Who will Live at the end of the Doubt?

There’s a new game sweeping Japan by a storm.
In a land there is a clan of rabbits living peacefully. Unbeknownst to them, a wolf snuck into the group. Each night, a rabbit is eaten. The frightened rabbits call for a meeting, where they decide to vote a rabbit as the wolf and kill it.
If they’re right, they’re saved. If they choose the wrong one, the wolf will get them all.
Thus it’s called,
Rabbit Doubt.

Doubt Vol.1 Cover

Doubt – Tonogai Yoshiki

Five people gathered for an offline meeting after playing ‘Rabbit Doubt’ together for a while. On that day of the meeting, Yuu met her childhood friend Mitsuki, so he asked her to tag along since one person was absent. The next few hours seemed normal, even almost fun. They learnt to know each other’s real life personalities and managed to quell what would be a clash, until Eiji didn’t return from bathroom and Yuu went to search for him. The remaining members, Mitsuki, Haruka, and Rei, stayed in their karaoke room.

Yuu was attacked in the bathroom and when he woke up, he was in a strange place with an unconscious Mitsuki and a stranger who they later recognized as their absent friend Hajime.
Yuu, curious and frightened, open the door before them only to find Rei stabbed into the wall, blood soaked and so very dead.
As the players assembled, it was time to play
Rabbit Doubt.
Sounds like something out of horror/survival movie, eh? Some people likened this manga to ‘Battle Royale’ and ‘Saw’, but to me ‘Doubt’ is closer to my all-time favorite, Agatha Christie’s magnum opus ‘And Then There Were None’. Not just the premise, if you’ve read ATTWN you’ll recognize similarities here and there.

Now, Tonogai Yoshiki had given us a pretty good treat, with fitting art style and notable pacing, but the story is quite weak in some area. I particularly complain about predictability. I correctly guessed the murderer by the end of chapter 3, out of 20 chapters. Other cases can be read under ‘SPOILER ALERT’ section once you’ve finished reading all four volumes.

I like this manga because the story isn’t dragged along. ‘Doubt’ is compact (too compact, even), told in only four volumes. The length made it impossible to delve into everyone’s characters, but you get pretty good knowledge of their backgrounds so this is alright.

Again, anyone familiar with ‘And Then There Were None’ or similar stories wouldn’t be too surprised, but the twist near the end (not the end, you won’t be surprised) would keep you entertained to stay until the end. Sorry, I have to reference ATTWN so much since the two titles are really that close. Go read ATTWN if you haven’t. Seriously.

Now, for our ‘Spoiler Alert’ section. Skip the blockquote to avoid spoiler.

If you’re keen you can find some plotholes, but I’ll specifically address those which annoyed me the most. Here we go:
First of all, the whole ‘Rabbit Doubt’ game itself. Who made it? Rei herself for the sake of her twisted revenge? One of her henchmen? Why use the game to find victims if all she wanted was to exact revenge towards random people? For something as vital to the plot, this seems like an afterthought, a forgotten one at it.

Second, Rei clearly appeared as a corpse at the beginning of the game. They examined her body. How could they failed to realize she was alive? Don’t try to answer with ‘hypnotism’. I know how hypnotism works. This sounds like an Ass Pull to me.

Third, why couldn’t Yuu use Mitsuki’s supposedly ‘wolf’s barcode’ at the end? They had opened that door earlier, right? Okay, so Rei could reset the key, perhaps, but it seemed like it came from nowhere. I’m willing to forgive this one because it isn’t as fatal as the two above.

Back to spoiler-free conclusion.

This isn’t solid like a block, but it’s not as holey as swiss cheese so if you’re not as picky as me I think you’ll like this series. If I haven’t read ATTWN, I’d even add a praise for the ending, but I’ll give extra points because the author’s clearly not shy of character death (as expected of someone who took part in Higurashi project?)


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