The Demon Neuro has a raging hunger for "enigmas." Being dissatisfied with his current regime in hell, he's come into the mortal realm in order to satiate his ever-growing appetite. The murder case of a young girl's father seems to be sufficiently enticing for the Demon's needs... But what else might happen between these two?
Volume 23: Rikon Choutei (Divorce Conciliation)
This is easily among my favourite manga, for the simple reason its so unique. The manga flips through Pseudo-Mystery genre, humour, almost-horror, Crime, action and pretty much everything else so much it should feel schizophrenic, but instead works perfectly. The most prominent genre is really Psychological. The capture of criminals is often less about discovering how they did the crime as much as it is their motivations for doing so.
Perhaps the best part of this manga is the characters however. From the main characters to even the very most minor, there is not one whom is completely undeveloped. Everyone feels very real and Human (or
Inhuman when intended), even the basic criminals given the same treatment which makes finding out every reasoning interesting - and some making you feel so sympathetic for the murderer you would prefer they go free. This manga is truly one for people who like varied interesting characters. From the Sadistic 'Evil-Good' Neuro, to the petrified Along-for-the-ride Yako, to the childish but entertaining and slightly scary 'Chaotic-Evil' murderer X.
The artwork is difficult to rate numerically - ranging from 10 to 6 at its worst. Matsui has a beautifully surreal expressionlist drawing style, which leads him to create perhaps one or two very complex weirdly-beautiful drawings a chapter. These are unique from most manga and are often used to represent an idea as its being explained, or simply to unsettle. Some were so good i often find myself looking back through, and i have in fact bought some manga myself even though theyre in japanese for the best bits i enjoyed them so much. However, hes admitted that drawing these take up much of his time and in the earlier chapters its obvious the rest of the art suffers for it and its one week chapter creation time (and it doesnt help most scans represent it double its normal size, screwing the resolution up). As it goes on the standard art improves to an acceptable state with even more of the beautiful surrealist works per chapter, presumably as he gains assistants or improves time management, so stick with it.
In conclusion, if your bored with the standard Shonen clones, want something truly unique and unconventional, or happen to be a fan of bizarre art stylings - Read this Manga. If your not any of those, still read it because it will make you all those things regardless, and youll be better for it.
After finishing the great anime adaptation, I found myself craving for more mysteries, more of the clever humor, and of course, more Neuro. I hesitated at first because of the artwork. In fact, I spent the first few chapters complaining about it. But before I knew it, I got completely sucked in and ended up reading most of this manga in a marathon.
The manga mostly consists of short cases. And although the criminal is usually made obvious to the reader, the process of deduction and explanation is still exciting. This is the kind of mystery series where the author focuses on the "How" and
"Why" parts of the case rather than the "Who". Each story is interesting in its own way, and each criminal has unique reasoning for breaking the law, usually having to do with a psychological condition of some sort. Later on, as the main plot progresses, the readers are exposed to stronger criminals that Neuro has to face, and eventually, a main group of antagonists.
One of my favorite aspects of Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro is the humor. The overall story is rather dark and psychologically disturbing, but the author manages to "lighten" the mood with some equally dark comic relief. It may sound contradicting, and perhaps it is. Because Matsui-sensei makes the reader laugh at things that are not funny at all. I am certainly not a fan of violence or cruelty, but I always find it somehow amusing when Neuro tortures his prey and destroys their psyche. Most likely it is because Neuro himself is a contradicting individual, which is where my next favorite aspect comes in.
This has got to be one of the best (if not -the- best) parts of this manga. Let's start with the title character. Neuro is most certainly one of the most unique characters I have ever encountered throughout the many years of being into anime and manga. I may have said this about many others, but I am definitely not exaggerating when I speak about Neuro. What makes him interesting is his ability to capture the reader's heart with his... negative qualities. He is selfish, sadistic, manipulative, hypocritical, and plain psychotic. He takes pleasure in inflicting mental and physical torture upon others, including his partner Yako, and will not miss a chance to belittle human beings. He might as well be the main villain himself. However, Matsui-sensei successfully makes this character lovable to the public. What is Neuro's charm? What makes such a seemingly repulsive individual so attractive? Is it his eccentric appearance, or his childish demeanor, or the overall mystery that surrounds his very existence? There may not be an answer. Neuro is a paradox, a hateful character that cannot be hated.
Our co-main character is Yako, a pretense detective and Neuro's favorite "toy". She may appear as an ordinary girl and quite a pushover, but she actually has a very strong personality and a lot of courage. She is not afraid to speak her mind when confronting the criminals, and is deeply concerned about their motives. Her main purpose is concealing Neuro's true identity, but she is also an important aid in solving the cases, because she is very knowledgeable about human psyche, unlike Neuro who only cares about solving the puzzle. She is very open with Neuro too, even though her life is in danger every time she talks back at him. As the story progresses, Yako also matures and starts living up to her title of a detective.
