Kominato Riku is a high school student who aims to be a game designer. The girl next door is his childhood friend Haju, is in love with him, but he has fallen head over heels for the school idol Riko. And lastly, there is the transfer student, Nodoka. With that all said you'd think this is the start of some love-comedy harem, but a rumor spreads that Nodoka's received a message that says, "you will die soon." Riku and the gang's fate will change in a major way. Who will live, and who will love?
A thousand times we die in one life. We crumble, break, and tear apart until the layers of illusion are burned away and all that's left, is the truth of who and what we really are. Is what you’re living for right now is worth dying for?
This manga undeniably will send chills down on your spine. I just though this is just some your average harem manga but seem like I mistakenly judged it. With completely dark side story brought in a new horror you will never expect. Don’t stop yet, because our nightmare is just a beginning. The true nature of this dark
side story really startled me. You want to ask, what does that mean? It's simple, no matter how awful it may seem, it is still the gore genre. It’s just defining the reality of our world face now. Our world is already messed up. Some people are depressed because don’t have an Iphone, while on the opposite, there people who cry because doesn’t have money to feed for their family. See the difference? Back to the main plot. The theme of this manga is “Survival of the fittest”. Little by little, one by one, consumed by their own selfishness, love, hatred and desire to live in this cruel world. Truth to be told, I’ve never seen manga so brutal. It even successfully defeated anime Elfen Lied in gore genre. This manga will leave you speechless. I have mixed feeling while I try to write this review but let put the emotion aside.
Let’s get to main story shall we?
The story revolves around daily life of a high school boy name Riku Kominatio. Riku harbors romantic feeling towards his classmate Riko Kissei who look like idol in the school. While Riku's childhood friend Haju is deeply in love with him. Suddenly, a new transfer name Nodoka, Kishin gets transferred to Riku's high school. Could this be a harem? It would be good if it goes like any harem story but sadly this is the starter of nightmare they will go through. Some weird rumor has been spread out of nowhere. It about a game called "Die Any Day". Riku and all girls will play one dead game. Riku can choose only one girl as his true love. The other girls will be a sacrificed to the true love girl. This game will just kept hunting them without no way out until the decision has been made. Who will Riku choose and save?
I must say, the art is really beautiful. It's just a fantastic! The scene, character and everything. All is pretty well done indeed. Nicely done!
Enjoyment and Overall 9/10
I’m not a fan of gore and such. I at least will avoid watching or reading anime and manga of those genres because I can’t stand this gore thing and stuff. Nevertheless, I gave this manga a shot to see how far this manga can go. Actually, I don’t know this manga is a gore genre first. I think I just read some normal harem manga but it goes wrong. Since I have already read it, why not reading until the end right? Regretful, I still think this manga is too violent. So if you can’t stand it, just avoid it. No need to suffer like myself now because I’m quite softhearted inside. Still, I can say I’m pretty enjoying the manga. It has a great plot line with the urge to show the darkness that buried in everybody heart. So I’m kind of enjoying it. Sure, I give you a recommendation to give it a shot. That is the end of my review. Thanks for taking your time to read it.
Up to the final end, this manga never failed to startle me. It's a shame, I still can feels the chills down to my spine even for the ending. Such a creepy way to end it. They say, ignorant is a bliss but the manga is really satisfying to read.
tl;dr : Please don't do this to yourself. Please DON'T.
You may be thinking "eh, it's just 16 chapters. At worst I'll only waste some time" but DON'T. It's not even "so bad it's good" bad, it's just plain bad.
So now that this is out of the way, let's get on with the task of explaining why this manga sucks (I'm doing this in no particular order, this is my first review. It will suck, bear with me).
Okay so let's start with the only good point : the art (7). It's okay. Not excellent but it's pretty good at representing distressed people and is the only
way this manga manage to have some kind of atmosphere.
Now the story (4) : it's ... okay : some kids need to understand why and how someone is going to kill them after witnessing a video that show them how they'll die. Now this is not a bad idea per se, but in this manga it's really undermined by every thing else.
Wait no, I should have said it like that : the PREMISE is 7, the actual STORY is 2. Because while it COULD have been good, it's not. The charcaters kill the story and the ending is horrible.
The characters (2). Aaaah the characters. I can't remember the last time I actually wanted to punch every single character in a manga. None of these characters are relatable and their (re)actions make no sense. Now if you intend to read this thing (and if I didn't make myself clear enough already DON'T), please don't expect any kind of rationality to happen. As always in this kind of work the police is nonexistent, adults are incompetent and the family of the kids must be on the other side of the planet as they have ZERO impact on the story (except for that one chick whose parents were murdered ten years ago. THAT's the extent of family involvement).
