Manga Review: NG Life

Manga Review: NG LifeNG Life by Mizuho Kusanagi
Published by TOKYOPOP on March 17, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Historical, Humor, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-half-stars

From the creator of Mugen Spiral comes a manga comedy filled with loads of gender-bending frolic and fun! Keidai Saeki is a high school student who remembers his past life in Pompeii, living as the Italian warrior Sirix... His friends around him are all also reincarnated--although they don't quite remember things the way he does. And Keidai's wife from the past? She's now a middle school boy--while his best male friend is now a cute girl?! Throw in a case of love at first site, and you have a new look at romance--manga-style!

NG Life is one of the more original and weird mangas I have read, which is saying something, as anyone who reads manga knows. Certainly, I have read stranger things, but generally only online, the things that would never get published here because they are off the wall batty and creepy. Anywho, I was skeptical and still am about some of the aspects of the past lives thing (particularly that they were all reborn together in Japan), but I do find the idea of past lives fascinating, so I was willing to overlook it.

My favorite thing about this series, the thing that frequently made me chuckle, was the gender-benderness of it. There is a love triangle between Yuuma (who likes Serizawa), Serizawa (who likes Saeki) and Saeki (who likes Yuuma/Serena). No matter which of them Saeki ends up with, he’ll be going gay a little bit, which I think is hilarious. Serizawa was a dude with his past self and his love from before is a dude now. I just love that. I also really loved Smyrna/Shinogu, who was totally a lesbian when living back in Pompeii (although that side story at the end of volume 9 was not okay at all…Serena needs to let Smyrna be).

If you read this be prepared for over the top ridiculousness (although that’s the case with a lot of manga). Also, be ready for a lot of slapstick humor. The series often made me chuckle, although it did sometimes me make me angry, too. If you’re into past lives, gender bending and comedy, this is definitely a series worth checking out.

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