Rabbit Doubt has taken Tokyo by storm. In this cellphone survival game, players grouped together are "rabbits" tasked with hunting down the "wolf" hidden amongst them. Unless the rabbits can identify their enigmatic predator, the wolf will eliminate one of them every turn until the whole colony has been wiped out.
Players of the game often convene in real life, which is exactly what Yuu Aikawa does when he meets Rei Hazama, Haruka Akechi, and Eiji Hoshi. Together with Yuu's longtime friend, Mitsuki Houyama, the group decides to spend their time in a lively karaoke bar. During their revelry, Yuu leaves to check on one of his inebriated friends, but is suddenly knocked out by an unknown figure wearing a misshapen rabbit mask. After regaining consciousness, he finds himself in an abandoned psychiatric hospital, sharing a cell with a mysterious boy. Though the two soon manage to locate the others, their reunion is interrupted by a spine-chilling message in a cellphone: "Rabbit Doubt, Start!"
In Doubt, six high schoolers are thrust into a life-or-death survival game that will test their integrity and trust. With their lives at stake, they must quickly uncover the identity of the wolf that infiltrated their group—or be hunted down like prey.
A story about a group of people locked together in a strange place being killed off one-by-one: sounds fun, right? Well, that is if you're a horror buff. Even though this plot has been done to death (hehe, look at the puns a rollin'!) "Doubt" brings some new charm and perspective to the table with its telling.
First off, the most enjoyable and engaging part of this manga to me was the cell-phone based game that frames the overall story. The game deals with a group of rabbits who are being murdered one-by-one by a wolf hiding amongst them. So what do these little critters do?
Why, pick a rabbit they suspect is the wolf and kill it, of course! If the rabbits pick wisely, they all live (yay!), if not, then they've just murdered one of their own (whoopsie!) and are still at risk of dying themselves (boo!). It's really sort of like the card game Mafia, but with demented looking bunnies. Call me morbid, but I wish that this cell-game depicted in the manga really existed. It sounds like fun to me.
Anyway, this cell game becomes the framework for the twisted game in which the characters of the manga find themselves. They, like the bunnies, are slowly being murdered and have to try to discover the wolf among them before it's too late. Unfortunately, the "wolf", at least who towards the end you think is the wolf, was painfully apparent to me from the get go. However, it turns out that there's a big twist at the end so that this foregone conclusion isn't quite what you're led to expect. That's a good thing, right? Wrong! The actual truth about the wolf as revealed in the last two chapters was so far-fetched and out there that I would have far preferred the obvious wolf to the actual one. I can't and won't give specifics because that would spoil it, but I will say the ending adds an element of the supernatural world a la JJ Abrams style that is hard to swallow (no disrespect to Mr. Abrams, I love you and "Lost" rocks!). And sadly, the issues extend beyond that.
There are so many twists by the end of the story that you get the impression that the artist/author put a ton of ideas in a hat, picked them out one-by-one, and played one twist out until the height of tension was found only to shout "BUT THEN...*insert random twist*". Some of the twists worked for the story and kept it from being boring. However, there were some that not only didn't seem to have a place and were hard to swallow, but that actually left you wondering what the point of them was, slapping a hand to your cheek, and saying an underwhelmed "Uh Huh". It gave the overall impression that the author was saying, "Hey! Look at how witty I am!" rather than trying to formulate a cohesive and entertaining plot.
As for characters, well, I thought they were all decent. Some more development would have been nice, but they all served their purpose. It really did play out like a horror movie in this fashion (you know, you've got a group of people, they all have their own issues, but those issues are largely irrelevant because they're all going to die anyway). I will say that I did ultimately feel that Mitsuki was done well and was highly intriguing in certain parts. Hajime was also a forerunner for good character, but then a certain hastily tacked on twist involving him ruined him for me. Especially because said twist didn't seem to serve any purpose other than being there for added shock value.
The art fit the style, and I noticed that the way the clothing wrinkled was particularly well done. Also, the numerous shots of the gosh darn creepy rabbit suit heads maintained a frightening tone and will ensure that you never look at bunnies the same way again. They were a great signature to the story. I want a poster...maybe not in my bedroom though. Waking up to those freaky rabbit heads looking at me would only inspire some acid trippy nightmares. The one downside to the art was that there were a few scenes drawn in such a way that it was difficult at first to figure out the action and what was happening. Also, there seem to be points in which action is implied rather than shown. For example, there's a scene in which three characters are together in a room, then abruptly, one of them is gone. It's implied that this character walked away, however, there's no panel actually showing this action, so it was somewhat confusing. *POOF* Now you see 'em, now you don't.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable series...until the end completely destroyed it and made me laugh at how ridiculous it was. So, if you like suspense, horror, are a patient person (some of the story does seem rather drawn out at points), and are willing to stretch your imagination to accept unlikely plot twists at the end, you'll enjoy this manga. Basically, if you have the time, give it a go. If your time is precious and you value endings that make perfect sense, I'd try something else.
It's basically a game of guessing. If you guess right, you survive. If you guess wrong, you'll die. Now, this isn't just a game for children. It required hard thinking and strong determination.
The intention of this Manga is to make it's readers doubt and think. The manga wants us to think alongside, to guess who the killer truly is. And of course, we as the readers succumb to this feeling and guess.
However, this is where my first disappointment came into the picture.
There are varieties of personalities and character present to make the manga interesting. All it needed was more doubt among themselves; more drama, more
twists as in who the killer might truly be alongside many given hints we would only realize later.
