My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999 is a currently-airing anime series for the spring 2023 season (we are through episode four of twelve at the time of publication). The series stars Akane Kinoshita, a young university student who is depressed at the start of the series because her boyfriend dumped her for another woman he met in a massively multiplayer online video game that he and Akane had played together. Akane, who had no prior interest in games, had only played that game at all because her ex-boyfriend wanted her to play with him. As the name of the series suggests, Akane crosses paths with another guy named Yamada after her break-up. Yamada is a taciturn professional video gamer who, unbeknownst to Akane when she first meets him, is a high school student. There is no romance through four episodes, however. Yamada has yet to show any interest in matters of the heart, and he often (not without justification) finds Akane irritating. However, this article is not a review of My Love Story with Yamada-kun at Lv999. For whatever it is worth, I am not impressed with the series through four episodes and may ultimately not finish it (I always appreciate 999 in a title, however). Why, then, am I writing about it? The answer is to deliver a Linux joke at Windows’ expense.

(I take this as another opportunity to remind readers that Microsoft continues to blacklist this humble online magazine from its Bing search engine for unexplained reasons.)

Before we even meet Yamada, we find a depressed Akane in her apartment. She appears to be depressed about her former boyfriend leaving her for another woman. To be fair, her ex-boyfriend does appear to have been a cad, especially with how he handled the break-up, so Akane is perfectly justified in working through the necessary stages of grief.

(Akane is perhaps less justified when she rants about her ex-boyfriend to strangers, ropes Yamada into pretending to be her boyfriend when she first runs into him, and then passes out from drinking too much after she dragged the poor boy to the bar with her. But that is neither here nor there.)

But early in the episode, I came up with an alternative theory about what is making Akane sad. I assure you that this theory is very serious.

Akane decides to turn on her laptop and log into the game she had played with her ex-boyfriend to see if he had retrieved some of their in-game equipment.

A dejected Akane sitting on her bed while looking at her laptop on a table in My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999 anime.
I like the color of her laptop.

Now Akane turns on her laptop.

Akane's hand turning on her laptop in My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999 anime.
It looks like she is pressing the F9 key. Odd. No power button? What’s up with that?

Look closely at what we see here:

Akane's laptop loads what appears to be Windows in My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999 anime.

That looks like a Windows logo. This poor girl. She thinks that she is sad about her break-up. But that is not her real problem.

The fictional Forest of Savior MMO on Akane's computer in My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999 anime.
Forest of Savior is the fictional MMO in the anime.

That is a full Windows desktop!

Sure, Akane is sad that her ex-boyfriend was a borish loser. But she does not even realize that she is in a toxic relationship with a commercial operating system that treats her like a product instead of a valued customer. Her Stockholm Syndrome leads her to believe in error that it is normal for her to have little control over her desktop environment.

(I hope she is not using Bing. I cannot imagine how depressed Akane must be if she is missing out on perennially virid New Leaf Journal content.)

That, my friend, is dark.

I was once a Windows user like Akane. In fact, I still ran Windows 10 when I launched The New Leaf Journal in April 2020. But I changed my life for the better when I built a new computer and installed Manjaro Linux on it. My life improved even further when I swapped Manjaro for EndeavourOS on both my workstation and main laptop.

(BTW I (almost) use Arch.)

It is easy to replace Windows with a nice, clean Linux install with nothing more than image burning software (I hear Rufus is a good FOSS solution on Windows) and a USB stick.

(Note: It is easy to install Linux so long as you are not trying to do so on your friend’s 2007 MacBook, which has a 32-bit bootloader and 64-bit CPU. See my article on the adventure.)

Akane is clearly a beginner, so I would recommend that she try Linux Mint for a familiar, Windows-like experience.

(Go with the XFCE edition. I run XFCE on my main workstation.)

Akane would then soon forget about her toxic relationship as well as her jerk of an ex-boyfriend while she enjoys a free and open source operating system which treats her as a user instead of a product. No ads in her file explorer. No ill-timed updates. Just free and open source.

Now Akane might ask: What if I can’t play Forest of Savior because it is not supported on Linux?

(Note: Forest of Savior is the fictional MMO in the anime. Because it is fictional, I am confident that it cannot run on Linux. It also cannot run on Windows because it does not exist.)

The first thing I would tell her is that it may be supported by Linux. I discussed the great progress that Linux is making in supporting Windows games in my article on gaming on Linux. I know some MMOs such as that Final Fantasy one or whatever it is do run on Linux. But maybe her game does not. Now in my article on gaming on Linux, I argued that Linux users should respect that some people may have games that only run on Windows (thanks, anti-cheat), and that those games may be important to them.

But I am going to contradict myself. MMOs are bad. They should not exist. Back in my day we played games alone with no internet. You can learn important life lessons playing the original Mario Party against the AI. I explained Mario Party life lessons in an earlier article:

You learn many life lessons from playing Mario Party solo. ‘Nothing matters, in the end.’ ‘Memento mori.’ ‘Everyone and everything is out to get me.’

Nicholas A. Ferrell

Akane is younger than me. Thus, she would have been too young for the original Mario Party even if she grew up playing games (we could have guessed from her lack of hand injuries). But she would still benefit from learning the kinds of lessons that kids back in my day learned. If you understand from having played the original Mario Party that nothing matters and everyone is out to get you, it is very easy to deal with being dumped by a jerk. It may be easy to even think that your commercial operating system spying on you is normal.

I would urge Akane to take a “you only live once” approach and install Linux Mint on her Windows laptop. Will that game where she made online friends work on Linux? Who knows? But she should play better games anyway. If it does not work on Linux because it has some stupid anti-cheat nonsense or something, all the more reason to play better games and ditch your Windows friends. Has she taken a look at my review of the old freeware al|together visual novels? I recommend that she take a look at my series and then help me with a research project related to my series (it would be easier if I could read Japanese…).

(If she really insists, we can talk about dual booting.)

If Akane were to spend more time recovering from her breakup with her ex-boyfriend by breaking up with Windows and going on a date with Linux, she would spend less time passing out drunk at bars with a high school students (to be slightly charitable – she did not know that Yamada was a high school student when she dragged him to a bar). My advice changes lives for the better.

Scene from My Love Story With Yamada-kun at Lv999 anime of Akane's computer booting into Windows, but with an OCA image blocking the Windows logo.
This is totally what booting into Linux looks like. The Linux wallpager I stuck on top the fake Windows logo comes courtesy of Openclipart.

Alas (spoiler alert), it does not appear that Akane switched from Windows to Linux in episodes 2-4. That is a shame. But I leave readers with one piece of good news.

At least Akane is not using a Mac.

(Yes, I do have a grudge against Microsoft for blacklisting my site from Bing for no reason. But my grudge has limits. There are worse things than Windows.)