I recommend World War Blue, the console wars manga
It's like Hyperdimension Neptunia, minus the jailbait
WHAT!? Manga!? On my Destructoid homepage!? What is this, Japanator!?
Checking the shelves at Barnes & Noble this weekend, I happened upon a manga I had never heard called World War Blue. It caught my interest, so I flipped it over to read the synopsis on the back. To my delight, I learned that it was an adaptation of the videogame console wars -- I'm talking the real console wars between Nintendo and Sega, not the wishy-washy excuse for competition we have in today's market. I of course bought it immediately.
The deal is, there's a war on the continent of Consume between the Ninteldo Empire and the Segua Kingdom, with the former having gained control of 90% of the land. The hero in this tale is a Seguan named Gear, a blue-haired youth with supersonic speed. He joins the Segua Army and forms a strike team with characters based off of popular games: Opal, an archer with a shoulder plate that resembles Fantasy Zone's Opa-Opa; Nel, Gear's longtime friend who wields a claw like Phantasy Star's Nei; and Tejirov, a non-Seguan mercenary with a penchant for puzzles and things in groups of four. And naturally, the enemy Ninteldo leader is Flame Emperor Marcus, a mustachioed man who rides atop a ferocious dinosaur.
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The artwork is nothing special -- truthfully, the book caught my eye in the first place precisely because the cover art looked so amateurish. And the story is your typical shonen "I will move forward and win with the power of friendship" drama that jumps from battle stage to battle stage. But I'm a sucker for these types of wild interpretations of my favorite hobby, and I admit that some of the references are pretty clever. For instance, Gear's home village is named Marcthree, his first mission as a soldier is to rescue the captured General Alex, and the ruling nation prior to Ninteldo was the Atarika Empire, which suffered a complete collapse due to its relying on sheer numbers rather a more manageable set of highly skilled soldiers.
If you are a hardcore reader of scanlated manga, you've likely heard of World War Blue (known in Japan as Aoi Sekai no Chuushin De) years ago, but the first volume has only just made US landfall this month. If it's something you think you'd be interested in -- and I guarantee it will crack at least a smile or two -- please give it a read.
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