Kyoya Ida is a hard-nosed detective from the Shinjuku Police precient. He is known in the force as an unreasonable type who would use lethal force to solve cases, making him unpopular with the enlisted and high-ranking officers in the National Police Agency. Despite this fact, there are some in the force that admire Ida for his bravery and cleverness in using lethal force to solve criminal cases whenever legal means are met in a dead end.
Written by the author now most famous for Alive and Skyhigh, thanks to successful film adaptations, this manga easily surpasses both, such is the fate of masterpieces forever burdened with the 'underrated' label.
Tsutomu Takahashi's crime thriller Jiraishin is a decisive step away from most manga tropes and conventions. It feels more like a manga adaptation of a gritty US TV series in the vein of NYPD Blue, or to go even further back, like a Japanese take on TV series The Equalizer.
What we have here are an array of very disturbing cases involving a variety of depraved yet fascinating characters who usually leave dead bodies
in their wake. The imagination on display in the set-up and pay-off of each case is bold and assured, there are moments that will shock you, captivate you and repel you from the graphic imagery and storytelling in these pages.
The cases are mostly set in 90's Japan, superbly recreated thanks to quirks of the decade like gigantic brick cell phones and the fashion of the time. Some cases occur in other countries, so the locales visited are varied and show the dark side of other corners of the globe.
Speaking of dark, there's the main character Kyoya Iida. Never was there such a brooding cop in all of manga. Cold, economical, to the point, blunt. Not to the point where we can’t identify with him however, as there are very subtle indications of emotion behind that tough exterior. We don’t need to see our hero shed tears when the shit hits the fan for him personally, we just need excellent scene composition from Tsutomu, and we get it in spades.
Jiraishin just looks stylish as hell. Do not let the early 90's time period fool you into thinking you're going to be seeing outdated aesthetics. The manga is dripping in a dirty kind of beauty, and it has to because its dealing with dark crimes of passion most of the time. Criminals crazed with emotion, wild-eyed without any, calculating with greed, suffering through disorder, this manga runs the gamut for compelling motivations for doing crazy shit.
You will see plenty of crazy shit. Crazy in a real kind of way, this isn’t another MPD Psycho with fantastical corpse-arrangement. This is Jiraishin. Dark quakes reverberating in the underbelly of society; rippling up to the surface; tsunamis rolling across the lives of the innocent.
Well, I really didn't like this manga.
If you ask me why, I would say cause I finished reading and I felt something like disgusted and sad with the world. Well, maybe that's what the autor wanted.
Kyoya gives me the impression that he's not human. I don't like him.
But, just to say something different, the art is really good.
I prefer manga with good psicological stories and something that I can learn in the end (ok that's cliche but its my taste). So, if you're searching something twisted and creepy, take your time and read Jiraishin, you'll like it.
To be honest, I have no idea what to write about this manga. I'm not sure whether I should like it or not, because every time I thought: "That's bull****"., there was this certain something that made methink: "Well ok, but that was good, so give it another try."
It is really hard to grasp what you feel about it, because this manga was completely different from all manga most people, including me, are used to. I try to avoid spoiler as good as possible, but I hope you can understand that it's not so easy (even more because that's my first review!).
The first unusual thing
is the construction of the manga.
Normally, chapters have, on average, 25 or 40 something pages. In Jiraishin it can vary extremely; one chapter may have 70 or even 100 pages, the next chapter only 20. Furthermore, Jiraishin does not have a "main story". Each chapter has one case and only occasionally does a case has 2-4 chapters, but that's it. They are never linked to another and as I said, there is no "main story waiting in the background".
However, the cases are good. It's hard to put it in words, but they often seem to show what comes of it when humans are mentally pushed into a corner or how humans can change, even though you thought you knew what's going to be happen. And there are not only "the usual cases" we are familiar with from like Detective Conan or CSI series *lol*, but there are even cases about children committing crimes or so. What I liked about the cases was that, at the end of some, you really were disturbed and thought about the world and started to question humanity again, because I'm pretty sure that crimes like in this manga are often committed in everyday life.
