Grim_Noir Finds Reasonable Doubt
(and Crazy Doubt, Too) As Series Concludes

Doubt Vol2 Cover

Title: Doubt – Volume #2

Storyteller: Yoshiki Tonogai

Cover Art: Yoshiki Tonogai

Translation and Letterer: Alexis Eckerman

Publisher: Square Enix

Licensed by: Yen Press

Reviewed by Grim_Noir

As a long-term otaku, I do like a good manga. I also like a survival-horror flick, if it is done well. Trouble is, most manga lose┬ámomentum long before they mercifully end their run. And most survival-horror has just plain stupid plotting. Yoshiki Tonogai’s Doubt is the exception: A good survival horror manga.

Based on my previous manga reading experiences, I was just praying that Doubt would finish without running out of steam. Not only does Volume 2 make it to its final destination, it pushes the “crazy” throttle as far forward as it will go and slams into the last station like the Silver Streak locomotive at the end of that Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor movie.

As I wrote in my review of Volume 1, the premise is simple: Six players of a cellphone game called “Rabbit Doubt” find themselves kidnapped, with an unknown member of their group playing this deadly game for keeps. As Volume 2 rolls along, we learn that this may not be the perpetrator’s first rodeo. This scenario may have been played out (and gotten away with) more than once already.

Doubt2_Hospital

Yoshiki Tonogai stays true to his brainy mix of gore and psychological cat-and-mouse right to the end. Anyone who has ever read Agatha Christie’s And The There Were None or Ten Little Indians will figure out who the murderer is before the midway point of Volume 2, but the “Howdunit” elements really carry this book through to the climax. Until the murderer is ultimately revealed, you will have been convinced that no one person could have accessed all the places the murderer did. Nor in the timeframe that all the murders occurred.

Tonogai does manage to imbue his characters with a certain degree of believeability, even though they never completely become three-dimensional personalities. However, if we are honest with ourselves, most murder mystery and survival-horror characters aren’t really all that fleshed out, either. Nor, are we in these genres to find the next Ordinary People.

Doubt2_And The Killer Is...No

As a writer, Tonogai’s strength is in his audacity. He is constantly stacking paranoia, suspense and shocks on top of each other like a demented Jenga tower, almost daring the reader to knock it down with Logic.

That Jenga tower of pseudo-logic may teeter, but Tonogai’s artwork is really what maintains the reader’s “suspension of disbelief;” every corner is shadowy and every distance shot is murky. Danger and dread are everywhere. You begin to feel as involved and uneasy as his protagonist, Yuu. (I am certain it is no accident that his main character’s name is pronounced “you,” giving the story a slight Choice-Your-Own-Adventure-tinge.)

When all the gruesome impalements, dismemberments and decapitations at the abandoned psychiatric facility are concluded, like a good magic trick, you appreciate how thoroughly your brain has been screwed with. When it comes to Doubt, I can only summarize by quoting another famous locked room detective, “Satisfactory. MOST Satisfactory.”

The Liar Must Die

Ol' Grim Hisself

* GRIM_NOIR is convinced that the internet is a figment of his imagination. Please comment below and/or follow @Grim_Noir on Twitter or Friend on Facebook or Good Reads to end his self-delusions.

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