humor to discover the advantages and downsides of internet-based interplay. This theme is especially explored with the protagonist, the Hero.
After we first meet the Hero within the story, he has all the signs of a hikikomori, a reclusive one that has withdrawn from society. Initially coined in 1998 by Japanese psychologist, Tamaki Saito, hikikomori signs embody locking themselves of their bedrooms (often inside their dad and mom’ houses) for six months or extra. Hikikomori additionally are likely to keep away from all in-person contact (together with with family and friends members) and spend extreme quantities of time on the web. Along with doing all this stuff, the Hero additionally suffers from excessive social anxiousness, poor communication expertise and extreme bodily impairments introduced on by 16 years of isolation and inactivity.
Whereas the Hero’s signs are depicted as removed from fascinating by Nitta, Amekaze and LOL, it isn’t the hikikomori way of life they criticize. As a substitute, they criticize know-how engineers like Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf, who revolutionized the web as we all know it with out excited about the way it might influence future communication between folks. They particularly criticize social media entrepreneurs like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Fb’s Mark Zuckerberg who created their platforms with no thought to how they may encourage addictive conduct, sedentary life and particularly a tradition of isolation, concepts explored with the character of Markie Goldberg.
In the identical method Nitta, Amekaze and LOL discover the unfavourable influence of web tradition, in addition they current a flip-side argument: it will possibly additionally assist hikikomori join with folks they wouldn’t in any other case meet. This might not solely result in the event of a help system however might additionally successfully encourage reintegration into society. This concept is very vital to the Hero’s character improvement.
Regardless of the Hero beginning out not wanting to depart the consolation of his personal bed room, preferring to entertain his web dependancy, this modifications the second he meets the Demon Lord by way of textual content message. The second he learns of her personal emotions of isolation, he begins to take curiosity in her in methods he hadn’t skilled earlier than. When he particularly meets the Demon Lord’s 4 Demon Generals — Mako, Nicoletta, Pino and Oniko — in particular person, they grow to be essential to bettering his social expertise by exposing him to completely different character sorts. Whereas the Hero persistently faces challenges for even essentially the most staple items all through his journey, he begins to step by step overcome a lot of them.
Art work in If The RPG World Had Social Media is sparse, being principally comprised of display captures of conversations between characters. Often, there will likely be photos of the primary characters as they’re step by step launched within the textual content messages, however for essentially the most half, their appearances are restricted to their avatars. Whereas that is unconventional even by mild novel requirements, the strategy nonetheless helps immerse readers into the thoughts of the Hero and expertise his world the identical method he does: by way of textual content, quite than in particular person.
On the entire, If The RPG World Had Social Media affords an entertaining perception into web tradition and its influence on hikikomori. Along with criticizing a few of web tradition’s extra dangerous penalties, it equally argues in favor of it as a way of serving to hikikomori overcome a few of their anxieties and social impairments.
If The RPG World Had Social Media is now out there from Yen Press.
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