The second unusual thing are the characters. Normally, you have like this one or two or three guys and girls you like very much and with whom you can identify yourself, but that's not the case with those in Jiraishin. Lol
Worse of all is Kyoya Ida, haha. In my opinion, he's a pretty interesting character, even more because you don't get any information or background of him; I was often angry because of that. Lol (so he kept being interesting)
However, I like him; he is so unconventional and somehow I could understand his way of doing things. Ok, to be honest, I hated him at the beginning, haha.^^ I also liked the way he was drawn, but I'll talk about the drawing style in a minute. Kyoya is normally working on his own, but from time to time his colleagues turn up. I'm sorry, but that's all I can say about the characters without spoiling too much.^^
What I really liked most about that manga was the drawing style. Ok, at the beginning I was like "Eeeeh, what??", but after some volumes you get used to it and his style was progressing positively. It was actually the art that kept me reading. Every time, when I was about to drop this manga, a very well-drawn picture appeared (as if it was on purpose, haha) and I thought "Ok, give it another chance". I liked the women most, especially the hair and the eyes of them. Any of you who read Death Note know that FBI woman that appears at some point in the story, and a lot of female characters in Jiraishin somehow reminded me of her.^^
The sceneries were in most cases very detailed; I like that, because I think it's even more interesting if the background looks realistic, if you know what I mean. I also noticed something else; Asian people did often look like Asian people. Sounds maybe funny, but in all the manga I've read so far, the eyes are normally round or at least slightly round (or just not look like you'd expect from Asian people); in Jiraishin however, the eyes of e. g. Japanese such as Kyoya were always slightly slitted and you could see the difference to foreign people (at least if you keep attention *lol*).
Uhm yeah, as you might have noticed, I often wrote that it was hard for me to keep reading or that I hated Jiraishin at the beginning and that might discourage some of you, but I think you should really give it a try, if you like unconventional, controversial and unusual stories.
Well, I'm a stubborn person, so I thought when I already started to read it, I should finish it as well and I have to admit that I didn't regret it at all. I already miss it, somehow. xD
Let's say up until volume 8, it was hard for me to continue reading, but after that volume, I enjoyed it very much (those who've already read it will probably know why *lol*).
I hope I could help you to some extent.^^ (and I hope this review is not too illogical xD)
Investigations on murder cases often hit a wall due to legal limitations; whenever these cannot be dealt with, Kyoya Ida, a ruthless, homicidal and emotionless top detective, is assigned with the case. Jiraishin is a mystery manga which main focus lies in displaying different murders, ranging from brutal manslaughter to intricate, mysterious cases.
There is no definite storyline to follow in Jiraishin: each volume is dedicated to a specific case, in which the author carefully introduces the characters involved, as well as the setting without providing an access of clues to keep the reader interested. The cases take place in the 90's which enhances the gloomy
atmosphere and provides a realistic to feel to the detective taking illegal actions which wouldn't be possible nowadays. In addition, the cases are varied, such as disturbed people killing because of their beliefs, disturbing family matters, international gangs operating in Japan, you name it. This may sound simple, yet this is where it really stands out: it is very human and realistic, displaying emotions of people involved flawlessly. All characters are susceptible to death, showing thourgh the narritve the fragile nature of humans.
The "episodic" nature of the manga has however a negative aspect to it: there is no real continuity to be found, neither a definite storyline. An additional problem is that it is difficult to develop the characters, and their relationships. Nevertheless, the author manages to introduce said elements carefully through the different situations provided and displayed.
The cast of Jiraishin is varied, yet small, implementing different characters with distinct personalities. Detective Kyoya Ida seems at first the most ruthless, emotionless and cold killer; yet throughout the manga the reader observes how Ida displays emotions, though very subtly, contributing to his own personality. The author manages to show the reader the different characters involved in the cases, presenting their actions behind their motives, giving a realistic feel to the story.
There is however little character development to be found in the characters, as well as the fleshing out of them. The manga seems to focus more on developing and showing the different murder cases, as well as the presentation of the characters.
The art style of Jiraishin is well drawn, and very distinctive in case of the characters and backgrounds. These add well to display the dark atmosphere and humanity of the manga, through good use of shading patterns, in addition to the facial expressions and character's behaviour.
All in all, Jiraishin was a well presented manga that managed to portray the cases as well as the dark atmosphere it was trying to portray through impressive, yet human and realistic interactions and murders, being the manga's main objective. There was nevertheless a certain lack of character development as well as backgrounds of the characters, yet didn't interfere with the story in any way. This manga is certainly worth a read for anyone in an interest in the mystery genre.