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Gamerz Heaven, Volume 2 by Maki Murakami
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Gamerz Heaven, Volume 2

by Maki Murakami

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I had a lot of fun with the first volume of this series. This volume wasn't as good.

There were quite a few characters I didn't care about. Only one of the three bullies was at all memorable, although I suppose all three were necessary for the “ultimate form” joke. The second girl in Kaito's group (I can't remember her name, but it wasn't his friend Kawashima) seemed like a combination of Ren (dry sense of humor) and Kawashima (fanboy bait; ability to fight enemies better than Kaito) in terms of the purpose she served, but both those characters were more interesting than her.

In the previous volume, Itsuki was shown quietly orchestrating Kaito's bullying and eventual expulsion, so I thought her motives in the real world might turn out to have some link to world in Gamerz Heaven. The whole “she torments Kaito because she has an unrecognized crush on him” thing was kind of...lame. Although I did laugh when Kaito said that anyone he talks to is his friend. Kaito's definition of “friend” is extremely broad. I wasn't attached enough to Itsuki to feel sad about her death. All I really felt was frustration that a potentially interesting storyline was fumbled so badly.

Rush's reappearance was also less-than-satisfying. He seemed to pop in and out of the story entirely according to Murakami's whims, disappearing after getting his butt kicked in the beginning of the volume (to be fair, he hadn't expected Kaito's friends to drop in like that) and then suddenly reappearing with Lost Soul in tow before disappearing again after revealing that (maybe) he wasn't really one of the game's big villains. Although Ren seemed to perk up at the mention of Rush's name in the previous volume, I don't remember there being any sign that he knew him or recognized him in this one.

My favorite parts of the volume were probably the cosplay/item shop and Lost Soul's appearance. The cosplay shop bit played on what I consider to be one of this series' strengths, the RPG/gaming humor. It was better and funnier than Murakami's brief trip into tentacle rape humor, which I could have done without. Lost Soul got the mystery aspect of Gamerz Heaven back on track. Nata had no data on him, so I'd love to know who he is (underneath all his gear, he looks an awful lot like an evil Nata). I was also intrigued by the brief, shadowy revelation, at the end of the volume, of yet another villain. Whoever that guy is, he's strong enough to have Rush in chains. I'm going to bet that he's the guy who designed Gamerz Heaven in the first place.

All in all, I was a little disappointed with this volume. I'd still read the next one, if it were possible for me to do so – I don't know if it was ever released in English, but it doesn't look like it's available from any libraries, and the only copies of volume 3 that I can find for sale are either in Japanese or incredibly expensive. I suppose this is where my Gamerz Heaven reading will have to end. The one good thing about this volume being so disappointing is that I'm less upset about not getting to read further than I might otherwise have been.

Extras:

Again, there are a couple pages of translator's notes. There's also a page in which Murakami adds censorship pixels to random panels from Gamerz Heaven, completely changing how those scenes could be interpreted. The result is...dirty.

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Sep 24, 2013 |
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When Kaito loads the game "Gamerz heaven" he is mysteriously transported into a new virtual reality where he is not only playing the game but is actually a part of the game.

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