Title: If The RPG World Had Social Media Vol. 1 Manga
Author: Yusuke Nitta
Release Date: June 22, 2021
Publisher: Yen Press
In this generation, texting has become the go-to means of interacting with your friends. Chat rooms have even become much more profound in video games, with Discord bringing communities together. So, it’s only natural that the manga If The RPG World Had Social Media Vol. 1 would be released where dialogue mainly takes place over text messages. The result is an almost too-close-to-home fantasy story of a bunch of outcasts.
If The RPG World Had Social Media Vol. 1 introduces us to the Hero, who has been tasked to save the princess. It’s revealed that the Demon Lord kidnapped the princess and took her away. However, there are a few problems with this after the hero sets out, which I’ll attempt to outline. You see, the princess doesn’t mind living with the Demon Lord, who turns out is a girl, and she actually becomes rather smitten with her; the hero is a level one shut-in who only communicates through text messages, and Everything is pretty much a huge miss understanding.
After a text conversation with the Demon Lord, they become attracted to each other for various reasons. One problem is that it’s nearly impossible for the hero to get three steps outside of town before dying. Given the game-like nature of the manga, he can be revived, but this leads the Demon Lord to send her generals to help the hero make it over to her safely.
The writing in this manga so self-aware and clever. It takes seemingly normal conversations that we have every day, such as asking “send a pic” or “what are you doing,” making it feel like we are being called out for our ways of interacting with each other. This is further enhanced with the differences between how the hero and Demon Lord speak to each other and how he interacts in the group chat with the generals. The entire manga takes place in these text box screens, but there are times where normal characters will speak openly. However, I think it’s funny how they catch themselves texting while still in the same room.
One stand-out element about this manga is how the hero seems to be in a harem setup, but there’s no real fan service. Sure, each of the generals is cute, but there aren’t any butt or cleavage shots. The crew doesn’t even flirt with the hero, and there isn’t even a scene where he trips and lands on someone’s chest. It’s weird that I even noticed this, but the manga relies on its texting gimmick rather than fan service to push the pacing along.
A lot happens in If The RPG World Had Social Media Vol. 1. The group expands across the chapter and the wide up in different towns. I enjoyed the panel illustrations from Sato Kamegoya brought this text-light novel to life. The scenes borrow elements from video games and other fantasy settings to make for some unique bouts between the characters, but at the forefront of all the panels are text message boxes that strangely work. I’d say the opening of the story is the weakest, but the narrative finds a much better pace in the later chapters.
If The RPG World Had Social Media Vol. 1 has a messy intro that leads into a fully realized adventure of a hero who isn’t even close to the status he was given. It seems to call out how our generation carries text conversations while blending known characters tropes and RPG elements. The result is a self-aware story that would make any comedic fantasy fan happy.
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