Thursday, November 29, 2012

『QはQuestionのQ』

「思い出と記憶って、どこが違うか知っている?」 犀川は煙草を消しながら言った。
「思い出は良いことばかり、記憶は嫌なことばかりだわ」
「そんなことはないよ。嫌な思い出も、楽しい記憶もある」
「じゃあ、何です?」
「思い出は全部記憶しているけど、記憶は全部は思い出せないんだ」
『すべてがFになる - The Perfect Insider』

"Do you know what's the difference between memories and recollections?" Saikawa asked while he extinguished his cigarette.
"All memories are good, while recollections are bad"
"That's not right. You can have bad memories, and also good recollections"
"What's the difference then?"
"All recollections are memorized, but you can't recollect all of your memories"
"Everything Becomes F - The Perfect Insider"

Last week was the November Festival of Kyoto University, at which the Mystery Club was selling its magazine (?) Souanoshiro (or Souajou; both readings are correct). The first year members (even though I'm far from a first year student) were in charge of the booth, which was a new kind of experience. I had been to Kyushu University's school festival before, but such a festival is definitely different if you're on the selling side. Interesting was that Van Madoy himself was present at the booth too (often to sleep, but also to sign books). In fact, a lot of old members drop by to pick up this year's Souanoshiro, which meant that Maya Yutaka and Abiko Takemaru also visited the booth. And I totally got their Mii's with the 3DS's StreetPass functionality.

But anyway...

Mori Hiroshi's Subete ga F ni Naru - The Perfect Insider ("Everything Becomes F - The Perfect Insider") is the first novel in the S&M series starring assistent professor Saikawa Souhei and first year student (and old acquaintance) Nishinosono Moe, a dynamic duo that solves mainly locked room problems. We are first introduced to Magata Shiki, a genius (overall genius, but specialized in computer science and programming), who was once considered a child prodigy. Until that whole being accused of killing her parents incident when she was 14 years old and being diagnosed as suffering from multiple personality disorder. Since then she has been living inside locked quarters inside the Magata research institute, located on Himakajima island. Her living quarters are separated from the rest of the institute by two doors: one door can only be opened by Shiki herself, while the other has to be opened by other people at the institute. During a visit to Himakajima island, Saikawa and Moe request to meet Magata, only to be greeted by her corpse, in a wedding dress, while the computers inside her room display the enigmatic message: "Everything becomes F".

Hmmm. Subete ga F ni Naru is one of those famous works in contemporary Japanese mystery novels you just have to read and most people like it quite a lot, but for some reason or another, it just doesn't 'click' with me. It is definitely not a bad book (far from it!) and it does sorta mark the beginning of the scientific detective novel movement in Japan, so I can't really afford to ignore it here, but I really have trouble finding the right words to describe how I experienced Subete ga F ni Naru. Which explains why I wrote this review weeks after I had read the book. Well, that and I always have trouble finding relevant post titles.

There are roughly two problems in the novel: what happened inside Shiki's triple locked room (the island, the institute and Shiki's room), and how did the murderer escape from the locked room? It's the solution to the latter problem I don't really like (I love the former though). It is a trick that is quite innovative (especially considering the original release date of 1994!), but it is not completely fair to the reader. The foreshadowing/hints is/are not clear enough, or at least not detailed enough to absolutely point to the one solution. In hindsight, it all makes sense, but there are some details vital to the solution that seem skimmed over in the text until Saikawa gives the solution. It is a great trick in theory though and I would have been very pleased with it if Mori had planted more detailed hints in the text.

Even though this novel is set in reality, I had troubles in guessing what 'rules' Mori was going by with this story. It is something that can arise when dealing with mystery novels set in the future, or with a fantasy setting, but this is one of the rare instances where I had such troubles in a realistic setting. Of course, most mysteries I read are either set in an age where technology hasn't advanced this far yet, or set at an isolated location, or have a setting where technological advancement simply have no role, so that might explain why I didn't really "get" it. It's the same problem I often have with Higashino Keigo's scientific mystery series, Detective Galileo (applies mostly to the short stories).

I also had problems with the characters in the novel. Yes, they are all memorable and come alive on the pages, but in a slightly exaggerated way. It is for example a bit hard to swallow Shiki's genius if everything she does is just explained away by 'she's a genius'. Subete ga F ni Naru is not only a starting point for scientific mysteries, it is also often seen as one of the earliest novels to invoke kyara moe (not moe kyara by the way. That is something else). In short, to look at a work focusing on the characters (as opposed to plot, structure etc.). Definitely something to consider if you want to look at society and (second stage) New Orthodox detective novels, even if I am not really interested in that period.

