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REVIEW: Tohyo Game, Vol. 2

REVIEW: Tohyo Game, Vol. 2

With half of their friends dead, Class 2-A’s focus turns to cutting down on casualties. This means choosing a student to “sacrifice” during each round — but Shuusuke isn’t sure if that’s the right way to go, even after the new transfer student’s actions bring her motives into question.

Tohyo Game One Black Ballot to You English trade paperback Yen Press Volume Two

© G.O., CHIHIRO, Tatsuhiko/SQUARE ENIX

When I finished reading the first volume of Tohyo Game, my biggest concern was the pacing of the remaining two volumes. While I knew the series was complete at three volumes in Japan, I was confused about how the story would maintain its pacing after killing off half the available characters in volume one.

To my great satisfaction, pacing wasn’t an issue at all in the second volume. With a massive number of deaths out of the way, the story shifts from a shock-value killing spree to more calculated actions and political maneuvering of the students in their attempts to survive.

It’s not a secret I love death match series. I’ve discussed my love for the novel Battle Royale in the past, and the death match aspect was a major reason I was attracted to Tohyo Game in the first place. It’s really this volume that introduces my favorite aspect of death match stories: the revealing actions of the players as they try to survive.

Volume Two of Tohyo Game features quite a lot of this. Several characters scheme various methods to stay alive, with one character openly suggesting a sacrifice of a student in the next round. And, true to the death match genre, the schemes don’t exactly go as planned as desperation takes hold of the remaining players.

As mentioned in the review for Volume One, the art of Tohyo Game is a little lazy — as long as there’s no dying going on. The death scenes are not lazy. Not one bit. In Volume Two, there aren’t nearly so many deaths — since the kids have gotten both smarter and fewer — but the story makes up for it with flashbacks to previous deaths, including several of one student who was severed at the waist.

Compared to some other manga, though — like Junji Ito’s entire catalog — Tohyo Game is almost tame, even when it comes to some of the sexually explicit parts of the story. Any concerns regarding the level of explicit content are addressed by the very visible warning label at the top of the cover.

In many ways, volume two is even better than volume one. It deftly addresses the desperation of the remaining students who want to survive while also introducing a prior incident of the phenomenon in a believable and smooth manner.

While I would now warn that survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault may want to avoid this series, Tohyo Game is a suspenseful, fast-paced read that will definitely keep readers engaged, and it’s a great bookshelf addition for lovers of death match franchises.

Story: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Art: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads | RightStuf | IndieBound

Feliza Casano founded Girls in Capes and currently edits and writes for all sections of the site. In her approximate 2.3 hours of free time each month, she loves watching anime, reading science fiction, and working on her novels-in-progress. Keep up with her antics at felizacasano.com and follow her on Twitter @FelizaCasano.

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Feliza Casano
Editor at Girls in Capes
Feliza founded Girls in Capes in 2013. She edits and writes for all sections of the web magazine, specializing in science fiction and manga. She occasionally live-tweets @FelizaCasano and you can find her at the same handle on Instagram posting pictures of paper products.
Feliza Casano
Written by Feliza Casano

Feliza founded Girls in Capes in 2013. She edits and writes for all sections of the web magazine, specializing in science fiction and manga. She occasionally live-tweets @FelizaCasano and you can find her at the same handle on Instagram posting pictures of paper products.