Living Game

The game… of LIFE! Wataah!

And now for something a little different, a manga series review. First off, I read this long ago, so long ago that I forgot the names of a lot of the characters, but being one of the greats, this series left me not the names and exact events that took place over the course of its run, but the feelings that still reverberate in my heart… well, if I had a heart to begin with, it’s just a clogged up fat bag most likely.

But anywho, what is Living Game? Hmm… well, let’s talk about the premise first. If my memory serves me correctly, Fuwa is your typical young lazy salaryman. He’s like that because like many people, he doesn’t quite know what he truly wants in life. But he does know that whatever it is he wants in life, it better gosh dangit to heck include a bigger living space than his tiny little one room apartment. So after some wrangling, he finally gets a bigger place to stay. Only then, his company’s new office building collapses and he ends up with his boss and coworkers using his new place as an office and he’s reduced back to a tiny living space.

All that is totally unimportant though. It has very little bearing on Living Game, despite seemingly being the main premise. Actually, the true story of Living Game doesn’t begin until after the first chapter, because that’s when Izumi comes into it. Izumi’s the boss’ niece. She’s a bright young girl, but due to some implied familial problems, she’s become a dropout trying to make it on her own.

The boss has a son of that age studying for his exams, so she doesn’t want the kid to have any distractions. Instead, she foists Izumi on Fuwa, trusting in his wussiness to not totally rape her niece (turns out he’s not that wussy, (un)fortunately, God interferes when things get too tempting for Fuwa).

So Fuwa and Izumi have to live together and as the story goes, we get to see at first, Fuwa going through temptation, but as time and chapters pass by, we see the relationship between Fuwa and Izumi mature through the slices that is their life. They meet people, encounter situations, become closer, fight over differences in their beliefs etc. All the while, people keep friggin’ interrupting them, as per the natural order of manga. And through it all, time moves. The Japanese Bubble bursts, totally changing the way Fuwa and Izumi had been living up to then, as well as the lives of other characters (who do not stop cockblocking Fuwa… for the most part).

A central theme throughout the series is living space. Throughout Living Game’s run, Izumi and especially Fuwa are constantly looking for that bigger place, that dream house they can call home. It’s an obsession of Fuwa’s really…

All this time, we the readers laugh, cry (if you’re a wussy girly boy… like me) and whatever other suitable emotions along with the crew of Living Game. And in the end…

Well, I’ll tell you. It’s not a saccharine magical girl ending, but it was a good ending. I honestly can’t remember how Living Game ended exactly, because I’m too overwhelmed with the bittersweetness that is parting. The sweet sorrow of saying goodbye. The series ended on a positive non-Evangelion note, but it’s like, we’ve been following Fuwa and Izumi for so long, even if they age slowly in the manga world, it felt like we’ve been following them for years (in a good way) and the only consolation we get in the end, is that we wish them a happy future in the game of living.

Living Game is one of those gems of manga that is totally worth reading. And you can read it here. Which you totally should. It’s a fantastic life story that’s sure to entertain as it wraps its claws around your heart.

****1/4 out of 5.

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