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Manga / High Score Girl

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"The world wavered in 1991...and a bond with that girl began."note 

"Watch out sister, here comes THE TWISTER!"
—the tagline

1991: the renaissance of arcade gaming. 6th grader Haruo Yaguchi, an unpopular boy at school, would rather spend time playing Street Fighter II at the local arcade than take his daily life seriously, earning him the (self-appointed) moniker "Beastly Fingers Haruo". However, things would take a turn one day when he encounters honor student and rich girl Akira Oono dominating everyone else at his favorite game with Zangief. Having lost to her 7 times in a row and eager to break her 29-win streak, he resorts to underhanded tactics with his own favorite character Guile, an act which earns him a solid right hook from the otherwise quiet and aloof girl—and ultimately sparks their rocky relationship as she brazenly follows him from arcade to arcade after school.

Written and illustrated by Seinen mangaka Rensuke Oshikiri, High Score Girl is a coming-of-age romantic dramedy manga that chronicles the Odd Friendship between the under-performing Jerk with a Heart of Gold Haruo and Lonely Rich Kid Akira as they slowly bond through their shared enthusiasm for video games. It was first published in Square Enix's Big Gangan Monthly magazine in 2010, with the final chapter having been released on October 2018 after a lengthy delay (see below).


In 2014, SNK Playmore attempted to file a lawsuit against the publishers for alleged copyright violation alongside several other game developers, citing the illegal usage of their trademarked properties in the manga after learning of the planned animated adaptation. As a result Square-Enix was forced to temporarily pull out all printed volumes of the manga until a settlement was reached in 2016, allowing the manga to be republished under the new title of High Score Girl: Continue.

In February 2017, the author launched his own Twitch gaming channel, featuring mostly indie horror games, classic console titles and an occasional Overwatch bout.

An anime adaptation had initially been announced in 2013, but was delayed by the aforementioned lawsuit (and in fact was the catalyst for the breach of intellectual property claims coming to light) until 2018, when it was finally announced that JC Staff would be at the helm. The first episode aired on July 17, 2018. Netflix picked up the anime and released it worldwide on December 24, 2018.


In late December of 2019, the spin-off/sequel High Score Girl DASH began serialization, focusing this time on Hidaka. The manga takes place roughly ten years later and focuses on 29-year-old Hidaka, who has become a middle school teacher in the time since the original series.

Now has a Character Sheet.

Not to be confused with High School Girls.

The manga contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Hand Hold: When a fight breaks out in an arcade due to a couple of ill-tempered delinquents losing to the two of them, Haruo drags Akira away to avoid getting caught by the management and security. Once they're well outside the premises, Haruo is embarrassed to discover that he's still clinging onto her hand. Akira didn't seem to mind, though.
  • Actor Allusion: In the English dub, Christine Marie Cabanos voicing a Gamer Chick. Where have we seen that before?
  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime adaptation focuses almost exclusively on the relationship between Haruo and Akira and the eventual love triangle between Akira, Hidaka and Haruo with various scenes shortened and some subplots and events being introduced in one episode and finished in the next one unlike the manga where they were given more time to develop and have more notable consequences.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Both Akira and Hidaka fall in love with Haruo, whose Jerkass tendencies only served to annoy them at the start.
  • Always Someone Better: Akira is better than Haruo at almost everything, from academics to sports and—you guessed it—video games. Later Hidaka also becomes his better at fighting games, much to his chagrin.
  • Artistic License – History: Played with in a Been There, Shaped History manner. Late in the story, Haruo defeats the infamous final boss of Kaiser Knuckle using an A.I. Breaker pattern he and Akira came up with. In reality, this exploit was not perfected until 2014; but in the story proper, Haruo and Akira discover it during the mid-90s.
  • Ascended Meme: Whenever he appears, Ryo Sakazaki encourages Haruo to "Use the Haoh Shokoken!", which as Haruo points out isn't very useful advice.
  • Author Appeal:
    • There are a few elements of Japanese horror sprinkled throughout the manga, albeit Played for Laughs. Even the game characters are treated like Japanese kami. This is due to the bulk of Rensuke Oshikiri's work being in the supernatural horror or comedy genres, oftentimes both.
    • Also, Oshikiri seems to have a thing for girls with Hime Cuts, of whom Akira is one. He even manages to make her occasionally look like a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl, another of his favorite character themes.
    • People getting rammed by cars is Oshikiri's way of commemorating a hit and run accident he managed to survive.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Virtual Boy. The Oono family butler is unhealthily obsessed with getting one and Haruo's mom is somehow aware of its release date even without Haruo telling her. When Akira finally gets her hands on one, she immediately gets nauseated from the graphics.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Both Akira and Koharu towards Haruo.
    • Koharu outright tells Haruo at a couple of points in the story that she gets the irresistable urge to smack or bully Haruo, though its not out of malice or spite. At this Haruo remarks that she's been playing way too many fighting games.
    • Akira and Haruo will regularly find ways to bust each other's balls mid-game and elsewhere, and Akira's constant poking and prodding of Haruo is as much done out of affection as it is her way of communicating with him.
