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A story set in the near future, about a middle-aged loser whose only refuge is a virtual bishoujo game.
Takuro, the main character, is a stereotyped, low self esteem, adult male in a dead end job. Because he feels he has nothing to live for, he let himself go, becoming fat, miserable, and lonely. The only shining thing he lives for is the occasional visit to a brothel where his savings will allow him to at least not be completely sexless. This is when, through a real life friend of his, he is introduced to the virtual reality world of "The Unreal". Where, after spending $6000+ on equipment, you can purchase a virtual girlfriend who only thinks of you. Only the girl, Tsukiko, that Takuro purchases, seems to have come with a few defects.


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Latest Release(s)
v.4 c.48-49 (end) by Mangascreener & Kotonoha over 7 years ago
v.4 c.46-47 by Mangascreener & Kotonoha over 7 years ago
v.4 c.45 by Mangascreener & Kotonoha over 7 years ago
Search for all releases of this series

Status in Country of Origin
4 Volumes (Complete)
2 Volumes (Shinsoban, 2012)

Completely Scanlated?

Anime Start/End Chapter

User Reviews


User Rating
Average: 7.5 / 10.0 (278 votes)
Bayesian Average: 7.41 / 10.0
 17% (47 votes)
 15% (42 votes)
 24% (66 votes)
 22% (61 votes)
 8% (22 votes)
 5% (13 votes)
 3% (7 votes)
 2% (6 votes)
 1% (4 votes)
 4% (10 votes)

Last Updated
January 21st 2018, 5:58am PST



Category Recommendations





Original Publisher
Shogakukan (2004; 2012)

Serialized In (magazine)
Big Comic Spirits (Shogakukan)

Licensed (in English)

English Publisher

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #539 increased(+246)
Monthly Pos #1230 increased(+126)
3 Month Pos #2152 increased(+129)
6 Month Pos #2316 increased(+309)
Year Pos #2868 increased(+218)

List Stats
On 528 reading lists
On 608 wish lists
On 583 completed lists
On 52 unfinished lists
On 194 custom lists

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User Comments [ Order by time added ]

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Intriguing, but the Ending is Lacking   
Rating: 7.0 / 10.0
by astroasis
September 14th, 2011, 8:07pm
If you came away from this manga thinking it had anything to do with pedophilia, you missed the idea entirely. I'd tell you to re-read it, but you've missed the boat so entirely, you're probably better off putting this title aside and going back to whatever it is you usually read. This is not for you.

This is a gritty, dark manga about escapism, alienation and technology itself - and how these three things combine to present pitfalls and dangers beyond most people's imaginations.

Many people would admit that they would prefer a world like "Unreal" to their day-to-day existence. Just look at how many people engage in roleplaying, MMOs, fanfiction, The Sims, etc. The problem is, it's not a one-or-the-other issue. The further you venture into the "Unreal" or the escapist behaviors that bring you comfort, the further alienated you get from the real world.

This story presents us with 2 extremes in the characters of Reinhardt and Maria. Reinhardt (I forgot the characters real name lol) is so deeply buried in the world of Unreal that there's little left for him in the real world. On the other hand, Maria is determined to find meaning and point in the real world and refuses to even look at what the "Unreal" has to offer. Between the two of them, you have Takuro - who just wants something, anything, to make him feel alive and loved.

I wish the mangaka hadn't drawn Takuro to be SO disgusting. I think the constant snot strings and creepy smiles took away from the meaning of the story. It would've been far better to present him as a loser, yes, but a normal one. I mean, most people don't have 3 inch strings of snot coming out of their nose all the time. No one else in the manga even does. Why does he?

But I digress. Ultimately, Takuro ends up having to make a choice: Real World or Unreal World? The consequences of this decision are rather unexpected - and the end of the manga ends up feeling a bit "WTF" as a result. The ending is truly a bit over-the-top and out of left field, which ended up making the manga a bit less enjoyable overall for me.

I think a better "moral" could've been presented... but then again, is there really a solution to the issues brought up here? There will always be those who prefer to live in the real world and those who prefer their fantasies. Who's to say which is better or worse than the other? That's something everyone needs to decide for themselves.

As for this manga, I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a title meant to make you think. If you just take things at face value and don't like using your brain a bit, you're likely to think this is just about gross guys jerking off to futuristic dating sims. And in a way, it is. But it's also a lot more than that.
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teh meat   
Rating: N/A
by smapple
February 25th, 2012, 4:55pm
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
For those confused with ending a bit and how it's an upper, downer, or loose end here's some things to keep in mind.

