Book Review: Secret Volume 2

March 12, 2016


It seems to have been a while, huh?

I know that have been focusing on the simulcast that will end this month, which means that things are not really dead here, but were some titles that I have been trying to find and they were not on book store shelves when they were supposed to be available.

Fortunately, I was able to get those hard to find titles and continue on with some series that had probably been forgotten.

Today, I will be reviewing one of those titles, which is called Secret Volume 2 by Yoshiki Tonogai.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

With the first of the three murderers exposed and taken into custody, two killers remain among the survivors of the accident, and everyone is determined to find those two killers.

However, when new information about the accident comes to light, a few of the survivors begin to wonder if the accident was really an accident or if it was planned by one of them.

While I came into this series with some interest in what Yoshiki Tonogai had in store for his next work, unlike how I started reading the Magical Index novels in spite of the fact that the anime did not really catch my interest, my interest quickly dissolved because the first volume was handled quite poorly, even considering that this work is relatively short.

As a result, I cannot really say that this book was really that good, especially after reading it.

Fortunately, there were a few things that I liked, so I do not need to skip right into what I did not like.

Things seemed to get a bit more interesting in this volume.

Back in the first volume, when the bus accident was being focused upon, nothing seemed to be too out of place, aside from the fact that something did happen after the crash.

In this volume, however, it is revealed that an investigation was done on the driver, who had a spotless driving record, was done and that he had been drugged moments before the accident.

Upon reading this, I did seem to think that there was much more going on that what had already been revealed, but going by how Yoshiki TonogaiÔÇÖs other works ended, I am not too sure if it is going to be that satisfying, since Hiroyuki was killed at the end of Judge for an assumption made by his accomplice.

Hopefully, when this ends in the next volume, I will not be disappointed, because that is how I am feeling about this series right now.

Not only was the revelation that the bus accident may not have been an accident make me somewhat interested, but I was also interested in what MitomoÔÇÖs relation to the accident was.

While I did suspect him of having some connection to the accident back in the first volume, though I still kind of doubt that a counselor who has some kind of connection with the events that patients are being observed for would be hired by a school, it is revealed that he is definitely plotting something.

By having this confirmed, I am kind of interested in reading the final volume right now, in order to find out what his plans are, since there is only one kind of conclusion that I can draw from Yoshiki TonogaiÔÇÖs previous works and what I see here.

Seeing this, I want to say that Yoshiki has been able to get back to the way he presented things in his previous work, but seeing as this is already the penultimate volume, I can only say that this just barely meets my expectations that his previous works have led me to believe that he is capable of.

The thing that I think I liked the most though was how Yen Press was able to preserve most of the content of the chapters.

Even though I cannot go verifying this for certain, because, unlike Yoshiki TonogaiÔÇÖs previous works, I had a hard time finding scans online, even in languages I do not understand fully, I never really felt lost during the course of reading the whole book, though there was one instance that did seem kind of confusing that I will touch on later.

After all, there is not really any way to really explore a book if there are details left out here and there, much like how there seemed to be scenes left out of Judge Volume 6.

As I result, I really want to give Yen Press some major praise, though not as much as I would have if they released their manga digitally without DRM, since I cannot tell book store to make sure it does not have huge gaps in volumes available on shelves.

Still, Yen Press has definitely redeemed itself from the atrocity they committed with the final volume of Judge.

Outside of those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly liked.

The fact that things got a bit more interesting from the last volume and that Yen Press does not seem to be leaving things out, at least that I can dig up on my own, made this book somewhat enjoyable.

Although there were a few things that I liked about this book there are some issues.

First, the beginning made me feel like something was missing.

Yes, I did say a bit ago that things mostly made sense and nothing was missing, but that was almost going to make this volume far worse than it is right now.

Back in the first volume, the first murderer had been revealed and jumped from the roof, intending to commit suicide, but the volume ended before revealing whether or not he survived.

That was the big cliffhanger of the first volume, even if it was one that I never really cared about, and it does not even get answered right away.

It is almost as if Yoshiki Tonogai went from a decent, but not great, writer to some kind of guy that is trying to bite off more than he can chew.

Honestly! How did Yoshiki Tonogai get any publishing deals if his works just keep getting worse as time goes by?

As much as people disliked Doubt, which was the first title I read from him, I think that it was his best work, especially because Judge did not really get that good until the very end, where Hiroyuki was revealed to be the mastermind behind the game.

Still, that does not change the fact that whether or not the first killer lived or died should have been answered earlier than it was, and make me very disappointed in this series.

After all, Pandora Hearts did a good job of not leaving people hanging with questions they had from previous volumes for too long.

I also did not like how more murderers were either confirmed or eluded to early on in this volume.

While the series is short, and it makes sense to have things progress quickly, the identities of the murderers was supposed to be, as I brought up in the previous volume, the biggest mystery, yet I kind of already have an idea of who the other two are, one of whom I and the characters suspect caused the bus accident.

Seeing as there are only three volumes in this series, these kinds of things should have come in up the final pages of the volume, not somewhere in between.

Really, Yoshiki?! If things continue on like this, I do not think that I would read any more works from you, whereas Jun Mochizuki seemed to handled Pandora Hearts well enough that I am interested in trying the JunÔÇÖs new work being published right now in Japan.

The thing that I hated the most though was that yet again, things did not end at the perfect moment.

While the place where this volume ended was a bit better than where the first volume ended, it was still at a moment where I did not really care too much to read the final volume, though I might as well, in order to see if Yoshiki Tonogai really does seem to be as bad of a writer as I think he is now, as well as be done with this series.

As I said in my review of the first volume, it is important to have cliffhangers be at just the right spot, otherwise there would be nothing to keep a reader engage enough in a series to continue.

In the case of this volume, that perfect moment was when the manga focuses on Mitomo in his apartment at the end of chapter 9, where it says that his preparations are complete.

Even though there are some things that crop up in this volume that do catch my interest after this particular point, my interest in the volume really drops after that particular moment because nothing really seems to happen, other than finding out that a character that died prior to the start of the series did not commit suicide after all.

Now, in normal situations, I would have been considerate, seeing as it actually takes time for people to improve at anything they do, but with this being the penultimate volume, which is the book that is supposed to make the audience interested in finding out how things will end, I cannot really overlook this issue at all.

Seriously? Is there any editing or proofreading being done on Yoshiki TonogaiÔÇÖs work?

I sure doubt it with how two thirds of the series failed to impress me right now, and enough so that I feel like my time has been wasted.

Other than those things, I cannot really think of anything else that I particularly hated.

Seeing as there was quite a bit to hate, and many of them were very major issues, especially in penultimate books of a series, this book is one of the worst in existence.

Despite the fact that there were a few things to like, the negative outweighed it enough to make this a waste of time.

I only recommend this to people who enjoyed the first volume, especially because it is supposed to lead into the events of the final volume.

As for everyone else, I recommend avoiding this book at all cost.

What are your thoughts on Secret Volume 2? Did you like it or hate it? If you hated it, did you like Yoshiki TonogaiÔÇÖs other works or have they been just as bad as this? Was there something that you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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