Sky Knights manga gamebook

Sky Knights Manga Gamebook

Sky Knights gamebook cover

One of my first purchases at Role & Roll station was the Sky Knights Manga Gamebook (漫画deゲームブック第一弾). What sets this apart from other gamebooks is that it’s entirely a manga, not just book with illustrations. Written by Sugimoto John (杉本=ヨハネ) and illustrated by Nakayama Shohei (中山将平), it tells the story of a humanoid bird Sky Knight hunting down the king’s murderer.

B5 in size, its fifty-two pages of black and white illustrations wrapped in a color cover was a fun adventure. Included is a bookmark that serves as a character sheet, one side for each character. It took me a total of four tries to successfully complete the story.

As a kid, I loved Choose Your Own Adventures and Interplanetary Spy books. I later read a few Lone Wolf books as well, but it wasn’t until I came to Japan that I really became aware of them again and how formative they were for many gamers here. That popularity had tapered off, but FB Books has led their revival by publishing new game books since being founded in 2007. I’ve noticed in increase in new gamebooks in general, and Group SNE is reprinting the Fighting Fantasy series.

The System

Choosing a character: sparrow or sparrowhawk. Illustration of each character, single line summary, and stats.
Choosing a character: sparrow or sparrowhawk

There are two characters to choose from: the lithe sparrow (雀) and the strong Sparrowhawk (鷂). The latter being the character illustrated in the manga. The character sheet is a bookmark, one side for each character. Attributes and flags are handled the same way: one or more checkboxes per item.
There are nine items:

  • Knights Badge (騎士のしるし)
  • Wounds (傷)
  • Attack Power (武力)
  • Distance (距離)
  • Agility (敏捷性)
  • Spear (槍)
  • Net (網)
  • Water (水)
  • Statue (像)

Each time a character takes a wound, the Wounds checkbox is checked. Taking a wound after all are filled in is Game Over. Distance acts as a countdown timer, limiting the time to investigate.

For King!

First page giving the background of the story.
First page giving the background of the story.

The story begins with an off-duty Sky Knight drinking in a tavern when they learn the king has been murdered. The culprit is nearby, so the Sky Knight leaps into action. Being off duty, though, they’re not carrying their badge. This leads to the first decision: go home and get your badge or leap straight into action. If you choose to retrieve the badge, you check the box for it on your character sheet. Future choices will change based on your having (or not) the badge. The story is fully self-contained and a mix of investigation, intrigue, and combat.


The sparrow side of the two-sided bookmark.
The sparrow side of the two-sided bookmark.

It took me four attempts to successfully complete the adventure. I progressed further each attempt, with the first being by far the shortest. Each time I learned how the world worked, and it was interesting to see how the choices led to different consequences. One result led to very different action than expected, but even then it made sense.

I won’t list the details of each run to avoid spoilers, but in general they were:

  1. Summarily died in the first fight.
  2. Chose different items this time and survived the fight. Ran out of distance, but playing as the sparrow allowed gave me a reprieve. Unfortunately ran out of distance again; game over.
  3. Made it to the final boss and vanquished them, but died in the process. Game over, so tried one more time.
  4. Survived the final boss and successfully completed the story.

About the Publisher

FT Books (FT書房) 100 Paragraph Game Book on top of Roguelike-Halfhas been publishing gamebooks since 2007 at a very steady pace. They offer a free daily email newsletter that covers topics ranging from gamebooks to fantasy and TRPGs.

While I haven’t played them yet, I previously picked up two other books at a Tokyo Game Market: the first 100 Paragraph book and Roguelike-Half.


A physical copy is available on Booth for ¥880. You may also be able to find a copy at a local game shop.

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