So as for the characters themselve we have :
- the dense harem MC. He's dense, he's meek, everyone fall for him because he's kind, he should die in a fire.
- the shy chidhood friend. She's shy, she loves the MC and anything else is spoiler.
- the manipulative bitch. You CANNOT like her. Seriously I tried, she's not made for that. No character in this story is likeable.
- the student council president. Except this one I guess. She's bland but compared to the rest she's a 11/10 character.
- some other girl who can't make her damn mind. And is actually an understandable character (not relatable mind you).
- the adults. Useless. Because of course when 5 people have disappeared while checking the server's room the police don't care, that's not important. FFS this manga.
Oh my god you can rate the "enjoyment" part. Ahahahahahah, they should really put something like "this manga made me angry and actually ruined my mood". I'm using this review to vent but seriously I hope you won't read this thing.
Overall : 2. This is not the worst manga ever, but it's trash. I simply can't understand how anybody could have rated this thing higher than 5. This is a waste of time and it will make you feel bad.
Eh, I should have put that in the tl;dr
Story - 5: The story of "Seeking for Death" starts pretty good. It seems like when it comes to unconventional stories about romance (this one is actually anti-romance), they are usually mystery and science fiction and this manga is no exception. There are a lot of unexplained elements that really keep you on alert. The very fabric of reality seems to bend because of some videos that some person created. The characters must find out how to end everything by wading through a web of deceptions from all parties.
The best part of the
beginning of the manga is how even strangers become part of the escalating tension. Late into the story, it feels pretty good to learn that there was at least a tiny bit of reasoning behind why things happened.
This all would be good if the story was not filled with holes and ended on a far more meaningful note.
The weird thing is that the elements of mystery are done rather entertainingly and everything about the investigation is pretty thrilling. But in the end, it is still empty.
The weird thing is that the character's backstories are really good and really prevent this manga's plot from being utter crap.
One last negative thing to say is that characters will experience deadly situations without dying. Get a body part cut off? Stay in your room all day. She never goes to the hospital. Another time, everyone falls a far distance down onto a hard stone floor without being harmed in any way. What happens after that is more ridiculous and rushed, even if it is a slightly logical turn of events.
Art - 8: The art is amazing in how unique it is. Things like hair and feet seem disappointing at first, but there is a nice subliminal effect to that art that matches with the psychology basis of the story. Some things have a transparency aspect which adds to that more.
The shadowing is really vibrant and it makes the world feel colorful most of the time. There are a lot of dark scenes with a misty effect which must have taken a lot of skill.
The only art that really bothered me was when they were showing the insides of an old building and there were just unknown black marks on the stone tile and walls. Character art also suffered because of how the last main character looked. She looks too similar to the first girl we are introduced to and her design is just bland and stupid-looking.
Character - 3: The protagonist was hinted at being something interesting, but he is simply not attracted to anybody who is falling in love with him. Yet, stupidly enough, he is attracted to the girl named Riko, seemingly for no reason. At first, he goes from liking Riko to being attracted to a new girl. When she dies, he does not grieve the loss too much. He just focuses on the mysteries that killed her. Yet, he does not seem to be in love with anyone eventually. He values all of their lives simply because they are lives. Main character is pretty fake.
The women in the harem that develops are pretty much an expression of typically female negative relationship traits. They only want the main character because he will give them an advantage they feel is necessary to survive (for the most part). They want complete monogamy because they feel like life will be empty without the person they love and anybody else who gets involved will end up breaking them apart. If given one man to focus on, they would go after him competitively and violence escalates.
Two of them are completely chaotic and two are lawful.
What is good is that they approach the main character for very genuine reasons. They definitely feel like real people in their backstories, but these stories do not seem to apply to the actual characters. No logical path of character development is implemented. Despite having compelling backstories as a reason to have a sense of character, only the girls who die and have no real backstory had an actual personality. This is not saying that characters with empty emotions have no personality, it is just that even the empty emotions and possessiveness are not fixed personality traits on these characters. Once again, the characters seem fake.
Lastly, the villain has no real motive. Of course.
Enjoyment - 4: This manga is not fun to read. Large parts of this manga made me feel like I was just wasting my time, but the flashbacks and backstories and some of the psychological/philosophical ideas casually mentioned by minor characters were interesting enough for me to read the whole thing. It still did not feel like a good experience.
