What They Say:
The class popularity contest was supposed to be for fun…but now the unpopular students are dying grisly deaths. The classroom has become a horrific struggle for survival. Someone is keeping the game going, but who? Can anyone come out alive and expose the truth?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
For those of us out there who never tire of the “good group of teenagers get brutally (and ridiculously) slaughtered” genre, Tohyo Game has come to keep the ball rolling. Situated in the middle of another ordinary Tokyo high school with another average student protagonist, Tohyo Game doesn’t pitch a very unique story in concept, luckily the first couple pages pulled me in enough to keep flipping. Suffice to say, this manga doesn’t take very long to earn the Parental Advisory notice plastered on the front cover.
Waking up from his daydream that was the first few (color!) pages, Shuusuke Takeyama, new student in class A-2 hastily introduces himself to the class. Clearly not accustomed to public speaking, Shuusuke muddles his way through his introduction, clearly embarrassed by his first impression. For better or for worse, Shuusuke always has close friend, Wakaba Ootsuki, at his side for support. A nurturing, if naively honest type, Wakaba makes a good foil for Shuusuke’s other close friend who gets the whole story rolling. I appreciate how G.O. doesn’t waste any time beating around the bush with unwarranted/unrequired character introductions, one of my only criticisms of classic Battle Royale.
Kazuto Satou, the friend in question and resident class clown, somehow acquires the entire class’s cellphone numbers and does what any well rounded teenager would do. Start a popularity contest, of course! With an anonymous voting system in place, each boy votes on which girl from a group of five he likes best, and the votes are tallied accordingly. Saucy pictures of each round’s winner are promised, a perfectly innocent invasion of privacy which is rightfully abhorred by the girls of the class. First seen as simply bullying, the popularity contest soon takes a turn for worse…
In a series of grisly deaths, students at the bottom of each voting session are dying. Iwata, the shy girl receiving zero votes, is the first to die. I found the speed at which the killings commence to be very refreshing here, the students barely have tome to grieve Iwata before two boys find themselves at death’s door during school hours. These deaths instantly hit Shuusuke close to home as one of the boys is the creator of the contest itself, Kazuto. This royally whips the young students into a frenzy, with theories as to who, why, and how they are all dying being tossed about with storm-like intensity. These theories are tested and fail one after another as students keep dropping like flies; is it only last students receiving no votes? Nope. Is it only last place participants? Nope. Will not voting stop the slaughter? Absolutely not.
With different students taking different routes to avoid death, ranging from borderline psychosis to proactive voting teams, nothing seems to stop contest from continuing. The administrator’s reach doesn’t end with the students, however. While the school can call off session as the game continues…class 2-A must stay until the contest has reached its climax. This guarantees that the students vote, and now that the website is down, we have to resort to good old fashioned paper ballots. With only a fraction of the students left, will this mystery unravel in time before everyone is dead?
An enjoyable romp through another entry in a quickly bloating genre, Tohyo Game presses the pedal to the floor from the get-go and doesn’t let up even in the final few pages of this first volume. With the deadly popularity contest going full tilt, Shuusuke and Wakaba scrabble desperately to put an end to this demented game.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: C+. The well-executed death scenes elevate this above average, if slightly.
Packaging Grade: C+, Having Wakaba on the cover doesn’t make plot sense, but she is cuter.
Text/Translation Grade: B+, Everything felt smooth and modern, no weird translations.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: October 25th, 2016
MSRP: $15.00 USD