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Etsuro Sakagami is a college freshman who feels uncomfortable in reality, but when he logs onto the combat MMO Versus Town, he becomes "Tetsuo," a karate champ on his way to becoming the most powerful martial artist around. While his relationship with new classmate Fumiko goes nowhere, Etsuro spends his days and nights online in search of the invincible fighter Ganker Jack. Drifting between the virtual and the real, will Etsuro ever be ready to face his most formidable opponent?
Hiroshi Sakurazaka was born in 1970 in Tokyo. After a career in information technology, he published his first novel Modern Magic Made Simple (Yoku wakaru gendai mahou) in 2003 from Super Dash Bunko, a popular light novel imprint for young adult audiences. The first novel was quite successful is now an ongoing series of seven volumes. It has also been adapted as a manga, in 2008, and as a televised anime series in 2009. He published All You Need Is Kill with the same imprint in 2004, earning a Seiun Award nomination for best science fiction novel. His 2004 short story "Saitama Chainsaw Massacre" won the 16th SF Magazine Reader's Award. His other novels include Characters (co-written with Hiroki Azuma) and Slum Online, released in English in 2010 by Haikasoru.
In 2010, Sakurazaka started an experimental digital magazine AiR with Junji Hotta. He continues to be one of Japan's most exciting writers of both light novels and adult science fiction.
Tetsuo dropped into a fighting stance.
> Who the hell do you think you are?
> I don’t give a rat’s ass about the name of some scrub who does a speed dash inside a bar. Running indoors is for dogs and children too young to know better.
> You looking for a fight?
> I’d say I’m finding one.
> Leave the new guy alone, Ricky.
That was Masumi, butting in.
> That tournament’s bringing these guys out of the woodwork. I bet this one thinks he’s got the brass to take on the top four.
> I’m just here looking for Jack.
> To fight him, I know. You really want a fight, go to an arcade. You can find Pak out in Shinjuku.
> At an arcade?
> Don’t make me type it twice. A-R-C-A-D-E
> That’s a little behind the times, isn’t it?
> You just don’t get it, do you? Times may change, but holy ground is holy ground.