And, if you came looking for a Yandere, you will not likely be pleased. There is hardly enough psychological involvement in this manga. Characters are just thrown around without much meaning and no development. Therefore, the horror is pretty much a joke most of the time. And yes, the Yandere are somewhat terrifying in this manga, but it is hard to care if one kills another character. Plus, that only really happens in the first few chapters.
Overall - 4: If you are someone who wants mindless entertainment and are a sucker for first impressions, this manga is for you. Of course, you could read it for the few interesting ideas that it poses, but there are only two or three really interesting ideas in here.
Mousugu Shinu Hito begins as a memorable deconstruction of the harem genre. The MC's harem is forced on him, he can only choose one "true love," and the rest of the harem will die after he makes his choice. Accordingly, each of the female leads does everything in her power (in some cases crossing ethical lines) to woo him in order to ensure her own survival.
It takes a lot of explanation to suspend disbelief that these dramatic circumstances have befallen these seemingly everyday characters in a situation that, other than the disturbing video that causes the forced harem, closely
resembles daily life. This explanation is never given in any adequate form: the mangaka probably realized they had dug themselves into a hole with no logical way out, so they hand-waved some Ibara no Ou-style ~psychophysics~ into existence to move the plot along.
Great "dark" stories usually make disturbing ethical conclusions seem reasonable. Mousugu Shinu Hito utterly failed in that regard.
I guess a redeeming factor in the story is how, through the wonders of ~psychophysics~, the plot does come full circle, from the perky "I want these people to be happy" video in the VERY beginning to the eventual explanation of the death video's purpose.
The characters were all cute and appealing. To compare the art style to anime, on a spectrum from Berserk to Kill la Kill, the characters were decidedly more Kill la Kill.
The art style is characterized by its minimal, yet clean use of lines. Hiroki deserves praise for his tasteful, somewhat restrained use of "super deformed" characters where appropriate to set the mood. None of these panels felt out of place.
Hiroki did well making the characters mostly distinguishable by their hair, except for a few frames when it was difficult to tell whether a certain character was actually Riko, the school's "idol," and that character's similarity to Riko wasn't a plot device. From this, it's safe to conclude that Riko wasn't supposed to look similar to that character, and that that accidental similarity was Hiroki's fault as an artist.
The tension palpably rose from the first death to the investigation of the video, and the doll was always unsettling where it appeared.
Color inserts were clean and easy on the eyes. For a yandere manga, gore was minimal.
The MC is a little dense and doesn't realize the genuine feelings a few characters have for him until other characters tell him unambiguously. The redeeming thing about the him is that even though the girls in the harem almost all throw themselves at him in the beginning, he rightfully sees through the actions of the ones who are merely trying to ensure their own survivals, and refuses to take advantage of them in those situations. He's quite the gentleman.
As for the others, the characters featured in the video and its later incarnations (including the MC) come to save their friendships with each other over the course of the manga. As a result, it's hard for readers to hate any of them in their entirety.
The revelation midway that a character other than Haju had genuine feelings for the MC didn't feel forced at all.
Where this manga failed to argue for any striking conclusions, the harem characters were entertaining and singlehandedly forced me to finish Mousugu Shinu Hito, which leads to...
I am ashamed to have enjoyed this shallow manga as much as I did. Where the mangaka wanted me to cry or scream, I laughed and cheered for whoever I thought was best girl, even though "best girl" changed nearly every chapter. I wonder if the mangaka echoed my sentiment--it's easy to interpret the ending as evidence of such.
If you decide to read this manga, don't go in prepared to question everything and find out the truth, and definitely don't go in with a high barrier to suspension of disbelief. Go in prepared for a wild, occasionally gory ride that explores how some people become yandere to survive while others don't.
============plot holes / unanswered questions below================
(intentionally vague to prevent spoilers):
- HOW did the doll that Mikoto found appear in Riki's backpack to begin with?!
- one of the main girls irreversibly maims another of the main girls, and putting the attacker into jail would have been an easy way to force her out of the competition, so why doesn't the victim do anything?!
- who the !@#$ thought housing a server (yes, the kind that hosts a major NND-esque streaming site) in the mountains where (1) cellphone service is nonexistent and (2) five people have gone missing trying to fix the server?! On that note,
- why don't the cops, who are called to that building where one of the main characters is kidnapped, search the building immediately?!
- why don't the main characters catch the perpetrator when they get the chance?!
- what was the "dirt" that the ultimate antagonist had on their handler-turned-accomplice?!