One night, senior high school second-year Nishina Airi is abducted. When she wakes, she is trapped in an uncanny, isolated space with other students from her high school and forced to take part in the "Werewolf Game." Thus, a death game filled with fear and terror that would pit "Werewolves" and "Villagers" against each other, force them to murder—a game with rules so absolute, defiance is punished by gruesome death—begins.
Jinrou Game is by no means a masterpiece. Nonetheless, it is still an entertaining and enjoyable read if you are looking for something that's easy to digest!
To call the story simple would be an understatement. It is a simple killing game (known to me as "Mafia", also known as "Werewolf Game") without an intricate setup or huge, surprising twists. But it doesn't work in spite of that, it works because it is so simple! You know what you get, is all I'm saying. It's simple-minded fun to see teenagers kill and suspect each other.
The characters lack depth, but the main character is likeable and somewhat
relatable. The support cast is two-dimensional and some are walking stereotypes.
The art is great in some places and below average in others. Overall I like the style though and I am a fan of what they did in some parts, when they used symbolic pictures to describe a situation or explain some rules etc. Overall it is average, but it is good where it counts.
Simply put: Know what to expect when you start reading Jinrou Game. It is nothing special, but in my opinion it doesn't need to be. It's an exciting killing game with decent art and decent characters that won't blow you away but makes for an enjoyable waste of time.
I'm debating whether to recommend this to fans of Town of Salem or the other variations of the game, which is what Jinrou Game is. The situation are ten characters face is the life and death game of deceit.
For brief explanation ten high school students are kidnapped by a mystery man and forced to compete in the 'Werewolf Game', where 7 villagers and a prophet must seek out two werewolves. Each day at 8PM the 'Town' votes for one of their own to be executed as they seek out the werewolves. At night the werewolves can kill one villager, while the prophet can spy
on a single room. Should both werewolves be executed the villagers will be free to leave, however if the werewolves can kill all villagers they will be released.
I suppose this brings us onto characterisation where it's important to remember these are meant to be Japanese high schoolers. Now I've never been on the verge of death other than when I slip on the stairs but I find the reactions of most characters to their situation most unlikely. In the first moments of the manga one of the characters is killed by the 'gamemaster' for refusing to take part in quite a gory fashion. The initial reaction from everyone is shock and disgust, but leading to eventual grounding in reality of their situation. Everyone maintains the attitude that 'this is wrong', but not for long. It is clear that they will be killed by either the gamemaster, a werewolf or each other and so their survival instincts kick in. I'm no psychologist but I doubt the composure of those in the game would remain constant. But that wouldn't make for a very interesting horror manga will it?
Our main character, Airi Nishina, isn't the smartest but she has the strongest morals in a way. She is hesitant to partake in the game and in the first vote nearly dies to the gamemaster for not voting. The remaining characters do what they can to convince the others of what role they have but in general it does boil down to "I'm not the werewolf, they're the werewolf!".
That doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. While your mileage my vary, I sprinted through this manga in two days quite drawn into its tension. While some may think I'm praising it too highly, it's one of those mangas that make me want to learn Japanese just so I can continue reading without relying on translators. It's quite short so I'd personally recommend reading it in a day or so if you did plan on picking it up. Although just like I mentioned, finding its sequel in completion isn't very simple.
As for art, it's standard, nothing amazing but not terrible. Full disclaimer, I'm partial to the main character's design. As for the gore in it, there isn't actually that much despite the emphasis on the characters carrying out executions and murders themselves. The strongest comes from the first death I mentioned earlier.
In short: Pretty average psychological manga with gore splattered in between. It's not for everyone but it's worth giving a chance.
Then again my taste has been called shit so who cares what I think?