“The Circle of Life” – Jisatsu Circle (manga) – 9/10 Notebooks


Genre: Horror

Review Status: Complete (1 Volume/1 Volume)

Licensed: No, this manga is not licensed in the US.

Art: This is more on the realistic side of art, with characters that run anywhere from cute to ugly. This doesn’t hesitate to show more realistic and graphic pictures of violence and injury.

Summary: 54 girls commit suicide by jumping in front of a moving train. However, one girl survives (Saya Kota) and opens another Suicide Club, with other victims. Her best friend, Kyoko, fears for Saya’s future and begins to search for the strange secrets surrounding the Suicide Club to try and save Saya and the other girls from committing such a tragedy again. (MAL.net)

Review: From the same mangaka as Music of Marie, this manga was originally supposed to be an adaptation of the live-action movie by the same name, this ended up with a completely original ending on the insistence of the director. Suffice it to say, it worked out well.

For something that seems to take on a very different subject, this has remarkable similarities to his other work. Every chapter builds onto the main storyline. Nothing is wasted or insignificant. It delves into the psyche of the characters and leaves one wondering where the psychological leaves off and the supernatural begins.
54 students. One survivor. Saya’s best friend Kyoko wonders what happened to her.

Saya has been morose for months, accused by classmates of having seduced their boyfriends, dealing with abuse from her father, and was abandoned by Kyoko in her time of need. She found solace in a girl, a leader of a group of wounded souls that dedicate their lives to their leader, and escape their pain. The need for a savior draws these people in, hoping for relief for their pain. But each time someone survives the attempts at death, and those that oppose the survivor end up in dire straits. Kyoko is drawn into what’s happening and why, unsure of what’s really taking over her friend- and is there any escape for her?

Overall, this is a surreal manga that explores what happens when people are in pain, and leaves the question of what drives them to the reader.

Recommended: 18+. This is heavy subject material- there are a few gory shots of bodies and the aftermath of death. Saya is abused by her father and forced to take naked pictures and prostitute herself. The nudity is shown in a fair amount of detail, though the sex isn’t. Two instances of shown genitalia are blurred or erased.

Other titles you might enjoy:
The Music of Marie (manga)
Ghost Hound (anime)
Monster (manga and anime)

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