Title: NG Life Vol 2
Author: Mizuho Kusanagi
May Contain Spoilers
This is a series that I really want to like, because the concept is so great. Keidai is leading a very chaotic and emotional life, because he is haunted by memories of his past life. In Pompeii, he was the gladiator Sirix, and his greatest joy was being wed to the beautiful Serena. The eruption of Vesuvius brings this to a tragic end. Now in modern day Tokyo, he is surrounded by the souls of his former friends and family from Pompeii, but he is the only one to retain the memories of that time.
The sad, melancholy moments, when Keidai is reflecting on dreams of his past, are too few and far between. The author chooses to focus instead on the comedic aspects of his modern existence, rubbing his face in the fact that his beloved Serena is the bratty boy Yuuma, who lives next door, and his best friend from Pompeii is now the pretty Mii Serizawa. Neither remembers their past, though Mii, in love with Keidai, tries very hard to stir up the dormant memories so that she can be closer to him. Keidai is in a constant tug of war between the past and the present, seeing his friends as their previous selves and fighting to reconcile himself to their present day personalities.
The humor is frantic and speeds by at an almost non-stop pace, much of it physical sight gags with Keidai suffering from the juxtaposition of his past and present. This volume featured two chapters that didn’t take the story anywhere; one at a hot springs where a restless spirit takes a shine to Keidai, and a pointless episode that has both Yuuma and Keidai cross dressing to avoid the wrath of Mii’s overly protective father. The rest of the book covered the same ground from the first volume; Keidai’s almost crippling confusion over his feelings for his friends, both their past and present incarnations.
The book isn’t without its charm, but the pacing is uneven, and it’s difficult to know whether to feel sorry for Keidai or laugh at his outrageous antics. The slap-stick gags almost trivialize his emotional turmoil, so there’s a bit of indifference over whether he can finally find peace with his 1900 year old memories.