Written by: Yozaburo Kanari
Illustrated by: Fumiya Sato
Published by: Tokyopop
The Graveyard Isle, Kindaichi Case Files #15 is another stand-alone mystery in the series by Yozaburo Kanari and Fumiya Sato, published by TokyoPop. Because Tokyopop wants to keep the story intact (bless them!), Kindaichi volumes tend to be a bit heftier than most manga volumes, making them a very good value.
This volume has our intrepid, under-achieving genius hero taking a vacation to the south of Japan with some friends–and Miyuki, who Kindaichi hopes will soon become his girlfriend. Their explorations (and boredom) lead them to an offshore island, known as Graveyard Isle, which of course no teenager could resist. Once they get there, they learn the tragic history of the island: thousands of Japanese troops fought and died there during WWII, and the island is said to be haunted by ghost soldiers. The heroes meet up with some other teens–wargamers who are “fighting” in two groups. A very real threat soon appears, however, as Our Heroes stumble upon the second group, savagely torn apart.
[ad#longpost]The balance of the manga has a few of the explorers dropping dead, one by one, but are they the victim of a surviving soldier, angry ghosts, or something worse–an all too human and unpredictable psychopath?
The art is on par with Sato’s usual work–the spareness draws attention to the clues without being obvious about it, and the nicely distinct characters all have great facial expressivity. The story in this one is a bit more complex than usual as the characters move their campsite about the island in a search for safety, but itâ€™s certainly no more complex than any teen or adult reader could handle, without being just basic and boring.
Highly recommended for all manga fans, as well as those who like mysteries and are willing to try them in a new format. You just might get addicted.