  • Berserk Button: A few characters have their own variants.
    • Don't try to "invade" Haruo's "personal sanctuary" (i.e. the arcade), one-up him at fighting games or act condescendingly towards him.
    • Don't try to cheat Oono at video games. And for that matter, don't try to steal Haruo away from her, as Hidaka finds out thrice.
    • Don't try to seduce Haruo in front of Hidaka. The entire Shibuya arcade team discovered this the hard way.
    • Never threaten Haruo within earshot of his mother.
    • Never mention video games or arcades around Gouda-sensei.
  • Betty and Veronica: Hidaka is the Betty, while Oono is Veronica.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Although Oono has to depart to Los Angeles for good, Haruo manages to confess his feelings to her before she leaves, promising that one day he'll follow her to America and marry her.
  • Brand Name Takeover: Lampshaded by Haruo after receiving a brand new Twin Famicom consolenote  from Gouda-sensei, as an apology after the latter trashes his Super Famicom:
    "This is what happens when adults call every console a Famicom..."note 
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Akira imagines Haggar and Zangief silently weeping from being rejected by the average arcade goer for being hard to use heavyweights and choses to play as them with flying colors, impressing the spectator gallery she builds in her first arcade visit.
  • Butt-Monkey: Haruo. Between being on the receiving end of Akira's martial arts training, his mother's wrestling skills, the Oono family limousine and Hidaka's Tsundere tendencies, the poor kid just can't seem to catch a breather. Doi is also one due to his Handsome Lech tendencies, and the hapless Oono family butler also counts at times.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Haruo and Akira towards each other. Justified in Akira's case, and a point of character growth for Haruo—if only Akira's butler didn't keep interrupting him with the family limo.
  • Caught the Heart on His Sleeve: Akira does this to Haruo early on. Hidaka later attempts the same with him, but to no avail.
  • Chick Magnet: Surprisingly enough, not his Handsome Lech classmate Doi, but Haruo himself. Both his mother and Miyao note that his kindhearted nature would be sure to make him a lady-killer in the future; they're both right. Miyao is also this, although he's more reluctant about it.
  • Combat Breakdown: Beautifully displayed when Haruo toys with and utterly dissects an irritable Nakoruru player while using Gen-an. The opponent; utterly humilitated after Haruo deliberately disarms himself, spams slide kicks and then reequips himself for a command grab via maxed out rage meters; charges straight for Haruo and the two wrestle like children in a schoolyard fight. The narrator takes care to note that these kinds of outbursts often end in a Wardrobe Malfunction or two.
  • The Conscience: In a hilarious twist, Guile is this for Haruo—admonishing him whenever he gets into a tight spot, chastising him for his poor decisions and encouraging him whenever he's down in the dumps. It is later revealed that the equivalent figure for Akira is Zangief, who ends up convincing her that Haruo isn't the bad boy he makes himself out to be. And at the end, Hidaka also gains her own conscience avatar in the form of Huitzil. Among the human characters, Miyao is this for Haruo which is further reinforced when he confronts the latter about being honest with his feelings regarding Akira and Hidaka—and Haruo sees a bunch of video game characters alongside Miyao, implying that they all agree with him.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Happens twice in the story.
    • Mrs. Yaguchi encourages Ms. Moemi to take an umbrella with her on the way back to the Oono household during a thunderstorm, with the ulterior motive of getting Haruo to go to the mansion and personally retrieve it. After her Heel–Face Turn, Ms. Moemi encourages Akira to take a break from studying and return the umbrella to Haruo in her stead, leading to an impromptu date at the Tokyo AOU Show.
    • Ryo Sakazaki instructs Haruo to defend himself from Akira's wrath by using Haoh Sho Ko Ken. Haruo uses it to defeat Hidaka in KOF instead.
  • Covert Pervert: Doi really, really wants to get to fourth base with Akira. Thankfully for her, his plans often get foiled. Haruo's mother is also shown to be one after she discovers how popular her boy has gotten with the ladies. Much later, Akira's older sibling Makoto is shown to be this turned Up to Eleven.
  • Crotch-Grab Sex Check: Onizuka's preferred way of keeping Doi in line.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Whenever Haruo, Akira and later Hidaka get their hands on a fighting game machine's controls, they're guaranteed to deliver this to the opposition. Played straight when Haruo is physically beaten up by Akira, although he powers through it thanks to being Made of Iron.
  • Cut-and-Paste Translation: The Netflix subtitles, while serviceable enough for the main story, often misses the small details like video game history essentials, or bits of Rensuke Oshikiri's bizarre sense of humor sprinkled throughout the arcade message boards, signs and T Shirts. At one point, the subs even forget to fully explain exactly what Tokimeki Memorial is despite Haruo's Japanese VA taking time to explain it.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: One of the central plot elements. Akira starts off a completely aloof young girl who hardly communicates with others, but meeting Haruo begins to open her up to the outside world little by little.
  • Dead All Along: The owner of the Giant Skeleton arcade, which is why Haruo got "creepy vibes" from him.
  • Death Glare: A number of characters pull it off.
    • Akira has a rather creepy variant when she gets pissed.