1) The protagonist is a loser with almost no redeeming qualities. The proof? He chooses Tsukiko, who has death planned for him, over Nagao, who was authentically giving him a chance at happiness irl. One could compare Takuro and Tsukiko as star crossed lovers who are fated to never be together, but lets be "real" would we want Takuro to become like his friend Reinhardt when he has a real chance at a normal love life? I pitied Nagao throughout the whole story. While Tuskiko forced Takuro to meet her on her terms, Nagao was the one who accepted Takuro for who he was. Imagine your irl partner dumping you for a dating sim. Or if you're not in a relationship, imagine your dating sim parter dumping you for another char in the dating sim. Yeah, it's that bad. I was hoping Takuro would eat dirt and he did eventually.

3) Tsukiko I was rooting for her until she decided killing Takuro irl for the virtual would be the better alternative. If she had compromised for the real life fat, ugly, sweaty, balding, smelly, disgusting Takuro I might have felt a more angst about her inevitable end.

4) The monkey. He wants to send nuke flying but is killed instead. For intending to nuke people? No, but because the people preferred virtual zoo animals rather than the real thing and he wasn't bringing in enough money. That's just pitiful. Honestly, after that revelation I couldn't bring myself to hate the Ehara character. His should have been a death by necessity, but instead became a simple convenience.

5) Nagao. I consider her to be the only true redeemable character. She accepts Takuro and he dumps her for Tsukiko. Then she saves Tsukiko to be reborn to not make the same mistake of falling for someone like Takuro. Would you want your daughter dating him? And she didn't make that choice for Tsukiko because she still loves Takuro or something, but because I think she understood how bad life could get by getting involved with someone like him. In other words, she accepted Tsukiko like she accepted Takuro even with their faults. Plus, at the end Nagao brings her new daughter to where Takuro works. There's no evidence as to whether or not she knew Takuro was there, but I'd like to think she knew. She basically just swings by one day to let him have some relief from the consequences of his decisions. I don't think she's forgiven him, but at least she understood him.

If you think Takuro has a pitiful ending that's true, he does. However, don't get that confused with a bad ending. Takuro was pitiful at the start and he didn't learn his lesson so what could be expected? A bad ending would have been he and Tsukiko someone continue their relationship and sometime in the future he ends up like Reinhart who, if i'm not mistaken, is dead alone in his empty room i.e. dead chasing an illusion. Takuro is alive and he gets to see his long lost love leading a normal life with normal interests without all the bad influences, including himself, that led up to the mess in the first place. True happiness from the heart. I'd say that's a pretty good ending.
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Highly recommended!   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by barbapapa
March 8th, 2008, 2:53pm
A manga that first caught my eye with its rubbery artwork and heavy pathos. When I started reading it I definitely enjoyed it because of the comedy, but it wasn't until the second volume that I really started looking forward to releases. It actually manages to weave a story that you care about to see what happens; instead of just poking fun at how much of a loser the main character is. In the end it's a highly realistic manga in terms of characters, and I think that might hit too close to home for some people.

... Last updated on February 7th, 2011, 8:45am
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Occasionally uncomfortable, but overall a very interesting read   
Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
by Akukame
February 2nd, 2011, 7:01pm
Hanazawa Kengo takes a very a more realistic, satirical approach to otaku culture with a bit of dark comedy mixed in. Theres a definite underlying theme of wanting to escape reality and escape responsibility. It also focuses on the extreme measures people will go through to do this, and people's attachment to virtual persona's they've created. Its not a perfect manga, but assuming the low self esteem and sexual themes don't hit too close to home and aren't too objectionable to you, should keep you glued to the manga.

Takuro, the main character, is a stereotyped, low self esteem, adult male in a dead end job. Because he feels he has nothing to live for, hes let himself go, becoming fat, miserable, and lonely. The only shining thing he lives for is the occasional visit to a brothel where his savings will allow him to atleast not be completely sexless. This is when, through a real life friend of his, he is introduced to the virtual reality world of "The Unreal". Where, after spending $6000+ on equipment, you can purchase a virtual girlfriend who only thinks of you. Only the girl, Tsukiko, that Takuro purchases, seems to have come with a few defects.

The manga is a bit slow to start, much like Hanazawa's other manga. Not developing a clear vision of where the manga is headed until atleast the 2nd volume. And the section it leads into is a definite low in the manga. This "brothel" section has some choices that have questionable taste, such as a very literal metaphor involving Tsukiko's hymen needing to be broken and heavy themes of virtual reality sex trade (and the often underage, idealized girls involved in it).