Subete ga F ni Naru is definitely not bad and I am actually quite fond of the problem of what happened in Shiki's room, but I just can't feel that enthusiastic about the novel. Maybe it's because of the (unfair) expectations I had because it was such a famous book, maybe because scientific detectives, kyara moe and stuff aren't for me, but I am more likely to continue with Mori's 100 Years series than the S&M series. For those not fluent in Japanese, yet interested and fluent in French, I am sure the manga version has been released in France as F - The Perfect Insider.

Original Japanese title(s): 森博嗣 『すべてがFになる The Perfect Insider』

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Farewell, My Lovely

「どうして幸せになるおうと思わないんだって聴いてるんだ!」 流の問いに達也は少し考えた後にこう答えた。
「僕の憧れた仮面ライダーは改造人間なんですよ」
「ああ、それはもう聴いた」
「この有名なフレーズの後にこう続くことは知ってますか?『彼らは決して再び人間に戻ることは出来ない』と。それでも人間のために闘うんだ。自分のことは度外視して」
『今出川ルヴォワール』

"I am asking you why you don't even try to attain happiness!" Tatsuya took a while to think about Mitsuru's question and then answered: "I wanted to be like Kamen Rider, an artificial human."
"You already said that."
"Do you know what comes after that famous phrase? They will never be able to turn back into humans. But despite that, they fight for humankind. Ignoring their own troubles."
"Imadegawa Revoir"

Something backstage, but I finally updated the library. Something I hadn't done since July. I really should learn to do it whenever I post a new review, instead of just staring at an evergrowing backlog of entries to be added.

Have I ever spoken about my love for the Japanese bunkobon pocket format? Most of the books I buy are in those format (which also explains why I seldom read new releases, which are usually released as hardcovers first). They have better paper and durability than the pockets you usually see in the English-language releases, but the best part is just the size. First of all, it's a universal size (as opposed to the ever-changing sizes of English-languge pockets), meaning I can use my custom book covers on all of them. Secondly, you can read bunkobon with just one hand! I can stand in a packed train with no space to move and still read a book! And I can fit in my coat pocket just as easy! I really wish such a format was available for English releases too.

Revoir series
Marutamachi Revoir
Karasuma Revoir
Imadegawa Revoir
Kawaramachi Revoir 

Van Madoy's Imadegawa Revoir is the third book in the Revoir series and was released just a couple of weeks ago actually (so no bunkobon available yet, sadly enough). I usually don't read new releases, but seeing as Van Madoy himself is going to hold a reading club session of the book at the Mystery Club this week, I just had to read it (which also explains the Karasuma Revoir review earlier this week). The story starts very surprisingly with a Gathering of the Twin Dragons where Midou Tatsuya, Dragon of the Tatsuki family and one of the protagonists of the series, is accused of the act of murder on a monk of the Daionji temple in Kyoto. Daionji was once a gambling heaven, with the grand Gongon'e gambling tournament held on the day before and on the day itself of the famous Kyoto festival, Daimonji. The revenge Tatsuya has been planning, which was alluded to in the previous works, seems indeed to be directed at Daionji temple and the Gongon'e, but did he really kill someone out of revenge?

Probably the first time that I read multiple books in the same series within one week. But I am glad that it was the Revoir series, because Imadegawa Revoir felt very different and refreshing, even though at the same time, it retains its identity as a Revoir story. I already noted it in my review of Karasuma Revoir, but Madoy seems to try something completely different with every story, whilst preserving the series' characteristics. Imadegawa Revoir makes another big change in the structure: whereas Marutamachi Revoir and Karasuma Revoir were structured to have a climax in a Gathering of the Dragons, Imadegawa actually starts with a Gathering of the Twin Dragons, with the main part of the story focusing on the great gambling tournament Gongon'e.

