The other day I received a very large box of books. As much as I’m always tempted to order a massive amount of books, I knew this package wasn’t something I had ordered. I ripped it open like the crazed bookworm that I am and lo and behold: A box full of manga and light novels from Yen Press!
There were lots of fun ones in there, but one in particular caught my eye: Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Vol 1 by Hiro Ainana. That’s one long title, but that’s not why it caught my eye.
I noticed it because it’s one of the many, many manga where the plot revolves around a character getting stuck inside of a video game. A plot line that has been used to death in mangas and animes. Also a plot line that I never seem to tire of.
Suzuki is on a coding death march: so many video games to code and debug, not nearly enough hours or caffeine in the day. When he finally gets a chance to take a quick nap, it’s not surprise that he enters a dream where he is a character in a video game.
This video game seems eerily similar to a game he had been working on before he fell asleep, but he writes that off to his overworked mind. And the fact that this dream is incredibly detailed and realistic? Just his imagination. Probably. Except his imagination isn’t that good.
While dreaming in a fantasy world with lots of cool powers seems liked a lot of fun, Suzuki hits a small problem. This dream just doesn’t seem to have any intention of ending.
This is, as far as I can tell, Hiro Ainana’s first manga publication. This also seems to be Ayamegumu’s (the illustrator) first work. This is not something I would have known if I hadn’t looked it up. The characters, plot, and artwork all worked together very well to put together a coherent and entertaining first volume.
Like many manga that follow the “dropped into a video game” concept, the world building in this story was great. There’s an interesting magic system, several different races of people, several social classes, different religions, and even interesting types of food. Ainana filled out pretty much every aspect of his world, making a type of real-feeling fantasy video game world that is hard to create.
The characters were lots of fun, too. So far there are no tragic backstories…or any backstories at all. The main character is just a coder who seems super excited and interested to be having a dream inside of a video game. Sure, he knows something is weird when the dream keeps going on and on, but he’s just making the most of it. Eating some good food, meeting interesting people, and soaking up the culture of the world. He’s having fun, so you can’t help but have fun with him.
And now we come to the part where I try to review the artwork while knowing absolutely nothing about art. *sigh* It was good art, from what I could see. Nothing beautiful or eye-catching, but clear, easy to follow, and with some entertaining panels that show over-the-top, exaggerated emotions that is a manga trademark. So yes. I enjoyed it.
All in all, this manga makes for an entertaining read. So far it isn’t anything I haven’t seen before. The plot is the same as many others. The main character is one of these fun, happy characters that somehow manages to attract the attention of every female character within a 10 mile radius.
Yen Press is one of the awesome manga publishers that puts age ratings on the back of each volume. This is rated T (teen) for language and violence, which I pretty much agree with. There was no graphic violence and I don’t remember any language to speak of. The final “bonus chapter” annoyed the heck out of me by featuring a female character taking a bath (only critical parts of her being covered) while the embarrassed main character looked on. Which was completely unnecessary to say the least. WHY, manga? WHY?
Okay. I’ll stop talking about it now.
Basically, this was an entertaining, light read. It’s funny and will give you something to relax over at the end of the day. It’s a bit cliche and nothing incredibly memorable, but (aside from the bonus chapter that I lied about being done talking about) I enjoyed reading it.
What do you think? Do you plan on reading Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Vol 1 by Hiro Ainana?
This manga was supplied to Constant Collectible by Yen Press in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Author of the YA Christian dystopian "Skies of Dripping Gold," I'm a voracious bookworm and avid writer. I wince every time I hear the phrase "I don't like to read" and often wish someone would invent candles that smell like hardcovers. When I'm not being nerdy or fighting Lyme disease, I'm off seeking representation for my YA Christian Fantasy novel, The Stump of the Terebinth Tree. My writing tips blog full of sarcasm and geekiness can be found here: http://hannahheath-writer.blogspot.com