Hello World The Manga, by Manatsu Suzuki and Yoshihiro Sono, is a sci-fi adventure story about a withdrawn boy who discovers that he’ll need to come out of his shell and fight if he wants to save the love of his life. A shocking revelation, considering he hasn’t even fallen in love with the girl in question yet!
Naomi is a shy and nerdy teenage boy who wishes that his life could be more like an exciting manga. Unfortunately, he’s currently living an ordinary existence and lacks the confidence to believe that he’d ever be hero material, anyway. That is, until he meets a strange man claiming to be a future version of himself!
This future Naomi tells his younger self that he’ll soon fall for and start dating his socially awkward classmate, Ruri. This is unexpected, but promising, news for Naomi, but he can’t afford to just sit back and bask in the happiness of having a girlfriend. Ruri is fated to die in a terrible accident not long after she and Naomi start dating, so if he wants her to live, Naomi’s going to have to summon up all his courage and find a way to change destiny!
Hello World might sound like a conventional time-travel story, but things are actually a bit more complicated than they initially seem. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Future Naomi drops a bomb shell early on that reveals that the world Naomi lives in isn’t exactly what he thinks it is. Luckily, being a huge sci-fi fan, Naomi is able to accept all of this world-shattering news pretty easily.
The first half of this omnibus follows Naomi as he gets to know Ruri better and secretly trains with his future self so he’ll be ready to spring into action when they reach the day of Ruri’s fatal accident. This section of the story is cute, if a bit generic. Ruri is blunt and not very good with people, but she also loves reading and she and Naomi bond while working on the library committee together. The scenes of the two of them getting closer were sweet, but I felt that Ruri was underdeveloped. She’s at the center of the narrative and the catalyst for all of the action, but, despite this, her character is pretty unoriginal. I feel like I’ve seen a version of her “seems cold but is actually just awkward” kind of character in a thousand other manga series, and frequently done better. Naomi isn’t much more interesting, unfortunately. He’s a nice enough kid, and he does grow and become more confidant as the story progresses, but he’s also bland. As a result, Ruri and Naomi’s love story felt uninspired.
Things get more unconventional around the midpoint of the manga, when the story takes a turn following a big revelation, but it also proceeds to get a lot more confusing. I feel like some of the concepts and sci-fi technology introduced by the story could have used more detailed explanations, as I was quickly left at a loss as to why any of the crazy things that were being thrown at me by the narrative were happening. Granted, there is a final twist at the very end of the book that potentially explains some of the more nonsensical things that occurred, but even that doesn’t account for everything. Mind you, if you don’t need the science fiction elements of a story to make complete internal sense in order to enjoy it, there are some fun action scenes in this part of the story, so you can still get some entertainment out of it on that level.
Hello World started out feeling like a cookie-cutter time-travel story and ended up being a bewildering mess by the end. There are some exciting action scenes and a decent twist or two, but overall I didn’t feel like the story ever rose above being just okay and parts of it left me scratching my head in confusion. I wouldn’t say that this manga is terrible, but it’s not something that I think you need to be in a rush to read either.
Final Score: 6 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Can anyone tell me if the novel is any better? This feels like a concept that would work better as a novel, since there’s more room to go into detail in that format.
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