However I did not notice any hints at all when the conclusion came. Besides that, the conclusion just didn't make much logical sense and wasn't hinted at all. It's like writing a story and suddenly deciding AT THE END of it to decide a killer by coin flip; and then think about what you could use as possible 'hints'. I mean, it was just mind blowing retarded.
The manga itself is fairly interesting though. It gets you thinking; it gets you on the edge of your seat, it keeps you want to read more to eventually see who the killer is and it absolutely gives you 'what the heck?' moments. The 'what the heck' moments are especially fun considering the somewhat gore story.
However, I wasn't engrossed by it. In fact, I think this manga could have put in 'that' much more into it to make it more enjoyable. I just expected more hints, more confusion and more chaos among the survivors.
But the amount of 'people' was low to begin with and was soon changed into even 'less' people. Which is a disappointment all in all; since the personalities weren't used to their max potential. Not to mention that in and around the middle of the manga things are already being revealed; which takes away tension. Besides that, around chapter 10 I already doubted how the manga was going to continue from that point forward due to a lack of material.
Besides all the flaws I've pointed out; the manga is quite good and enjoyable. It has a sharp setting and sticks to it correctly. So if you like a little tension, some gore and people being locked up in a basement. Then this manga is one for you.
Of course you could also just like horror/drama, which is also a good reason. Whatever fits your taste. If you enjoy a manga that, just like I pointed out, has more hints/confusion to it that actually is worth your brain's thinking, you might want to check out another manga. But still, like I said a few times before, this manga isn't quite as bad as I might make it seem. Especially since it's only 20 chapters in total; which is quite the quick read. Just don't expect too much from it and don't start it if your into romance/comedy.
I would not recommend this anime at all. There was barely any character development, the plot consisted of... well, killing, and the whole manga was stretched to the max (they obviously wanted to sell their product for a longer period of time).
Here's a little checklist:
- Plot twists can not make up for a lack of plot, character development
- Cliffhangers are pathetic suspense - builders
- Not all readers are unable to see the Saw II parallels (a horrible sequel, by the way)
As someone who likes this genre, I can say with confidence that Doubt was, by far, one of the most disappointing, pathetically thrown together anime OR manga I've picked up so far.
Reading this manga, I was completely appalled with how much of a train wreck this was. At first glance, this seems like an interesting story concept, and it is. I've read and seen my fair share in the "survival game" genre, and this is an awesome story concept with a lot of potential, which got me interested to begin with. That's why it's so easy to see where Doubt totally blew
Story (1/10 - Pathetic): The worst part of this entire manga. Straight from the beginning, we are thrown into the pre-game setup. All of the characters are meeting together with little context given. There is no "main character is living a normal life sitting at the back of the classroom when something out of the ordinary happens" scenario. The characters all come together saying "I got this weird message, haha" and that's pretty much it for the exposition. We're given typical manga tropes as characters, which is to be expected, but really doesn't help Doubt's case, proving that they stuck with just the bare minimum. We're even given a MC with absolutely no personality or outstanding qualities.
The pre-game development was extremely weak to say the least. They're thrown into the game when we still know very little about the characters or what's going on. From there, the story continues without any buildup or a sense of major mystery, and the story proceeds to rush itself into a complete mess. Again, no development, no tension, no nothing. The characters don't even seem to be afraid about their friends being murdered and being in a bloody dark hell hole. This even furthers the reader from connecting to the characters in any possible way.
However, maybe the worst part of the story is how predictable it is. The mystery pretty much gave itself away, and I could predict the ending before the end of volume one. Obviously this led to a dull, anticlimactic ending that anyone could see coming. You would not believe how obvious and unimaginative this story came out to be. No redeeming qualities.
Art (6/10 - Fair): There isn't much to talk about here. They made some scenes pretty spooky, lots of blood, characters are drawn in a typical way, but not bad. So what? In Doubt's case, the art is not enough to save it from being complete hell. In fact, one of the reasons so many enjoyed this is probably because of the eerie art that was used as a crutch for a such terrible story. Art is hardly worth recognizing and would not redeem this thing in a million years. Moving on.
Character (2/10 - Dreadful): Characters get virtually no development or backstories. There is no investment in any of the characters and character deaths are needlessly thrown around to compensate for a lacking mystery. Character deaths are also sloppy and anticlimactic to the point that I actually wish there were more characters, because when only a few characters are suddenly left, the story gets even more boring. Completely disappointing and a huge waste of potential... potential. Yeah, potential potential.
Enjoyment (2/10 - Dreadful): Needless to say, when the ending and "plot twists" are obvious, with the characters being one dimensional, and with a story with no development or mystery, there isn't much to enjoy. There were a few moments of suspense that were sort of creepy. That's basically the only thing that saves the "enjoyment" from a 1/10. Believe me, I would have dropped this thing if it wasn't a measly four volumes.
Overall (2/10 - Dreadful): All things considered, I think a 2/10 is fair if not generous. I'm sure they could have found ways to make it even worse, like maybe if they found it in an old scrapbook titled "Baby's First Manga", so I'll spare it from the 1/10 rating.
Doubt is a horrendous attempt at a potentially engaging and mysterious story. I'm hoping I don't get a ton of "Not Helpful"s for such a low score, but I'm telling you, this thing was painful to read. Having zero development, character depth, and tension was really killing me. A cool concept that was completely thrown away by a rather pathetic execution.