Hi Score Girl GN 5-8 – Review
These 4 volumes of Hi Score Girl proceed actually and thematically the place the primary 4 volumes left off. Every little thing in volumes 5-8 is bigger and extra refined, although the core romantic pull is so simple as it was from the start. It creates a fascinating dynamic the place the basics of the romance stay regular because the world across the solid modifications in more and more surprising methods.
The most important constructive growth by far is Haruo’s development as a protagonist. His child-like pleasure for gaming and having enjoyable stays the identical, but there is a completely different texture to it now. Whereas earlier than his pleasure was obsessive and deeply egocentric by and enormous, time and life expertise have dulled among the tough edges. Haruo’s love of gaming has turn out to be extra of a refuge from a weary world and a pleasure that he shares with others, quite than one thing he makes use of as a approach of avoiding development or growth. Watching Haruo share these with Akira and Hidaka (and his different associates) is admittedly nice, and video video games turn out to be much less a way of disconnecting from others and the world and extra a approach for him to attach with people who find themselves necessary to him. Video video games are actually a standard thread that facilitates relationships with individuals round him as an alternative of a wedge he gleefully drives between himself and others.
Haruo’s relationships with Akira and Hidaka don’t change all that a lot right here. The stakes are larger, to make sure. There are tournaments and face-offs, heated exchanges, and contours drawn within the sand. However the core fundamentals of their relationships haven’t modified appreciably. Akira is burdened by her household’s expectations of her. Hidaka is adrift and uncertain of herself. Each of them wish to play video games with Haruo and recognize his easy, direct focus. Haruo enjoys taking part in video games with them too. He can not seem to kind out his emotions for both, although the leanings clearly are in Akira’s favor, although that isn’t to say that Hidaka means nothing to him. That is primarily the identical establishment that now we have turn out to be accustomed to from the primary 4 volumes, although right here it’s stretched out and positioned in new conditions.
And my, what conditions they’re!
Volumes 5-8 ramp up the outrageous exterior circumstances that pull on our leads. It looks like each time you flip the nook there’s a new growth threatening to upend the children’ world or change it in some massive approach. Akira’s household connections turn out to be extra of a presence in these volumes particularly. Her “all the time attempting to assist” variety driver, her “always butting in and making unusual remarks” older sister, her “hell-bent on ensuring Akira adheres to her position” tutor, and most of all, her “utterly absent from her life but ever-present of their calls for” mother and father. The whole Oono household creates an endless sea of variables that disrupt Akira’s life and her relationship with Haruo, ensuring that each time they develop nearer there may be some impediment positioned to tear them again aside.
The varied aspect characters within the metropolis additionally make extra of an look in these volumes. The opposite youngsters in school turn out to be more and more conscious of Haruo’s relationships with Akira and Hidaka. There are native festivals and tournaments that present backdrops for his or her will-they-won’t-they encounters. There are different schoolkids looking for to ask out Akira and Hidaka as a result of they’ve huge crushes on them. There are even underground online game gangs that maintain secret conferences to check their abilities in all-night arcade venues.
These two distinct vibes come collectively fairly properly throughout these 4 volumes. The core relationship dynamic between Haruo, Akira, and Hidaka is easy and unchanged. The skin world round them is more and more chaotic and unrealistic. These crossing textures culminate in a fascinating combine that makes it laborious to cease studying. Whereas earlier than I believed the simplicity of the core relationships was one thing of a letdown, now that the remainder of the world has gotten extra bonkers I feel that simplicity has turn out to be a power.
Haruo, Akira, and Hidaka turn out to be a peaceful rock in a stormy sea of unusual occasions taking place throughout them, and each time the narrative pauses to point out them gaming collectively it turns into a welcome refuge by all of the strangeness. On this approach, I discover the narrative reaches its most compelling and relatable zenith. For myself, gaming has been a private exercise for my very own amusement, however extra critically it has been one thing that I share with others. That is maybe greatest exemplified in my love of preventing video games, that are inherently social experiences at their core. Certain, you might be testing your self in opposition to another person, and there may be the apparent battle that comes with that. However you get to know your opponents – who are sometimes your mates or maybe quickly turn out to be them – in a really attention-grabbing approach. You study their habits, their strengths, and weaknesses, their preferences, and all types of issues. And also you study those self same issues about your self and even study what you undertaking to others by your play. Hello Rating Woman actually comes into its personal on this show of how we present ourselves to others by how we play alongside and in opposition to them within the seemingly innocuous realm of video games.
Talking of the video games, they’ve after all modified with the occasions. The sequence’ measurement of time by the technological development of the video games of the 90s is essentially the most relatable aspect of all for me. I feel many people who’re within the video gaming house have at one time or one other used recreation releases as a approach of setting yardsticks in our lives. “Ah, 1997, after I spent the whole summer time taking part in Whole Annihilation” or “I bear in mind getting a Gamecube for Christmas in 2001…” and so forth. The 90s have a selected place in my coronary heart not solely as my earliest gaming reminiscences but additionally for his or her speedy development within the arcade and console markets, and that’s one thing Hello Rating Woman captures fairly effectively.
Of specific notice are these volumes’ concentrate on Darkstalkers, Virtua Fighter, and Street Fighter Alpha. These sequence have been massively influential on me they usually represented the development of the preventing recreation house like no different. After all, right now my associates and I additionally spent approach too many hours taking part in Final Mortal Kombat 3, Killer Intuition, and Tekken 3, it isn’t a stretch to say that Darkstalkers, Virtua Fighter, and Avenue Fighter Alpha have been extremely cutting-edge video games. Evaluating the change from Virtua Fighter 1 to 2, or evaluating Zangief’s sprites from Avenue Fighter 2 to the Alpha sequence – it actually felt like the long run was coming at an more and more speedy tempo. To not point out the technical and mechanical development of preventing video games right now, exemplified by video games like Darkstalkers (which I by no means actually mastered again then, fact be advised). The sheer selection and constancy of all these titles have been overwhelming then, and searching again at the moment by the lens of this manga is an actual delight.
It is also nice to see Rensuke Oshikiri articulate these very same emotions of effervescent pleasure that I had after I was that age at the moment. There is a sense of kinship in realizing that video video games in their very own little approach may bridge time and house in such a fashion – that throughout oceans, throughout language limitations, youngsters have been feeling the identical enthralling sense of surprise at these similar experiences. It creates a type of retroactive bond that was an surprising discovery as I learn.
If I’ve any complaints, it’s my similar criticism as earlier than: Akira’s full silence could be very odd. Maybe this works for different individuals and I am the odd man out, however her silence turns into extra unbelievable with each passing chapter. I get the sense that it was a limiting issue for Rensuke Oshikiri as effectively, because the introduction of Akira’s sister – who seems similar to Akira, hangs round Haruo’s mother all day, and acts as a surrogate for Akira in voice and in motion – is a approach to deal with this challenge. I feel it really works at face worth, although but once more the recurring presence of the sister as a way to facilitate Akira’s relationship with Haruo with out seeming to have something occurring in her personal life strains the narrative’s believability on each degree. Sooner or later, I really feel it will have been simpler to only have Akira speak slightly, quite than be utterly silent.
In any case, I am persevering with to get pleasure from Hello Rating Woman and searching ahead to the ultimate volumes of the manga. It is a easy, comforting story the place the stakes are each sky-high and utterly common on the similar time, finally fostering pleasure for these characters, the video games they play, and once they performed them. Hello Rating Woman in a approach evokes the sensation of discovering a time capsule – regardless of the passage of time, the hope that adheres to the container is palpable.