    • Mrs. Yaguchi delivers a chillingly cold stare towards Gouda-sensei after the latter insults Haruo.
    • Haruo later sports a spectacular version during his battle with Hidaka that would have made Ippo Makunouchi beam with pride.
    • When Akira confronts Hidaka in Super Turbo for aggressively making moves on Haruo after the failed Shibuya tournament, she has an unnerving one that makes her look like something out of a Japanese horror movie.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: Averted in that Akira and Haruo didnt do anything more than play video games in the hotel room Mrs. Yaguchi booked for them while Akira was running away from home, but Makoto and likely Gouda-Sensei initially assume that Akira lost her virginity while she was out. It never occurs to Gouda-sensei until much later that Akira tends to cooperate with her studies more whenever she plays hookie by going to an arcade.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Happens to both Akira and Haruo.
    • When Haruo faces Akira during the Kyoto SSF2 tournament finals he finally manages to defeat her after a grueling battle—only for him to overhear a pair of technicians discuss how Akira's controls had been broken by an earlier contestant's temper tantrum. This led him to believe that she had been going easy on him, resulting in a violent misunderstanding.
    • When Haruo faces Hidaka during the Shibuya Fighting Vipers 10 vs. 10 tournament, he loses badly despite being fully capable of winning against her in an earlier best-of-three match. His internal monologue has him regretting how he spent more time playing the other newly-released games instead of Fighting Vipers; to further rub salt in the wound, Futako notes that Hidaka's skill level hadn't actually grown since last time— she was merely getting angrier by the minute during the event.
  • Dramatic Wind: Expect Akira and Koharu's hair to flair up and waft around during tense moments, even indoors at an arcade.
  • Eldritch Location: Giant Skeleton Arcade is possibly one of these. A bonus short from the Kajimest official fanbook temporarily spirits the main trio away to EVO 2019, maybe.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Futako, an underground pro gamer whom Hidaka meets later in the story. Akira herself is a more subdued example.
  • Everyone Can See It: Almost all of the characters can see that Haruo and Akira have a thing for each other including Gouda-sensei after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Food Porn: Haruo's mom likes cooking "Fluffy pancakes just like the ones you see in manga" for guests.
  • Freudian Slip: "Soul Ecchi."
  • Funny Background Event: Oshikiri seems to love these. We get everything from weird humor from signs and memos plastered on the walls, to video game character sprites running amok in random panels, to cute details like Akira giving herself brainfreeze.
  • Gamer Chick: Akira Oono, Futako, Hidaka after the timeskip and much later, Akira's sister Makoto herself.
  • The Glomp: Happens to Haruo twice. Once from Akira as he sees her off at the airport in Volume 1, the second from Koharu in volume 7, as she forces him into hug in the middle of an Anguished Declaration of Love.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Akira and Makoto's unseen parents, who are the main obstacle that prevents Haruo and Akira's relationship to flourish by forcing Akira to move to the United States when she is 12 years old. While they allow Akira to return to Japan two years later, they eventually force Akira to move permanently to the US before finishing High School to "reaclimate her back" to the American lifestyle and to prepare her for the Californian college they already chose for her, with her having no choice in the matter and eventually leaving Japan and Haruo for good.
  • Gonk: Onizuka, Haruo's vulgar and boy-crazy tomboy classmate.
  • Heroic BSoD: Poor Haruo suffers from this several times.
    • When Haruo realizes just how much better Hidaka has become at fighting games than he is, he shuts himself in his house and ponders over whether he should stick to console games instead, which he gets over quickly.
    • Later on he has a minor one after Hidaka demonstrates that she knows how to pick the Boss Team from KOF '95, which gets two of his characters eliminated. Thankfully he recovers quickly in the last round and makes an amazing comeback.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Haruo has two of them during the best-of-three match against Hidaka: the first one when he snaps out of his Heroic BSoD to go on and body Hidaka's Boss Team in KOF despite losing both Robert and Takuma, and the second after falling victim to Hidaka's trump card in Night Warriors, leading him to use a reflex-based defensive playstyle to shut her approach down for good.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Haruo diligently studies to try and get into the same upscale high school as Akira. His efforts seemed to bear fruit and he was confident in making the list until it is revealed at the end of the chapter that he actually failed the entrance exam.
    • After Haruo gets kicked out of his home arcade for soundly defeating Hidaka in their best of three match, the Shibuya arcade-goers rope him into a 10v10 against his old arcade's players, believing that with a player like him around, they wouldn't lose. Hidaka trounces all of them single-handedly, including Haruo himself at the end.
    • When Akira and Hidaka finally face each other in a SSF2 Turbo match, Akira begins inputting the character select code to unlock Akuma. She fails spectacularly, and Hidaka instead manages to unlock Akuma as her character.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Both ways during the best-out-of-three match between Haruo and Hidaka.
    • In the second match, everyone expected Hidaka to use the Women Fighters team in KOF '95. Imagine everyone's surprise when she uses the cheat code to pick the Boss Teamnote  instead. Unfortunately for her, she's not as familiar with the boss characters, allowing Haruo to body her with only Ryo Sakazaki once he snaps out of his Heroic BSoD.
