Story by Otsuichi with Art by Kendi Oiwa
Published in the US by TokyoPop
Slugline: More Schizo than Goth
Yoru Morino is the stereotypically tortured high school student who has scars on her wrists showing how dangerously out of control she is, while Boku is that wonderfully nice neighbor boy next door that no one ever realizes ate a half dozen co-eds and did even worse things to their remains. But Boku has yet to descend truly that far into madness, and may never really do so, but he is still macabre to say the least, and fascinted by death and especially the pain of death. He seems to revel in Yoru almost becoming a victim in each chapter, but at the last moment something pulls him back. Maybe it is because he sees a chance for a better, darker experience, much like how some individuals would take torturing a puppy over pulling off a bug's wings. It is a dangerous relationship that Yoru and Boku both seem to actually need.
This is a dark series of stories, that isn't quite sure what kind of horror it truly is. Perhaps that is actually that is more of a strength than a weakness of the series, because some of the book feels like it is psychological horror, descent into one's own madness while other bits feels more supernatural. Still, Yoru's sense of victimhood is perhaps the most interesting part of the book, with the death of her sister giving her the chance to change roles, but still wanting to create sequences where she is the victim and the target. In that way, her wrist scarring was probably not an actual attempt to kill herself, but instead a way to mark herself further as a victim, so that others will see it and seek her out. Heck, it worked for the other character of the manga, Boku, his vulture like relationship with her beginning once he sees the scars and realizes how that would interact with his own interests and the hand taker's own ones. In a way, Yoru the victim is the true focus of the story, as what she does that attracts the attention of killers is the active role, while Boku merely circles, waiting for the right moment to absorb what he needs from the situation.
This story almost, almost manages to get four stars, but story construction messiness in a couple of the chapters was the only thing that holds it back, and even then it was a close call. Catch me on another day I may have easily given it four stars and debated going higher.
Goth (the Manga) is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.