At this point, I might once again point attention to the fact that Van Madoy belonged to the Kyoto University Mystery Club. Why? Well, this is probably something slightly less known outside the circle itself, but there is a lot of mahjong playing in the club room. The rumbling of mahjong tiles is something you will get used to very fast. We have also specialist mahjong manga magazines lying around here, together with classics like Kaiji and Akagi. Heck, Ayatsuji Yukito is not only known as a mystery writer, but also as a mean mahjong player. So it is not very strange to see such influences in the Revoir series. In fact, there have been many, many mahjong references up until now, but Imadegawa Revoir really feels like a gambling manga when the Gongon'e tournament starts, with people trying to outplay each other (or outright cheat, if they don't have the skills to play fair). But no problem if you don't know mahjong: the important games in this novel are about a card game called Ootori, with few rules, yet with enough room for very exciting scenes.

And no, there are no card games on motorcycles.

Like mentioned, the dynamics of this novel are quite different from the previous two novels: the first part is a classic Gathering of the Twin Dragons like we have seen before, with fast-paced deduction battles between the two competing Dragons (prosecution and defense). The Gongon'e tournament part feels, for obvious reasons, less like a classic detective novel, with the focus a bit scrambled, looking at both Tatsuya's ties with his family and the Daionji temple and the actual games played at the Gongon'e, with a lot happening in between. It is a bit chaotic and the complete picture feels less organized compared to the much cleaner Marutamachi Revoir and Karasuma Revoir.

Card games (gambling games) aren't as different from the normal Gathering of the Twin Dragons trials as you would initially think: in both events, the players try to outbluff their opponement with the little ammunition they obtain, be it through luck or through expertise. And you can cheat as long as you don't get found out. The difference here is that the Gathering of the Twin Dragons is much more flexible: Dragons fight with theories, with deductions, which can go into a wide variety of directions. Because of the singular rules of the card game Ootori, players do have a range of options (cooperation, non-cooperation, stealing points from opponents etc.), but it is naturally less freedom than you have with theories. In the end, it is a card game with rules to abide to. These Gatherings of the Twin Dragons were at their best when you had no idea who would come up with what kind of theory/interpretation based on the evidence available, but here the player's actions feel confined to the cards and the rules of the game, removing a lot of the trademark impredictibility of the series. Also, th usage of a tournament set up to drive forth the plot results in another loss in the trademark impredictibility of the series, because you know how a tournament works: with winners of single duels progressing until they reach the finals. With the Gathering of the Twin Dragons, you never knew what was going to happen.

But the bigger question, is this still a detective novel? It is definitely a mystery novel in the wide sense of the term, but the trial of Midou Tatsuya (ergo the investigation into the murder of the murdered monk) is resolved in the first part of the story, with no real big mystery left to drive the plot forwards (there are some less important plot-related mysteries, but they aren't able to support a complete story on their own). While the approach to it was different, both Marutamachi Revoir and Karasuma Revoir were about finding a truth, an explanation for possible murder cases by creating theories and finding (or fabricating) evidence. Imadegawa Revoir loses this aspect early in the story. That is not to say that there is nothing left to solve in the second half of the story (especially the events during the finals of the Gongon'e are interesting!), with just enough hinting to consider those fair mysteries, but they feel more like a side-dish than the main.

Finally, just an observation, but this novel felt the most connected to the city of Kyoto of all three Revoir novels. All novels are named after the streets in Kyoto and the geography and cityscape of Kyoto are all featured in the Revoir novels (especially the areas near Kyoto University, for obvious reasons), but I think that those who are familiar with Kyoto will be very pleased in the surprising way the city and its customs appears in this story (and with that I mean at the end).

Anyway, Imadegawa Revoir was once again Revoir-ish in the sense of it being totally different from what I'd expected it to be. The direction this novel took kinda limited the usage of the series' settings I think, but such changes at least save the series from becoming stale and it worked to an extent in this case. Sudden changes are just part of Revoir. And the story ends on a cliffhanger-of-sorts, so I hope a new Revoir appears next year too!

Original Japanese title(s): 円居挽 『今出川ルヴォワール』

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Murder, Smoke, and Shadows

「著者の投げる手袋は『人形はなぜ殺される?』」
『人形はなぜ殺される』 

"So the author throws down his glove down before you, asking 'Why were the dolls killed?'"
"Why Were The Dolls Killed

Already something that happened last week, but because I kinda forgot to preorder the Animal Crossing 3DS LL pack, I visited a lot of shops last week on the release day to see if some shops still had them. I now have to wait until half December, but at least I managed to order it now. But setting that aside, why would you run across a store to the game corner to buy the new Animal Crossing / the Animal Crossing 3DS LL pack if you already have a preorder reservation slip for that day? It is not like they will sell the copy with your name on it to someone else. And it wasn't like those customers were all in a hurry, as evidenced by them hanging around the game corner for quite some time, telephoning people to say they secured the goods. Anyway, that was the biggest mystery I encountered last week.

