Hi Score Girl GN 5 8

Hello Ranking Woman GN 5-8

The first four volumes of Hi Score Girl pick up where they left off both figuratively and philosophically in these four volumes. Although everything in volumes 5-8 is bigger and more complex, the fundamental romantic draw is still as straightforward as it was at first. The fundamentals of the romance hold consistent while the cast’s surroundings shift in progressively surprising ways, creating an interesting dynamic.

Haruo’s progression as a protagonist is by far the most encouraging improvement. His childlike enthusiasm for playing video games and having fun is still present, but it now has a new texture. Before, most of his delight was compulsive and profoundly selfish, but time and life experience have softened some of the edges. Instead of being something he does to avoid growth or development, Haruo now utilizes his love of gaming more as a haven from the world and something he enjoys doing with others. Video games start to become less of a way for Haruo to isolate himself from others and the outside world and more of a way for him to connect with people who are significant to him as a result of watching him share these with Akira, Hidaka, and his other friends. Instead of being a gleefully driven wedge between himself and others, video games are now a recurring theme that helps him build relationships with individuals in his immediate environment.

Here, Haruo’s interactions with Akira and Hidaka remain largely unchanged. Undoubtedly, the stakes are bigger. There are competitions and face-offs, tense arguments, and demarcated boundaries. However, the essential tenets of their relationships have not significantly changed. The demands placed on Akira by her family are a burden. Hidaka feels lost and confused of who she is. They both like Haruo’s games and value his straightforward attention. With them, Haruo likes to play games as well. Although it is obvious that he has stronger affections for Akira, he can’t seem to decide between the two, but Hidaka is still important to him. Although it is here broadened out and put in novel contexts, the basic status quo that we have been accustomed to from the first four volumes still exists.

And what circumstances they are, my! The terrible outside situations that pull on our leads get worse in volumes 5-8. Every time you turn a corner, it feels like a fresh development is threatening to rock the kids’ world or significantly alter it. Particularly in these volumes, Akira’s familial ties become increasingly prominent. Her “always trying to help” kind driver, her “constantly butting in and making strange remarks” older sister, her “hell-bent on making sure Akira adheres to her role” tutor, and most importantly, her “completely absent from her life yet ever-present in their demands” parents. Every time Akira and Haruo get closer, something is set up to rip them away once more. This is because the entire Oono family generates an endless sea of factors that interfere with her life and her relationship with Haruo.

These volumes also feature more of the city’s many supporting characters. The relationships Haruo has with Akira and Hidaka are becoming more and more known to the other students at school. Local fairs and competitions serve as the settings for their will-they-won’t-they encounters. Other students who have intense affections on Akira and Hidaka are attempting to approach them. Even underground video game gangs meet in secret to practice their moves in late-night arcade settings.

Over the course of these four volumes, these two different vibes mesh rather effectively. The basic dynamic of the relationships between Haruo, Akira, and Hidaka is straightforward and unaltered. They are surrounded by an increasingly chaotic and surreal outside world. These overlapping textures combine to create a compelling blend that makes it difficult to put the book down. Previously, I found the fundamental connections’ simplicity to be a bit of a letdown; but, now that the rest of the world has gone even more insane, I find that simplicity to be a strength.

Every time the story pauses to show Haruo, Akira, and Hidaka playing together, it turns into a welcome respite from the bizarre occurrences happening all around them. They transform into a peaceful rock in a turbulent sea of strange events. I believe the story is at its most fascinating and relatable peak in this fashion. For me, gaming has always been a personal pastime for entertainment, but more importantly, it’s something I do with other people. My love of fighting games, which are fundamentally social activities, may be the best example of this. Yes, you are measuring yourself against someone else, and that inherently creates conflict. But you develop a really intriguing relationship with your rivals, who are frequently your friends or may soon become them. You come to know all kinds of information about someone, including their preferences, habits, strengths, and shortcomings. And via your play, you discover the same things about yourself as well as what you project to others. In this demonstration of how we present ourselves to others by engaging in cooperative and competitive gaming with and against them, Hi Score Girl really shines.

Speaking about games, they have undoubtedly evolved over time. The series’ use of the technical development in games from the 1990s to measure time is, in my opinion, its most accessible aspect. I believe that many of us who work in the video gaming industry have occasionally utilized game releases as a means to establish benchmarks for our lives. Ah, 1997, when I played Total Annihilation all summer long, or “I remember getting a Gamecube for Christmas in 2001,” and so on. Hi Score Girl does a good job of capturing the arcade and console markets of the 1990s, which hold a special place in my heart as my first memories of playing video games.

The emphasis on Darkstalkers, Virtua Fighter, and Street Fighter Alpha in these volumes is noteworthy. These series had a big impact on me and best exemplified the development of the fighting game genre. Darkstalkers, Virtua Fighter, and Street Fighter Alpha were undoubtedly extremely cutting-edge games at the time, but considering that my friends and I also spent far too many hours playing Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Killer Instinct, and Tekken 3 at the same time, it’s also true that these games were also released. It seemed like the future was approaching more quickly when comparing the changes between Virtua Fighter 1 and 2 and Zangief’s sprites in Street Fighter 2 to the Alpha series. Not to mention how fighting games were evolving mechanically and technically at this time, as demonstrated by titles like Darkstalkers (which, to be honest, I never really mastered back then). Looking back on that era through the lens of this manga is a genuine treat because of how diverse and faithful all of these volumes were at the time.

It’s also wonderful to hear Rensuke Oshikiri express the exact same bubbling pleasure that I experienced at that age. Knowing that computer games in some little way might span time and space in this way gives people a sense of kinship; it shows that kids everywhere were experiencing the same awe-inspiring amazement, despite language hurdles and oceans between them. As I read, I made the unanticipated finding that it develops a sort of retroactive link.

If I have any issues, they are the same as before: Akira’s unusually eerie quiet. Perhaps this works for other people and I’m the odd man out, but with each new chapter, her quiet seems more and more impossible. Given that Akira’s sister is introduced, who has a similar appearance to Akira, spends the day with Haruo’s mother, and serves as a voice and action substitute for Akira, I have the impression that this was a constraint for Rensuke Oshikiri as well. Although the sister’s repeated role as a way to support Akira’s friendship with Haruo while appearing to have nothing going on in her own life again strains the narrative’s plausibility on every level, I think it works at face value. It would have been simpler, in my opinion, if Akira had only spoken a little bit at one time rather than being entirely mute.

In any event, I’m still enjoying Hi Score Girl and am eagerly anticipating the manga’s final chapters. The stakes are both extremely high and incredibly low in this straightforward, reassuring tale, which ultimately promotes happiness for these characters, the games they play, and the times they play them. In some ways, listening to Hi Score Girl reminds me of discovering a time capsule since the hope that still clings to the object is apparent despite the passage of time.

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