“Looking back on it now, I realize that incident is what turned me into the novelist I am today. An author is someone who creates tales, but an aspiring author is someone who lies, and nothing more. This incident happened ten years ago, when I was in college, and merely an aspiring author. If those events never took place I wouldn’t have become much of anything at all, which is why I think I need to thank her, thank that girl …”
I’ll be sharing thoughts on the entire series (volumes 1-3) as a whole here. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible, but the above description from volume 1 by the publisher does NOTHING to convey what the series is really about so I will have to get into some plot details to properly discuss the points I wish to make.
Ok, so the book description provides an intriguing hook and is connected to the narrator’s personal arc, but gives pretty much no information or framework about the plot. I find this to be an issue mostly because the story is pretty messed up. The college aged narrator is kidnapped and held captive by an elementary school girl after randomly seeing her act oddly at the scene of an accident where her friend was killed. Exactly what you’d expect, right? No, me neither.
From that disturbing premise came a manga that was unsettling in a lot of the wrong ways yet still extremely compelling and intriguing. I was constantly torn between wondering where things were going and being afraid to find out. Oh, and wanting to shake the main character for being an idiot. The girl was a far more interesting character, and even in context of all the strange happenings, emotional issues being addressed, psychological elements, etc, the narrator’s actions and reasonings often overstepped from those of someone in over their head and dealing poorly to flat out nonsensical. On top of that I considered abandoning it after the second volume also due to how creepy it was, but continued since there was only one left to go and I was admittedly curious.
I am glad I finished it. The overall concept of the story and pieces of what was being built towards were as interesting as certain elements along the way indicated. But it all could have been much better executed. It strayed too often from psychological suspense towards full on horror, and certain, important context regarding the narrator’s actions seemed short changed due to pacing issues and info dumps. I don’t know if these issues were in the source material or an effect of adaptation, but overall I wish the journey was approached differently to do more justice to the admittedly compelling underlying story line.
Overall I felt this short manga series both tried too hard in some ways and not hard enough in others. Again, it could all relate to the source material. Part of me wants to recommend anyone who can stomach the premise read it anyway because of the things it does do right and some of the thought provoking themes struggling to transcend the telling, but between the uncomfortableness of the approach and missteps along the way I really can’t.