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Gamerz Heaven [by Maki Murakami]


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I recently had the pleasure of reading the first volume of [b]Gamerz Heaven[/b], the latest manga from Maki Murakami (the creator of Gravitation). Gamerz Heaven is being published by ADV Manga; as of now, I believe that only three volumes have been released in Japan.

Anyway, I absolutely love this series. It's simply amazing how far Ms. Murakami has come since she first started Gravitation, and Gamerz Heaven showcases her unique talents. It's an incredible improvement over Gravitation in pretty much every aspect imaginable, from artwork to humor to writing.

The artwork in particular is just breathtaking; there were glimpses of this particular style in the later volumes of Gravitation, but here she's honed it and developed it into something unique. All the girls are exquisitely cute; they look as though they could have walked out of a bishoujo game. The male characters are a little more familiar--Rush is basically an Eiri Yuki clone, and one of the protagonist's friends looks just like Tatsuha. But the protagonist himself--Kaito Suzuki--bears more of a resemblance to Hikaru from Hikaru no Go than any one of Murakami's previous characters. And the designs are original when it really counts; the Navigator, one of the key male characters, is unnervingly adorable and doesn't look like anyone from Gravitation.

There's also more at stake here than in Gravitation--human lives are caught up in the titular videogame, and Murakami conveys the pathos of that nicely while infusing everything with her signature exuberant comedy. Her characters' SD expressions are still the funniest I've ever seen. Best of all, the story does not come across as being a .hack rip-off. The premise may sound similar (i.e. events in a game affecting the real world) but Gamerz Heaven approaches it from a totally different angle.

For those of you wondering whether this manga is also a boys' love title... well, I have no idea. Kaito commits himself to playing Gamerz Heaven because he wants to save the Navigator. There are several hysterical jokes about the fact that the Navigator is absurdly cute; after he shyly thanks Kaito for giving him a name, Kaito is shown with "MOE~~~!!" drawn all over his face. There are definitely some undertones there, but I don't think they'll be the main focus. However, yaoi fans might be interested in knowing that Murakami has drawn Gamerz Heaven "remixes," much like she did for Gravitation...

I strongly recommend Gamerz Heaven not only to anyone who enjoyed even a single page of Gravitation, but also to people who are looking for a fun action/comedy series with some nice mystery and great artwork. It's awesome. :catgirl:

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