But even as low as it goes, it never gets too heavy. Though it does get almost uncomfortable to read, the dark comedy thrown in usually keeps it from going too far. It all comes together rather nicely in the end, leaving most questions answered, and a few questions for the reader to decide on their own. Its definitely not an idealistic ending, but a satisfying one. And I'd recommend it to fans of his other works, aswell as fans of authors such as Yamamoto Naoki.

... Last updated on February 2nd, 2011, 7:06pm
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Neither that nor this   
Rating: 7.0 / 10.0
by Hell_Clues
June 30th, 2009, 4:53pm
People have varying opinions on this(like most things). Here's mine: this is not about a pedophile, this isn't about being a lolicon, this isn't promoting such things.

What it is about is a person whose life has ended up being rather sad and pathetic, and the escapism he turns to. While the guy can be disgusting, in my opinion, he often tries to do right but like in life, sometimes you screw things up badly.

This look at a sad life is what makes this a good manga. Its along the veins of NHk but further in that type of person's life. Give it a try, and then maybe it'll motivate some people to not end up like this a bit harder.

Except the ending is ultimately pessimistic, at the very end the character suddenly does a 180 and does something stupid that isn't explained, and despite not initially seeming like he did anything wrong, is taken as such(and apparently he meant it as such).

I've been thinking about this today and I decided to come back and explain why the ending is bad: Character motivation. In the end, the character makes a decision that has nothing to do with his character or his motivation and it throws the logic the manga has explained just to either give a very artificial bad ending or to stick it to otaku, except this character isn't one.

This man is somewhat respected at his job, he has friends, people that know him like him. Aside from what happens during the course of this manga, he doesn't live escaping reality, and this manga takes place under a relatively short time compared to his entire life. This guy isn't a man child otaku that collects figurines and watches anime, he isn't a pedophile that covets little children. He has a co-worker that he looks to as having a good life, this co-worker is just married with a family. His motivation is that he doesn't have much confidence and he wants very basic things. Once he starts to get them, he puts these things away.

I'm not saying he didn't deserve some punishment or to make a amends or even end up getting dumped, but the decision that causes these things was out of nowhere and doesn't match everything that's been built up. The lady randomly taking part at the end when she barely knows whats happening is a bit odd.

... Last updated on August 2nd, 2012, 4:13pm
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A great start   
Rating: 9.5 / 10.0
by revilenigma
January 31st, 2011, 3:18pm
An amazing(especially considering it's Hanazawa's debut work) cyber-punk satire on the creepier side of Japan's otaku culture.
Don't listen to any of the nay-sayers, to miss the point of a manga so hard and believe it actually promotes pedophilia must be the result of some heavy autism.
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Rating: 8.0 / 10.0
by deli53
July 7th, 2008, 1:46pm
uhm wow giving it low ratings is pretty brutal. What just because the guys in this manga r total losers? I think this mangaka wanted 2 show the world what it would b like if something like a virtual world was created and the guy is doing a good job at it. But I have to say so myself... the guys are pretty pathetic but its interesting to see how they live their lives like this. Its seinen and mature for pete's sake. Compared to other things I have read this manga isnt that nasty to give it such low ratings. I'd give this around an 8 or so. highest would be a 9
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What the hell, yall?   
Rating: N/A
by Daxisheart
July 12th, 2010, 6:51am
Like seriously, where the hell are the pedophilia accusations are coming from? The girl has freaking tits. She looks a fair bit older than a literal child. Seriously, wtf?

Not a revolutionary idea, but pretty nice in its execution. realistic in art and story, as well as characters for the most part. Main character sucks ass in real life, but honestly gives one hell of a feel as a character- nothing close to flat.

I fail to see why everyone is so effed up about it, or why it's even rated mature (besides the themes and whatnot)
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A love story worth reading   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by ebisu
January 1st, 2008, 6:09pm
Surprising development and a really emotive story. Although the art doesn't welcome to read, its use is too good in the plot. It surpassed from far my expectations.

... Last updated on January 1st, 2008, 6:09pm
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Rating: 7.0 / 10.0
by yuno19
November 15th, 2010, 6:13pm
amusing. there is 30 years old guy acts like a child.

this manga is amusing in its own way. page turner yes, and gives off familiar atmosphere. ways different than other online game manga which only put weight on realism and messed up anywhere else; this one got the future well thought! although some strange element present (like the old guy's job, if technology is already that advanced, simple work should be done by less people), but they don't hurt the whole build. enjoyable, and still be at the latter chapters.

my notes:
ignore the comment who accuse this as a pedo material, they just don't know.
i won't give high score, i have taste to mood raising manga, not (even a bit) depressing ones. besides, i'm just stingy.
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