3.952 out of 5 from 103 votes
Hatsumi Narita lives in an apartment complex owned by the self-righteous and tyrannical Mrs. Tachibana, the wife of the housing company's vice president. If you are unlucky enough get on her bad side, or are even just a victim of rumors, your whole family is doomed to suffer! So when Hatsumi is caught buying a pregnancy test for her sister by Ryouki - the son of the Tachibana family who also used to bully Hatsumi when she was a child - she is naturally worried. Ryouki then attempts to blackmail Hatsumi and, fearing for the reputation of her family, she agrees to become his slave. But when her childhood friend, Azusa, suddenly moves back to the complex, he resumes his role of protecting Hatsumi from Ryouki. With complicated love stories and various hidden family secrets, it appears that this gossip-mongering housing complex is not quite so typical after all.
Both main leads are young girls in high school who are pushed around by others without concern for their feelings. Ayumu Shiiba in LIFE is constantly harrassed and bullied by the popular girls to the point of self-mutilation. Hatsumi in Hot Gimmick is intimidated by a boy living in her apartment flat--Ryoki--who constantly bullies her without a care in the world. Soon other boys join in, and it's one betrayal and eye-opener to others' true intent after another.
While LIFE deals with more serious issues that come with bullying like depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-mutilation, even.. Hot Gimmick is more about a girl who is picked on so much so that the reader can't help but get enraged at how evil the boys in her life are and how helpless and unfair the situations turn out over and over again.
In other words, if you're looking for a manga that you want to get roaring mad over the injustice of the world and the pettiness of peoples' hearts in their every day interaction with another, but with a little silver lining hinting that everything is gonna be okay and work out fine, then read Hot Gimmick..or LIFE.