    • During the tiebreaker round, Hidaka's Huitzil is known to be outclassed in the tier lists by Bishamon, a close-range rushdown monster, but Hidaka manages to overcome this weakness using fast pokes and Guard Cancels, eventually forcing Haruo into the corner and finishing him off by spamming Huitzil's Confusioner special. Haruo, not to be outdone, gets the upper hand in the last round by guard canceling and punishing Huitzil's pokes in return, utterly destroying Hidaka without resorting to abusing Bishamon's Oni Kubi Hineri, which he only used once in the entire match. Hidaka even lampshades it at the end.
    • During Akira and Hidaka's Super Turbo battle, the latter successfully locks down Akira's Zangief at first with a barrage of Zankuu Hadoukens from Akuma, trapping her in the corner and chipping her to death. Despite her initial advantage, however, Hidaka is surprised to find that Akira had already adapted by the second round, using careful blocks, Lariats and Banishing Fists to advance towards Akuma and repeatedly knock him down, thus dismantling Hidaka's strategy and ultimately dominating the match.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter is referred to as a "Credit", i.e. arcade game tokens.
  • Idiot Hero: If Haruo were any more distracted by games than he already is he'd have a hard time feeding himself, dressing himself and navigating his way out of his room. Though in his defense, he slowly starts growing out of it, and not even Koharu and Akira are immune from experiencing their own occasional bouts of game brain induced idiocy.
  • I Let You Win: One of Haruo's biggest Berserk Buttons. During the Kyoto SSF2 tournament, Haruo finally manages to defeat Akira—only for the arcade technicians to discover after the tournament that some of the buttons on her side of the machine had been broken by an earlier contestant. He first mistakes her silence on the matter as an act of condescension towards him, but Guile later muses that Akira may have simply let the issue slide so as not to cause a fuss during the finals.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Haruo has an episode of this when playing Street Fighter Alpha for the first time, as Guile was not present in the prequel. Guile then advises him to play as Charlie since they both have similar movesets, and Haruo thinks carefully about it...until he decides to play as Guy because "Guy and Guile are similar-sounding names". When he is forced to search for a runaway Akira later on, he keeps thinking of video game levels while wondering where she could have gone off to. He chastises himself for it though.
  • Insult Backfire: This exchange during winter:
    Koharu: Yaguchi! You're gonna catch your death playing in this blizzard! A-are you an idiot?
    Haruo: Yeah, I guess I am an idiot. Did you come down here just to tell me that?
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Mrs. Yaguchi and Makoto take a liking to each other instantly and soon begin hounding Haruo about his lovelife in co-op.
  • Invisible Parents: Akira's parents are never shown at all, with the possible exception of the lady at the airport who may or may not be her mother. Instead, Gouda Moemi and the family butler have more prominent roles
  • I Shall Taunt You: In the first chapter Harou tries to troll Akira by playing against her Zangief one-handed, with predictable results. Later that volume, Akira makes an example of an ill tempered couple by repeately bearhugging the girlfriend's Chun-Li as Honda.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: What kick starts Haruo's relationship with Akira, and he resents her for it for all of about 4 chapters until it dawns on him just how much the girl loves video games.
    • While neither of them verbally invoke the trope by name, Koharu is clearly trying to bruise Haruo's ego through an assortment of fighting games in as coy and as girlishly a manner as she can get away with at the start of the second time skip, capitalizing on the fact that playing his Sega Saturn at home away from the arcade since graduating from middle school has made him soft.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Akira and Koharu end up grappling with this at the tail end of the story. Koharu plays this straight, unable to continue pursuing Haruo after her Super Turbo match with Akira and decides to step down from the love triangle. Akira herself zigzags this, as her ruthless playstyle during the aforementioned Super Turbo match suggests she's still having trouble having to let go of her relationship with Haruo. She ultimately decides to give Koharu her blessing to let her friendship with Haruo blossom naturally without her intervention once she moves back to the United States... That is until she accepts Haruo's marriage proposal at the airport.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Haruo may have very little redeeming qualities on top of his Jerkass behavior, but one thing everybody consistently notices about him is his kindness. Makoto, Akira's elder sister, also displays this attitude.
  • Just Toying with Them: Both Haruo and Akira are prone to trolling scrubs in fighting games by spamming dirty tactics until their opponents blow their top.
  • Killing Intent: Koharu says she can feel a Surge of Murderous Intent radiating from Akira as the two head to Mizonokuchi Arcade for a serious match between the two.
  • Little Miss Badass: Akira. Having been trained in karate, mixed martial arts and traditional Japanese weaponry since childhood, she's more than capable of holding her own in a fight, as poor Haruo can attest to. To a much lesser degree, Hidaka is this after the Time Skip.
  • Loser Protagonist: Haruo. He's Book Dumb, incredibly lazy when it comes to schoolwork, isn't physically attractive and has no ambitions in life whatsoever apart from video games. Meeting Oono slowly breaks him out of this mold.
  • Love Triangle: Haruo and Oono clearly like each other, while Hidaka has eyes only for Haruo, which he realizes late in the story.
  • Made of Iron: Harou figures out pretty quickly that aside from being hyper competent at video games, he can handle getting the stuffing beaten out of him well too.
