mysteries and thrillers

JUDGE, vols. 1-4

judgev1

Yoshiki Tonogai has returned to torture teens once more in this judicial follow-up to Doubt. Previously, Tonogai’s victims were united by their interest in a mobile phone game called Rabbit Doubt. Their love of the game inevitably doomed them to participate in a real life version, created by a…

Deadman Wonderland, vol. 1

Deadman Wonderland cover

When 14-year-old Ganta Igarashii’s entire class is killed by a flying man all dressed in red, Ganta is sentenced to death for the crime. The manner of his execution will be Deadman Wonderland, a giant privatized prison that also serves as a tourist…

Sanctuary, vol. 1: Fresh Meat

Sanctuary 1

When a boorish male panda is found beaten to death the day after his much-touted arrival at a mysterious, isolated wildlife sanctuary, suspicion immediately falls on the new neighbors he went out of his way to offend. But as the…

Battling Boy: The Rise of Aurora West

Rise of Aurora West

In last year’s Battling Boy, Aurora West was the scene-stealer, so it’s fitting that she’s getting her own story, serialized through First Second. The daughter of Arcopolis’s late science hero, Haggard West, the gritty Aurora has a room full of secrets and a calling…

Doubt, vol. 2

doubt_v2

Warning: this review contains spoilers. A good mystery has to end on a high note. Ideally, all the clues scattered throughout the narrative should come together to form a plausible finale. Unfortunately, Doubt leaves a great deal to be desired as its chaotic and…

Doubt, vol. 1

doubt_v1

Doubt, vol. 1 is a lengthy whodunit that pits six teenagers against each other in a life-or-death situation modeled after a popular cell phone game. The manga calls to mind character-driven thrillers like Saw, building an intricate mystery and connecting the victims beyond…

The Clockwork Sky, vol. 1

clockworksky

In 1895, twelve-year-old Sally is shunted off to her brooding inventor uncle, Erasmus Croach. Escaping his mansion becomes the spunky girl’s top priority and, luckily for Sally, no locks can restrain her for long. Her freedom could give her the…

Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 5

Takashige_UntilDeathDoUsPartV5_TP

After falling into an ambush plotted by the criminal mastermind known only as The Wiseman, assassin-turned-vigilante Mamoru Hijikata finds his confidence completely shot. Were it not for the intervention of tween psychic Haruka Tooyama, he would be dead. Thinking himself…

The Heart of Thomas

Heart of Thomas

Moto Hagio helped define the Boys’ Love genre back in the 1970s as one of the “Showa 24,” female mangaka who told the kinds of stories they wanted to read and, in doing so, jump-started shojo publishing. This epic tale,…

Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 4

Takashige_UntilDeathDoUsPartV4_TP

The vigilante Element Network’s plan to strike fear into the heart of Tokyo’s underworld has been a success, but it has also attracted the attention of super-cop Detective Genda. Assigned to the kidnapping of Haruka Tooyama, Genda has uncovered evidence…

Trigun Maximum Omnibus, vol.1

Tri-Max-Omn-1

Trigun Maximum can best be described using the line of text on its contents page: “DEEP SPACE PLANET FUTURE GUN ACTION!!” The series includes lots of over-the-top, gunslingin’ action, with machines and weapons advanced far beyond what the Wild West-style setting suggests, coupled with a large…

Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 3

until_3

The third volume of Until Death Do Us Part opens in the thick of the action, with pre-teen psychic Haruka and her protector Mamoru on the run. Their pursuer is Fang, an international assassin who utilizes stolen military-grade technology to…

Dust Bunny

dust-bunny

Budding metropolis Structure City was burned to the ground in 1995, killing the entire population, save for 500 people. The survivors knew they must find a new home, leading them to seek shelter underground. Those with traits more conducive to nocturnal life survived…

The Undertaking of Lily Chen

The Undertaking of Lily Chen cover image

The title of The Undertaking of Lily Chen has a double meaning, just as the mountain peaks and valleys on the cover of the book represent the landscape while forming a trompe l’oeil skull. The first meaning is entirely dark…

Until Death Do Us Part, vol. 2

Takashige_UntilDeathDoUsPartV2_TP

As the second volume of Until Death Do Us Part opens, blind swordsman/ex-criminal Mamoru and his allies in the Element Network have successfully protected tween psychic Haruka from her would-be kidnappers. However, the vigilantes have little time to rest on their…