Curiosity killed the...

In part 2 of this manga series, Yakumo and Haruka have to investigate the strange possession of a young woman by the ghost of a man, against the backdrop of a serial murderer in their town. The serial murder has been abducting schoolgirls, holding them for a few days and then killing them, but this isn’t Yakumo’s case; he has been approached to deal with a young woman who has been rendered catatonic by possession, and in investigating her situation he finds she has been possessed by a man.

In this episode we find out more about Yakumo’s friend Gotou san, who is a private investigator assisting the police with the serial murderer case and is central to the plot, because it turns out that the possessed girl and the serial killer are intimately linked. We also find out a little more about Yakumo’s family background, and Haruka reveals she too may have a talent for seeing ghosts, probably because her older sister – for whose childhood death Haruka blames herself – hangs around her spiritually, and is guiding her to certain scenes and situations.

There’s an interesting contrast in this story between Yakumo’s self-imposed isolation from a society that has always scorned him, and Haruka’s connectedness, both of which are directly related to their ability to see the supernatural world. We see increasing hints of a possible relationship between them, and it seems likely that Haruka is going to draw Yakumo back to the mundane concerns of the world (and out of his “movie research club” at university, that is really just a front for skipping class and sleeping). The development of their relationship is going to be slow, however, and no doubt form the central plot tension of the series.

Part 2 of the series doesn’t involve any high-risk situations or combat, it’s pure investigative work, and as usual the final resolution has to wait until the start of part 3, but it looks like it’s going to be a high risk play that may go pear-shaped. As an investigative story, part 2 was interesting, and although we work out early on who the serial killer is, the task of unravelling his motives and his connection to the possessed girl held my attention well; it was also more than a little disturbing. It’s worth the effort to read, which is just as well because Part 2 was a lot harder to read than part 1, involving a lot more casual and slang Japanese, and more unusual words. Nonetheless, my mad scramble from Tokyo wasn’t so crazy that I couldn’t chug my way through to the end of this book by Shin-Osaka, so not tooooo hard.

This series is holding my attention and the ghost stories so far have been interesting and well done. I’m seeing the development of an internal logic to the supernatural world, which is going to make future stories more predictable but also more believable; and I like both the main characters, as well as their slightly antagonistic relationship. They both have past problems whose resolution we may see in the future, and lots of scope for development and exploration. So, I continue to recommend Psychic Detective Yakumo.

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