Houkago Play is the type of manga that people like me love. It promises a steady stream of in-jokes and otaku references, characters that break the fourth wall with their intentionally cliche traits, and a pleasant serving of moe and fanservice on the side. Like Lucky Star or Seitokai no Ichizon, it's the sort of thing that has a narrow appeal, but should easily be able to win the hearts of its fans.
Unfortunately, I believe Houkago Play misses the mark in terms of both story and entertainment, making it mediocre even to moe fans like myself.
The first problem is the story. As you can assume
from the fact that it's a short 4koma series, it doesn't have much of a plot. However, the couple in question is far too unrealistic to tingle the hearts of any but the most delusional fans. I don't think the mangaka meant for their relationship to be taken seriously, but it's obvious that it's a totally implausible situation. It might generate that "warm and fuzzy" feeling in you if you're into purely fluffy romance, but don't expect your suspension of disbelief to last. It's also worth mentioning that the art is below par, which ruins the heroine's potential moe appeal.
However, having said that, the real problem with the series is the comedy. Quite simply, it isn't funny. Unlike most meta/reference comedies that focus on subtle references and quick punchlines, Houkago Play feels more like listening to a couple of gamers talk. Many of the comics don't have a punchline at all, which feels extremely awkward in the 4koma format. There are a handful of funny moments, and the dialogue is always entertaining, but "entertaining" doesn't cut it when the story is nonexistent and the character interaction is blatant and ineffective fantasy fulfillment.
The bottom line is that I do not dislike Houkago Play because of its genre or target audience - in fact, I'm a proud member of the target audience. I simply dislike it because it could have been so much more with less time spent on the "romance", or, better yet, jokes that are actually funny.
(Taken from MAL)
A 4koma[4 panel gag comic] about a typical geek of a guy and his tsundere[and slightly dominatrix] girlfriend. As the two talk about and play games, they slowly grow closer.
Not much to say about the story. Expect something along the lines of Sunday funnies. However of course, the story delivers what it promises, a relationship between two lovers who are both video game addicts. Now, one wouldn't rate this on the same level as say "The Epic of Gilgamesh" but it tells a cute tale that can be enjoyed by all.
Why so low?
Well it's nothing outstanding to be honest. The two main characters are usually out of proportion, heads are enlarged and eyes are stretched beyond physical capabilities. However, Kurosaki manages to pull off a very quirky, stylistic art style that is easy on the eyes, simple, but able to convey emotions surprisingly well. It may just seem like a bunch of doodles, but that's what makes it what it is.
The characters are also nothing out of the ordinary or spectacular. Your main lead is a easy-going otaku male and your female lead is a tsundere (cold attitude but with a kind heart) with a slight dominatrix complex. Nothing out of the ordinary in your daily dose of manga.
This is where it truly shines. Love it or hate it, Houkago Play is a comic that is meant to be taken lightly. The embarrassing love-comedy-esque romance are what makes Houkago Play such a gem. Though admittedly it caters more to gamers and anime fans, the relationship between the two main leads is something that can be enjoyed by all.
If you're into some light romance with gaming involved, Houkago Play is definitely worth your time. If you want something with a deep story, packed with action and full of suspense, you might want to look elsewhere.
That's a very strange series, I even can't name it a story or else... The art is nasty, the arrangement is unusual! The boy is an average gamer and the girl tries to be too. They should be boring. But they are not!!!
I really was moved by this simple plot and the characters.
As a 4 koma it has a simple plot- the day to days of a video game otaku an his dominatrix tsundere girlfriend(quite a combination).
The art is simple and kinda rough, but nice and fitting.
Simple characters, as simple as the plot.
The enjoyment is the real draw here, it's really a shame it's so short.
Overall I give a 9.