Game X Rush Volume 1 by Mizuho Kusanagi
Memori is the cutest and only bodyguard at his brother’s Kenju’s protection agency. Memori is constantly overworked because his brother tends to spend the all the money the business makes gambling. Memori is feeling a tad emo as the story opens. He feels lonely and wishes he had a partner to work with. Memori runs into a blond boy outside the office, who is impressed with Memori’s athleticism after he leaps off a ledge. After commenting on Memori’s smooth moves, the blond boy asks for a job. Memori doesn’t like the blond boy’s attitude and says that there are no open positions at the agency.
Suddenly a girl tries to jump off a nearby bridge. Memori races to help her and ends up holding her while dangling in the air. The annoying blond guy pulls them to safety. The girl Noe doesn’t remember trying to jump off the bridge, but she’s been the victim of several accidents recently. Memori agrees to protect her. The blond boy introduces himself as Yuuki Shin and suggests that he tag along on the job as a trial for more permanent employment. Memori agrees, and they go off to investigate Noe’s house.
This manga seems like it will be developing into a fairly typical “client of the week” type procedural, filled with unexpressed sexual tension between Memori and Yuuki, with the occasional bit of comic relief from Memori’s older brother. So I was surprised that after the duo works together in foiling a time bomb to protect Noe, Yuuki abruptly whips out a garrote and heads over to strangle her. It turns out the Yuuki is a vicious assassin….or is he?!
Tonally Game X Rush is a little bit all over the place. Is it a madcap action comedy? A tender bromance between an assassin and a bodyguard? A drama about guys for hire saving helpless girls from stalkers? Memori and Yuuki always seem to keep running into each other, and when the 13 year old female president of a rival bodyguard agency tries to recruit them they are forced to work together. The art is attractive, but I sometimes found the dialog to be a bit overwhelming to the illustrations. Still, there was something about the bickering between Yuuki and Memori combined with the occasional flash of murderous rage and violence that kept me entertained. While I’m not completely sold on this series, I’ll read the second volume to see how it develops.
Review copy provided by the publisher.