  • Magical Realism: The story has elements of this. Things such as fictional fighting game characters appearing in dire situations to encourage or warn the protagonists may be explained away as merely whimsical imagination on their part but the haunted arcade with the creepy old owner who turned out to have been an actual ghost was most certainly not imagined, and no explanation is ever given for the incident.
  • Memento Macguffin: No less than two appear in the story:
    • Haruo manages to win a toy ring from an old crane game machine inside the Cracked Skull arcade and give it as a gift to Akira before she went to the States. After her return and subsequent defeat at his hands during a tournament, they get into a fistfight sparked by a misunderstanding—and it is only stopped when Haruo sees that she had been keeping the same toy ring on her necklace all along.
    • At the conclusion of the Runaway arc, Akira invites Haruo inside a photo booth to take a picture together. Her elder sister Makoto eventually discovers the photo and hatches a plan to reunite Haruo and Akira after the latter had been grounded by Gouda-sensei.
  • Mirror Character: A crucial plot device in the series; characters who appear to be foils to one another often share traits that make them more identical than they would like to admit.
    • While Haruo and Akira appear to be worlds apart in terms of prowess and family background, they both tend to gravitate towards video games as a means of escapism.
    • Both Haruo and Hidaka are described as being quite unmotivated and lacking ambition, despite the latter initially deriding the former for "being an idiot who only loves video games". Later on Hidaka herself becomes infatuated with gaming due to her attraction towards Haruo.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Haruo twice from his own mother, though she's likely just joking at Haruo's expense. Its not every day you see your son studying to a laid back ballad set to an odd montage of CGs of a male character.
  • Mondegreen Gag: While Haruo is playing Mortal Kombat as Raiden, he and Hidaka try to guess what Raiden's saying in his torpedo attack.
  • Mood Whiplash: The story begins as a gag manga with loads of slapstick violence. However, as the plot unfolds it takes a more dramatic turn; midway through the first volume Akira is implied to have a troubled childhood and Chapter 9 onwards fully unleashes its dramatic aspect beginning with the airport scene, which is one of the saddest moments in the manga.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The sketchy art style of the manga does a good job of embellishing the feel of a hype fighting game match. The match between Akira vs. Hidaka for the right to Haruo's affections through Super Turbo is probably the most overembellished, what with the stakes between the fighters being so high.
  • Nice Guy: Miyao, the sensitive guy to Haruo's manly man. He's polite to a fault, is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone, and is empathic to the point where he's able to read his friend's true feelings. In fact he's one of the few to recognize that Haruo is a Nice Guy himself despite his Jerkass act.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Haruo is so intimidated by Koharu's surprising boost in skill at fighting games at the start of the second Time Skip that he imagines her heckling him with this.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Mayu Mayu from Shibuya was already getting on Haruo's nerves from day 1 of the Shibuya arc, and that's without the armcandy antics.
  • Not a Date: Played for angst on Koharu's end.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Haruo's mom mistakes the sound of his struggling to wrestle the PC Engine controls away from Akira for an attempt to force himself upon Akira, prompting her to burst into the room and suplex her son. While she says she raised Haruo to be more gentlemanly, in reality she's giddily excited at the idea that her son is more girl crazy than he lets on.
    • Haruo's Shibuya misadventures bring all kinds of annoying baggage along with it, from him being accused by Miyao and Doi of becoming a Shibuya delinquent, to everyone assuming the absolute worst when it becomes clear he , Akira and Koharu all took the same train home together.
  • Off-Model: A meta example as most of the licensed game characters look like cartoony versions of themselves; justified due to Rensuke Oshikiri's quirky art style, but it sometimes crops up when traced screenshots are involved, such as Billy Kane's sansetsukon turning into a short billy club in chapter 30.
  • Opposites Attract: Akira, a straight-laced, beautiful and athletic honor student, falls in love with the rowdy, carefree, lazy and physically unattractive Haruo.
  • Only Sane Man: Miyao seems to be the most grounded character compared to everyone else in the cast, with the additional perk of being perceptive enough to read his friends' feelings at a single glance. Interestingly enough, the main fighting game characters involvednote  are also this.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Haruo learns that Akira is planning to attend a prestigious high school, he decides to try to get into the same school as her. Everyone, from his peers to his mother, are utterly gobsmacked: not only does he make an active effort to improve his grades after essentially coasting through elementary and middle school, but he stops playing video games to devote more time to studying. He even skips the launch of the Sega Saturn!
  • Orwellian Retcon: Out of necessity since SNK Playmore threatened legal action over the use of their IPs through the manga. The Continue versions of volumes 1-5 reduce these references while rearranging the beats of some chapters. One example is in volume 2 when Koharu shows concern for Haruo over him playing with the arcade cabs in her parent's shop in the middle of a blizzard.
    • In the original version Haruo calls Koharu downstairs so that she can immortalize him fighting Fatal Fury Special's hidden boss Ryo Sakazaki with a disposable camera he hands her, to which Koharu spitefully empties the film roll by shooting at everything except Haruo and the cab.