There are numerous other characters, and I will not go into detail about all of them. I don't think there is a single boring personality in this manga; both the positive and the negative characters are intriguing in their own way. I have noticed that Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro does not have the overused stereotypes that are often present in this kind of setting. There is no invincible hero who does not get hurt and can easily get out of any situation. The legit detectives are not as useless as they usually are in a story where an amateur is involved in an investigation. The group of antagonists are not your typical gang bent on taking over the world; in fact, there is no good versus evil scenario here and no two sides are clearly defined. There are no "flat" characters; all of them grow and change, for the better or worse, which makes the story very exciting and at times unpredictable.
My only concern is that absolutely nothing is known about Neuro himself. Everyone seems to have some kind of back story and motive, but Neuro just exists. He is from Hell and he eats mysteries, that's it. Whether or not the author planned it this way, for the protagonist to be the biggest "enigma" himself, is unknown. In fact, I am not sure whether there is really a need to learn more about him. Even though he is a mystery, his character seems to be complete, and it didn't even strike me until the end. Only after I finished reading the manga, I thought back and realized that I don't really know anything about him. Maybe Matsui-sensei plans to have some sort of revelation in the second series. Or perhaps it is just another paradox.
As I mentioned earlier, I was a little repelled when I just started reading. The proportions don't seem to be realistic and there is some general inconsistency throughout the designs. The main focus goes to the foreground, while the characters on the background are drawn with a lot less detail, to the point that some of them don't have facial features at all. It appears that the author certainly focused on developing the story and the characters a lot more than on making it visually appealing.
Even though the actual panels are nothing extraordinary, the full-page chapter inserts are definitely worth looking at. This is where the artist shows his talent by drawing the characters with a lot of detail and in difficult perspectives. Among them are some very fascinating illustrations that add to the disturbing side of the manga; for example, an image of Yako sitting in someone's eye and looking up from under a contact lens. Also, looking closely at those inserts, we can see how they depict some of the character quirks; for example, an image of Neuro wearing a kimono and black boots inside a Japanese house, which is clearly unacceptable, and thus shows his indifference and disrespect toward the humans and their customs.
Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro is in my Top 5 most favorite manga series, and Neuro is among my Top 5 all-time favorite characters. I highly recommend this to everyone -- it will surely keep you entertained. There is a "to be continued" notion after the cliffhanger ending, and I am definitely looking forward to a second manga series.
Main conclusion: not brilliant, but certainly a good read.
A girl (Yako) whoes father was murdered comes across a deamon (yes, it is consequently spelled as deamon) aka Neuro that solves the 'riddle' of this unsolved case. Neuro feeds on riddles and he wants to eat riddles from the human world. He uses Yako to navigate through human society and makes Yako a famous detective. Her role within their detective agency is mainly to smile friendly and keep close contacts with the police.
The first 60 chapters are short stories. Of course there is a big villain (X), but he's in the background. The short stories are
all about a murder case where the murderer tried to hide he did it through a 'riddle'. There were several riddles that were way too far fetched, but overall it was nicely done.
After the first 60 chapters of only short stories there comes another big villain comes along: A computer virus that turns people into criminals. This keeps us occupied for another 30 chapters.
So after about 30 chapters containing a bigger plot we're back to short stories.
X gets a bigger role and appears more. Short stories, with a red thread concerning the cat and mouse game that develops between X and Neuro - we're heading towards chapter 120.
It turns out X is only the beginning of the trouble that awaits. There is a super villain responsible for X. This villain and his evil plans will be the grand plot of the story. So it is 80 chapters only the super villain and his minions against Neuro and the police squad.
The switches between little stories and the main story are, in my humble opinon, too big. When you read this manga in one go, somehow it doesn't feel good. The way how people from different stories fit to gether in the bigger picture manga is nicely done.
On the first glance you'd say Matsui-sensei's art isn't worth mentioning. You couldn't be more wrong. When you look closer at the art you'll be pleasantly surprised. It is clear that Matsui-sensei likes art and he shows this in multiple ways. For instance trough a story concerning a artist. The sculpture Matsui-sensei has drawn for this story was awesome.
Matsui-sensei's drawings are clearly based on several artists. Neuro's deamonic form for instance, reminded me somehow of the creatures in the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. Other deamonic things had aspects you could defenitly link to Dalí. Several pictures (with Neuro sitting on the ceiling for instance) were obviously inspired by the works of Escher. Matsui-sensei is also clearly into (Picasso's) surrealistic cubism.
The characters evolve. You can see they really change throughout the story. Some don't change for the better. This way it is realistic. I also like it Matsui-sensei doesn't have too much trouble with letting characters die.
However the way several of the murderers or the supervillain are portrayed is far beyond realism.
