A high school boy, Itsuki Kamiyama, becomes fixated on the lovely white hands of one of his classmates, a beautiful but strange girl named Morino. A serial madman has been “harvesting” hands from women, animals, and children, and his crimes make Kamiyama wonder what it would be like to collect Morino’s hands. When he stumbles across the identity of the criminal, Kamiyama tries to manipulate events so that Morino will be the next victim. It doesn’t pan out, but Morino, unaware of her classmate’s intentions, begins hanging out with the young man. Together, they indulge their mutual obsession with crime scenes and serial killers, getting tangled up in one case after another.
The friendship between Morino and Kamiyama is unusual, to say the least. While they share an interest in death and dying, there’s a key difference: Morino is fascinated by the “darkness” of humanity, but she has no particular desire to inflict harm on others. Kamiyama, on the other hand, feels the urge to hurt and kill, but he restrains himself and lives vicariously through the actions of others, instead. It’s not clear how well Morino understands this difference in their personalities, although Kamiyama is certainly aware of it. He’s obsessed with Morino. Sometimes this manifests in a desire to protect her from others, while at other times he’s plotting new ways to hurt her. Certainly, Kamiyama is possessive of her, but he covers it up for the most part under a veil of normalcy.
The individual murders are interesting: the hand collector, a murderer who loses the notebook recording his victims, and a man who buries people alive. The last one, which involves Morino’s past, doesn’t seem as well-structured as the previous stories. The murderer is someone close to Morino, it seems – but the readers have never seen him before. The set-up seems to imply he’s some sort of rival of Kamiyama’s, but it feels like a chunk of the story is missing. Goth was originally a novel, and I wonder if this character was better explained there. In this version of the story, he seems rather out of left field.
The art can be quite graphic at times – there are several pages of mutilated, nude female bodies, a hanged corpse, and other gruesome images. But most of the art is very clean-looking, with spare backgrounds and simple lines and shadows. It suits the story very well.
3 out of 5 stars
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Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Heaven’s Net is Wide by Lian Hearn
2011: Chasing Aphrodite by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino
2010: The King’s Mistress by Emma Campion
2009: Something Missing by Matthew Dicks
2008: The Four Immigrants Manga by Henry (Yoshitaka) Kiyama