Friday, July 03, 2009

Game X Rush, vol. 1

By Mizuho Kusanagi
Released in the US by TokyoPopo

Slugline: Isn't it supposed to be easy to tell a bodyguard and an assassin apart?

Memori may be one of Japan's best bodyguards but because he works for his brother's small agency he is chronically overworked and underpaid. Yuuki could be a new hire for the agency, taking some of Memori's workload though he is more than a little bit off by Yuuki's casual attitude. That casual attitude hides a core of competence that Memori starts to warm up to, only to have it revealed almost too late that Yuuki is an assassin that is after Memori's client. Though Yuuki does not succeed, Memori cannot just forgive or forget as they continue their relationship, as it becomes strained and strange with Yuuki eventually becoming a employee of a large rival agency.

The premise of the manga begins as an entertaining one, as an assassin and a bodyguard becomes friends and rivals, but once their roles are revealed to each other it is difficult to keep the premise believable. For a while it feels like the story is flailing about trying to keep Memori and Yuuki snarking but not getting any more aggressive at each other. While at the end of the volume the premise has been recast enough for them to be friendly rivals, it is now difficult to believe in the competence of either one of the main characters after the previous shenanigans. Realism is not be demanded in manga, but the characters need to at least act in ways that are consistent with who and what they are.

Game X Rush, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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