Review

Game X Rush Vol. 1

by Mizuho Kusanagi

Teenager Memori Fujieda is the top bodyguard in Japan. Not only is he skilled, but he’s handsome as well. This makes him the perfect face for his brother’s small bodyguard agency. As much as Memori enjoys his work, he is tired of doing it alone; but where will he ever find a partner as skilled as he?
 
As luck would have it, Memori happens to cross paths with a boy named Yuuki. Yuuki dreams of becoming a bodyguard and hopes that Memori will take him under his wing. While they talk, Memori spots a girl about to jump off a bridge. He manages to catch her, but he would have fallen to his death had Yuuki not been there to pull him up.
 
When the girl claims to have no memory of jumping, she admits that she believes someone is trying to kill her. Memori takes the girl under his protection and offers Yuuki the chance to work with him if he can pass the tests. Yuuki seems to have what it takes to be a bodyguard: strength, good reflexes, and a sharp wit…maybe too sharp. Much to Memori’s horror, he learns that Yuuki isn’t a bodyguard at all. He’s Japan’s top assassin.
 
The situation doesn’t turn into a thrilling cat-and-mouse game though. Yuuki won’t kill unless paid to do so. Without any clients to hunt, he spends his time hanging out with Memori. Though Memori thinks that Yuuki’s work is deplorable, he just can’t help but like the guy. When a potential new employer looks to steal Memori from the family business, Yuuki ends up taking the job instead. Will these two end up as bitter rivals, or will Yuuki always be the deadly assassin he was trained to be?
 
Game X Rush is one of those manga that has a great concept but could be so much better. Kusanagi attempts to cross action with lighthearted comedy, and it just doesn’t work in this case. It doesn’t have the endearing quality found in some of her other works. Are all the clients going to be cute girls? Are the villains all going to be so obvious in their guilt? Didn’t anyone tell Kusanagi that digital clocks don’t tick? Doesn’t it seem just a bit cliché that Memori is “Japan’s greatest bodyguard” and Yuuki is “its greatest assassin” even though they are both still teenagers? Their relative “perfection” is enough to make any intelligent reader gag.
 
Oddly enough, Kusanagi added two joke panels about what Game X Rush would be like if either Memori or Yuuki was a female and how it would add some romantic tension. Quite frankly…it would have, and it just might make the series all the more interesting.
 
Unfortunately, the English release only weakens this manga. The cover is so flimsy that the book got bent in the mail. Some of the editing choices are poor or simply incorrect. For example, “Since we have been friends?” instead of “Since when have we been friends?” and “tramatizing” instead of “traumatizing.” At one point, Yuuki says, “Too bad he fell asleep so soon” when referring to a guy he strung up by a rope. In this case, “passed out” would have made far more sense than “fell asleep.”
 
Kusanagi will have to pick a clear direction to make Game X Rush a worthwhile read. She is attempting to make Yuuki seem endearing and likable. A likable villain is always an asset to any story, but in this case, it only quells the drama. The basic plot of the manga has so much potential to be a great thriller. For now, it would be safe for young male or female readers who want an action story, but one that isn’t too dark or inappropriate.

Reviewed by Courtney Kraft on July 6, 2009

Game X Rush Vol. 1
by Mizuho Kusanagi

  • Publication Date: July 6, 2009
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • ISBN-10: 1427815526
  • ISBN-13: 9781427815521