The Recovery of A MMO Junkie has to be on of my top ten favourite series for Winter of 2017 as there is a lot to explore from character interactions to relationships on the internet and in the real world but what intrigues me is how long has Moriko been playing, we shown times but very rarely the date. This question burns within me so I must solve this mystery and trust me there are tons of clues littered within the series due to the colourful backgrounds, clothing choices made by our favourite guy and gal and the ever unimportant background characters, that help us get a timeline on how long has Moriko been playing for.
Episode 1 opens with Moriko walking down a street, there isn’t a lot of clues given to the season with her outfit being a standard business attire. With a few brief glimpses of real life at the beginning of the episode, gives us a hint to what month it is with how the background characters are dressed. But due to how adults don’t always dress for the season, but children do if they have caring parents I find their outfits would reflect the season truthfully so I’m going ignore the adults in this scene and focus on the kids. The boys are wearing jumpers and long pants and the girl is wearing a dress with long sleeves. From the weather with it being so bright outside yet with the light sprinkling of fog I would have to say we are in the middle of Autumn which for Japan begins in November. After Moriko begins playing, meets Lily defeating bosses and going under water with her, it happens instantaneously the Christmas event launches, for MMOs and others games of this nature they usually start up a couple of days into December. From the time she has quit her job to the first Christmas event she has approximately been playing for a minimum of one week and that may baffle you due to the short amount of time and the level 80 status she has reached, this isn’t hyperbole, she could actually achieve this level within the short time frame she has been given. Moriko is playing constantly with only needing to sleep, eat and use the facilities when needed. It is not out of the realm of possibility that she would reach such a rank in the time she has been given.
At the end of the 1st episode it has become the 25th of December 2018 so we have a nice wrapped up time line for the first episode. With episode 2 judging by Moriko’s heavy coat and the lack of Christmas decorations around the city, accompanied by the appearance of Sakurai we can assume that we are in January as most Japanese companies allow there employees to take time off from December 30 to the 3rd of January 2018, it may be shorter or longer depending on your employer. When Moriko realises what time it is and asking Lily if she had work tomorrow which was today, add on from Lily’s reaction of forgetting he/she had work the next day which was technically today as tomorrow had come (where’s Belldany when you need her), we can assume it is the 4th of January, because with that much time off and no girlfriend Sakurai would have been playing constantly and would not have realised the days blending together as most gamers do. Episode 3 is chronological from the ending of episode 2 with that episode everything happens within one day so it’s January 5th.
With the continuation of the next episode Moriko is not wearing her heavy coat anymore and instead just a jacket and as we can see from the background some of the tress have gotten leaves while many others haven’t. While most trees shed their leaves in the winter to conserve water there’s a variety called evergreen trees which don’t so it’s safe to assume we are still in winter. Later when we get some IRL between Sakuari and Homare they are discussing Sakuari’s obsession with Moriko there’s a flash to the convince store where the cashier mentions that he has become a regular dinner guest, from episode 3 to episode 4 the time difference is far more significant and for a cashier to mention his frequency of coming in he must have been coming for at least a month constantly for it be mentioned, combined with the weather with it appearing to warm up slightly from the daunting cold January has ended and it is now February and from that moment in the convince store I can assume the date is the 26th in this episode two days pass with Homare getting Moriko’s information and Moriko going on to her computer at night and talking to the Guild Master with another day passes and it is now the 28th the day of her date and so she starts preparing she goes to a clothing store which has spring clothes but with the retailers they like selling their clothes early to maximise sales. Later that day she goes on a date with Homare but instead goes out with Sakuari because he figured out who he/she really was and went to confirm that Moriko and Hiashi are the same person, he’s also a gentlemen and didn’t want to leave her stood up due to communication errors, this happens all in the same episode 6 she then goes on her other date which is on the 1st of March, with the progression of the episode with it near to the end when Sakurai goes to talk with Homare we see the tree in the background is without any leaves in the next episode we can clearly see the leaves are starting to bloom on the tree, as trees it takes 5-15 days to grow leaves and judging how many there are we can point the date around to the 15th of March and as episode 7, 8 and the first 8 minutes of 9 both happen in the same day. Episode 9 takes place over three days ending on the 18th and the ending of that episode continues to episode 10 where Spring is just beginning as confirmed by the background characters.
A boy is riding in the background wearing shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt his friend then zooms by wearing pants and a short sleeve tee with no sweat visible on either of there faces or armpits, the weather is clear and with the accompaniment of the rainbow that appears I can safely say we are now in Spring due to the budding leaves that are in frame in the last few minutes of episode 10 we see Sakurai and Moriko walking together in different outfits so it has been some time after their talk a few moments ago, I assume a couple of weeks at most so it has to be the 22nd of March that the last episode ends upon.
With that we know that Moriko has been playing for about 5 months since the late November to early March but it feels as though it has been longer.