Book Review: Hi Score Girl
By Vanessa Warner
This series is a collaboration between ALA’s Gaming Round Table and the Graphic Novel and Comics Round Table (GNCRT.) GNCRT members have written comics recommendations for crossover media related to gaming that GameRT members might enjoy and use in their praxis. You can find more information about the GNCRT here.
- Comic title: Hi Score Girl
- Story and Art by Rensuke Oshikiri
- Translation by Alexander Keller-Nelson
- Lettering by Bianca Pistillo
- Cover Design by Phil Balsman
- Editing by Tania Biswas
- Publisher: Square Enix Manga
- Publication Date: Original Publication Date – 2016; English Translation Date: 2020
- ISBN: 978-1-94909-016-7
Hi Score Girl begins in the year 1991 at the height of 2D fighting games in arcades. Middle schooler Haruo “Mighty Fingers” Yaguchi has devoted his life to gaming with little ambition for anything else. He meets his match in classmate Akira Oono, a rich quiet girl who is a natural at a variety of games but has an affinity for playing Zangief in Street Fighter II. The rivalry between the two evolves into a unique friendship, and possibly something more, as they game against each other and sometimes together, thanks to co-op games, through their middle school and high school years.
Though Haruo is the main character of the story, Akira Oona slowly comes into her own while serving as Haruo’s motivation to improve himself. They are accompanied by a crew of endearing side characters from Haruo’s quirky but loving mother to Akira’s wild but concerned older sister. A fellow classmate, Koharu, finds herself drawn to Haruo and embraces the gaming scene only to find that she loves games as much as she loves Haruo, if not more.
For older readers, Hi Score Girl will be a nostalgic trip back to the golden era of fighting games in arcades, while younger readers will be fascinated by a peek into the past of video and arcade games. All readers, however, will relate to characters whose relationships are founded on the enjoyment of games. This manga is a fun addition to any library.