Working in a bookstore, I’ve seen my share of cheap thrillers; books that want nothing more than to keep you on the edge of your seat, despite the fact that they aren’t written too well or what have you. However, the manga Doubt, by Yoshiki Tonogai is far from that.
Tonogai’s Doubt presents the reader with a common plot; given a closed room with a set amount of characters, one of them is a “mastermind” and is killing the rest of them off and they have to figure out who it is or they all will be killed. In this post-Danganronpa world, this plot is quite common (despite the fact that this work came out a couple of years before Danganronpa).
The link between the characters is a game: a simple mobile game called “Rabbit Doubt”, in which one rabbit is killing other rabbits, and the rest of them have to figure out who is doing the killing. Oh wait, doesn’t that sound familiar? The reason these people are chosen is because they’re all close friends in this game, and they end up meeting up in real life – and it is then that they get captured.
The beginning of the first volume is about that group all coming together and meeting up and having fun – going to karaoke, singing together, all of that. However, things quickly change for the worse when they’re all mysteriously knocked unconscious and brought to what appears to be a warehouse with a dead body in one of the rooms. However, all of the doors are locked with a scanner – and they all have barcodes on them. The way it works is that each barcode opens one door – and once they use it, they can’t unlock any other door.
I have to admit; I was skeptical of it at first. Having been a fan of games like Danganronpa and Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, I’ve grown slightly tired of this locked room mastermind mystery. However, Doubt still caught my attention because of its complexities, yet small cast of characters. In both Danganronpa and 999, they’ve had fairly large casts; the former having fifteen characters, and the latter having nine. Doubt has six characters, making it much smaller from the get go — which results in things getting much more intense much faster. By the end of the first volume, there are barely any survivors left. Which, of course, makes me wonder as to how there’s still an entire second volume left.
The mystery appears to be pretty clear-cut in my view; while I can’t say for certain who is the mastermind, there is one person who I believe it is. However, I’ll just have to wait to read the second volume to see if who I believe it to be is actually who it is.
I rate this a five out of five barcodes.