Book Review: Judge Volume 1

August 31, 2013


In the previous review, I stated that I recently got five books, two of which were recent releases. So far, one has been covered and four remain. Today, I will be reviewing Judge Volume 1 by Yoshiki Tonogai.

Two years after the death of his brother, an ordinary boy named Hiroyuki Sakurai wakes up in a strange place with a mask over his head and handcuffed.

Unfortunately, things get weirder when he finds out that there are other people in the same predicament and a tape welcomes them to a game.

In this game, they must vote for somebody and the person who has the most votes is killed.

Now, in order to get out alive, the group must work together, while being suspicious of one another.

I am not too sure about this one. The pacing seemed to be decent, considering that this is slightly longer than Doubt, according to Baka-Updates Manga. I liked how the protagonist was surprised about being in a strange place. Yes, a protagonist waking up somewhere strange is nothing, especially when that was what happened to the protagonists of Doubt. However, the surprise of the protagonist was pretty believable. After all, I would probably not be very calm if I woke up in a strange place. What made it even nicer was that it did not happen during a get together. If the author had done that, I would have to say that it does not seem like he can think of unique ideas. I also liked how the end game condition was different from the author's previous work. Back in Doubt, the characters to find a killer that was hidden amongst them, before being killed. This allowed a chance that all but one could survive. Here, however, only four participants could survive. This means that it will not be so easy for everyone to survive, like it would have been in Doubt. Then again, such an outcome was not so easy there because they got worked over the tiniest thing. Outside of that, I cannot really think of anything else that I liked, since this is just the first volume. The fact that the protagonist's surprised seemed believable, as well as the fact that it does not look like it will be so easy for everyone to survive from the beginning, made this kind of interesting.

Although there were things that I liked, there are certainly some issues. First, although it was quite interesting for the protagonist to wake up in a strange right from the get go, I was not really that thrilled by it. If had to say why, I think it is because this start was not really as interesting as Doubt's. I do wonder how he got there, but that is about it. Also, we just had a story with people waking up in a strange building. I think we need a much newer setup. About the only thing different here is that the characters were in a courthouse and not some kind of hospital. Another thing that I did not like here was the characters seemed to be idiots. While it was understandable that the characters in Doubt were tense and not all of them wanted to be in a large group, the characters here just immediately split up when whoever was holding them captive intended to kill them. In fact, since the rules do not state that one among them is a killer, it does not make sense for them to split up. Besides, since they vote for somebody to die, I am pretty sure that each individual has already decided whom to vote for. Another thing that I did not like was that the protagonist seems to trust people too easily. I know that things have just started and that there is nobody that is a designated killer, but that does not change the fact that one of the people that brought the characters together might be in their midst. As such, the protagonist should be suspicious of everyone, just like he was told during the first voting session. I also did not how this book was put together. When I open the book, it immediately starts on chapter 1. Yes, I know that this does not sound like a big deal, but what bugs me about it is that a Table of Contents then interrupts the first chapter. The Table of Contents is supposed first when it is present, not in the middle of the prologue or first chapter. By doing that, it ruined the flow. If a book starts immediately with a prologue or the first chapter, I expect the Table of Contents to be omitted. Since I do not have access to the Japanese volumes, and most of the unofficial sources seem to have used magazine sources, I have to say that Yen Press is to blame. Yen Press has published many different series before this one. As such, they should know exactly where a Table of Contents belongs and where it should not. While this was a bit disappointing, the thing that really hurt this was the fact that the Table of Contents interrupted the first chapter because it was not where it belonged.

Despite the good things that I found, the negatives outweigh it enough that it turned into something to just kill time. I recommend this to fans of mystery and Doubt. As for everyone else, I recommend waiting until a few more volumes are released, because Doubt seems to be more interesting right now.

What are your thoughts on Judge Volume 1? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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