Takagi Akimitsu's Ningyou wa Naze Korosareru ("Why Were The Dolls Killed?") is widely considered one of the best Japanese detective novels. I think that Nikaidou Reito considers it one of the best detective novels ever, while recently Ayatsuji Yukito also tweeted his own Takagi top 5, with this novel at one. Anyway, I knew that sooner or later I had to read this book. (Considering it has been like two or three years since I first heard of the novel, it means it became quite a bit later, but anyway...) During a performance organized by an amateur magician's club, the head of a human doll that was to be used for a guillotine trick is stolen. The puppet's doll is later discovered, being switched with the real head of a woman who has decapitated on a guillotine block herself! Kamizu Kyousuke and Matsushita Kenzou team up again to solve the problem of the 'killed' doll. And the actually killed woman.

The plot develops even further after the initial murder, but I have to say: I had problems getting through the book. Takagi writes... not boring exactly, but definitely dry. Compared with contemporaries like Edogawa Rampo and Yokomizo Seishi, Takagi's writings are a bit hard to get through smoothly. I already felt it with Noumen Satsujin Jiken, so I guess that this is just his style. It's a bit of a waste though, because he could have done so much more with the theme of the puppets and the whole magician club thingy (then again, Takagi also kinda dropped the ball on the creepy atmosphere in Shisei Satsujin Jiken).

But to get back to the actual story: it's good! Very good indeed. I think that Ningyou wa Naze Korosareru best point lies in its construction: a whole variety of tricks is used in this novel, but the usage of them makes sense in the context of the story. Takagi weaves all kinds of tricks together in one coherent structure and whereas in many novels a succession of different kind of tricks (i.e. alibi trick, locked room trick) might feel like indeed nothing more than a succession of tricks, the tricks used in Ningyou wa Naze Korosareru add up to something more than just the total sum of its components. I quite liked Crofts' Mystery on Southampton Water, which also featured a wide variety of detective tropes in its plot, but the way it is done in Ningyou wa Naze Korosareru feels more satisfying.

And the title of the book is in fact a Challenge to the Reader itself! There is a proper one in the story too, but it all boils down to the question: why were the dolls killed?

I haven't read that much Takagi (in fact, the number of books I've read by him probably equals the number of his books translated in English), but at least his orthodox detective fiction seems to form a nice little set wit Yokomizo Seishi. Yokomizo's best works are set in postwar Japan, but in little, rural villages where the customs of pre-war Japan still live on. The detective (outsider) has to work in small isolated communities, with power struggles exist between young/old, poor/rich, main families/branch families etc (see reviews of Honjin Satsujin Jiken and Akuryoutou for more on that). Takagi's novels are also set in postwar Japan, but in much more urban environments and the stories revolve around the middle/upper class of society. Some of them may become socially and economically somewhat weaker because of the abolation of the nobility structure in Japanese law, but they, together with the 'new' postwar rich, are still a very influential class with 'expensive' hobbies like mask collecting or tattoo studies. They show a very different kind of postwar Japan than Yokomizo and it is not strange to see that Takagi also moves towards more shakaiha-esque (social school) novels during his career.

Anyway, I definitely understand why Ningyou wa Naze Korosareru is considered a classic.To me, its merits lies in its construction and not the storytelling, but it is certainly worth a read. Even if you have to fight through the dry text.

Original Japanese title(s):  高木彬光 『人形はなぜ殺される』

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Turnabout Goodbyes

「天翔ける龍の牙をかわしたところで吹き荒れる風に体の自由を奪われ爪によって引き裂かれる」
『るろうに剣心』

"Even if you manage avoid the fangs of the dragon soaring into the heaven, you will not be able to move freely because of the raging wind and be teared apart by its claws"
"Rurouni Kenshin"

Now that the temperature has finally started to drop beneath 15 degrees Celcius here in Kyoto, I noticed that the heat insulation of my room is absolutely horrible. I should move my laptop away from the window. I am actually wearing a coat inside my room as I'm writing this (I could just switch on the heater of course, theoretically).

