I love it when I come across a manga that no one has ever heard of. It means I can read it without any sort of influence affecting my opinion. And, recently, that manga has been a josei action comedy named WORLDEND:DEBUGGER by Ritsuhiro Mikami – a relatively unknown mangaka.
The protagonist in Worldend is Miharu Seno, an attractive guy who is also smart and talented. He is, quite clearly, the person known to good at everything. He has things easy. Well, that is until a teddy bear steals his wallet and a strange man, who claims to be from the future, comes out of an arcade machine demanding Miharu to play a game. This isn’t an arcade game, however, this is the D-Game – a game of, quite literally, life or death.
Boy, I love a death game scenario, so I was quite hyped to get reading this and I am so glad I did. The synopsis sounds a little crazy, sure, I get that, but the first chapter is written so well making me hooked from the start. And as the story progressed, I was obsessed with finding out what the next game was or what the next twist in the story was.
Each character has their own quirks (not Boku no Hero Academia style) which makes them all stand out in their own way. There is not a single boring character, which is quite refreshing to see. Perhaps that’s due to the manga being so short and the mangaka not really expanding on much, but for once this really does work out to be a positive thing rather than a negative. I think, although the mangaka could have expanded somewhat on the different elements within the story, it could have gotten a lot more complicated and confusing really quickly. That being said, the last section of the manga could have been expanded on somewhat really easily. It reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games trilogy, and I really liked it, but it really did appear out of nowhere in my opinion.
What I found interesting as the story progressed as well, was the relationships between the characters. There are a lot of ups and downs in each relationship within this manga and, interestingly, although the genres do not imply it, there is a very subtle hint of romance between two of the boys, which was quite the rollercoaster, really.
The downside to this manga is that it isn’t licensed in English, so if you are interested, you will have to rely on scanlations. The version I read was scanlated by Träumerei Scans, who seemed to do a pretty good job. However, and I don’t know whether this is due to mistranslation or whether the original mangaka used these words in the original, but there were some words that did make me feel a little uncomfortable. I don’t know the situation here, so I’m not going to pin the blame on anybody, but it is worth noting.
The manga is only 16 chapters, and given its nature, it’s quite difficult to go into details here. But, I will say, that if the story interests you and you want a short, gripping manga with some lovely artwork, you should definitely check this one out. I certainly think that this is a manga that deserves more love and I hope Ritsuhiro Mikami somehow revisits it one day, because, with a little bit more meat to it, I think this would also make a great anime adaptation.
Although, sadly, that’s probably never going to happen.