Doubt Vol 1 and Vol 2 by Yoshiki Tonogai are two books that I have seen multiple times as I go through the book shelves looking for American graphic novels at my local library. I doubt read Japanese Manga, an art form I appreciate but never really developed a taste for. It is something I associate with my daughter when she was a teenage girl. A type of storytelling that I always thought she would just grow out of. Even though I never used that rule as it would apply to me and American comic books.
I read a blog a month ago on the disrespect that Asian Manga receives when it comes to the comic book world and it got me to thinking, so the next time I was in the library I picked Doubt Vol I and II up. The following review goes for both of them.
First off, the whole reading the book backwards was very strange. Right to left in the book and on the page. The mini skirted girls in little outfits with the view on each page always looking up the skirts was a little off setting. Once that was gotten past, well, quite honestly, it was one hell of a story!
Six young people are playing an online game called Rabbit Doubt. In the game all the players are rabbits and in the group, there is a randomly chosen wolf among them. Each round the wolf kills a rabbit and each round the rabbits must try to figure out who the wolf is before he takes another one. The six young people, Yuu, Mitsuki, Rei, Hajime, Eiji and Haruka meet up in one place at one time accidently. They recognize one another by the rabbits that are on their keychains. As the evening progresses, they are all drugged and secluded in an abandoned warehouse. Here, the game begins again, only for real. One among the six is a killer and the rest must find out who it is before they are the next to die.
The artwork in this book is outstanding. True to its Manga roots with the flowing hair and big eyes. The boys are all tall and thin and the young girls dressed in small schoolgirl uniforms that harken back to the early Sailor Moon comics. But the story itself is not what I expected from a Manga novel. It is one part Silence of the Lambs and one part Saw. The killer is well developed and as its identity is peeled back layer by layer, so that the motive behind the killing is as disturbing as the killing itself.
Doubt Vol 1 and 2 has changed my view on Manga comics by the simple act of telling a story. It is far more than pretty little pictures, it tells a very compelling and thrilling story that in any other medium, would be taken far more seriously.
This is my first Manga book and so for me the bar has been set high, here’s hoping the next one will be just as good!