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Manga / Not Lives

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Volume 1 of the manga, with Amamiya Kyouka

Not Lives (ノットライヴス Notto Raivusu) is a manga series written and illustrated by Wataru Karasuma. The series has been concluded as of 2017, with 10 volumes having been published by ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Daioh Magazine since August 2011.

Shigeru Mikami, an avid video game fan and video game designer, is obsessed with creating the perfect video game, the likes of which no one has played before. While collecting video games for his research, he comes across a strange disc named 'Not Alive.' After playing it, he is brought into a video game world where he controls a female avatar named Amamiya Kyouka. Thing is, that "avatar" turns out to be real person — and if Mikami loses, Kyouka will die and Mikami will be forced to be the new avatar. As Mikami progresses through the game, the two of them must use their skills to their advantage as they fight other players and avatars.


Not Lives contains examples of the following tropes:

  • The Ace: Kyouka is ridiculously good at video games and sports. That's because she is not entirely human but a creation of 'Not Lives'.

  • A-Cup Angst: Kyouka is visibly depressed when Mikami accidentally says that she's 'small.'

  • All Men Are Perverts: One of the first things Mikami does when he finds himself controlling Kyouka is lift up her skirt and touch her chest.

  • All Women Are Lustful: Mariko is obsessed with finding a guy to love her.

  • Animal-Eared Headband: Kyouka wears cat ears as part of a cat costume (accidentally thought up by Mikami) during the first event battle. Kyouka is less than pleased.
Kyouka: Mikami-kun...we're going to have a talk later.

  • Ax-Crazy: Arima always has a constant smile on her face, whether she is attracting enemies to other players or fighting other players.

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  • Back from the Dead: Astaroth is shot in the head and killed, but he comes back to life a few minutes later.

  • Battle in the Rain: Mikami and Kyouka fight Maze in the rain.

  • Big Bad: While Kiyota, the Corrupt Corporate Executive, is shaped to be this, it is ultimately his representative Emperor Gentleman who becomes this as the series progresses.

  • Big Brother Instinct: Ichirou is this to Itomi.

  • Big Good: Mikami just wants to save Kyouka and later Mizuki.

  • Big "SHUT UP!": Ichirou is subjected to this by Hasami when he probes too much.

  • Black Market: One such market used for the illegal buying and selling of 'Not Alive' points is managed by Kiyota and his Five-Man Band.

  • Bland-Name Product: The cover image features Lowson in place of Lawson.
    • Banzai Namico is a play on Bandai Namco.

  • Break the Haughty: As Stratos gloats about her supposed victory, Mikami uses his knowledge of tobacco plants to defeat her. She doesn't take it well.

  • Bullet Hell: Mikami uses his skill in this genre of games during the fight with Ichirou and Itomi.

  • Central Theme: Dreams and wishes, and for good reason: the reward for completing 'Not Lives' is the 'Algorithm of Destiny', which will grant any wish of the player.

  • The Chessmaster: Emperor Gentleman. Played straight when a captured Astaroth tells him that he has lost an important chess piece after Maze is defeated by Mikami.

  • Creepy Twins: Emperor Gentleman, again.

  • Cry Cute: Hasami when she is defeated by Astaroth and she realises that she has lost.

  • Cute Is Evil: While Yuu Hasami looks like a cute little girl, don't get on her bad side, lest you want to get cut up by scissors.

  • Determinator: Mikami is determined to win, and he is willing to use any skill to keep pushing Kyouka forward.

  • Dirty Cop: Takahashi is a police officer who also understands the rules of 'Not Alive' and works with the Big Bad.

  • Disappeared Dad: Kyouka and Mizuki's father left them before the start of the series, and Kyouka is bitter about it. Then, it turns out that Astaroth is Kyouka's father.

  • Distant Finale: The final chapter, whereby the characters are reintroduced 5 years after the destruction of 'Not Alive'. Mikami is now the GM of the remade 'Not Alive', and Mizuki and Itsuki are employees at Mizuhara's company.

  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: When Hasami succeeds in disarming Astaroth's avatar in the second event battle, she promptly taunts him. Cue her defeat a few minutes later in the hands of Astaroth.

  • The Dreaded: Astaroth, who has beaten 'Not Lives' twice.

  • Emotionless Girl: Kyouka rarely emotes, and hardly ever cracks a smile.

  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Emperor Gentleman is a player-avatar team consisting of the twins Max and Pax.
    • Astaroth's real name is Yukiya Amamiya.

  • Exact Words: In the first event stage, the Queen of Puppets tells the players that when the giant clock hands hit two, the event ends. It is later revealed that they have to physically use the clock hands to hit the two o' clock mark to end the event.

  • Face–Heel Turn: Arima was formerly part of the Five-Man Band, before she was kicked out. She is now acting as Information Broker to Kyouka and Mikami.

  • Fast Forward to Reunion: The final chapter of the manga shows Mikami reuniting with Kyouka after she disappears for 5 years.

  • Fat Bastard: Kiyota, to the point where his tongue is larger than Hasami's head.

  • Final Battle: Astaroth and Mikami's battle comes as this after the Emperor Gentleman's defeat.

  • Five-Man Band: Kiyota and his 'students' form this.

  • Foreshadowing: The biggest one comes in Chapter 10, when Mikami notes that Kyouka is always cold, like she is 'controlled by a program'. Kyouka is later revealed to have been created by 'Not Lives'.
    • A smaller but more significant one is how Kyouka's father owns a lot of video games. Later, the skilled player Astaroth is revealed to be Kyouka's father.

  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Downplayed in the second event stage. While the avatars in the stage do not switch with the players, the players switch places with each other. As the avatars have different abilities and weapons, chaos naturally ensues.