    • In Continue and the anime, Koharu takes the time to prepare a hot cocoa and pour it down Haruo's gullet while his hands are busy playing Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers. He's not here to visit her but asks Koharu to call him whenever his high scores are dethroned so he can mosey over and remark the leaderboards. Koharu pulls the plug on the cabs upon hearing this request.
  • Overly Long Gag: When Haruo borrows a classmate's Neo-Geo CD, he discovers firsthand why the system only had a very niche audience: Loads and Loads of Loading.
  • Paper Tiger: Numata-Sensei only looks like a deadly martial artist. In reality his constitution and immune system is garbage and his only onscreen attempt at fighting pitted him against some rowdy gyarus harassing his students, and he fails with a Ring Out to boot.
  • P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: See Secondary Character Title. Akira drives the plot, but Haruo is the main protagonist and the story is primarily told through his eyes.
  • The Power of Love: A major contributing factor to many a Character Development in the series. It defrosts Akira's cold demeanor, elevates Hidaka to the level of a pro gamer and goads Haruo into taking life more seriously instead of wasting it all on gaming.
  • Rage Quit: Kicks off the relationship between Akira and Harou. Haruo and Akira also seems to enjoy goading people into trying to get physical.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Haruo's mom may be strict when it comes to his grades, but at least she encourages her son to love his video game hobbies, noting that it would be hard for him to excel in anything else if he can't even do one thing right.
    • Akira's chauffeur and personal butler, who recognizes her need to cut loose after witnessing just how harsh Gouda-sensei can be and even going so far as to buy her a Game Gear after Gouda-sensei actively prohibits Akira from going to arcades. It backfires though.
    • Later in the story, Moemi Gouda herself becomes one after realizing just how much her actions have negatively impacted Akira's well-being. She resolves to try and undo the damage she caused over the course of the plot, and starts off by allowing Akira to play video games after finishing her studies.
    • Haruo's Junior High teacher is strict, but encourages him when he decides to get into well respected high school and praised him for his new focus on improving his grades. She warns him that it will be hard, but she will help him reach his goal.
  • Red Baron: "Beastly Fingers" for Haruo, and if the manga's tagline (and her favorite SF2 character) is anything to go by, "The Twister" is this for Akira. Later on in the manga, Hidaka meets several pro gamers who all have Tokyo subway stations as their callsigns.
  • Reference Overdosed: Taken Up to Eleven with the sheer amount of Shout Outs to both well-known and obscure video games. This is mostly justified due to how they are used as Framing Devices, although some of them can come off as ridiculously out of place.
  • Rescue Romance: Played with. Akira overhears Haruo talking to another gamer about the existence of a legendary 10-Yen arcade, and when the latter gets on his bike to check out the rumors she immediately hops on the back uninvited. Despite Haruo's protests, he agrees to take her with him out of kindness. It's then shown that she was actually trying to run away from Gouda-sensei's overly strict mentoring at the time, and it's this act of Haruo's that truly begins to cement their relationship. The trope is played straight later on when Akira runs away from home and Haruo voluntarily tracks her down at a secluded arcade in another city.
  • Retro Gaming: The Manga. With a hearty helping of romantic comedy!
  • The Rival: Haruo to Akira over video games, Akira and Hidaka over Haruo.
  • Rousing Speech: Guile gives several to Haruo over the course of the manga, with the most notable one being his "Always Save the Girl" speech. Miyao also does a rather Hot-Blooded one when advising Haruo about his Love Triangle, to the annoyance of several girls in a nearby swimming class.
  • Running Gag: As befits a gag manga.
    • Haruo getting struck by the front of Akira's limousine almost every time it shows up. It gets dropped later in the story once things get serious, with the occasional surprise lovetap here and there.
    • Mrs. Yaguchi performing seemingly impossible stunts just to peek in her son's bedroom, like sliding across the doorway vertically and peeking from the ceiling while upside-down.
    • Guile beating up on Haruo whenever he does something stupid, usually via Sonic Boom.
    • "Fani-foom!"
    • Several characters' infatuation with the Virtual Boy, which ends up becoming a Brick Joke later on.
    • Mrs. Yaguchi's trademark "pancakes straight out of a picture book" dish.
    • Ryo Sakazaki instructing Haruo to "use Haoh Sho Ko Ken in times of need" is a minor example. It eventually becomes a Chekhov's Boomerang in Haruo's favor, though.
    • When SoreLosers initiate a fight, it typically devolves into a wardrobe malfunction inducing Wimp Fight.
    • Other hazards from a ragequit involve Sonic Ashtrays being flung by the ragequitter and often pelting an uninvolves third party.
  • Sadist Teacher: Gouda Moemi, towards Akira. It is later revealed that she became this after Makoto, Oono's elder sister, decided to opt out of becoming the Oono Zaibatsu's next heir after realizing just how burdensome it would be, which in turn caused Moemi-sensei to become harsher towards Akira in an effort to prevent a similar occurrence. On a somewhat lesser scale, Haruo and Akira's teacher from grade school, who keeps threatening enemas on misbehaving students.