It was a nice story to read. I liked it, but I can't say I loved it. The comic relief was nice. Neuro's sadistic traits were funny, and Yako's eating habbits were hilarious. In the translator notes I read much jokes were untranslatable because the jokes were in the kanji readings. Too bad, it would have made the story even better.
Beware that there are some minor spoilers for the first chapter.
Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro:
The introduction of this story is pretty simple. Highschool girl's Yako's father is murdered and while she is mourning her dead father, suddenly a grotesque looking demon from hell/demon world appears out of nowhere. The demon calls himself Neuro, he eats mysteries or in other words murder mysteries and the evil emotions that drives people to murder, commit crimes. Surely, Neuro has bioshounen human form to infiltrate the human world and prevent other people for finding out his identity. Soon the reader learns that what drove Neuro towards Yako's home was
the scent of the mysterious, unnatural death of her father and from this point the story is all about Neuro solving murder cases with his supernatural powers, superior intellect while Yako acts as a fake investigator to deceive the public. By the way, the poor girl also becomes the slave of this demon.
I actually put this on-hold after reading 20 chapters, the art in the beginning is really, really rough on the eyes. Later on the mangaka improves his skill, however there's still a lot of disappointment. The facial expressions of the characters sometimes look copy-pasted and there are plenty of instances in this manga where I see the same face used many times. Another problem with the art is human figures, yes they look very weird especially in the first chapter, but later it improves as I said or I just got used to it. The big problem is with the backgrounds and action scenes. Sure they are drawn fine, but they aren't clear. There were many cases where I look at the image and I have to analyse it for more than 5 seconds to comprehend what is in the background. Same with the action scenes, especially during the final arc. The final arc is the point where the story turns into edgy Bleach clone, but it's not like that itself is a bad thing. So yeah, my main issue with the art is that it is sometimes hard to comprehend the image since there's overload of things, details to be aware of. And there's that trick with faceless crowds, it's annoying, but hey it's a stylistic choice. Character designs outside the main pair are simplistic, but they work out just fine. There are also plently of surreal images in chapters, mostly dealing with Neuro's powers. That's all I have to say about the art.
I really enjoyed the main pair. Neuro is an intelligent, powerful demon who is both sadistic and childish. What can I say? His badass moments surely make him shine. Everytime a crimal is revealed, Neuro being a sadist that he is, surely messes criminals up. There are many more things about him, but his most important comedic trait is that he's into BSDM. Yeah, the demon tortures, treats and beats the poor girl in all sorts of comedic ways. Not funny? Well read it since the mangaka has talent to make people laugh at totally unfunny things. Although, by the end of the manga the joke gets too redundant. There's another layer to Nuero, but you'll only get that when you read until the very end.
Another major character is Yako herself. She has enormous apetite, but doesn't get fat. Well, only on one ocassion. But that comedic trait is not all there is to her. Despite being the domon's slave both as a detective and an object of his sadistic fetishes she gets the most development in the story. In fact, this is her story and her viewpoint turns this pseudo-mystery genre story into a psychological one.
Then, there are other character's. The main villain of the first half who is creepy, yet somewhat silly and charismatic. He's great. The police and the detective who could be considered the tritagonist of the story. He's a great badass. A couple of well-written characters from major arcs and then there are people from smaller arcs, some of them are important, well-developed while the others are meh and not that believable. Beware that the final arc presents something like Hueco Mundo arc from Bleach. Yes, I'm serious, but it's not in a fantasy world. The readers may feel betrayed, but I guess that was the choice of the editors since this wasn't shounen enough. In the end I liked it.
Okay, the first half is basically lots and lots of minor arcs dealing with murder mysteries. Then we have one major arc with a major villain that was kinda foreshadowed, then we kinda slow down and the main story starts to develop until the climax. The mangaka wraps this up pretty nicely, but somewhat it feels that the manga was axed in the last 10 chapters.
The stories themselves are nice and what matters the most is not whodunit, but what were the motives of the person who did it. In other words, the inner state of the murderer. Don't expect this to be a story were you can solve the mystery as you read along. Yes, some of the things you could solve, some you could foreshadow, but the majority of them are shoved right into your face. There are many things that I have issues with concerning the story. One of them was that some of the murderers were very unbelievable as well as their murders. At one point after the first major arc it felt like the author ran out of ideas. And the sudden switch to something like a fighting manga wasn't expected. The final villain was the edgiest I've ever seen and this is a Shounen Jump manga, lol. I found his motivations hard to believe, but well I guess it works.
While Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro is not the best manga out there and it's comedy is sure weird as hell, but then it's not as cringy as hell. It is surely an entertaining ride. One of the best I have to say. When you get to know the characters, their motivations and colourful personalities you find this hard to put down. It's better if you read the first half in short breaks since it may fry your neurons. Did I mention that there is a lot of dialogue, so you better be prepared at least until the final arc. It surely took me a long time to read, a very long time, but I didn't regret it even if I have to write my damn BA thesis right now.