Shiki Yukitaka is desperate for money, but he makes way too little as a long term substitute teacher. While drinking one evening, a pretty woman asks if he would be willing to assassinate people for 5 million yen a kill. Although Shiki is hesitant, he grudgingly admits that he might do it, provided all the targets are serious evildoers. He soon finds that her offer is deadly serious, when she introduces him to the rest of the team and points them towards their first target. The driver, Yan, is doing this for the money as well. Shiki's partner, Kuzumi, is a cop. He doesn't appear to be interested in the money, but he seems to be driven by a deep anger.
On Shiki's first mission, things don't go quite as planned. They didn't count on their target's 18-year-old daughter Itsuki being locked up in the house. She's been confined for 10 years, due to her spooky ability to read things from people's minds when she touches them. She claims to want to be their ally, and Shiki is reluctantly made responsible for her care. With the police investigating their crime, is keeping her alive too dangerous? How long will the team be able to get away with continuing their highly paid vigilante murders?
Vigilante justice. It's a topic that's frequented by many pieces of fiction, often glorified, painted black-and-white, oversimplified, or accompanied by sociopathic characters. The moral and psychological nuances that are tied with this subject are likewise dumbed down, leading to stories that feel both unrealistic and emotionally distant. It's a tragedy among storytelling that I've seen repeated far too many times, and going into Kimi no Knife, I certainly didn't have the highest of hopes. Luckily, the manga demonstrated through its more mature and thoughtful take that it wasn't going to be your average Joe action narrative.
This becomes apparent right from the first murder scene. Shiki took up the lucrative but dangerous job as a hitman to pay for his sister's cancer medications, but despite the target clearly being described as an unforgivable criminal, Shiki couldn't bring himself to 'deliver justice' for his mysterious informant. Yes, there's something fundamentally disturbing about killing another human being, a simple concept that so many stories have entirely ignored. Even as he would eventually get used to his job through the course of the story, there's always a specter of guilt and hesitation weighing on both his actions and his conscience. There will be no excuse-making, no 'siding with justice' drivel: Shiki understands the weight of his actions, however overwhelming.
Each bounty becomes a test of Shiki's ethical boundaries, as the information of the targets starts to seem less reliable, and actions start affecting bystanders around the targets, including friends, family, and witnesses to the murders. Are they guilty by association? How should Shiki handle the innocents who could very well have him jailed or even killed after seeing his crimes? Life doesn't always go his way, and when he's forced to make such tough decisions, they strongly reflect on how he develops as a person, and it's freaking excellent. You start to notice these subtle but increasingly relevant changes in his mindset, and by the end of the story, there's nothing but respect for his character. Yes, he's made mistakes. Yes, he's done some terrible things. But he tries time and time again to do the right things amidst all his wrongs, and it's that nuanced portrayal of the human aspect that counts for the most.
Then there's his partner-in-crime Kuzumi, a local police detective and undercover hitman. Employed by the same clandestine agency as Shiki, Kuzumi fights for his own brand of justice, as his previous passion in crime-fighting became overtaken by disappointment for the legal system. That being said, once again, Kuzumi does not try to paint himself as some kind of righteous hero; he knows that his circumvention of the law has its own flawed implications, and he's admitted to acting out for his own peace of mind than anything else.
His character is a perfect complement to Shiki's, the foremost reason being his starkly different judgment and moral compass. This guy is decisive and resourceful, always thinking rationally about how to execute their plans in the most efficient and effective manner, thwarting any police action, and setting up each crime scene with the intent of misdirecting any legal agents. Naturally, this includes brutal suggestions of killing off any witnesses, as witnesses tend to be the single worst loose end to any crime. But the qualities of his character don't just end there. Oftentimes, his suggestions are simply devil's advocate to Shiki's more compassionate nature, and even when he logically doesn't agree with Shiki's judgment, his own emotions and respect for Shiki lend him to acquiesce to the messier, but more humane alternatives. This has landed them in disastrous situations far too often, but he adapts accordingly, laboriously playing risk management and damage control of the group. Kuzumi's dynamic with Shiki is a fascinating relationship to follow, and his personality is much more nuanced than meets the eye.
In general, the characters of Kimi no Knife tend to be competent, multifaceted, and realistic. There are many that I haven't mentioned, some who stay throughout the scene and develop impressively, others who make a strong impact despite their short-lived appearance. Detective Hosaka in particular presents a very well-written character in his frustrations and efforts at bringing both yakuza baddies and the main two protagonists to justice, and the police department offers a passionate cast of characters who enrich the narrative through their actions and personalities. There are bystanders of the murders who end up joining Shiki and Kuzumi by choice or by circumstance, and the inclusion of these characters (including the cover girl, Itsuki) effectively add yet another dimension to the issue, while providing precious and revealing character moments in what slice-of-life the manga has to offer in downtime.