  • Save the Princess: Haruo cracks a joke about Akira being a Damsel in Distress once he tracks her down in a secluded arcade as she's running away from home. Little does he know, this is exactly how Akira sees their relationship, and given her social status and her role in her family's Mega-Corp, Haruo is technically playing this trope straight over the course of the story.
  • Secondary Character Title: Akira isn't the main character despite driving the entire plot, getting top billing in the tankobon covers and promotional material, and being the titular High Score Girl; the real hero of the story is Haruo.
  • Secret Test of Character: As it turns out, the Super Turbo match between Akira and Hokaru was meant to be this from Akira's perspective to see how serious Koharu was about taking Haruo for herself.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Onizuka can be quite the stunner with enough make-up.
  • Shipper on Deck: Nearly everybody, for Haruo and Akira. Including Moemi-sensei herself. Haruo's mom, on the other hand, doesn't care whether her son ends up with either Akira or Hidaka as long as he finally gets some action.
  • Ship Tease: Played for angst on Koharu's end, as most arcade passerby tend to assume out loud that she and Haruo are a couple.
  • Shout-Out: The manga has so many references to 90s video games, it now has its own page.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Rensuke Oshikiri is very passionate about video games, and it shows. He includes many references to console and video game release dates, mechanics particular to certain titles like Space Gun, and even beginner, intermediate and advanced techniques used in fighting games like Guile's tick throw methodnote . At one point a win-ratio chartnote  for Night Warriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge is shown, and the topics of zoning and fighting game frame data of all things are discussed in brief. Even the Console Wars are brought up by Haruo regarding the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn.
    • The same goes double for the Latin American Spanish dub and for many reasons: With some honorable exceptions, Latin American voice actors and voice acting studios normally struggle on translating terminology from niche hobbies, like the ones used in videogames, and especially from fighting games like the Street Fighter franchise, and there's many cases when the translators had screwed big time when trying to figure out at translating it, leave it in English or in its original language, being the most notorious example The Big Bang Theory. This is not the case here, as, with some exceptions, both the voice actors and the translator were Genre Savvy about videogames, even on regards with very obscure games, like Splatterhousenote . Oddly enough, the same cannot be said about the subbed version.
    • A casual gamer would think Akira flicking her joystick to input a Spinning Piledriver is her way of showboating. This is actually known as the Hajiki Screw, or Flick SPD. It's something of an excecution shortcut, and its best used to punish reckless low footsies.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: Exaggerated in that Haruo getting even the bare minimum in terms of female attention (i.e. Koharu or Akira merely tagging along) in an arcade is regarded with despair and annoyance from the locals and regulars.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Hidaka, towards Haruo; also Haruo and Akira for each other.
  • Sore Loser: A lot of characters in the manga tend to be this, perhaps owing to the rather salty nature of the topic.
    • Haruo. The kid cannot take defeat in fighting games casually, an attitude which he later ditches.
    • Even Akira shows signs of this whenever Haruo gets the upper hand in a fighting game, but it's milder compared to the insanity that often erupts when someone loses badly...unless you count their first meeting.
    • Haruo's junior high homeroom teacher Reiko-sensei is this of all people, as it turns out she doesn't take well to being soundly beaten in multiplayer Bomberman.
    • Hidaka gets reduced to Berserker Tears after losing her bet against Haruo.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Thanks to the many circumstances involving Akira's family and her role in the legacy of their international zaibatsu, she and Haruo can't take their hangouts for granted.
  • Take That!: There are a couple of them, one aimed at the Virtual Boy's poor choice of screen color and another towards bootleg Famicom games.
  • Tetris Effect: Milked for all its worth, and referred to in the manga as Gamebrain. It's mostly played straight for the main trio, Hidaka begrudgingly so once she takes it as a sign that she's helplessly in love with Haruo. Its effects on Haruo is both a detriment and a benefit, as the game characters do have sagely advice, but often interfere when he's actually trying to take his studies seriously. Why Namie Yaguchi, who rarely if ever plays video can belt out Guy's infinite combo on Haruo as corporal punishment is never explained, however. Makoto Oono tries making this work for Haruo in his relationship with Akira by having him play Tokimeki Memorial, with mixed results.
  • Third-Person Seductress: A Running Gag in the manga is for a new game to be released, prompting the arcade regulars to eagerly discuss who they'll itching to learn as their main character before agreeing to try out the newest Ms. Fanservice of the game first.
    • Haruo mocks an in progress ragequitter about playing as Nakoruru without keeping in mind her strengths and weaknesses as a Fragile Speedster, scoffing that he's probably playing as her to fulfill a crush he probably has. On the other side of the versus cabinets, the rage quitter is feverishly praying to Nakoruru to lend him her strength and to become his bride.
  • Through His Stomach: Haruo inadvertently gains Akira's friendship due to his encyclopedic knowledge of gaming and his home console collection, both of which are banned in her household. The non-gaming Hidaka later attempts to do the same for Haruo using her family's Neo-Geo MVS machine, albeit reluctantly at first, until she later becomes a Gamer Chick out of her infatuation with him. Since he views their relationship as merely platonic, however, it largely fails.