Revoir series
Marutamachi Revoir
Karasuma Revoir
Imadegawa Revoir
Kawaramachi Revoir 

Van Madoy's Karasuma Revoir is set one month after the events of Marutachi Revoir and is once again centered around the Gathering of the Twin Dragons: a private trial which has been a custom in the city of Kyoto as long as people can remember. There is nothing legally binding to the outcomes of these trials, but you would be a fool to not honor the verdicts, because all the influental families in Kyoto are connected to the Gathering one way or another. The trials are 'performed' by people called Dragons, who act as prosecutor (Yellow Dragon) or defense attorney (Blue Dragon) at the trials. The Dragons have the task of presenting plausible cases to the judge and audience: note that this does not mean that they have to present the truth. The competence of a Dragons lies in his/her ability in presenting a whole variety of interpretations and theories based the evidence, as well as on-the-spot improvising and showmanship. In short: they need to think fast and speak interestingly.

We were introduced to the Tatsuki clan of Dragons in the previous novel, led by the young Rakka. At the end of Marutamachi Revoir, the clan gained some new blood, something definitely needed for their next Gathering of the Twin Dragons. The trial has been requested by the two remaining living Ayaori brothers, who are fighting over the rights to the ancient book Kiboronaiki. It used to belonged to their brother, who has died in a mysterious car accident. The Tatsuki clan acts for brother Fumirou, while brother Takerou seems to have somehow found Sangetsu The Whisper, a legendary masked Dragon dressed in a black cloak, who disappeared years ago. What makes it even worse is that Sangetsu used to work for the Tatsuki clan, which means he knows all of their techniques.

Karasuma Revoir is the second novel in Van Madoy's Revoir series, but it reads very differently from Marutamachi Revoir, despite the story revolving around the Gathering again. The previous novel was clearly structured in two halves: the investigation prior to the trial, and with the action, deducing and surprises reserved for the actual Gathering of the Twin Dragons itself. This time however, most of the story is spent on the investigation, where the Dragons of the Tatsuki clan try to find evidence that proves that brother Takerou is guilty of murdering the eldest Ayaori brother (whether it is true or not). In most novels I know, the investigation phases are relatively the most boring parts of the stories, but nothing could be more different in Karasuma Revoir.

As I mentioned before: the Gathering of the Twin Dragons isn't about the law, and Dragons have to act as investigators themselves. They have to locate and secure evidence themselves. Result: Dragons are mostly busy trying to 1) find evidence, 2) falsify evidence, 3) making sure their own evidence doesn't fall in the hands of the rival Dragonr and 4) making sure they can get their hands on the evidence of the rival Dragon. In short: you have a group of fairly intelligent people who are trying to outthink and outsmart each other. With logic.

It results in a dynamic you usually just don't see in detective novels. I mentioned constantly switching between offense and defense with my own deductions in Ooyama Seichirou's Misshitsu Shuushuuka, where every time I thought I was closing in on the truth, I was harshly told otherwise: in Karasuma Revoir, everyone is constantly forced to switch between offense and defense with their deductions regarding the case and what the rival Dragon is planning to do. It is reminiscent of the manga Spiral ~ Suiri no Kizuna, which was also about outsmarting the enemy with logical deductions.

Once set in motion, the Revoir stories just seem to flow, with people reacting to each other's deductions, resulting in new discoveries which in turn lead to new deductions. Madoy keeps feeding the reader, as well as his own characters, new turnabouts which change the direction of the story, but not in a way that feels artificial. In The Da Vinci Code for example, events and cliffhangers just seem to be plot devices to get the characters from A to B. In the Revoir stories, all the turnabouts are actual crucial parts of the overall story, being results of the logical actions of the story actors (even if at first, this might not be clear). What at first might seem like a cheap development just to lengthen the story, will actually turn out to be a vital part in the (logical) chain of events that lead up to the final conclusion of the story.

As a sequel to Marutamachi Revoir, Karasuma Revoir feels quite different and yet familiar. The story features the same protagonists, and also tells us more about the Gathering of the Twin Dragons and the Tatsuki clan. Karasuma Revoir is technically also split in an investigation and trial phase like its predecessor, but the way Madoy shifted the focus of the story to the investigation phase, really changes the dynamics of the story. I guess that Madoy not only wants to keep his readers on their toes with his individual books, but also with his series as a whole. And I would say that he succeeded with Karasuma Revoir.

