"And you thought there is never a girl online?" is a High school based slice of life anime centered around the main protagonist Rusian, as he is introduced, and his "net gaming" friends. Rusian or Hideki Nishimura, plays Legendary Age (LA) and has a guild of friends he likes to quest and level grind with. In the first quarter of the series we are introduced to four main female characters. Ako, a healer who's real name is Ako Tamaki; Schwein a melee fighter who's name is Akane Segawa; and Apricot, the guild leader, later revealed to be Kyō Goshoin, the student council president at Nishimura's school. The fourth female character is Nekohime, who is revealed to be Yui Saito, a teacher at Nishimura's school. I'd like to adress the underlying themes of gender roles and hyper masculinity in this show. The genre is slice of life/comedy, so it is understood the plot points are exaggerated, but the show also has a subgenre of drama so we will be addressing what prevents the depth of a true drama in these episodes and what path may have led to it being a true drama with a comedy subgenre.
The first point of analysis is the roles of each character in game in contrast to their roles in real life. The first character will justly be Rusian or Nishimura. He will be our point of reference when analyzing other characters. Rusian is a tank in LA and a tanks primary role is to absorb damage and cooldowns in order to allow more important damage dealing party members to deal their damage without threat. This is rather similar to his character in the real world as much of what we see him do is be lightly teased by friends and insulted by popular classmates. As the series progresses he develops to take more emotional or societal burden in order to shield Ako and his friends. The gender of his online character is male. The next subject will be Ako. Ako is a healer which is interesting, 1) because she is a character that is maladjusted to life, and 2) because she has little or no known emotional onds including familial ties. A healer is a character class that provides healing for other members. This is another support role like the tank that needs damage dealers to win fights. It's interesting because Ako uses her online character to heal others when she herself is in dire need of help. Perhaps her class choice is a subconcious cry for help. Schwein is a melee fighter., actual statistics are never given from the show but it would appear that the character is a glass cannon of sorts with high damage output and low resistances and health. A character like this could be considered a disruptor type that dives into the enemy backline to deal damage to high priority targets and then ge out or die dealing as high Damage per Second (DPS) as possible. This is the first character that is a gender that is different from the real life user. In real life Akane Segawa is a normal girl with stereotypical tsundere traits (albeit with very little dere) In the first episode she reveals that gaming is very important to her going so far as to say having a boyfriend would limit her log time. This is important because if she uses video games as a form of escapism then the character she chose is very much like her personality in that it is abrasive and reactionary but in a male form. An easy explanation would be that she didn't want player harassment for having a female character but it likely goes deeper than that. Segawa tells Ako that at school they just act differently from their online selves because of societal pressure but she spends almost all her time not in class online in LA. This would imply her online self is more "Real" than her In Real Life (IRL) self. The choice to have a male character therefore would imply that the strength she sees in her character is partially based on his gender. Apricot is the other member of Nishimura's guild. A mage that deals large amounts of damage from a considerable distance comparatively. Another male character that doesn't match the user's gender. For Kyō Goshoin or 'Master' gaming is a clear form of escapism used to have freedom in a very strict environment due to her influential status. She likely sees men as a sex that can more easily choose their own fate and rebel against their parents and therefore uses the game to become someone who is strong in her own way of thinking.