Sunday, June 01, 2008

MegaTokyo Volume 4 by Fred Gallagher

Largo and Piro are two Otaku trapped in Japan by a lack of money to return home. Largo is an ultra-l33t gamer, and Piro a rabid consumer of anime, manga and video games. Luckily, all is not lost. Piro finds work at a store called "Megagamers", while Largo mistakenly gets hired as an English teacher at a local school, but spends his time teaching the students how to build massively-tricked out hacking and gaming boxes instead, which no one seems to mind.

Piro and Largo have also made friends during their time in Japan, such as Hayasaka Erica, a fellow "Megagamers" worker whom we find out during this volume used to be a idol and voice actress for the game Girl Phase. Piro loved this game, but has never realized that the girl he works with was the same girl who did the voice-acting. Erika was in love with a fellow schoolmate and engaged to be married to him until her obsessed and obsessive fans made him think that she could never want to be with him, a simple male geek. He broke their engagement, and so wounded her that she abruptly walked away from her career and became a bit of a man-hater. In this volume, one of Largo's friends, a man named Dom who works for Sega Japan, outed her as a worker at Megagamers so that he could use her fans to force her into Sega's "protection". Largo foiled the attempt, and despite Erika not wanting to be protected, she and he became much closer because of the incident, to the point where Erika might be interested in him physically and romantically, despite Largo not understanding women at all.

Erika's friend Nanasawa Kimiko also comes in for a lot of screen time (so to speak) in this volume, as her career as a voice artist is taking off since she has been hired to voice the main character, Kotone, in the game Sight by Cubesoft. However, she likes Piro, but isn't confident enough to voice her like, and Piro is equally insecure, and thinks he is always saying the wrong thing to her. When Piro and she talk before a radio interview, it leads her to defending those who love voice actresses when the radio host and another, male, voice actor poke fun at their fans, calling them obsessed and pathetic. Given how Erika's fans continue to act, however, this may lead to more problems than anything else.

Piro's conscience, Seraphim, is beaten up by her opposite number, Asmodeus, and while she recovers, he thinks he has won her over to his side because she has been replaced by her much more cynical and world-weary twin sister, who remains unnamed and may actually be evil, like him. But Seraphim returns and once again, all is right with the world.

At the end, Largo is once more played with by Miho, the possibly evil girl who killed off his online character in the game Endgames, and who was manipulating a large percentage of the online population of the game via in-game programming she took advantage of. After she plays with Largo, he is drunk and reeling, unable to figure out what she wants with him, and he sees her as evil. Piro manages to get him home, though he thinks he is in the middle of a video game with power-ups like bombs and bags of ammo. Kimiko helps Piro get him home, but confesses that she screwed up during the interview. Piro says it is his fault, not hers, but trouble might well be brewing...

I enjoyed this volume of the series, and all the different viewpoints of the characters in the series, which the creator says is the point of the series, to show how different people's perceptions and viewpoints can be. A bit strange in practice, but very entertaining. While I won't be spending money on these books, I will continue to read them through the library.

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