Original Japanese title(s): 円居挽 『烏丸ルヴォワール』

Monday, November 12, 2012

『狂った一頁』

「こういう普通でない性格を、精神病というようですわね。だから、わたしは精神病なのでしょう。しかし、わたし自身は病気だなんて考えていません。人間の大 多数の性格や習慣が正しくて、それとちがったごく少数のものの性格は病気だときめてしまうことが、わたしにはまだよくわからないのです。正しいって、いっ たい、どういうことなのでしょうか。多数決なのでしょうか」
『化人幻戯』

"My irregular nature, I think they call it a psychological disorder. So I am suffering from a psychological disorder. But I don't think I am mad at all. To say that the customs and minds of the majority of human kind is right and that the minority is mad, that is something I don't understand. What is right? Is it just majority rule?"

Oh wait, so I hadn't posted yet this month?

For some reason, I really thought I had posted one or two reviews already since entering November. Hmm. Anyway, today is just a Short Short, because these two books really don't offer enough for a longer review, but I do want to mention them. Assuming I won't forget it again, I have some more reviews coming up the following days. Of some fairly famous Japanese titles too. And I know that one of them, or at least an adaptation, is available in French too, so there, I occassionally do discuss stuff available outside of Japan!

The title of Onda Riku's Maze refers to a mysterious gigantic white structure is standing in the middle of a dried up riverbed in a mountainous area somewhere in Asia. It has gone by several names since ancient times: a sacred place, a place that can not be, a place that should not be. Nobody even knows whether the structure is a natural structure, or man-made. Inside the structure, winding walls make up a maze-like interior. Records exist of mysterious disappearances of people who dare to enter the structure, though there are also people who come back out of it alive. Why do some people disappear, whilst others seem to have no problem? A group of four people are sent to the structure, nicknamed toufu because of its form, to investigate it. But not to investigate what makes people disappear or why, only what the rules are for the disappearances.

What starts out as a story with a great, spooky atmosphere, suggesting a logical rule-deducing story in a science-fiction horror setting, sadly enough ends up as a very, very disappointing story where the solution to the mystery behind the toufu block manages to destroy every that was fun to the story up to that point. This story would have worked so much better as a real science-fiction horror mystery, rather than attempting to force a 'realistic' solution to it. The first part of the story is reminiscent of the town of Kurouzuchou in Itou Junji's famous manga Uzumaki (which is recommended reading!), both featuring a seemingly sentient location with (evil) designs on those who dare to enter it. This part is really good, and the parts where Mitsuru, the detective in Maze, tries to deduce the rules/conditions behind those who vanish from the toufu block are where the story shines.

But the ending is really horrible. And that's all I have on Maze's latter half.

Mari Yukiko's Futarigurui ("Folie à deux") on the other hand was awesome, even though it is very different from the books I normally read. It is a short story collection, all centered around disorders, delusions and the like, for example erotomania, mass hysteria and the titular Folie à deux. The first story introduces us to a succesful female writer who is being stalked by a man whose name happens to be the same as the protagonist of the writer's story, but the great thing about Futarigurui is that all the stories are interconnected.  The second story is for example about a little restaurant in a department store, which happens to be the place where the stalker from the first story works. At first, these stories seem only loosely connected, but as you progress in Futarigurui, you'll uncover more and more connections between the stories, and yes, the seperate stories actually make up one coherent whole story in the end.

It is somewhat reminiscent of the videogame 428 ~ Fuusa sareta Shibuya de, where seperate storylines make up one coherent story, though the interconnectivity in Futarigurui is not as complex. Though I have to say, the book can be quite confusing because there is a lot of jumping in time, and it does help to write down all the events that happen chronologically as you go.

But like I said, Futarigurui is very different from what I normally read. This is not a classic mystery novel in any sense: the stories are all structured around some mysterious / creepy event (the titular delusions and disorders), that are meant to captivate the reader by the use of surprise endings. But like I said, I liked Futarigurui quite a lot, not only because of the well-constructed overall story, but also because the individual stories are really fun. They're all about disorders and stuff, but the people suffering from them usually start out very normal. As the story progresses, they slowly start to change, but these changes are very natural and it wasn't rare for me to suddenly realize that I was totally sympathizing with the madness painted on these pages. Folie à deux it is!

Sorry for the short reviews, but like I said, interesting stuff coming up the following days (of course, by actually saying this, something is bound to pop up to prevent me from actually posting said interesting stuff in the following days).

Original Japanese title(s): 恩田陸 『Maze』, 真梨幸子 『ふたり狂い』