  • Time Skip: Several are used throughout the story. The first one happens after Akira leaves for the States and is used to introduce Hidaka; the second happens after Haruo fails to enter the same school Akira was going to study in after returning to Japan.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Hidaka became much more competent at fighting games after the second Time Skip, to the point where she could consistently beat Haruo in both Darkstalkers and Samurai Shodown II. Similarly, Haruo himself begins taking both work and play much more seriously after Akira's butler implores him to "become her pillar of support". Even Futako notices that his attitude was very different from Hidaka's during their decisive match, a fact which allowed him to emerge triumphant.
  • Training from Hell: All over the place. Gouda Moemi, the Oono family's private tutor, exposed Akira to this at a young age in order to prepare her as the future heir of the Oono Zaibatsu. Hidaka also submits herself to Metagame training in order to try and defeat Haruo, under the guidance of Futako and several other pro gamers. What she didn't count on was that Haruo also subjected himself to one for Akira's sake, which allowed him to defeat Hidaka in the end.
  • Tranquil Fury: What actually happens when Haruo and Akira grow quiet during a match and start taking it seriously. The latter demonstrates it in a pants-wetting way a couple of times, both of them against Hidaka.
  • Trash Talk: Par for the course.
  • Tsundere: Amazingly, both Haruo and Akira are this towards each other. It's just as awkward as it sounds. Hidaka is also this toward Haruo, which doesn't work out well since he only views her as a friend.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The manga was serialized in 2010, but the story itself takes place during the early 90's and even references certain events such as the Gulf War and Bill Clinton becoming US president. More relevant to the plot are the release dates of specific consoles and games of the era, since they form the primary framing device of the series.
  • Twice Shy: A variant. Haruo is Oblivious to Love and doesn't know how to socialize with girls. Akira is a Shrinking Violet with some kind of social anxiety disorder. It only makes their awkward displays of affection all the more adorable.
  • Unbroken Vigil: Early in the story, Haruo falls sick as a result of Akira's violent pranks. Due to a twist of fate she ends up visiting him in his room, and it is while watching over him that she first realizes her attraction towards Haruo. Hidaka mirrors the same vigil later on after the first timeskip...which in turn causes Haruo to realize that he misses having Akira around.
  • Unlicensed Game: Haruo and Akira play a bootleg Famicom fighting game at one point, with the former lampshading just how great the idea of SNK characters fighting against the Capcom cast would probably be if only the execution wasn't so pathetic.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Haruo and Akira will not hesitate to bust each other's chops, but at the end of the day, they'll come through for each other.
  • Video Arcade: The whole premise (and main setting) of the story!
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Haruo and Akira's friendship isn't exactly smooth sailing, made more complicated by the fact that Akira finds it hard to communicate apart from video games or physical violence.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tossed around a few times.
    • Hidaka eventually gets fed up with Haruo's obliviousness towards her advances and corners him into facing her in a mini fighting game competition, on the grounds that if he loses to her then he'll have to date her. She loses. Miyao later echoes her assertions, but in a much more constructive manner.
    • Haruo gives one to himself when trying to review for an upcoming entrance exam, since up to that point all he could think about was gaming.
    • Even Akira isn't exempt from receiving a scolding from Haruo of all people after she runs away from home and into a distant city without thinking to bring any pocket money besides spare change, even noting that the neighborhood she decided to hang out in is a dangerous place especially at night. Repeated later after they check into a nearby hotel and Haruo brings up the possibility of the authorities mistaking their plight to be that of attempted kidnapping on his part, which gets Akira thinking about her deed.
    • Akira's elder sister Makoto gives one to Gouda-sensei after Akira becomes bedridden from the excessive disciplinary actions she faced due to running away from home. Subverted in that Gouda-sensei isn't exactly heroic.
  • World of Action Girls: Downplayed due to the real world setting, but most of the major females as well as some female side characters are not to messed with. Aside from Akira, there's also Moemi Gouda who provided her martial arts training. And then there's Namie Yaguchi who readily disciplines her son Haruo througb pro wrestling moves, has an odd tendency to pull off ninja-like stunts, and may possibly have learned all her skills and had met her husband from an assassin's martial arts dojo. And then there's the Girl Posse of gyarus that harrass Haruo, Miyao and Doi outside of an arcade only to quickly meet their match in Haruo's middle school teacher Ms. Tohno.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: On the video game side, Akira's favored fighting game characters are all grappler types like Zangief, and Haruo later picks up her habit by maining King in Tekken. More realistically, Mrs. Yaguchi's preferred method of chastisement for Haruo involves German suplexes and a scorpion lock.
  • Wretched Hive: Later in the story, Shibuya is presented as this. Even the local arcade is populated by (wannabe) delinquents.
  • Yandere Love Triangle: Thankfully averted thanks to Akira's patience and mercy with Koharu, but she does demonstrate to Haruo that she's more than capable of flexing the Oono Zaibatsu's muscle to give her an edge in the love triangle if pushed by ordering her family bodyguards to forcibly kidnap Haruo from off the street for a playdate.
  • You Are Grounded!: Haruo's mom locks away his PC Engine console after seeing his report card. Even more seriously, Gouda-sensei forbids Akira from being around arcades later in the story and replaces her old butler with a more strict bodyguard to make sure she never tries anything funny.