All that said, Kimi no Knife isn't a perfect story. The second half is paced a tad too fast for its own good, blazing through plot developments while offering shaky-at-best foundations for said events. It does build an effective sense of suspense and edge matching the desperation of the situation, but some events become hard to follow, and the ending in particular is a bit tough to accept. Certain elements of the story remain unexplained, and Itsuki's supernatural ability of being able to perceive another's mindset is never really used to great effect. This begs the question of why the author even bothered adding that element into the story, but for you guys who dislike the use of supernatural elements in fiction, it may be a relief.
Don't let the flaws deter you from reading this story though. Kimi no Knife offers a powerful experience, and a surprisingly character-driven one, as its characters are written with excellent foundation and thought in mind. The question of morals is explored very meticulously, and many characters possess intricate moral compasses and ideologies which change over time. Each crime scene is presented with increasingly strong weight and suspense, and even while the work carries significant momentum throughout, it also doesn't shy away from engaging on an emotional level when its characters break down or support each other through poor situations. Most importantly, this work's tone feels human: balanced, nuanced, and natural. In this aspect, it has completely surpassed my expectations.
Seriously, seriously consider giving this work a fair chance. read more
I grabbed this manga because the summary attracted me and it sounded like a good psychological manga, well it sort of is and not. To be clearer I really enjoyed the first two chapters, because they built up to great suspense. But that was it, for me those chapters were the best and made me expect even more or at least the same level of suspense further. It didn't happen, the manga levelled off from there on. There really isn't one main character, but most of the manga revolves around the two hitmen. The events in the manga happened too fast without much insight into the characters' psyche. The manga would've been better if it focused on the feelings of the hitmen, especially Shiki, how he felt after each job or Kuzumi's past. A psychological element, instead of a supernatural one (yes there is one, it really did shock me) would improve this manga. I guess because of the inclusion of 'murder', this manga is designated seinen, but it hardly even passes for shounen.
Story 6- it is interesting, but could've been made more suspenseful. More mysteries are introduced but hardly addressed again, like the 'corrdinator' or the organisation that hires the hitmen. The targets (for the hitmen) r supposed to be evil, so that they won't stain on their consicous after killing them. But hardly two or three lines r said about targets' evilness, I wished more focus should've been shown on their crimes/activities. Some gore should've been added, so at least the 'evil doers' would've seemed evil.
Art 9- I rated it high because it's almost bishoujo, really pretty characters. But there are not enough details in the background.
Characters 6-As a reader I would like to feel somewhat empathetic to the characters. Since there wasn't much focus on their background, except for Shiki's and his reason to kill (very unoriginal btw- sister in hosipital with cancer). I felt there wasn't any depth to the character, the manga barely scraps their surface. There were also too many characters interoduced too fast, that they were hard to remember .
Enjoyment 6- I did enjoy reading it, but it didn't really make me think while reading it. I didn't really need to use my brain much (like a shoujo manga). I'd probably keep reading it to see how it ends or gets any better, but I definitly won't be re reading it.
Overall 6- The premise is promising, but the manga doesn't build on it enough. If it were to become more gory or darker I'd raise its rating.
Well that's all I can say about it, it's my first review and I tried to follow others' review template, so I hope it's helpful to future readers.read more
It took close to two years to reach the end and I wanted to put a little something in here because it was worth the waiting. As I'm writing, I'm waiting for last chapter which I'm sure, will be a fair ending.
First, the plot was interesting. A young substitute teacher in need of money to live and to pay his sister's hospital few, becomes a hitman, partnering with a cop called Kuzumi. Reading this, it had to be interesting as soon as a cop is involved because sooner or later, the cat will be out of the bag and it will be bad.
Where the manga gets great is when seeing the psychological evolution of the main character Shiki. As you all guessed, at first it is hard, then killing is a little more common and then it is regret (because he is still a good guy), imagining dead people everywhere we go. To add up with this, cops will be meddling with their business.
The manga is a centered around this teacher character but we have focus, in some chapters, on co-characters which are interesting too because each one has his own connection with Shiki and his own way to live with it.
What I liked about the story was its real aspect. We are not in an easy-going, unrealistic manga where everything's fine and happy ending, children, etc. The writer is fair by staying on the right tracks, delivering an interesting, realistic plot.
With this story, we have cool art, nothing astonishing but enough to have an easy reading.
Though it took some time (Ok, you'll tell me that some mangas last forever before getting a new chapter), without being insanely deep, I enjoyed reading this story and hope you'll appreciate this review written in so-so English.read more
Kimi no knife has a good plot line, it is secure and constant throughout the whole story. Although it has a good plot, parts of the story made me feel anxious. Usually, you'd think that's a good thing. While reading, it caused me to have an anxiety attack. I gave the story an 8/10 because it was well written and played out. I have the art a 9/10 because it was clean and polished. I gave the characters a 9/10 because I really enjoyed how each main character developed. Enjoy meant was an 8/10 because I enjoyed it the entire time even though my anxiety. Overall I rate it a 9/10.read more