"What is your crime?" From the author of Doubt, it's time for a new terrible game, Judge. Hiro's brother Atsuya is dating Hiro's childhood friend and secret crush Hikari. Hiro's affection for Hikari will lead him to commit an un-punishable crime against his older brother. At least, he thinks it is un-punishable, until he is kidnapped and imprisoned by a group of people wearing animal masks. The judging is about to start!
When I first started reading this manga I found that it was a lot like an anime I had recently watched (Dangan Ronpa) which put me of initially, however, I soon got gripped into this series! The characters develop smoothly and in a way that make you ask yourself, 'Who can I trust?' which is something I personally enjoy.
Would I recommend this series? Yes! The ending is extraordinary and the plot develops at a steady pace which leaves the reader wanting more.
I'll try my best to write this review without spoilers. I'm on the fence as to whether or not I genuinely enjoyed this story. It definitely is a shorter manga, as it only has 6 volumes, and it leaves room for some necessary details that were left out, and a slightly rushed ending to get to a conclusion as to why people were paying for their sins, or crimes.
Story 6/10 : The back story to how the whole "Judge" game was really intriguing to me. All of the middle parts where characters are paying for their sins were kind of flat because we weren't
really informed too much of what exactly a character was paying for, this only happened maybe once or twice. I was reading the story because I was only interested in what each character was being judged for and what they were in there for. I understand that this could've been used for the purpose of not giving too much away for later on, but it makes it seem like the author is holding too much back from the reader to understand anything that is going on. Then again that could be a tactic, to leave the reader feeling the same as the characters. Confused as hell as to what was happening and how. The only reason why I rated it higher than it should be is because of how the story starts and ends, the middle is a mess.
Art 7/10 : I won't fuss too much about the art, as I'm not too judgmental about it. For a shorter story the art works out just fine in the book and isn't an eye sore for a reader.
Characters 4/10: I understand that the writer of this manga tried to make the character's stories as clear as possible without expanding too much on un/important details, yet some of the characters stories were so flat that they were intentionally supposed to be unimportant in the story. Why not make us believe the story they tell to everyone else, and when someone pays for their 'sin' or 'crime', you can show us what really happened in their situation? I feel like this was attempted once or at least twice, and I felt that this should have been utilized every time.
Enjoyment 6/10 : I feel bad that the only volumes of this manga that I enjoyed was the first and and the last volume. I love how it begins and ends. The incidences in the middle just seem a little bit senseless to me and didn't really help figure out why they were truly there, but yet again, the characters didn't know either.
Overall 6/10 : I've read all 32 chapters and I can say that it is understandable as to why the author left character details out for the sake of the story later on. I just feel like it could have gone a different way than it did. The ending is interesting in how it all comes together, because I honestly felt clueless as to what was going on throughout almost the whole story. It's honestly okay to feel disappointed if you think the last volume was rushed, because it certainly felt that way when it was trying to tie itself up. It's hard to tell if the author's real intentions was to make you feel as clueless as the characters within the story, and then having the ending coming along quick, because it would almost feel that way if real people had to deal with a real situation like this. It's also understandable because it's quite a quick read, but nonetheless I still recommend it for the sake of the ending. I really depends on who is reading it and what type of genre you are into. I can't say I absolutely loved this manga, but it was a good read.
Story: following up as almost a sequel of Doubt (from the same author) if you liked doubt this one won't disappoint you and will get you equally interested, the ending was dragged a bit but still delivers a sense to it
Art: found it quite good myself
Characters: most of them are quite appealing, except for a few but in general they all keep a good thrill to the plot
Enjoyment: same way as Doubt, Judge engages well in telling the story in a way that makes you enjoy it specially if you like the genre
Overall: again in the same example this one could have an anime adaptation,
it does have a solid developing and works from the premise, Final Score: 9/10
If you could - would you choose to save everyone? Especially if there was no guarantee they would save you?
Moral questions I couldn't instantly find the answer to present themselves again and again in this manga. And each one is more disturbing than the one before it.
Starting from the creepy masks right down to the reason why they all find themselves in that room. It all seems like a twisted game, and to be honest - that is exactly what it is.
Added to that is the question of the 'crimes' these people have committed. Given the hero's crime, it isn't exactly sure what
kind of a 'Judge' selected these people.
The story seems to focus more on the interactions between the characters. Everyone reacts the way strangers who wake up in an unknown room would, that is until the judging begins.
Caught in a survival game, a group of strangers are forced to 'Judge' each other in a manner making the group seem more like a jury where everyone is on trial. And these decisions, as expected tend to follow the pattern of 'I want to survive, so what should I do?'
Lies, deceit, betrayal and twisted thinking follow as everyone tries to find out ways to survive, and this includes forming groups among themselves. But even then, the question of whether everyone in the group is loyal or not, remains uncertain. This manga tends to make you question every decision, and at points I found myself staring into the pages and screaming, 'No! Don't do that! It's obviously a trick!'
The one thing I learned from this manga was that it was foolish to trust anyone, and I mean just about anyone in this story. I tend to find myself cocking my eyebrows at the lead himself sometimes. But in so far, it has been played spectacularly. The author does a good job of showing everyone's desperation, and the lead's plea to try and save everyone is a breath of fresh air in a story where everyone seems hell bent on their own survival.
Being the sequel to the manga 'Doubt', I sometimes wonder how the two will match up with each other, or if at all. The art style is similar to 'Doubt's' and for those that haven't read either - The art style is good. I would give it a 7/10. And the author does a brilliant job of expressing everyone's emotions. At times, it makes me honestly feel for the characters.
The sense of isolation, the desire to survive along with the knowledge that your life depends on a stranger who probably cares for nothing more then their own survival; plot twists that make you question what which character knows and has kept hidden - and the overriding question of their crimes. The range of the characters is vast - you find the typical hero trying to save everyone, an overtly 'bad guy' character, the sneaky one, a school girl, a glasses character, the apparently 'good' character among others. In essence, it tends to bring together all the stereotypes and plays them against each other spectacularly.
The characterization is nothing I can particularly speak about at this point. Not all the characters have been dealt with in depth, and some of them seem far too obvious. I hope this will change as the manga continues. One part I find somewhat interesting is the way the lead himself is ever so slowly changing, though how far that will go I cannot say yet.
If you're a fan of horror/gore and like to keep guessing - this is a manga you should definitely try out. Though the most gripping part in this manga is the moral dilemma which every character faces. Exactly what is the right thing to do? And who should get to decide and why?
At this point, I'm up to chapter 15 in the manga, and honestly I'm impressed. Though I have to say that certain things could have been played better - like maybe humanizing some of the characters that seem to exist just to create tension. What really gripped me to this tale was the part which got me thinking of what I would do if I were a character in the game. I wasn't really happy with the answer I got, and that kept me reading.