In a different world than the one we live in, a world where Japan is the lone superpower of the world, there is a wildly popular game show called the National Quiz. Every night, people dreaming of riches, fame, vengeance and happiness compete on the show, for the chance to be granted a wish, any wish they have: the National Quiz has the power to make your wildest dreams come true. It also has the ability, if you lose, to make your life a living hell.
This is the story of K-i K-ichi (aka prisoner KK47331), a former actor-turned losing National Quiz contestant-turned wildly popular host of the show, and the people and events surrounding him.
National quiz is quite a strange and unusual series.
The premise itself sets it apart from most of what is published. Japan is ruled by a quiz show, instead of some form of elections or stable government.
And what follows is a story that takes this premise and turns the world on its head, so that such an idea does not seem stupid at all.
While the story is intriguing and characters tolerable (well, portrayed but not especially deep, this is after all, not a psychological drama), what really sets this apart is the amazing art.
The world of national quiz has a lot of room of visual extravaganza
(with the show itself being flashy) and Katou utilizes this superbly. The art is slightly crazy, insanely detailed and quirky. The characters all look different and have very expresionable faces.
A very important point is that the art has strong lines, which with a comprehensing panel structure means you won't get lost on a page. And that you always know what exactly is happening in the picture.
This is, all in all an unforgettable masterpiece, that all people who are deeple interested in the medium of manga should read.
Kokumin Quiz is one of those unlucky Manga titles that never get a good frontpage image posted on MyAnimeList. Despite having a solid plot and realistic characters, that darn picture beside its name isn't attractive.
The Manga takes place in a futuristic world where Japan is the world's superpower and the world's main buyer of foreign government debt and this has been made possible only through a change in the political structure: it became a totalitarian regime. Funny enough, few people in Japan seem to have an issue with this. 'Why?' you ask? Because of the National Quiz, that's
why! Where (IF you win ) you can get ANY wish granted but if you don't... Forced labour for 20 years.
Huh, that doesn't seem so bad... NOT!
The story follows the show's host, K-I K-Ichi, who was himself a past contestant and has been hosting the show for 6 years. Readers, you'll enter a strange, realistic world where there're spies, idiots and higher management power wars.
What I liked about the plotline was the fact that there was no sugarcoating over the author's vision of a crap future world; the illustrator made no effort to try and make everyone look 'celestially' beautiful and the author didn't waste their time on creating an infuriating love trian- septag- polygon. I appreciated that the author was trying to send a meaningful message and not just mind-numbingly entertain the reader; the story had plenty of twists, betrayals (if you can call it that) and secret conversations. The plot developed tremendously over the volumes so there will be no time for you to get bored, dear reader.
The art was superb; there was plenty of detail not only in the character illustrations but also in the highly imaginative backgrounds. For the most part, the figures and objects were proportional, it was only where the author had clearly wanted to caricature a character that features started to balloon bigger. The only thing that made me gnaw a little (I mean, a LOT) was the illustrator's sloppiness as the chapters went by: I didn't like the inconsistency at all especially when the plot and images depended very much on each other.
Overall, this was just a splash of imagination that makes stupid, 2D plotlined Manga look worse than usual because it reminds us of what good Manga should be. This isn't a Manga for those who don't like to delve into new and powerful ideas, this one is for the readers who don't just want to have a giggle or two, but also want to have something to actually think about and relish. A very good read will leave readers guessing at every turn and for the most part while I was reading Kokumin Quiz, I was clueless. The tension-riddled intrigues and the unpredictable surprises will keep you coming back for more as you wander deeper into the depths of the author's storyline.