REVIEW: Good-bye Geist by Ryo Hanada

REVIEW: Good-bye Geist by Ryo HanadaGood-Bye Geist by Ryo Hanada
Published: Gen Manga Entertainment, Incorporated (2012), Paperback, 176pg
Source: BEA 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Mystery is engulfing the face of Yuki's high school and Yuki is caught in the middle. As she battles the exhausting crowds during her daily commute she, like many other young girls in Japan, is sexually violated. Meanwhile a boy is secretly filming her and someone is brutally slaughtering cats. What does it all mean? Enigma spins into ever darkening chasms.

I picked this book up because of the pink cover. Also, it mentioned a mystery on the back cover and I LOVE mysteries. I don’t remember what I was expecting– maybe something like a high school slice-of-life/mystery crossover thing? And it kind of is that, but it’s also one of those books where all the important stuff lurks under the water, and you’ve gotta read it five times to catch all of it.

Which is sometimes good! Stories with lots of layers can be fun. On the other side of things, though, are the stories where you know there’s important stuff but you can’t see the important stuff and you’re not even sure how to get it. And I think that’s my problem with Good-bye Geist is partly that I don’t understand the “treasure map,” if you will. It might be because of cultural differences? I had this problem with another Japanese mystery, too; it was like I didn’t know how to read the hidden stuff so I missed out on some of the clues and whatnot.

Now, I gotta say that it’s less a detective story and more of a romance/contemporary story with mysterious things happening in the background. (Only it’s not really the background. More like on the side? Or something?) It’s kind of like if a slasher movie was less about actual slashing and more about the characters and what they’re doing while the slashing is going on. You get me? It’s not at all a satisfying mystery, especially since I wasn’t entirely sure wtf was going on in the ending.

The romance, however, is much more satisfying! It is kinda creepy, because the romantic hero (Matsubara) kinda…stalks the heroine (Yuki) for a little bit? But she confronts him about it and he explains in a way that makes sense and she seems cool with him from then on, so I suppose it’s a relatively acceptable level of creepiness. I loved how they actually talked about what happened and why he did it, and that he apologized and tried to make up for it. Yay talking!

It was a strange experience, reading about their romance. In the beginning, Matsubara comes across as a huge creep. It doesn’t help that his classmate suspect him of being the one killing the animals, either. Also, there isn’t much internal dialogue for any of the characters– a lot of the emotion is expressed through facial expressions and actions– so I couldn’t even tell if Yuki thought he was creepy or not. I kinda got the feeling she thought he wasn’t, though, and that made it easier for me to accept him as a possible romantic partner for her.

But I had my doubts! And it wasn’t until he got a haircut and Yuki went (visibly) gah-gah for him that I knew they’d be okay. Teenagers are weird and do stupid things, but if they admit it was stupid and work to correct it then I have no issues with them!

A bonus good thing is the teachers in Good-bye Geist are nice people. Nice people who try to help their students! Yay!

And a quick note on the art: it is very good! It’s simple and expressive and realistic-but-also-stylish, and it’s one of the best things about Good-bye Geist.

Unfortunately, despite all that good stuff, the actual story was kinda confusing. I think that because Good-bye Geist is only one volume, the storyline got compressed a LOT more than it should have been. The romance part fits into one volume, sure, but when you add in the mystery part it gets all tangled and confusing. Even stretching it out into one more chapter would have helped, I think, especially since the solution is so wacky. I’m still not entirely sure what the answer was and it’s been about a month since I read it.

I would for sure read another story by Ryo Hanada, though I’d also hope that it’d be slightly less crowded and confusing. Maybe just a straight-forward romance next time? On the other hand, having the mystery in there added a lot of tension that made the atmosphere much more enthralling than a maybe-creepy romance would have been.

Read: December 30, 2013

You can get the ebook version of Good-bye Geist for only $1.99, btw! Check it out.

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