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This week’s episode was a solid conclusion for Rio’s story, which turned out to be more interesting than I expected. There are some obvious references to the concept of the typical online double identity, which I can certainly relate to. I did kind of get the sense that this episode rushed a bit to get to its ending, since the stalker thing felt like it was skipped over a lot. That being said, the interactions between Rio, Kunimi, and Sakuta were really good, so it worked out.
If Rio’s story was a simple case of her online persona coming to life, I think that would have been a fairly ordinary story. I personally liked the idea that her own disgust with how she had to act online to get attention caused her to split. I can’t say I relate to that kind of thinking, but it’s a nice explanation for her condition.
The whole thing about Mai not being able to have a boyfriend is a frustrating development, but I liked watching her talk it over with Sakuta. These two have an almost unbelievably healthy relationship.
I know that the stalker thing is creepy, but I really liked that development. It’s why I was a bit sad that it didn’t go too far. There was a sense that the Online Rio felt guilty about allowing her online presence to spill over into her normal life and affect the Normal Rio. That kind of separation between online and real world is interesting to see.
Kunimi’s such a good friend. These scenes make me wonder why he sticks with his current girlfriend. I guess we don’t see enough of her.
Similar to the earlier scene, I do think Online Rio’s concern for the other Rio is nice to see. I think it subtly plays into the idea that anonymity online acts as a defense mechanism. It explains why she tends to be more confident.
I liked the idea of the Online Rio being the “fake”, but I guess the point behind this scene was more that both Rios were real. Maybe the reaction to this ending depends on how you view your online persona. I tend to see my online self as a complete separate existence, so maybe I just inherently see it as fake. It’s an interesting thought.