One night, senior high school second-year Nishina Airi is abducted. When she wakes, she is trapped in an uncanny, isolated space with other students from her high school and forced to take part in the "Werewolf Game." Thus, a death game filled with fear and terror that would pit "Werewolves" and "Villagers" against each other, force them to murder—a game with rules so absolute, defiance is punished by gruesome death—begins.
Jinrou Game is by no means a masterpiece. Nonetheless, it is still an entertaining and enjoyable read if you are looking for something that's easy to digest!
To call the story simple would be an understatement. It is a simple killing game (known to me as "Mafia", also known as "Werewolf Game") without an intricate setup or huge, surprising twists. But it doesn't work in spite of that, it works because it is so simple! You know what you get, is all I'm saying. It's simple-minded fun to see teenagers kill and suspect each other.
The characters lack depth, but the main character is likeable and somewhat
relatable. The support cast is two-dimensional and some are walking stereotypes.
The art is great in some places and below average in others. Overall I like the style though and I am a fan of what they did in some parts, when they used symbolic pictures to describe a situation or explain some rules etc. Overall it is average, but it is good where it counts.
Simply put: Know what to expect when you start reading Jinrou Game. It is nothing special, but in my opinion it doesn't need to be. It's an exciting killing game with decent art and decent characters that won't blow you away but makes for an enjoyable waste of time.
I'm debating whether to recommend this to fans of Town of Salem or the other variations of the game, which is what Jinrou Game is. The situation are ten characters face is the life and death game of deceit.
For brief explanation ten high school students are kidnapped by a mystery man and forced to compete in the 'Werewolf Game', where 7 villagers and a prophet must seek out two werewolves. Each day at 8PM the 'Town' votes for one of their own to be executed as they seek out the werewolves. At night the werewolves can kill one villager, while the prophet can spy
on a single room. Should both werewolves be executed the villagers will be free to leave, however if the werewolves can kill all villagers they will be released.
I suppose this brings us onto characterisation where it's important to remember these are meant to be Japanese high schoolers. Now I've never been on the verge of death other than when I slip on the stairs but I find the reactions of most characters to their situation most unlikely. In the first moments of the manga one of the characters is killed by the 'gamemaster' for refusing to take part in quite a gory fashion. The initial reaction from everyone is shock and disgust, but leading to eventual grounding in reality of their situation. Everyone maintains the attitude that 'this is wrong', but not for long. It is clear that they will be killed by either the gamemaster, a werewolf or each other and so their survival instincts kick in. I'm no psychologist but I doubt the composure of those in the game would remain constant. But that wouldn't make for a very interesting horror manga will it?
Our main character, Airi Nishina, isn't the smartest but she has the strongest morals in a way. She is hesitant to partake in the game and in the first vote nearly dies to the gamemaster for not voting. The remaining characters do what they can to convince the others of what role they have but in general it does boil down to "I'm not the werewolf, they're the werewolf!".
That doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. While your mileage my vary, I sprinted through this manga in two days quite drawn into its tension. While some may think I'm praising it too highly, it's one of those mangas that make me want to learn Japanese just so I can continue reading without relying on translators. It's quite short so I'd personally recommend reading it in a day or so if you did plan on picking it up. Although just like I mentioned, finding its sequel in completion isn't very simple.
As for art, it's standard, nothing amazing but not terrible. Full disclaimer, I'm partial to the main character's design. As for the gore in it, there isn't actually that much despite the emphasis on the characters carrying out executions and murders themselves. The strongest comes from the first death I mentioned earlier.
In short: Pretty average psychological manga with gore splattered in between. It's not for everyone but it's worth giving a chance.
Then again my taste has been called shit so who cares what I think?
Just personal scratch.
Advised, possible spoilers.
Opinion & Informal
The art was about average. The fills and space use were average too. The extras and environments were also sort of basic. The anatomy and proportions checked out. There weren't too many impressive impact shots or art showcases; neither were there any environmental or panoramics. There were maybe one or two cases where the art looked pretty good; the first death is the first thing that comes to mind. However, many of the later deaths sort of had really bland and tame art. This manga is a forced killing game so one might expect some gruesome artwork, but
I really felt that this manga was a bit underwhelming in that department. It felt like a PG-13 sort of thing.
Panel Progression: 5/10
This area too was average. The panel layout and progression were about average. Pacing overall felt a bit too fast. It would have been nice to go into more detail or character development. The quick pacing detracted a lot from the intricacies of the sleuthing, the atmosphere building, and character development. As a result, mysteries were boring, there was no sense of anxiety or dread in the air, and many of the characters never left any impact meaning it was hard to sympathize with any of their death throes. The use of panel cutting wasn't used too much but it was nice to even have it in. Overall, the panel progression was very average.
Like I mentioned earlier, the fast pace of the development detracted a lot from the characters. Before I could even start to think about liking the characters they were already dead. There wasn't enough time spent developing the characters to a point where I could feel anything at all when they died. The character designs weren't anything special too. None of the characters had any design points that made them memorable; none of them felt like that had any flair or substance to their personalities. The characters were also plainly written. I saw it from a mile away (chapter 2) that the nice dude who was helping out the MC was one of the wolves. The two things that this manga did well though were how they ended up developing the MC at the very end as well as how it was able to show how isolated the yankee dude was the day before his death.
An average forced killing game that didn't really add anything to keep it interesting. I don't know why the killers were labeled as "werewolves" when no mention or point was made supporting the name. Why not just have them as regular wolves? Why are the villagers being attacked specifically by werewolves and not just wolves when all of the imagery used in the manga clearly showed wolves and not werewovles. I'm assuming werewolves are the mythical beast of a person transforming into a wolf...so why not go further and support that plot point? All the illustrations referencing wolves and the way dialogue is worded honestly makes it feel like just the regular old wolf, not he mythical type. I don't know, I feel like the author was very mistaken on the differences between the two and the nature of how the folklore actually plays out and decided to use the word werewolf because it sounded cool.
Again, pacing was too fast to develop anything meaningful in terms of plot complexity, atmosphere, and character development. Things sort of just happened and the dread and horror were kind of just happening to the cast; this manga didn't really immerse me into the how the characters may have been feeling. I wasn't "a part" of the story, it was more just me as an observer which is a minus to me. The one good part about the development in this manga that I liked was the twist at the very end. I actually did not foresee that possibly happening so I thought it was a nice touch. I'm just waiting for the sequel to get finished before I pick it up.
The twist conclusion was good. If anything, that's the only "good" part about this manga. Everything else about it is really underwhelming. The conclusion was good enough to get me interested in reading the sequel.
An average killing game where there were only two highlights in my opinion. The one impact shot showing how isolated and desperate the yankee was towards the end was very well done in my opinion. I felt it really captured a glimpse of what he was feeling; a thing that this manga should have been doing for every character. The other highlight is the twist conclusion. I could see myself recommending this because of how short it is and how interesting the conclusion was to be able to setup momentum for the sequel.