Tech by VICE

Fall in Love With Japan's Overclocking Romance Manga

I love (CP)U.

by Clinton Nguyen
Nov 23 2015, 12:00pm

Image: Ninomiya Tomoko/MyMangaUpdates

87 Clockers is a manga series about competitive overclocking. You read that right. it's a Japanese romance comic series that revolves around juicing your computer for all it's worth—tinkering with CPUs and GPUs to get better performance out your PC, usually so games run better.

The series, written by Ninomiya Tomoko, best known for writing Nodame Cantabile, a popular rom-com manga about ultra-talented musicians falling in love, starts off almost the same way. That is, with a huge romantic cliché.

You follow Ichinose Kanade, a talented but washed out violin student as he tries to secure employment and figure out what he wants to do with his life. And that's all answered as soon as he meets a girl who happens to be, weirdly and specifically enough, into overclocking because of her roommate, Mike, who also conveniently happens to be into this melodramatic world of competitive overclocking.

Dammit, not Mike again! Image: Ninomiya Tomoko/MyMangaUpdates

Now overclocking seems to be the weirdest fulcrum for a romance, but in Japan, where nerd culture (otaku) and unconventional romances run wild and intersect constantly, it seems like it's the only place where demand for this might exist. I mean, there's a manga series based on competitive bread baking, so overclocking seems like just another bullet in a long list of why nots.

And 87 Clockers doesn't actually flub on actually explaining overclocking—instead of going into the grittiest details, the gist of it is all there. There's even a whole few pages dedicated to showing you the process of actually building a PC.

Image: Ninomiya Tomoko/MyMangaUpdates

And it also features a real overclocking benchmark tool that calculates the digits of Pi. But of course, between all the geekier scenes are moments of real awkward sexual tension.

Image: Ninomiya Tomoko/MyMangaUpdates

Does the world need this? No, probably not. But I can count on one hand how many romantic plots revolve around something as geeky as this. There had to be someone interested in reading this, otherwise it wouldn't have lasted four years.

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