Rating: 2.5/5 – A promising first volume fails to deliver a satisfying closer
The problem with reading too many books of a certain genre occurs when you start removing yourself from the book you’re reading and begin applying the conventions of that genre to it. Mystery readers pride themselves on knowing whodunit before they reach the epic reveal, for example, and it’s the savvy writer who is able to keep them confused and earn their respect by pulling the wool over their eyes before delivering a satisfying and logically thought out conclusion.
Manga readers have the same basic problem. It’s never a question of whether you’ll like reading magical girl, horror, high school romance, or whatever sub-category of manga you choose, but more which particular title or titles you’ll follow, as many of the storylines follow the same trope-laden path. Horror manga in particular has a difficult row to hoe in that savvy readers of the genre will be very difficult to surprise or fool, and the creators must work that much harder to please them.
Doubt started out the gate with a great premise, an interesting cast of characters, and a couple of good plot twists to keep even the most storied of horror manga readers guessing. Unfortunately, the second volume, which winds up the series, fizzles out and fails to live up to the promise of the first volume. The six characters from the beginning of the book have been pared down to three, and the time has come to reveal the bad guy once and for all…and that’s where the real problems begin. When they revealed who the big bad was and we were barely midway through the book, I knew this person wasn’t the real villain. So then we move on to the second big reveal. Nope…still too much book left to go.
Without spoiling too much, if you paid attention to what was going on in the first book, the “Big Big Reveal” isn’t all that shocking. I wasn’t surprised in the slightest, but I’ve read enough books of this type to almost expect it coming. Perhaps that’s part of the problem. So when I saw who it was, I felt let down because it was such an obvious choice no sane writer would use it. Perhaps that’s why Yoshiki Tonogai did it. The obvious character, immediately discounted because they’re that obvious, might actually be your best bet to set up as the villain, because after all, longtime readers like me already know they’d never be used, right? Right?!?
If Doubt was your first foray as a manga reader into the realm of thrillers and horrors, it’s certainly not a bad first step to take. The artwork and writing are both very good and certainly worth your money. Unfortunately, if you’re a seasoned reader of this type of storyline, the conclusion will leave you wanting a bit more than you’re given.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow – firstname.lastname@example.org
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