This is actually a review I wrote a while ago. The date at the very end of the post, next to my signature, is the date I originally wrote this. I’ve made some edits since then, and I’m excited to be sharing this. So, without further ado, I hope everyone who comes across this enjoys it.
Before continuing, I’ll quickly explain the breakdown of my review. I’ll be starting off with the basics – how long the series is, how much I bought it for, and what the recommended reading level is (I’m not sure if all manga have these, but I know some of the ones I’ll be writing about do). I’ll briefly explain the plot/story next. I’ll be sure to warn ahead of time if there’s anything I think will be a spoiler for anyone. I’ll also let you guys know what I think of the artwork and style of the manga. At the end, I’ll give my overall thoughts on the series, and based off my number scales, I’ll let you know if this is a series I recommend reading or not. The majority of manga I’ll be reviewing will be completed series, rather than one volume at a time.
The number scale I’m using is a typical one to ten scale on how much of something there is or how much I enjoyed reading things. There’s an example of this in the basics for the manga I’m reviewing today.
Today’s review is of a series called Judge, created by Yoshiki Tonogai. Here we go!
This Manga is six volumes and 32 chapters long. Each volume was bought at my local Barns and Nobel for $12.99, not including tax. This particular manga is rated OT for Older Teens. It does have violence and some gore, along with some harsh language. In my opinion, the violence and language are well placed and don’t take away or distract from the story in anyway. Actually, it’s completely necessary for it to be there, as it’s part of the story. This, by far, is not the goriest story I’ve read or seen. On a scale of one to ten (one being not gross at all and ten being so over the top I could barely handle it), I’d say the level this manga hits is a three.
Two years after causing the death of his brother, Hiro is kidnapped and confined inside an abandoned courthouse. Awaking there with an animal mask on his head, he discovers that there are others who have been kidnapped as well. All of them soon face judgment, as they each are tasked with deciding whose sins are greater. Lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth, pride and greed (all represented by the animal masks each character starts out wearing) are all under judgment of each other. Every 12 hours, the group must vote on someone to sacrifice to make up for the sins they have committed, until there are only four survivors left.
Judge has a decent amount of twists in it. As I read, I found myself wanting to know more and more about how everyone got there, what their histories were, and who was behind the whole set up in the first place. People are definitely not who they seem to be in this manga, and it really did keep me on my toes. Even at the very end, I found myself surprised.
The development and speed of the story is just right. For only being six volumes long, the story is not rushed or cut off short. The pace the story sets suits the eerie mood of the manga. Character development was decent. Trust was either made or broken among the characters during certain events and choices that took place throughout the story, and the consequences of their decision making were well reflected in each person. This made it easy to either side or become suspicious of certain characters.
In the beginning, it did feel like the protagonist was being a bit too hopeful for what the situation called for, as I saw him attempting to be the hero by trying to find ways to get everyone out alive. Despite the others around him having major doubts, he still attempted this. However, overall, I do think that the rationality of the characters and the thought processes they each had made sense for each individual person in the story. The story goes back into each character’s background just enough for the reader to understand what their particular sin could be, and to relate to how they are feeling and thinking.
My one to ten rating for the story, based on how much I enjoyed it and its pace, is an eight. I would definitely pick up this manga again and give it another read. I also have recommended it to friends, and let a couple of them borrow the series so they could read it for themselves. It’s a well written story that will keep you guessing as to what the true purpose of the judgment is.
Now, as I began writing this review, I did learn that Judge is actually a sequel to a series called Doubt. I haven’t read that series yet, so I’m not sure how the two play into each other. However, in the future I will be collecting that series as well and therefore should be doing a review on that. This will probably take some time, but I’ll be sure to let everyone know when I’ve officially began reading Doubt.
The first few pages of each volume are actually colored, which I really appreciate. In high school, the majority of manga I collected was always in black and white, so when I first saw colored pages I was surprised and in love. The colors used in those first pages definitely set the tone for what’s about to happen in the rest of the volume.
In my opinion, the artwork style isn’t anything special. The style in which the characters are drawn is a style I felt I’ve seen before, so because of that, I’d rate the character art as a five out of ten. This didn’t necessarily bother me, as the style of the environment helped better set the mood. As the characters cast their votes for the sacrifice, more of the courthouse becomes unlocked to them (I won’t explain it anymore than that, you guys just have to read it for yourselves), and the more eerie the atmosphere feels. The courthouse in itself felt like a mystery to me, as well as what the characters where doing there.
I felt like this series was a good read. For those who read or watch this kind of genre (horror, suspense) it may not feel like anything new to you. For those who aren’t so familiar with it, this may be a good first series to pick up to get you started. I do recommend it to others, and as I said before, I would read it again. It’s just the right length, it doesn’t leave any loose ends, and I felt satisfied after I completed it. The major good thing is, I don’t regret investing in this short series.
Violence – 3 out of 10
Plot/story – 8 out of 10
Character art – 5 out of 10
Let me know what you all thought in the comments. If there’s any other points you would like me to touch on in future reviews, please let me know. Also, is this a manga you would consider reading? Is there a series you would like me to pick up and read? Any questions or suggestions are completely welcome.
As before (and always), thank you for reading, and I’ll catch you all for the next review!
©S.T. Nov. 6, 16