REVIEW: The Opera House Murders by Kanari Yozaburo & Sato Fumiya

REVIEW: The Opera House Murders by Kanari Yozaburo & Sato FumiyaThe Opera House Murders (Kindaichi Case Files #1) by Kanari Yozaburo, Sato Fumiya
Published: Tokyopop (1993), Paperback, 226pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Mystery

"When the Phantom found refuge at the Hotel Opera on a remote island, the serial murders began..."

Hajime Kindaichi is a teenage crime solver who's part Sherlock Holmes and part Hardy Boy. Each story or file takes Kindaichi to various places where a murder has occurred. Using ingenious deduction to debunk ghosts, curses, myths or folklore, Kindaichi proves that no mystery is unsolvable.

This was the last book I read in 2013, and I have no regrets about that at all. I love murder mysteries, see, and I REALLY love murder mystery graphic novels. There’s something about the visual format that makes them even more exciting than just plain text mysteries– it feels more like I’m part of the story, more interactive or something!

That said, this book does NOT have an easy-to-solve murder. Which is fun! It’s twisty, it’s tricky, it’s got a Phantom of the Opera theme. Lots of people die and it’s ridiculous in a very entertaining way.

The only thing I didn’t like about the story is it does that thing where the detective sees a clue or sets up a trap for the murderer, and you (the reader) don’t know about it until the BIG REVEAL. Supposedly that sort of thing makes the reveal/solution scene more intense, but I just find it annoying.

The art! Is very round. Everyone’s got heads like pumpkins, but it works. I liked that everyone had a distinctive face and that they didn’t look like stick-people; I didn’t, however, like the fanservice. There wasn’t actually that much, but I thought it was out of place for a murder mystery. It made the tone jerk back and forth from serious to comedy in a way that made me seasick.

However, on the whole I enjoyed The Opera House Murders. I liked the characters– especially Hajime Kindaichi, who’s a kind of Lord Peter “pretends to be a dummy but is secretly a genius” detective. Some parts were maybe over the top (reactions to certain events, for example, had soap opera-like intensity) and the actual murder plot was completely ridiculous, but it was a fun read and I don’t mind silly stuff if it makes for an overall good story.

Recommended for people who like mysteries and/or graphic novels, and who don’t mind a bit of melodrama.

Read: December 31, 2013 (reread)

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