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Goth is a horror mystery graphic manga novel adapted from the Japanese horror book of short stories of the same name. It focuses on two high school characters Boku and Yoru Morano who both have a morbid interest in serial killers and murders.

They do not have much in common on the surface. Yoru is introverted and does not interact with others while Boku is more socially outgoing and friendly on the surface. However, he has a sadistic streak, is ruthless and quite possibly a sociopath as well. He secretly plans to kill Yoru in the worst way possible.

Yoru and Boku befriend each other after a recent murder that was committed close to the school they attend. The duo has solved a number of murders that baffled the police.They have a twisted relationship and the chemistry between each other is a sick sort of friendship. The interactions between them is fascinating and intriguing from start to finish.

Despite their macabre personalities and obsession with death, they are pretty skilled in solving murders. They talk about death very often and in a very detailed way and are fascinated by the concept and the process of death itself. Death is what motivates them and is the driving force in their unorthodox hobby. Their pasts are mostly unknown and it leaves you where you want to learn more about their personal backgrounds and what is it that makes them so strange yet compelling.Other characters in the story are usually not what they seem. One character, a teacher, was actually a notorious serial killer who was obsessed with hands.

Their methods in catching the killers are unorthodox and predatory. From Yoru dressing as a victim of one of the serial killers to lure him into his own downfall, to visiting crime scenes and collecting evidence that police may have missed. They are both fearless and put themselves into dangerous situations without any apparent concern for their own safety.

The theme of death is very prevalent in the book and it also shows the different types of ways people could be killed. The atmosphere is bizarre and morbid as are in the stories. One story is about how a woman who put a noose while she was sleeping accidentally committed suicide.

Naturally for a story with protagonists with such dark hobby to fulfill something in their lives, there are elements of thriller and psychological horror. It shows the dark side of humanity and what is it that turns someone into a serial killer and what could motivate someone to kill people. It could be done for fun or from some sort of obsession. The perpetrators of the murders come from various backgrounds and social standing and the motives for why they kill are just as varied. Sometimes it can be for fun or to satisfy some depraved urges. Whatever they motivations are, the book’s main goal is to show the dark recesses of human depravity and inhumanity.

The main theme of death has many symbolisms throughout the story. Images of skulls, knives, blood and scars are liberally sprinkled throughout the manga.

Murders are very grisly and unnerving and victims are all killed in many different ways relating to the pattern of how a serial killer motif would be such as severing the hands from the body. Each scenario in the book is different than the other and it has its different twists and unexpected events unfolding that keep the reader engaged. The stories are all interconnected into each other one way or the other and it appears that with each murder, Yoru and Boku become more personally entangled in the cases.

Each story is self-contained and told in a procedural format. The element of suspense was used effectively as you do not know who is behind the murders. Dialogue in this book is macabre and it works. Each piece of evidence found in the stories are unexpected and creative. Blood is very common aspect in the manga and some readers may find the gore unnerving. The art style is somber and well detailed and the character designs look pretty well crafted to match the dark theme and visual style of the book.

Goth has some shortcomings. Some things did not make much sense. A serial killer who happens to be a teacher is caught but instead of going to prison, he got fired from his job as if this would stop this lunatic from committing other murders. The stories can be finished in one sitting as its just only 6 chapters long. There were some loose ends that are not tied up and other story contents were not fully explained as well. There is no real character development or any climax at the end and it leaves you feeling as if something is missing.

Overall, the stories were well written and compelling and never boring. The characters and setting were superbly drawn and even though there were some unfinished storylines, Goth was entertaining, engrossing and fun to read.

It gets about 4 stars out of 5.

Horror and mystery fans can get a great deal of enjoyment out of this manga.

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