What if Facebook sucked you in and took over your life. Wait, for many that’s actually happening! Well now we have a manga doing just that, but with tons of violence and social commentary too. We take a look at vol 2 to see how the title is progressing.
Real Account Vol. 2 (Kodansha Comics)
Real Account is a wacky sort of story that’s intriguing because it takes something we all use–social media–and turns it into a game of death. The official Kodansha synopsis reads:
Thanks to Ataru’s genius strategy, he and Koyori make it to the next round of life-or-death games in Real Account. But the newest game they encounter will have Ataru and Koyoi facing untold levels of cruelty as they stand trial for past secrets and mistakes. And when Ataru’s turn to take the stand comes, his worst fears come true when his most shocking secret is revealed!
Why does this book matter?
I’m a bit surprised there isn’t more fiction focused on how social media, specifically apps like Facebook, are changing the way we think and live. Real Account offers a bit of that as we witness people pretending to live fake lives with fake friends all for fake admiration. Add a bit of ultra violence and tests of people’s ability to prove they’re genuine and you have this series.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This volume opens with our heroes just recovering from the last test and being allowed to take a break at the Real Account resort. After a brief respite the characters are thrust into another game which takes up the rest of this volume. The game involves figuring out people’s secrets via deleted posts (much like tweets although, they are spelled ‘Tweetts’ here). Writer Okushou uses this to reveal a major character element of Ataru, but also the true nature of other characters. While there may not be as many games in this volume as the last there is much more work done on the characters. So much so that a bonafide villain is established outside of the Real Account captor.
This can’t end well.
Okushou does well to establish Ataru’s clever wit this go around as he did in the last, and the stakes are ever raised as he wants to keep his friends alive as well. Considering he has two folks he wants to save and the game only allows three survivors, he’s in for some maximum stakes! It gets rather tense (and you’ll never guess the secret revealed about Ataru) which makes for fun page turning reading. It’s also a clever reveal which connects to the falsity of Real Account.
The art by Shizumu Watanabe continues to deliver some gross out gore, a bit of nudity, and some rather sweat inducing moments for the characters. This book is certainly not for kids. Watanabe manages to make characters standing around a circle talking their way to survival interesting, because they’re sweating bullets and fearing for their lives. Well not everyone, as one character actually gets off on the risk, but he too is well rendered in his weird obsession.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m still confused as to why Okushou wants to remind us Ataru’s crush in Real Account looks like his sister. How a somewhat incestious connection makes him more interesting or endearing is beyond me. It’s certainly not played up to make us dislike him and it’s not funny either.
Under a bit of pressure!
Another satisfying read in a series that’s great for a variety of reasons. This volume concludes with the characters much more fleshed out, a clear secondary villain, and more characters reduced by the kill or be killed game. At the same time we’re reminded the falsity of social media is a bane to our existence. Great stuff.