Book Review: Not Lives Volume 1

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Things still seem to be going rather well, huh?

I was going to continue on covering the books in my backlog, as per usual, but I am going to take a break from that for a bit.

The reason? I went to Barnes & Noble recently and got two books that had released within the past few months.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Not Lives Volume 1 by Wataru Karasuma.

Mikami Shigeru is a video game geek, having beaten and created make different games in his young live, and wants to create the ultimate game.

However, one day, after he got home from school and a game shop, he notices a game that he did not remember purchasing and is brought into a world where losing means losing your existence as a normal human.

Sometimes, trying out new things can be exciting, and at other times, it is not that great, which is why branching out is not always pleasant.

In the case of this book, I do not really like it too much.

Fortunately, there are some nice things about this work, so I do not need to immediately go in what I did not like, otherwise it would have been very disappointing.

I liked how the characters do not really get trapped in a game where dying in game meant dying for real. As nice as a premise that may be, it has been done to death and the only one series that seemed to have done a good job with it, Sword Art Online, ultimately turned into garbage in its second arc, and even worse, the very first book of the series.

Yes, there are other series, such as Accel World, where characters do not get trapped in a game, even though the game is still involved in the plot.

However, things tend to get pretty boring fast in those stories because there is nothing that interesting.

That is probably why plots around games are relatively terrible, except for Liar Game, since there is nothing that big to figure out or characters do not even have a big goal.

In the case of this series, instead of losing oneÔÇÖs life, they lose something that other people would not normally notice.

This does create some sort of mystery, and does make me feel like patting Wataru on the back somewhat, but I cannot do that, so I will just give some bit praise for trying to doing something a bit different.

I also liked how the game took place in real life, as opposed to the clichÉd virtual reality.

While there have been some series where games take place in real life, such as the games Yugi participated in or initiated before the Duelist Kingdom arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, since the series only got worse after Duelist Kingdom, the characters usually get the full experience and know that they are still in the real world.

Here, however, Shigeru had no idea that the game was taking place in real life.

This was probably the best thing about this series, because even I thought that Shigeru was transported to some kind of different world, instead of it being in the real world.

After all, he was inhabiting the body of a girl throughout much the game he participated in, and it made me want to see what he would do in a situation like that.

Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked.

The fact that characters do not die in real life if they die in the game, at least immediately and that Wataru did not make it obvious that this game was actually occurring in the real world did make this volume somewhat enjoyable.

Although the book had some nice things, there are some issues, aside from the usual problems with the first volume.

First, this book was not really that funny.

Now, this is not something that usually determines whether or not a book is good for me, but with the synopsis provided on the back of the book made me think that I would be in for a treat with many things to laugh about.

Unfortunately, most of the comedy present is this work was not only the same kind of comedy that can be found in any other series, especially the gender bender type, which this cannot be considered right now, unlike Half Prince, where the protagonist, who is female, is hardly seen in real life and her male avatar, Prince, receives more focus, and I did not even chuckle once.

The only exception that I did kind of feel like laughing about was how Shigeru saw the girl he was playing as in real life and kept thinking that she was somehow brought into the world, as opposed to not acknowledging her as a real person.

However, even that has its limits.

After all, Shigeru is presented as a game creator and expert player.

With that in mind, he should have known that characters are often based on real life people, especially since he was trying to check girls out for a new game that he was going to make.

Come on, Wataru! Is using the same old comedy and making it worse than in the series that came before this anyway to make a good manga, let alone story?

I do not think so, but this is already enough to make me not want to follow the series any more, even though I do try to give series time to impress me by reading more than one volume, but, sometimes, it just is not worth it.

The thing I hated the most was how there was practically nothing to get me excited for the next volume.

While I expect there to be some mystery in the first volume, as the first volume should leave a few things unexplained, there also needs to be something that makes me want to continue on.

For example, in Pandora Hearts, Oz Vessaluis is introduced as an ordinary boy, but some mystery people say that his sin is his very own existence, before being sent to a mysterious place, where he meets an individual that wants her memories back.

This makes me want to learn more about both of the characters and the volumes after that continued to make things more interesting, like suggesting that Oz may not be human or is older than we thought he was.

Here, however, I do not really get that excitement at all.

Yes, there is a mysterious game that seems to have no end, or one that cannot be easily reached.

However, that is the only thing of interest in this series.

Not only does it not have some interesting enough to make me want to read the next volume, but it even ends in one of least interesting ways, which is the clichÉd mysterious girl seems to transfer into protagonistÔÇÖs class.

Really, Wataru?! Do you honestly think that this is enough to make me want to continue on with the series?

It might, if I were new to the anime and manga scene, but I have seen this kind of stunt numerous times.

It would have been better if the volume ended right at the point where it is revealed that there is a way to beat a game that nobody has beaten yet, as I would have some reason to want to continue.

Unfortunately, since it ends like this, I have pretty much lost any and all desire to continue on with this.

After all, the little ad for next volume did way more to pique my interest than the actual content of this book.

I guess I cannot really expect too much from a newcomer to the manga industry, but since Wataru has just as many titles under his belt as Jun Mochizuki, who has been able to create decent stories since her debut work, it makes things even more disappointing.

While there was not a whole lot wrong with this book, the problems that did crop up were things that should not ever happen or be seen in the first title of any series and makes gives the series and really ruins both the series and the quality of the book.

Despite the fact that there were some things to like, the negative far outweighs it to the point that this was a waste of time.

I recommend that everyone avoid this like it were the plague, especially since there are other titles that are far better than this one.

What are your thoughts on Not Lives Volume 1? Did you like it or hate it? If you hated it, like I did, was it bad enough that you wanted to drop this series after only one volume? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.