Yuureitou – bonutzuu’s manga archive

Two years ago, an old woman was tied to the hands of a clock tower, and her body broke when the clock struck twelve. The culprit, her adopted daughter, committed suicide afterwards. The clock tower became known as the ‘ghost tower’ haunted by something… or someone.

Amano Taichi was an unemployed man about to be chased out by his landlady. While on a job hunt to earn his rent, he ran into a mysterious person ‘Tetsuo’ who told him about a treasure hidden somewhere within the ghost tower. Taichi paid the tower a visit only to find himself knocked unconscious and tied to the face of the clock, similar to the old woman. Before he was brutally murdered, Tetsuo rescued him, and so together they tried to uncover the truth behind the murder two years ago.

Yuureitou is not a manga I’d normally read, but hey it was on sale (149 baht for 9 volumes, that’s about 0.50 USD per volume). The manga was printed with thick eye care paper and ink that doesn’t smudge, so it was a mighty good deal for a manga this good.

This is an… unconventional manga. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it before, and I’ve read a lot of stuff. There are some elements where I rolled my eyes and went ugh not again (eg. mad scientists, weird surgeries, crazy closed-off village) but somehow they worked out really well within the context of the rest of the story.

Yuureitou’s two strongest points IMO were the characters and the art.

The characters were people you normally would not find in manga. There’s a (I don’t think this is spoilers since you see it within the first volume) trans man, a NEET who’s not your most likeable character (in the beginning, anyway), a cop struggling with his sexual deviance, a girl who isn’t ashamed that she isn’t a good girl, and the enigma that is Marube f*cking Dokuro. Not a single one of them is completely good or completely bad. They’re all grey, which I find very interesting. The characters have their own motives and show a lot of growth throughout the story, especially Tetsuo and Amano.

As for the art, it is stunning. At first, I thought it looked similar to Kakegurui but with watercolor, but then I saw that Yuureitou’s art is very unique. The author is very, very good at drawing pretty characters and detailed background, but what’s even more impressive is that (and this may be triggering to some people but) the disfigured faces are so well drawn. It’s like seeing one of those ‘cosmetic surgeries gone wrong’ photographs rendered in manga edition, but make them 10x worse. These faces alone could qualify this manga into the horror genre. Not to mention, when some of the characters make the villain face, I literally got chills.

For the first two volumes, the story was kinda meh for me, but after volume 2 I could not stop reading. The story has a way of changing objectives constantly, so once one objective is completed, you care enough about the other objective not to drop the manga. For example, at the end I don’t give a damn about who the culprit is anymore because there are more interesting things happening in the story.

Overall, it was a really unique manga that flies off the radar for most people, and I’m glad I gave it a chance.

Following section contains spoilers. Please proceed at your own risk.

Okay, can we talk about how good of an antagonist Mr. Marube is? Holy cow, I thought he was gonna be this calculating, manipulative pedophile but he ended up being so much more complex than that. (And he wasn’t a pedophile after all, but that doesn’t mean he’s excused for what he did to Satoko) I really like that scene where he showed up cross-dressing. Say what you mean, but he’s actually pretty when he put on makeup. Although that scene sent shivers down my spine because you can kind of tell he’s already lost it. He might not be a good person but he’s a great character, and an antagonist one could sympathize with. He’s also the opposite of Reiko despite being his father: Reiko is a man inside while he is a little girl inside. It’s cool once you notice the author putting these kind of things into the plot.

I don’t know if I’m the only one who couldn’t guess who the real culprit was until the moment it’s revealed. The moment the culprit is revealed, I was like: who the f is this person? There were lots of red herrings which would throw people off, but the red herrings made me forgot the character that was the culprit. When I think about it, this story checks off Knox’s Decalogue for good detective fiction, but I don’t feel satisfied with this culprit. Sure, that person is mentioned early on and there were hints here and there, but I didn’t even know this was a potential culprit. Okay, I think it’s just my problem. Never mind. Crap, I forgot what the culprit’s name was.

I really like the quote at the end where Reiko and Amano were like ‘when this tower is torn down and rebuilt, we’ll have made a world where people like us are accepted’. (I can’t remember the exact quote, sorry) It’s a manga that not only presents the inequality in society but prompts us into doing something: if we want a world where the characters we love are accepted, we’re the ones who have to build it.

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