Arisu and his friends are slackers who couldn’t care less about high school or even what comes after it. Arisu is especially bored with how his life is playing out, and he often wishes to be swept away into another world. He soon learns to be careful what to wish for, because he and his two friends are mysteriously pulled into a future dystopia. The city is starting to be reclaimed by nature, but what's happening in this place is far from natural. Arisu, his two friends, and a mysterious girl are forced together into a team and must play twisted games in order to stay longer in this world. The failure for playing is instant death, so they're damned if they do, damned if they don't.
These Squid-Games type books are very popular at the moment, and this series is gaining in popularity despite it first being published in 2011. This story is particularly well done as Aso is really paying attention to the details. The different games the characters have to play are twisted, but the creation took a lot of thought. I also appreciate that Arisu has found a place to shine as he can figure out solutions to puzzles and high-pressure situations, but he isn’t immune to fear and has to work on that before his special analytical mind is able to solve the situation.
The illustrations in this story are, understandably, a little bit creepy and a lot bit dark. There aren't exactly zombie creatures or anything like that, but the "bad guy" from one of their puzzles is somewhat nightmare-fuel. Aso isn't shy about killing people right on the page, and a lot of the violence and maiming of characters takes place right on the page.
The version I read is an omnibus of volumes one and two, but the binding itself doesn't feel any more reinforced than a normal manga, so it might need some extra protective coverings.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
ISBN: 9781974728374 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Horror, Survival, Action Adventure, Isekai, VIZ Media
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I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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