On the normal, unchanging campus, it suddenly occurred; A murder case where a body was cut open, right into two.
On the other side of the unsolved case, the rumor-loving high school students became involved in a certain ritual.
From the extremely popular songs on Nico Nico Douga, begins the Project.
What is the "Bookmark of Demise"...?
Who is the traitor...?
What will the conclusion to this story be...?
Shuuen no Shiori is based off of the Shuuen no Shiori Project, a Vocaloid song series created by 150P. The lyrics are based off of Japanese children's games and urban legends such as hide and seek, monkey paw, and doppelgangers.
(I have read the first novel as well as part of the manga so there'll be spoilers.)
Shuuen no Shiori, or Bookmark of Demise, was originally a Vocaloid song saga which got turned into a novel and then became a manga. The Vocaloid songs are really good, but after reading the first novel and a few manga chapters I was completely letdown.
The setting is simple: A group of four boys and girls get together in an old classroom and talk about urban legends. They find a book which is said to have killed five people in the past and decide to perform a ritual which
makes a survival game starts. They must obey the fox's orders and kill them or they will die.
It starts like your everyday survival game story, but I liked that since I'm a fan of this kind of stories. However it bugged me how they would be able to pull off an interesting survival game with only four characters. Usually, this kind of stories are presented with a big cast (from 10 people to a whole classroom) so you can speculate who the traitor is while everyone dies one by one.
There is no such thing as speculation in Shuuen no Shiori. Each one of the characters is given an urban legend as an order and they're supposed to "carry out" said order. If they don't, they'll get killed by the fox.
Each few chapters focuses on one of the four victims, and all of them end up getting killed. A-ya and B-ko are killed by C-ta and D-ne respectively, and then C-ta and D-ne are killed by the fox. By the time I reached the end of the first novel and realized everyone was dead, I was very confused. How can everyone be dead? Every chapter is told by one of the characters and none of them showed any signs of being the traitor, so what is going on?
When I reached the answer I felt absolutely betrayed. It's like Suzumu had only planned on writing a bunch of plain characters, have them killed, and call it a good story. Since at the end you discover the traitor was you, the reader, this whole time.
This "the reader was the killer" the whole time could've been very good, had it been done carefully. But that's not the case. Through the series there wasn't a single moment when I felt like I was "one of them". There was never a clear intent to make the reader feel close to the characters, and it doesn't help that the characters are plain and face no development at all.
I think out of everything, even with the terrible writing, the characters were the worst part of the entire series.
The character's names are A-ya, B-ko, C-ta and D-ne, and they're all basically the same.
A-ya is an occult freak who doesn't like people, and the one to suggest they perform the Bookmark of Demise ritual.
B-ko is a popular girl who acts sweet to hide her tsundere personality, and although she fights with A-ya they share a love for the occult.
C-ta is A-ya's childhood friend. A cool and popular guy who isn't interested in the occult, but joins A-ya because he's too possessive to allow his friends to have other friends. He has cameras hidden in A-ya's room because that's so edgy.
D-ne is a quiet girl who doesn't talk to people, but has a crush on B-ko so she joins her and the boys. She's just as possessive and yandere as C-ta.
I did like these characters at the beginning, but I soon became bored. C-ta and D-ne are all too similar, A-ya is the most generic nerdy character, and I only liked B-ko because she was the most believable character of them all. But as I said before, none of these characters face any kind of development at all.
A-ya starts an occult nerd and dies an occult nerd. B-ko starts scared of the ritual and dies scared of the ritual. C-ta starts obsessed with A-ya and dies obsessed with A-ya. At least D-ne turns into B-ko... or something, right?
The artstyle for the manga was good, though maybe not my favorite. The art is probably the most enjoyable thing of Shuuen no shiori
I only read 6 chapters of the manga because I knew what was going to happen after reading the novels. Had it been a more interesting story, I wouldn't have minded, but I had no intention of reading such a bad-written story over again.
Shuuen no Shiori was a wasted opportunity. It took four characters with the same four traits mixed up, killed them one by one and called it a day.
It could've been so much better if the characters had a bit more of development, if there had been a character or two more, or if at least the fox's orders had been somehow clear. But it seems like suzumu preferred to play it safe and have two unstable kids kill their same-sex love interests. Because that's so edgy.