Series: JUDGE | Prequel: vol1
Author: Yoshiki Tonogai
Genre: manga, mystery, thriller
Published: November 26, 2013 (first published January 1, 2012)
Publisher: Yen Press
ISBN: 978-0-316-24032-1

Judge, Vol. 2
Court is now in session for Hiro and the other sinners, who have been herded like cattle into an abandoned courthouse to pass judgment on one another’s crimes. Suspicions whirl after the first trial is held. Were the votes cast by the sinners born of deception or goodwill? As a clearer picture of the courthouse itself is revealed, new doubts arise. What’s to become of the one who has been sentenced to death?

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“If you don’t like being looked down on, there were plenty of other things you could’ve done about it! What you’ve done is just running away from yourself. What you’ve done is nothing but murder!”

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My review of volume 1 can be found here.

While reading this 2nd volume of JUDGE, I can’t help but wonder what Tonogai-sensei plans to do in here. I look at his characters which he further introduced here and I can’t stop myself from looking back at DOUBT (Tonogai-sensei’s first locked-room mystery manga). While complete similarities can’t be done, prominent characters such as the Lion (Hayato Takizawa) and the Horse (Ryuuhei Shinomiya) can easily be pinpointed from DOUBT. And with that in mind, it makes my mind construct the possible route the characters here will take.

The suspense escalated for me because of my interest at how Tonogai-sensei would write this – at how he will write the mastermind, how he’ll surprise me and how he’ll try to get his way in making sense with his decisions. Looking back at DOUBT, the ending was undeniably surprising and at the same time gave me that WTF-just-happened moment. This, on the other hand, seems to be giving hints that the mastermind could or could not be among those in trial (but I’m definitely placing my money on the mastermind being among those in trial. If he’s not there, where’s all the thrill, right?)

It’s quite noticeable but this volume seems to take its sweet time as it sets the separation between those who’d dirty their hands to survive and those who’re probably playing clean in order to look good. The slow pacing this volume takes will probably be a problem for those who’d like to see more suspense than scare-talks.

Another problem I encountered with this volume of JUDGE is the inconsistent art particularly on the vote-count display which was quite similar to my counter problem at vol1. While it doesn’t seem to matter in most cases, the characters used in the display messed up two or three times and it annoys me because I tend to look at every panel as well as its details.

*              *              *

JUDGE, vol2 is the sequel to the thrilling locked-room manga by Yoshiki Tonogai. It’s a bit slow paced but it still throws a good amount of things that would stir the characters later on in the series.

thrilling. slow paced. a bit predictable but holds a good amount of twists.
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