  • Game-Breaking Bug: Kyouka and Yukiya Amamiya are considered as such by the GM, due to their possession of the 'Algorithm of Destiny'. During Kyouka and Mikami's fight against Maze, Kyouka's bug forces the entire game to crash.

  • Game Master: The anonymous administrator of 'Not Lives' is literally called the Game Master or GM for short. Later, Astaroth is revealed to be another GM, and Mikami becomes the GM of the remade 'Not Lives'.

  • The Game Plays You: If Mikami and Kyouka are defeated in any of the game battles or event stages, Kyouka disappears from the real world, and Mikami becomes the next avatar.

  • Gender Bender: The series originally leaned towards this genre, before Kyouka reveals herself to be an avatar that Mikami is controlling, and not a gender-bent Mikami.

  • The Greatest Story Never Told: It is never shown how Astaroth beat 'Not Alive' twice, or how Arima fought the Emperor Gentlemen.

  • Healing Factor: Kyouka is unable to die in the real world, and any injuries sustained during battles can be healed in a short span of time. Also the basis of the skills 'Heal' and 'Recovery'.

  • Hidden Agenda Villain: All of the antagonists have a agenda that they will disclose in one form or another throughout the series. Hasami wants revenge on her abuser, Stratos wants to rule over the land of the 2-dimensional game world, Emperor Gentleman just wants to rule the world, and Astaroth wants to destroy 'Not Lives'.

  • I Am Your Father: Astaroth is Yukiya Amamiya, Kyouka's father.

  • Identity Amnesia: After Kyouka disappears following the destruction of 'Not Lives', she is unable to remember her name, or Mikami, or anyone else. It's only reversed after she is reunited with Mikami.

  • I Let You Win: Astaroth clearly has the upper hand, but he ultimately concedes and lets Mikami win.

  • Ill Girl: Mizuki Amamiya as a male example.

  • Incurable Cough of Death: Mizuki suffers from a heriditary disease that cannot be cured. However, it is evidently non-lethal, since he is still alive by the end, when 5 years have passed.

  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: Both Astaroth and Mikami know that, even as they work together to defeat the Big Bad, there can only be one winner.

  • Information Broker: Arima is willing to share information about the Five-Man Band with Kyouka and Mikami.

  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Itomi Kanou just wanted to be friends with Kyouka.

  • In the Back: Oh so much during the first event stage. Played straight when Crucky actually shoots Ratshu in the back.

  • I Will Find You: As Kyouka disappears from the real world following the destruction of the game, Mikami makes a promise that he would find her again. He eventually does.

  • Jungle Warfare: Mikami and Kyouka fight Stratos in a jungle setting.

  • The Kid with the Remote Control: Stratos uses her skill 'Easter Egg' to control all the predators in the forest during the final battle.

  • Kill Sat: Emperor Gentleman's skill, the 'Emperor's Thumb', uses a satellite to destroy the other avatars.

  • Kill the God: By the end of the series, Mikami, Kyouka and Yukiya kill the Game Master of 'Not Lives' to destroy the game world.

  • Lady Drunk: Mariko always looks drunk in every panel she appears in.

  • Last Villain Stand: After Kyouka, Mikami and Astaroth help to take down the Emperor Gentleman's skill, the 'Emperor's Thumb', he is not happy, to say the least, and tries to annihilate all of them using his 'Gavel' skill.

  • Lethal Chef: Kyouka is...terrible at cooking, and her food is lethal to the point that Mikami predicts that Mizuki would die after he eats it.

  • Loophole Abuse: Mikami exploits the other players' skills, while Emperor Gentleman exploits the system of 'Not Alive'.
    • In the case of Mikami, one example involves using the player's 'Magnet' skill to defeat him. Although he cannot reach the player due to the repelling effect, he uses the fact that the player is also being repelled to back him up against a wall and crush him with the repelling force.

  • Made a Slave: Ichirou is treated like a dog by Hasami after he is defeated by Mikami and recruited by the evil Five-Man Band.

  • Murderous Mannequin: The Queen of Puppet's forces comprise mainly of mannequins that kill anyone who uses a skill.

  • Older Than They Look: Kyouka is 15, but her appearance resembles that of a younger girl. She is not pleased with it, and the Omakes focus intently on that displeasure and her desire to grow bigger.

  • Otaku: Mikami.

  • Player Versus Player: The core gameplay of 'Not Lives' involves real-life players attacking other real-life players.

  • Point Build System: Players can earn points from battles, and they can use it to buy skills or the final battle license. There's even a Black Market for these points.

  • Reality Warper: The 'Algorithm of Destiny' awarded after a player has beaten 'Not Alive'. It can grant any wish that the player wants, including the creation of humans and the power of immortality.

  • Split Personality: Maze, where her split personalities take on both roles as avatar and player.

  • The Strategist: Emperor Gentleman uses and exploits the system of 'Not Alive' to his advantage, including his use of the point system to do as much damage as he can during the final battle without losing.

  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Ichirou is literally thinking this as he sees that his new player Hasami's bag is completely filled with scissors.

  • Sociopathic Hero: There's clearly something wrong with Arima (She did already beat the game with Astaroth after all.), but she is willing to help Kyouka and Mikami.

  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Although Astaroth and Mikami are enemies, they team up to take down the Emperor Gentleman.

  • Thanks for the Mammary: Mikami accidentally touches Kyouka's breasts in the clothing shop.

  • Time Stands Still: Whenever a player accepts a battle request and enters the battle, time in the real world stops.

  • Title Drop: Mikami uses 'Not Lives' as his player username for the final battle.

  • Tsundere: Itsuki.

  • Weapon of Choice: For Hasumi, it's scissors.

GM: The Winner is You!

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